A dog, an elk, a couple antelope, and some birds. Part 1 of 3.

Tod osier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
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Location
Newtown, CT -> Sublette County, WY
Part 1 of three: Elk.

This is my travel log from my trip earlier this fall going for elk, antelope and upland birds. I "earned" two decent tags this season, an elk and antelope, plus I was lucky enough to get an extra doe antelope tag. I had tags and lots of time and a dog.

Beaver is my 2 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He is what they call a Velcro dog (attached to his owners at all time). He would have been happy to stay home with the wife, but I wanted to hunt some birds and it was nice for her not to have to deal with a young high energy dog along with everything else while I was away. The question was how would archery elk hunting with a dog be? I knew antelope would be fine, I've hunted caribou with the dogs along before.

Beaver was a machine and a great travelling companion. He was in the running for best dog ever award as a family adventure dog going into the trip, so I had high hopes.
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We spent the last weeks of August scouting for elk.

Warm and steamy elk sign, we found the elk that made the deposit about 5 minutes later.
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Warm and steamy sign donor. Interacting with this elk herd, I knew Beav and I could get it done. This was the proof I needed that we could get close and work elk. He is observant of, but not overly interested in, big game animals, and this translated well to archery elk.
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Found several wallows preseason. They are nice for a dog to cool off in if you want your dog (and your bed, eventually) to smell like anaerobic mud and elk piss.
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Earlier in August when the bulls were loosing their velvet, we found a lot of it, so I knew there were bulls in the area.
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Elk on the hoof, bumped from their bed at close range while scouting.
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Archery Elk season opened and the temps were hot and the action was slow and the moon was growing, but there was action. I heard bugles most days and saw elk and lots of fresh sign and interacted with some bulls.

We sat waterholes and wallows several mornings and afternoons when it was so hot and sweated covering miles during the day. There was a bull using a wallow that we sat and had several close encounters. These moose visited several times. We also saw a radio collared mule deer and fawn multiple times.
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With a change in temps the mountainside I was on came alive, even though the moon was big and getting larger by the day. Starting at sunrise, I watched and listened to 2 bulls scream at each other across the ridge I was on, but couldn't make a move given the thermals. A third bull that I didn't think I could get to was off on his own and bugling as well.

I dropped down into where I thought one of the bulls would be and found a rut fest. Beaver and I were able to keep the bull (and cow) located by aggressively bugling and moving right in on them. She bedded down and wouldn't move and I was able to use the terrain to get right on top of them (which was a feat I was proud of with the dog). We had a bugling and raking match trying to get him to move so I had a clear shot. I had a perfect vital sized gap made of 4 trunks that he would cross as he screamed and raked and I was able to make the shot. It took 50 yards for blood to start, but once it did, there was no question that he was down close by.
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Archery success. I had decided that the first real 6x6 in range would not get passed on. The blowdown he ran through was unbelievable, he ran towards the truck and died next to a meadow.
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Glad to have one down with enough light to get some work done before dark.
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Progress by midnight.
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Meat stacked to chill in the freezing temps that night. It was glorious, the frost appeared by 9 pm, but it didn’t get much below freezing, so the meat chilled quickly, but didn't freeze. I was toast at that point, getting those hinds up there was almost too much for me.
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Celebratory bourbon at 1 am!
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Reward lunch in town the next day after missing dinner packing meat.
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Elk euro mount at home. I haven't shot one with the dark resin covered horns like this - smells great if not a little sticky
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I went to town to bone out and freeze the elk solid, washed clothes, reshuffled gear from elk archery to antelope rifle. We had a little setback after getting the elk off the mountain and us back to town, Beaver split one of his toenails nearly clear through while running off some steam. The vet took most of the nail off under sedation, but she didn't get it cut back far enough to get the split. The two sections moving on each other caused a lot of pain.
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Poor beaver under sedation.
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Beaver on the mend with an elk leg.
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His nail was causing him a lot of pain (was on an NSAID and antibiotics), so I tried a home remedy. I wrapped the nail with thread and then superglued to immobilize the two halves.. This made a huge difference in his comfort, it was like night and day how sensitive the toe was. It stayed on for 4 or 5 days of hunting hard then he tore the top of the nail completely off.
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Nail progress about 2 weeks later. Just the smallest sign of an issue as far as pain at the end of the day, no favoring the foot in the field at all.
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Part 2 of three: Antelope.

 
Last edited:

Jgill19

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
106
Location
Pendleton, OR
Great pictures, great story, great dog. Good thinking on the thread and super glue. I have super glued a lot of cuts that are in spot where you keep re-opening them. Read the 2 of 3, it was great also gonna go to 3 of 3. Thanks for sharing!!
 
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