I took Tuesday night off from hunting to watch Dave's son Justin play in the pee-wee football superbowl. Wednesday Michelle and I built the rest of Millie's fence. Steve and Dave both had to work and Dalton had to return to Moab to sell his 4Runner.
Thursday it was only Dave and I hunting. I decided that it was high time I went up into the high bowl to get the bull I seen in there opening morning. Two young guys pulled a six point out of there opening morning. We followed two other guys up the towers trail. Every time we caught them they would take off ahead. Finally at Dalton's rock, I passed them as they stopped to watch the sunrise.
As I continued up, I heard some rustling in the trees. The hunt was on. Turned out to be just a bunch of beef cows in the high meadow.
As I topped the ridge and looked into the bowl I spotted two bulls sparring. Very cool. They were at least 600 yards away, so I decided to try to get closer. The bulls where whistling and bugling.
It took me an hour and a half to come down the hill, cross the oak brush and meadow. The willows and oak brush got so thick I was getting stuck with thorns and sticks. Finally I made it onto the boulder outcroppings above the high meadows. I knew those two bulls were here somewhere, likely bedded down as it was approaching noon. I found a nice bench and set up my backpack as a shooting bench and decided I would stay here all day if necessary. I even contemplated spending the night here. If I built a fire and used my space blanket it might be less than miserable overnight.
I was getting chilled sitting in the shade so I decided to find some sun and a different angle. It didn't take long before I spotted a nice bull lying up hill from the meadow where he was sparring with his buddy that morning. My blood was pumping, but he wasn't at all aware of me so I took my time and found a nice rock to take my shot. I dropped him in his bed with one shot! I was very happy.
I gathered my things and worked my way down to the meadow thru more oak brush and then up to his bed. By now the day was warm and I stripped down to shirtless to do t he dressing. I felt very wild there bare skinned with my knife covered in blood. A couple of hunters watched from the ridge below Indian Point as I finished skinning my bull. I didn't have a bone saw to quarter him, and the hour was late enough that I knew I wouldn't have time to return to this place from my atv today. So I skinned the elk head and removed it from the neck. I set off for the atv with antlers in hand. I would return tomorrow for the meat.
The trip back to Dalton's rock was an hour and a half of nasty bushwhacking thru thick oak brush. There is a reason not too many people hunt up here. I was getting tired by time I reached my atv at the towers.
I made it back to camp before Dave and Steve did. They had taken an evening hunt up the diagonal road to try and get a buck. We celebrated my successful hunt and decided to try and get the bull out via W Gulch rather than the towers trail. The next morning we left my atv at the end of gulch road and headed over to the towers trail. As we headed up the road we came upon a guy who had high-centered his 2WD truck in the ditch. We tried to get him out with Steve's truck but no luck. We were the first ones onto the trail, but we were way past sunrise. The hunt wasn't fruitful this morning. As we headed on up we found a better trail to my elk from Dalton's rock. If you stay a bit lower by skirting the bottom of the open parks the oak brush isn't quite as thick. It still didn't change our plan to head down into w gulch for the pack.
We loaded my pack with a hind quarter and the backstraps. Dave took the other hind and we put the front quarters in the tree. The trip down the gulch as a bitch. By far the worst pack ever. The vertical is brutal for quite a ways as soon as you start down. I think taking the tower ridge would have been easier. To make matters more fun, as we arrived at the atv, we spotted a buck running. We decided we better go hunt him as tired as we were. He went up and around the hill and eluded us. Dave chewed my butt for talking him into hunting that buck. lol.
My first elk in three years made me very happy. Thursday was my best day hunting, Friday my worst!