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2018 Elk Hunt Writeup


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#1 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 04:32 PM

October 2018 Elk Hunt

 

My brother-in-law Matt and I got drawn for Antlerless Elk once again. My main goal of this hunt was to get him into position and successfully put his first big game animal down. This would be his 4th Elk hunt and had some unfortunate events keep him from harvesting an Elk in the past. We both got our matching Tikka T3 Lite chambered in 30-06 sighted in and made our way to the meet up point on the way to Elk camp on Thursday morning. We were unable to scout before our hunt so we took an extra day off before the hunt started to get in some scouting on the fringe of our usual area in hopes of putting eyes on some elk the night before the opener.

 

We made our way into camp slowly due to the muddy roads. Usually in Arizona we don’t have to worry about mud but this year was different, it was the wettest October Arizona has ever seen! Nevertheless we made the 30 mile dirt road trek in and parked the trucks at our campsite. We decided to grab our binoculars and glass some since it was only an hour after sunrise but some thick fog rolled in and prevented us from doing so. We enjoyed the foggy morning with Coyotes howling in all directions and headed back to setup what would be camp for the next 4 nights. We gathered firewood and made sure our gear was ready for opening day morning. It was around high noon when we decided to head out for a couple predator stands to kill some time a ways down the road. Matt was slightly hesitant to go, partially due to not getting much sleep and maybe more so was because he has never had success mid-day calling predators. Since I’ve done quite a bit more calling I knew we had a good chance due to the storm system moving in the next day. I convinced him to head out and we made our way to an area I had called in Grey Fox 2 years prior on an October Elk hunt.

 

Where I parked we would get 2 stands out of the area if we hiked a bit from the truck. We made our way along a small canyon that was choked with Juniper and after a ¼ mile we tucked just inside the tree line and setup. Wind was perfect in our face and I set out the FoxPro 40 yards in front of us and paired it with my feather decoy. After starting off with some Cottontail distress it took around 8 minutes for the first Fox to respond, and wow did it come flying in! I caught a streak of movement to my right and the Grey Fox came screaming in just steps in front of my position! I swung down on the Fox as it paused in the shade of a tree and I squeezed the trigger as I flipped off the safety and we had our first kill of the trip! I switched over to a bird distress and worked up the volume. Not long after we had a Fox running in from Matt’s side. The Fox never slowed as it came up on the decoy and as I saw Matt pull back off the scope that was the sign for me to take the shot. We agreed that Foxes weren’t worth him using a 180gr 30-06 round on and he didn’t bring his AR-15 on this trip. As I got my sights on the Fox I let out a few clicks with my cheek and the critter paused right next to the decoy. I sent another 55gr Spire Point downrange and the second Fox was down. I ran through a few more sounds and saw Matt pull up on something but he never shot. After I was done calling I asked him what he saw and he told me he thought it was a Coyote but couldn’t be sure. As we were talking I spotted the Coyote out about 100 yards starting to go away. I ran back to my chair and flipped on a new K9 distress sound which managed to bring the Coyote right back to us, even after I had walked over to Matt in plain view of the Coyote! As the Coyote worked back in Matt had him dead to rights. As it paused at 65 yards Matt squeezed that amazing Tikka trigger and proved that his ’06 was perfectly sighted in. Upon inspection of the Coyote it had a terrible case of Mange which is why it was hard to tell it was a Coyote the first time it came around the brush. Glad we got that guy killed, he wouldn’t have made it through the winter! I took the time to pull the back straps off the Fox to utilize on Saturday for dinner. We did 2 more stands and then headed back to scout Elk for the evening.

 

We never did put eyes on the Elk that night, but our hopes were still high for opening morning as this ridge has always produced for us. We did run into a Coyote and Grey Fox while we were glassing and got to watch them at close range for a bit. I also put an “X” on the map for a great predator stand on the way out after the hunt was over if we had time. Nighttime came and went and we were pumped to get up on the ridge to glass for the first Elk with Matt’s name on it! As we got our packs on 2 other trucks made their way down the dead end 2 track we were parked on. They pulled up, asked where we were hunting and then proceeded to head directly toward where we said we were going. Frustrating to say the least, no sportsmanship there! With that unfolding Matt and I decided to blitz out the ridge halfway in hopes of cutting them off and gaining the advantage back. On the way up the ridge a Bull Elk bugled, then a second joined in, and yep you guessed it…a third started bugling as well! Knowing this would bring the other hunters we hoofed it the whole 1.25 miles up the ridge without slowing, hoping to be the first in on the Elk. After trying to get in on the Elk in the thick Juniper and not succeeding I decided to try to Cow call the Elk in hopes of getting a shot at a Cow. It did bring in a Bull but all we could see was a glimpse as he trashed a tree in full rut fashion. Then it happened. No not a Cow showing herself to us but a gunshot, about 100 yards in front of us. At the sound of the shot we heard the Elk disperse and our hearts sank! Frustrated we decided to get to the edge of the ridge in hopes of getting away from the hunters on top and spotting a new group of Elk.

 

We got to the sweet spot of the ridge where we could see for a couple miles in most directions. No longer than it took us to take off our packs and settle in I spotted a lone Elk about ¾ mile away. As I grabbed Matt to come look we watched as it grazed slowly away. I let him know if we wanted to have a chance at this Elk we had to move NOW. He agreed that we should give chase and we made a game plan. The way it was headed I figured it would drop into a small dip that would allow us to have a chance to cover the open flat that surrounded it. We quickly covered the first ½ mile and got to within 400 yards of where I lost sight of the Elk. We placed our packs against a bush and began the final stalk. As we walked we were watching for any movement and as we got to within 120 yards of the dip where the Elk disappeared into we both saw movement at the same time. We dropped to our knees and Matt placed his gun on his shooting sticks. The Elk had come back up out of the dip and was peering around a bush at us, barely showing its vitals. I got my binos up as Matt steadied himself and we both confirmed there were no antlers. Within just a few seconds Matt squeezed off a round and the Elk dropped in its tracks! Matt was ecstatic and I reminded him to get another round in the chamber and stay on it until we were sure. His Elk started getting up and I said to hit it again, but just before he shot the Elk went back down and was done within a few seconds. He had his first big game animal ever! We grabbed some great photos and celebrated for a bit. After all this has been 4 separate hunts to finally put it all together for him, what an accomplishment! The Elk ended up being a young antlerless bull and I told him that would be the best tasting meat he has ever had! We spent the next few hours getting all usable meat off the Elk and prepped it for the little over 2 mile pack out we had ahead of us. We paused for lunch and as we did I spotted a Coyote 200 yards out. I howled him to a stop and then with just my voice I imitated a wounded rabbit and the Coyote came running in on a string! Got that guy all the way into 40 yards before it decided to veer off. Fun stuff!

 

We got the Elk back into camp and hanging up around 3pm. After a short break we headed out another ridge nearby in hopes of finding Elk trying to get away from the other hunters. On the first ridge on opening morning we heard 5 gunshots, way too much to keep me hiking out that ridge this hunt! Although we got into some Elk smell we never did put eyes on any that evening so we headed back to camp for some delicious brats and beans. We reminisced of the amazing day we had and looked forward to our backup that would be coming to camp that night. Jeff and Nathan joined us in camp at 10pm and we got a few hours of sleep after telling stories of the events that had already happened. We awoke and headed to another area that has produced Elk for us in the past as well. After a 30-minute drive to another remote area we started our long trek into the wilderness. After walking and glassing ever so often for about ½ a mile Nathan said that he saw a Coyote laying down in the grass. He pointed it out for us all and sure enough there he was with his ears poking up out of the grass about 120 yards away. I started lip squeaking and the Coyote stood up and turned its head sideways at us. With the sun at our backs the Coyote couldn’t make us out. A few more squeaks and the Coyote was on a trot right towards us! It came all the way into about 40 yards before turning at a 90 degree away from us. I wish I would’ve had a camera rolling as it was a beautiful sight coming in at first light with the sun shining on its great coat! Despite putting over 12 miles on foot this day we saw just 1 Elk all day, he was a 6x6 Bull and 2 miles away from where we were watching. A few more Coyotes is all we saw the rest of the day. I did find a very nice 6 point Elk shed on the way back to camp so that was pretty cool! We enjoyed Elk burgers and Fox back strap at camp that night around the fire. Great food and company around a fire is second to none! I’ll tell you what, if you have never tried Fox back strap you are missing out…no joke! I seasoned it for 48 hours with steak seasoning and it was delicious; a sweet tender meat.

 

Sunday morning rolled around and we decided to go out the original ridge where Matt got his Elk on opening day. We hadn’t heard any gunshots out there Saturday evening so we were hoping that the other hunters had left as well. We agreed that we should be in place right at first light to glass which meant hiking in an hour before shooting light. Matt and I watched the Western area and Nathan and Jeff went the extra half mile to glass the tip and all surrounding country. We spent the entire morning at the glassing points and zero Elk moved in the surrounding country. Jeff and Nathan had a goal to take off from camp around noon so Matt and I decided we would go back with and then head out to a new spot that evening. All morning we kept spotting Coyotes around the entire area and each night many Coyotes were howling all around. So what is a predator hunter supposed to do before leaving an area LOADED with Coyotes?! You guessed it, we made a stand right on that ridge edge. Everyone got into position and I gave my phone to Nathan to attempt at capturing some footage. There was a gut pile 500 yards below us from another hunter the day before and we had seen 3 Coyotes cruising around that area. I started off with some rabbit distress on the EW open reed Elk antler call I had. I alternated between that sound and some Coyote distress. I was trying to play on their territorial side, hoping to get a mature Coyote to come in. After about 6 minutes sure enough I spotted a Coyote just inside the tree line at 120 yards. I began lip squeaking and after a full minute of that she just couldn’t handle it anymore. She broke free of the tree line and headed towards us on a trot. After she got to 80 yards I tried to stop her but she was too committed and kept on coming. I placed the cross hairs right on her chest and squeezed off. The Coyote crumpled to the ground lifeless when the 180gr SST bullet met fur! Even if I couldn’t get into the Elk while my help was up visiting at least I was able to provide a bit of action for them on a Coyote. Jeff had the best view as he got to watch it all unfold through his 15 power binoculars. I’m pretty jealous actually as that would’ve been awesome to see like that!

 

Matt and I saw them off and they headed back to their families back in Phoenix. Matt and I hung out for a bit, did a couple predator stands and then headed out to check out new country. We never did see another Antlerless Elk this trip but we had an amazing time anyway.  The last morning of the hunt all we had time for was 2 predator stands while we waited for the dew to dry on the tent. Of course we headed back to where we watched the Fox and Coyote on the ridge during our scouting day. We got in this horseshoe of the ridge and setup just perfectly with no chance of being winded by anything. I ran through 20 minutes of prey distress with no interest at all from any predators. As soon as I played Fox distress I had a Grey Fox run out of the tree line and start barking at the FoxPro. I lined up on the Fox and laid him in his tracks. I quickly turned up the volume and it only took a minute before we had another Fox running in. I saw Matt shift and watched through my scope as he took out the second Fox. Again I turned the volume up some more. A couple more minutes went by and I caught movement out along the edge of the tree line straight in front of me. Yep, a third Fox was working around us. I quickly got my sights on the Fox and let him stop on his own, I didn’t want to chance spooking him. As it paused I settled into the scope and squeezed off my 2.5lb trigger. The suppressed shot was met with a smack and we had a triple on Fox, just a little ways from camp! What a way to end a great 4.5 day trip into the back country!

 

Pictures will be on the next post...

 

- Mark


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#2 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 04:36 PM

Pictures...a5a88e11a98879b0ccd9ef4ff4b4d7c7.jpg2464b9a6c1d093836722dfab74cd35f0.jpgc8602e65e3bd3c9c2175c69a9f76f5b0.jpgd940474d9085e5b3f163f2f02b5caca0.jpg829a4999da1601c1d9ed55e995eb9453.jpgaa1fbcc2dc9e6e1c74357aca799a8b1a.jpg01d912d6841002d93e6fa3fe49f755e7.jpg8956c485dd0e56ebe68a608860b57563.jpg510285ee5cb4a463ed18dc98ba635cbe.jpgb694b22ed784c8dc0e498046a9bb9d85.jpghttps://uploads.tapa...e6196f6fb2d.jpg

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#3 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 04:38 PM

Pictures...37558c01e34275fd123c7f12ef6f7e9b.jpg1097d88f4f7892284d91c64a71f1f3a1.jpgb5f5201337e5b45f582491ef62835eb7.jpg58fbaa85351dd6e7318bbd7490ab4719.jpge95cf21d0e6afbe5d6d3d8271d965d85.jpg3956299e1ff16fae4db0b16d4f37bd29.jpg174dc060989ae86f94dc862d28982869.jpg074edc5999a00920414a31e4efcbfb06.jpg7627a5a0f9fc4dc22c84e8274896ec38.jpg

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#4 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 04:40 PM

Looks like a few pictures flipped weird... but oh well! Lol

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#5 pokeyjeeper

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 05:44 PM

Sounds like a great time congrats thanks for sharing your hunt

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#6 youngdon

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 08:26 PM

Another successful hunt ! Congrats to all


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Never kick a dead coyote, especially one that ain't dead when your gun is still in the kitchen. Just ask your favorite Yooper what will happen. But if its a bobcat in a 330 coni and you think he's dead,,,,,Think again.. And we know you were wearing less than your PJ's on the last one you shot !

                                                       

                                                         

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#7 glenway

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 02:14 AM

Sure was a lot of activity and some fine shooting.  That elk calf is still a lot of meat and well worth the effort.  Great work!



#8 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 06:17 AM

Thanks guys, oh we are super thankful he was able to get that Elk. Getting around 60lbs of amazing meat of of it.

Here is the footage of the Coyote kill. View on a large screen for the best viewing. Filmed on my phone.

https://youtu.be/aSRImBkTkw0

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#9 SWAMPBUCK10PT

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 07:17 AM

Thanks for sharing your hunt Mark--Great pic's

 

 

   svb


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#10 C2C

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 06:32 PM

Im not sure I wouldnt have more fun shooting the foxes than the elk !!l   lol .. Good job Mark and great pics :photo:   , gotta love those Tikkas :thumbsup: .



#11 hassell

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 06:45 PM

Congrats. and thanks for sharing the hunt.



#12 Mark Steinmann

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 07:25 PM

Im not sure I wouldnt have more fun shooting the foxes than the elk !!l lol .. Good job Mark and great pics :photo: , gotta love those Tikkas .

Yep, everytime I saw or heard a Coyote/Fox I wanted to do a stand! Haha. It was the first Elk tag I've gotten and didn't fill, but one of my favorite trips! Something awesome about helping someone get their first big game animal...

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#13 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 04:38 PM

Nice Mark 👍

#14 kiyote

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 02:27 PM

congrats  sounds like a great time.


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