A quick start to a so far epic season.

14 Sep

I can't belive the start we've had to our 2011 hunting season. It almost seems surreal...if this isn't an epic season, then I guess I'm just destined to eat tag soup!

This hunting season started off very quickly with one elk downed by a friend on opening day. It was only days later that Ethan, the 11-year-old step-son of the same friend, took his very first deer with his bow. Even though success had seemingly come quickly to my camp; the hunting has been very tough.

Ethan really did it up big when he notched his first big game tag. Not only did he manage to take a very fine buck; but he did it with his bow and on the ground! I couldn't be more proud of him if he was my own son.

With the way things started, I figured to fill at least one of my tags just as quickly…but so far no such luck. The temperature has  been in the upper 90’s and broke 100 degrees on at least one day. According to the moon phase calendars, there were a few “four star days” in a row this past week; which would indicate that despite the heat, game would be moving. Well, at least on the day that Ethan took his buck, the moon phase predictions proved true; the deer were moving in the midst of 90 degree heat and didn’t seem to care one bit.

To say things have been exciting this past week and a half; would be an understatement. I was able to call in my best friends first elk, passed up a shot opportunity on a nice black bear from only 20 yards (I hope I don’t regret this later!), had a coyote try to ambush me (apparently he thought I was an elk and laid in wait until I was only 10 yards from him and decided that “he didn’t like me” and quickly bounded off) and I called in what we thought at first was a rutting bull elk….but turned out a full hour and a half later to be a good-sized bull moose! Apparently the moose was rutting too, because every time I’d hit a certain note on my call; he’d go nuts, let out a snort and destroy a tree. If only I would have had a moose tag, I definitely would have filled it right then and there; he ended up trotting past me at only 20 yards!

Darin going to work on this season's first success.

I’ve been spending as much time in elk camp as possible. I’m feeling a little frazzled; going from work to the elk woods, waking up to the sounds of elk bugling to start off the morning with a quick hunt and then back to work and so on. With the heat and so far the unpredictable movement of the elk in our area; the hunting has been very tough. I have two more days this week to make a go of it before my september elk season will end and then I head to Montana to help Darin fill his Montana elk tag. It’s do or die time; get an elk or bust!

A bear I passed a 20 yard shot on.

Big bear track...I won't pass this guy up if I get another chance!

"I think I just heard something...!"

Darin laying down some scent near a good wallow we found in a cedar grove.

The camp fire is always an important part of the elk camp experience.

Bowtech nerds! I think we've spent way too much time chasing elk! Darin said that "Uncle Ted was starting to make sense" to him...yep, The Spirit Of The Wild is starting to come over us!

Getting into position; we hear elk coming in.

As always my choice of gear plays a huge part in my hunts. I want to mention that I am using calls from Elk101.com this year and so far I’m very impressed! The sounds they produce and the ease of use are phenomenal. I’m using the “All Star” reed call and “The Temptress” mouth call: http://www.elk101.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=28&zenid=02njuc0pqc0ijutoprnqffpi53

I can never say enough about the stuff that Sitka Gear puts out and this year is no different. I’ve been using the heck out of my Mountain Pants, Shooter Gloves and Merino Core Zip T. Darin, Ethan and I have all been wearing Merino wool pieces and have been amazed at how remarkably your temperature remains regulated even in 90+ degree heat. I definitely recommend you check out Sitka’s Merino pieces.

The Mountain Pant is a work of art as far as I’m concerned. The articulation and attention to detail that have went into these pants is ridiculous (in a good way!). They stretch and move with you, they have built-in knee pads (they are removable; but why would you want to?! They really come in handy while spot and stalk hunting.) and also have reinforced tabs in the hip pocket area to protect from the clip on your folding knife wearing the corners of your pockets. Including a DWR treatment, there are quite a few more little details that you’ll just have to buy a pair to discover! http://www.sitkagear.com/products/open-country/base-layers/merino-zip-t

http://www.sitkagear.com/products/solids/necessities/gloves/shooter-glove/

http://www.sitkagear.com/products/open-country/pants/all-pants/mountain-pant/

My new favorite underwear: First Lite’s Merino wool boxers! These things are awesome! Check them out: http://www.firstlite.com/product_detail/12/red-desert

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2 Responses to “A quick start to a so far epic season.”

  1. Dale Pearson October 6, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Very cool Luke! Sorry been out in the field ALOT since September 15th but this was a great write up…. Keep up the good work and good luck with the rest of your season!

  2. Luke Johnson October 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Thanks Dale! Yeah, I know…you’ve been plenty busy! Congrats again on your UT bull! I think he may be the one you’ve been holding out for! Keep it up.

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