LUCK
Another elk hunt a few years later, found us camped in the same place and hunting in the same general area. About the fourth day Carol remarked that she was getting a little tired. We had been putting in some long hard days, and to tell the truth, I was a little tired myself.

Author and another backstrap "Well heck, this elk huntin' is s'posed to be fun. If you want , we'll just walk up the trail a ways and find us a nice place to sit out in that pole flat. They like to cross through there, and when we get coldm we'll just go on back to the trailer and take a nap. What do ya' think." "Sounds good to me."

The next day we got up there about daylight and found ourselves a good likely looking "dry gulch" spot.

The original trail went up the East side of a creek. It was quite steep in spots, but leveled out and crossed the creek on a small bridge, before continuing across the flat and on up the hill. A few years back, a new trail was constructed on the West side, thus eliminating the bridge where it intersected the old trail.

A couple of hours had gone by and I was starting to get cold. Nothing exciting had happened during our wait, but someone down the brush kept us entertained by blowing on an elk bugle.

"How you doin' dear?" "I'm getting cold."

"Well, we can head back if you want. What do you think about crossing the creek where the bridge was, and going down the old trail? Be a little different country." "Sure."

We crossed the flat to the trail, and followed it down to where the old bridge had been. It wasn't easy crossing, but we managed. When the new trail was constructed, the old bridge was torn out, thus avoiding the need for maintenance, and also any liability should someone get hurt while trying to cross on it.

Like many people, I sure get frustrated with laws and actions of the "Powers that be," to "Thwart" the lowdown, at the expense of the upstanding. Take that bridge for instance. Granted, it wasn't in real good shape, but it was only maybe a foot over the water, and that only 18 inches deep. I would have felt a lot better crossing on it then the debris that we had to cross on. I don't blame the Forest Service so much, the would be the ones that would get sued, but instead of awarding the "poor victim" a half a million dollars, the Judge should stand up and pull a well honed Forschner out from under his robe, and cut the plaintiff's throat from ear to ear. Call in the news media! Make an example out of him! This is the wilderness for Christ sake!! You wouldn't have to do that a lot, and word would soon get around that stupid lawsuits would not be tolerated. It would, however; cut deeply into the pockets of the legal profession. Everyone has an opinion I guess.

After we crossed the creek, we hadn't gone 100 yards, when Carol said, "Something's coming."

About 200 yards to the north-east was a short, abrupt knob covered with some fir trees. About the time that I could hear limbs breaking, we saw a herd of about ten elk coming off of it in our direction. Where we were, the ground was kind of rolling, and when the elk got to the bottom, they turned and started paralleling us in a low spot. We were on a little highter ground with a lot of short pine, and I grabbed Carol and we started running in a half circle back towards the creek, hoping to cut them off. We stayed stooped over so they wouldn't see us over the trees, and as we came around a corner into the open, there were the elk, standing in a line right in front of us. Unknown to us, they had circled towards us, as we circled towards them. I guess you could say that we had formed a "group." The second elk in line was a spike, and he was standing facing us.

"SHOOT!!" I whispered.

Well the first 200 grain partition didn't put him down, but the next two did. With patience, any of the three would have done the job, but I'm not patient when it comes to killing elk, and consequently, my bride has been taught not to be patient either. You shoot an elk behind the shoulders in the lungs, and he'll die. Some faster than others. On a private hunt, on private land, you have the option of waiting, but on public land where I've always hunted, an exercise in patience might well end up with more shooting and then a big argument.

One time back in the sixties, Bob was crashing through the brush out on the end of Long Ridge. That's in the Coast Range, just west of Roseburg. He stopped to take a short break and get his bearings, when out of the brush walked a big five point. He promptly threw up his rifle, and held behind the shoulders, and touched it off. Nothing happened, but he knew it was hit. He was just too close to have missed. He calmly took the empty brass out and put it in his pocket. He was so sure that at any moment the bull would fall over dead, that he didn't even chamber another round. The bull looked him over good, and then calmly walked back into the brush, never to be seen again.

I'm a firm believer in shooting till he's down for the count. I don't mean indiscriminate shooting, but keep putting them where they belong. You won't loose one, and he won't stagger around the hill and be shot by some other hunter. Like I mentioned earlier, what's right for me, is right for my bride. I did make the mistake of getting her a sling on her last antelope hunt, and not I can't talk her out of it. (She's starting to get a little independent.)

Well, our bull was dead, and we started taking a few pictures. This didn't take long, maybe two or three minutes, but before we were done people started showing up. They came from every direction, and before I could get him gutted, the total had reached five. They all knew that the elk were on that knob. We were the only ones who didn't. Just goes to show, sometimes luck has a lot to do with elk hunting.

Raghorn Gulch - Gary Shouse in Central Idaho

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