Ed's Elk Adventures: Where adventure finds you.

Elk Hug

Amber was excited about her second year of hunting elk in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The weather was cold but clear and the wind was blowing enough to cut any bare skin with its razor sharp touch. We had gotten to the trail head just before daylight in hopes of beating the crowds. But as we pulled up to the location of the trail head I could see there were half a dozen rigs with people still in them. I told Amber and my dad that we might have to change the way we were going to hunt these elk in their hide out. My dad opted to walk back down the road a mile and then cut in and meet us about 4 miles away. Amber and I got out of the rig and headed for the trail head with everyone from all the vehicles in tow. I stopped at the beginning of the trail head and waited to see what direction the other hunters would go, but they all stopped and stood there with us, not saying a word. Finally I asked one of the hunters which portion of the mountain he was intending to hunt. I'll hunt any where I want to and I've been hunting this mountain for 50 years (he only looked around his mid-thirties) and I know every square inch of it.

I looked at Amber and proceeded up the mountain with a herd of anxious trigger twitching hunters behind us. We had out distanced them within the first two hundred yards. I told her this is our chance lets make a brake for it off into the hole on the back side of the mountain. As we snuck into the brush we were hoping to get away from the certain stampede of these other ambitious killers in search of an elk target

We worked our way over to a steep embankment and were just about to drop down into the bowels of this elk infested brush pile. When I glanced over and saw a lone hunter perched on top of a large rock doing his best to eagle eye any elk that might be in the brush clogged hole. I told Amber we must skirt this guy or he might mistake us for something he would like to shoot. We then moved about a hundred yards down from him and went into the hole. I told Amber even if an elk were right below this guy he wouldn't see a thing. We had gone about another hundred yards when my cool headed daughter calmly said there is some elk dad and I think some of them have antlers

Of course I being the elk professional I am calmly jerked the binoculars off my daughter neck and wildly scanned the herd with slobber dripping out of the corner of my mouth. Sure enough there were several BIG BIG bulls just calmly eating out in front of us at about two hundred yards. Our plan was to get closer and shoot one of the large bulls. We crept down the old elk trail with ease and hadn't made a sound the whole stalk. The distance was now less than a hundred yards and we couldn't see any elk. As we stood there wondering what had happened a bull stood up from his bed not more than 20 yards away. A bird in the hand as they say.....Amber shot and the bull showed signs of a good hit. Then the fun began right next to her elk the two monster bulls also stood and moved off into the brush. Leaving behind one happy girl and her cry baby dad who was babbling something about if only.... Moving up to the last location of the bull she shot we were able to see blood. We followed it and there in the only small opening within the area lay her first elk. After making sure it was dead, she jumped on it, giving the elk a bear hug, It took me a half hour of yelling, stick prying and rock throwing to get her off the bull so we could start the cleaning process.

Once done we hiked out to the main road and marked where we had come out. We needed to catch up with the third person of our party, my dad. We had hiked for a long time without seeing anyone. Finally a car stopped and an older couple picked us up. The elderly gentlemen asked if we had any luck and my daughter's big smile told the tale. He asked how big and she of course went into the detail of how big the elk really was. In the conversation the man told us that he was once the game warden for this area and had seen several large bulls. My mind went back to the two Big Big bulls that just walked away unscathed.

Eventually we were dropped off at our truck and there was dad he had been waiting for us for about 4 hours. Like a tornado Amber went to telling the tale once again with more emphasis on her shooting expertise and the way she had to tackle the elk in order for it to remain grounded and not get away.

We decided to head back down to the road even though it would probably be more difficult. After several leap frogs of the meat we had it almost to where the pickup was parked. When I made it down to Amber and dad I could see they were both ready to end this forced march. Soon all the elk meat was in the back of the pickup and we were headed home to get the meat in a cool place.

Later I learned that dad had been having chest pains the whole time we were packing the elk and hadn't said a thing. As it turned out he had a heart attack and ended up having a triple by-pass and can still pack Ambers elk when ever needed.