Monday, November 11, 2013


This year John and I packed into an area near the Bob Marshall Wilderness to hunt elk.  I've been hunting this area for a few years but have always been a foot soldier, taking in only what I can carry on my back.  Pack animals added another dimension to the hunt ~ some very nice amenities ~ making a 5-day, 6-night adventure much more comfortable.
We stayed in Augusta, MT & had a steak dinner at the Buckhorn ~
Unloaded and packed up at the trailhead on 29 Oct
"I am not an elk..."
7 degrees and 12in of powder.  I kept in touch with the family via SPOT
 A wood stove was nice ~ try filtering drinking water in the winter without one...
I was in charge of dehydrated cooking ~ we had Scrabbled Eggs and Bacon, Breakfast Skillet, Beef Stew, Chili Mac with Beef, and Sliced Strawberries.  Powdered drinks included mango Acli-mate Mountain Sports Drink, Apple Cider, and Coffee.  For emergencies we had the packaged Mountain House meals in our backpacks.

It was big country and we covered a lot of it.  We spent nearly 30hrs glassing one of my favorite south-facing slopes from year's past called The Point.  There was very little elk sign in our area ~
We had a local grizzly going north and south through our area & fortunately we never met.  We saw plenty of his tracks along with those of wolves and deer.
We saw no more than 10 sets of elk tracks, all bulls, all singles, all moving non-stop.  The weather hadn't been severe enough to push the animals into our area.
In any other year I'd go home and come back in a few weeks... But not when you're 3 States away.  Such is the new way I'll have to approach MT hunting from now on.
We had a blast and John escaped with only a few bumps and bruises; from side-hilling snow covered rock slides to surviving a bareback rodeo on Homey (and watching them trot over the horizon without him), he had a great time and we're sure to return ~
These folks weren't so lucky.  They'd taken the back end of a pickup and converted it into a wagon, built a bench seat and had 2 horses pulling it down the road (it's an 8-mile closed stretch of USFS road).  They couldn't control their speed going downhill, fishtailed and lost control, and probably nearly killed their animals.  Clothes and food were scattered everywhere... 

The mountains are calling, and I must go ~ John Muir