Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Da Elk Huntah- Year #2

Posted by todblog on January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007

The winter months in the Roseburg area offer youth hunters (<18 years old) an opportunity to harvest a cow elk during weekends (the kids would love to hunt on weekdays but, we kinda discourage them from cutting classes). A limited amount of kids are drawn to hunt a three weekend season in the Weyerhaeuser Millicoma Tree Farm. It is a big area with lots of steep slopes, waterfalls, creeks and rivers. The timber company opens its gates to elk hunters to keep elk numbers in check and reduce elk damage to young trees.

As Jacob enters the teenage years, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to sleep plus do all the activities that he loves to do. Currently it’s basketball, X-Box, Junior Rifle, homework, skateboarding, fort building, and a few chores. So, making time to go elk hunting with dad is a pretty special deal. Afterall, he could be staying in bed a few hours longer. I try to make it interesting for him by making a favorite breakfast of rice, eggs sunny side up, sliced lup cheong , all drizzled with oyster sauce and sprinkled with furikake. It’s gone in no time and we’re out the door. Everything is packed in the truck the night before the hunt and we’re down the road because morning brains don’t function worth beans.

Elk like to feed in open areas where forage is available to them. Heavy timber isn’t conducive to feeding elk but it does provide some cover for them. So, elk go from heavy cover to open areas and back again. They can also make use of steep cover to seek security from hunting pressure. When hunting in steep country, folks around here have certain rules to follow: 1) carry lots of rope or cable and a chainsaw winch or capstan winch; 2) have a bunch of friends with strong backs along; or 3) shoot the elk above a road.

Jacob and I went to a place where it was steep and elk used it to escape pressure. There were several waterfalls in the area and open rock faces with lots of moss. There was a road into the area and we hoped to find elk above it. We climbed up on a thin knife ridge that had a road on one side and none on the other. We had a few snack bars and did some cow calling in an attempt to lure some elk over to us. Way up near the skyline, I saw five elk running across the hillside and heading for the timber. Were they coming to my calls? Seems like they sure were in a hurry. The last one disappeared in the timber and I figured I must have scared them with my calling. Seconds later, I saw a hunter on the skyline. That’s why the elk were in a hurry. We continued to watch the area and scan the hillside for elk when we heard a loud snap.

I whispered to Jacob, “That was an elk, get ready.” We were on the brushy ridgeline in the middle of an elk trail. If an elk showed up, it would be very suddenly and in our faces at 10 yards. We waited. Nothing happened. Jacob asked, “Can I go over to the side and check the area over there?”

It was the side of the ridge with no road below it. An abyss full of deep dark timber surrounded by smooth steep rock walls where your voice would echo for weeks. I said, “Okay.”

Jacob took up a position on a large 3 foot diameter Douglas fir stump. Within minutes, a cow elk popped out onto the open hillside and took inventory of her situation scanning the area for anything unusual. We froze until she turned her attention to the other elk coming down behind her. Jacob threw up his rifle and I got my rangefinder out. It was 149 yards, well within range for his .260 Remington. By then, four more elk joined the first cow, the last was a spike bull. They were the same bunch I saw running into the timber above us. They were all toast as their fate rested in my hands. Jacob asked if he could shoot and I said we’d be here all night trying to get an elk out of here. The elk milled around in the open hillside for a few minutes as if they knew they had nothing to worry about. Then they proceded to head down into the dark timber. That was his only opportunity at an elk the entire youth hunt. I felt terrible that I didn’t let him shoot. I also know I probably would have felt terrible if I let him shoot too.

We’ll see what next year holds for us.



Jacob looking at the opening that had five elk in it at 149 yds.




A view of the terrain below and Jacob thinking, “Why does my dad hate me?”


Elk or not, it’s always a good day when I can spend quality time with my favorite son.


5 Responses to “Da Elk Huntah- Year #2”

  1. John Peyton said

    Shoot …….when given the opportunity, sort out the details later. There will be plenty of time for your back, legs, knees, joints, etc to heal. The best memories are the one’s of the hardest hunts. (Easy for me to say as I wasn’t there….grin). Looking back at the top photo Jakob should be very grateful for a wise father.

    Good luck Young-Man, keep after them.



  2. Ardie Cooper said

    Aloha, Tod,

    Love getting your hunting stories and pics. Those lower Cascade Mts. look good to me, with all the logged off areas and forested sections. Nice cow…you were lucky on that stalk. Max and I are down to our last half dozen packages of elk meat from our hunt 2 1/2 years ago over in the Blue Mts. of Eastern Oregon. We both got cows and shipped 5 coolers of elk meat to Hawaii! Max got a buffalo in South Dakota, Dec. 2005, so we still have plenty of healthy, tasty game meat in the freezer.

    Max retires this March and we plan to live part of the year on the Mainland, WA state, hunting, cowboy action shooting and traveling via auto–seeing the beautiful USA. Will give you a shout when we’re in Roseburg.

    Ardie & Max


  3. ralph saitos said

    What an exciting day…too bad about your not getting the elk this year, Jacob, but believe would have been really a tough hike up the terrain with your pack meat! Congrats on a great day together! Enjoy it while you’re both able too! there’s always next season and maybe your Mom will be able to get hers too!
    And Kung Hee Fat Choy…this is the year of the Boar!


  4. Frank said

    You didn’t let your son shoot! Shame on you!!


  5. John said

    No horns -no shoot, must be like his “TROPHY HUNTA” uncle.


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