2009 Junior Elk Hunt: “Third Time’s a Charm!”

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October 26th, 2009

By Rick Wilson.

Junior Elk Hunt

My son, Rick II. struck out on his first two junior elk hunts, but each time learned some valuable lessons and came back wanting more. We were excited when he was drawn again this year for Unit 6A. We put in with our good friends and neighbors, the Smiths, so our hunting party consisted of Parker 13 and Kaler 12 (the Smith kids), Rick 14 and the dads (Brian Smith and me) as chief cooks, bottle washers and guides (probably in that order).

Brian and I put in some long hours on two consecutive weekends scouting before the hunt. The sign looked pretty good in the area, so we felt fairly confident someone would get a shot. Opening morning turned out to be unproductive, so to keep the kids’ spirits up, we went squirrel hunting midday. That was a good decision, because they harvested and had a great time doing it. The opportunity to shoot something small also gave young Kaler a needed confidence boost.

Friday evening, Parker, Kaler and Brian sat on a water tank. At about 5:30 P.M. several cow elk came in and Kaler dropped one at the water’s edge! The kids were naturally excited, but Brian held them quiet and had them wait. Sure enough, not five minutes later another cow walked in and Parker dropped it with a double-lung shot, right next to his sister’s elk! We had no luck at the tank we chose, so Rick and I helped the Smith’s load and transport their two elks to the processor.

We had no luck again on Saturday morning or afternoon, and by then I was starting to get worried that Rick might get his “third strike” on this hunt. Even though it seemed unlikely, we hoped maybe the elk hadn’t been spooked at the “Smith’s tank,” and so we finally decided to sit there. For good luck, the Smiths joined us in the homemade blind Brian had built. Like clockwork, a little before 5:30 P.M. two cows silently walked in. They were wary, and before Rick could take aim, they bolted and ran. That was a big disappointment, thinking it might have been our only chance. But, about 20 minutes later, Rick spotted a small herd of cows, feeding about 100 yards off. They milled around for a while, and then low and behold, they starting coming in single file! Rick waited until he had a good-sized cow broadside at 30 yards, and then took the shot. Bingo! Three-for-three, and for Rick, the third time was a charm after all!

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