Rainy Spring Days in the Mountains 

View from the front porch of the cabin
Arriving at our cabin for a rainy-day work weekend, we count ourselves so lucky to have such a wonderful retreat.

View from the back deck on a cloudy evening.  Snow drifts are still quite deep!
Two pair of geese mating on the beaver pond, then the beaver makes a dramatic appearance as the rain falls heavily.

Antelope herd grazing in the front yard
New shooting gear!  Even the drizzly cold weather doesn’t dampen my excitement.  Getting prepared for my 2017 horseback elk hunt!  Labradar Chronograph and Lead Sled+ make shooting much more fun and setup much less time consuming.  Unfortunately, one Barnes round penetrated the steel plate backstop

A few of the early wildflowers in bloom.  Pasque flower and buttercup.  Due to the rain, I couldn’t get a good picture of the forget-me-nots covering the front yard.

In addition to the usual moose, elk and deer captured in the game camera, we found a few less frequent visitors: a marmot, a goose in flight and a coyote.

Rained all last night and all Wednesday.  It’s no hardship with a cozy fire and a good book.

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Elk Hunt 2017

I just booked a guided horseback elk hunt for Ben and I in 2017 with Lynn Madsen, at Yellowstone Outfitters, Afton, Wyoming.

Horse and mule pack trip to Hawk’s Rest Camp – 28 miles from the trailhead
Here’s what Lynn has to say about his outfit:

“Our Hawks Rest Camp is located in the Teton Wilderness northeast of Jackson…It sets off the southeast corner of Yellowstone Park between the Yellowstone and Thorofare Rivers (Area 60 on a Game & Fish map). It is one day-pack 28 miles, from our base camp at Turpin Meadows…The Hawks Rest camp holds the reputation of being the furthest spot in the continental United States from a road in any direction. Not only will you be hunting in one of the best trophy elk camps in the United States but you will also be hunting in country that looks the same as it did 100 years ago.

Our fully equipped camp consists of a large cook tent, shower tent, sleeping tents with cots, foam mattresses, and wood burning stoves along with plenty of fire wood. We are proud to say that our camps hold an excellent reputation earned by hiring reputable licensed guides, maintaining a clean comfortable camp, serving good food and supplying both good horses and mules and equipment.”

My brother Tom and I are considering a summer fishing trip with Lynn Madsen as well….

Elk Hunting Day 1

The well outfitted Elk Hunter!

Saw no elk today, but did see deer tracks and beds in the morning on the school section #16, then back for lunch (Sally had it all laid out) and in the afternoon, we hunted the big meadow on Forest Way. There we saw elk tracks, beds, but unfortunately no elk in them. Weather was sunny and 32 in the a.m., getting to 50 by 2pm. Back at dark for pulled pork, a glass of wine and Sally's home baked brownies.

Sally acquaints Ben with the finer points of brownie baking

 

Elk Hunt 2013 at Sand Creek

Getting ready for the hunt. All the cooking is finally done (after a very late last night with Sally’s help). Rifles sighted, cartridges loaded, gear mostly packed!

The DOW game biologist, Mark Vierra says the weather is looking pretty good this year and elk have been sighted on the south end of North Middle Mountain. 1st season and the opening weekend of 2nd season produced a number of bulls (road over the pass is very difficult due to melting snow and mud, however). He also hears that they are migrating from the south across the Deadman switchbacks near FR 303. He had no info on Bull Mountain, but all-in-all, looks promising.

My friend Sam hunted 2nd season and has seen elk feeding in my old hunting meadow near Sand Creek Pass on Bull Mountain, they come down at night and leave in the early morning. Sam’s most productive spot was way up high in the deep timber of the School Section (south gate) – small herds of cows, some bull tracks but difficult to get a shot, let alone drag out, plus the roads were so muddy you can’t get your truck very close.  Sam’s party got 2 deer, one near his cabin and one in the school section.  They saw a few deer tracks on Boulder Ridge, but little elsewhere.    Bull Mountain – Woo Hoo!

Sally getting' the vittles ready...
Sally getting’ the vittles ready…

Here is Sally portioning out some Mole Chicken Chili and getting the rest of our yummy dishes (Bison Meatloaf, Pulled Pork and Bison Sloppy Joes) ready for the cabin.

Stuff Getting gathered up!
Stuff Getting gathered up!

Today, Sally heads up to the cabin with friend Lisa, and I follow tomorrow to do some work until Ben arrives on the 31st to do a final sight-in, some game scouting drives and final prep. There may possibly be some beer involved…….

Ready to hunt!
Young Fella is Ready to Hunt!