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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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September 26, 2012     The New Era Paper
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September 26, 2012
 

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Page 16 '|JTIChcI.K :1 T. r. - September 26, 2012 This time of year brings back bullish memories Archery season is almost over and rifle season is about to begin. Since I still have elk in the freezer from last year's hunt I won't be going out this fall but I've been thinking back to past hunts. Three of them come to mind. Location: Central Idaho elk camp. When: First week of Novem- ber, 1992. Conditions: Cold, about 6 inches of snow. ! always fantasized about get- ting an elk at first light and being back at camp by noon. That usually turns out to be wishful thinking but on this day at least half of that wish came true. I left camp before day- light and hiked a mile to a meadow where I waited for enough light to see my surroundings. No sooner did the first morn- ing's light arrive when I saw some 00UTDOOR$ Scott Staats movement up on the hillside. Two cow elk walked out into an open- ing. I froze. They looked right at me from 150 yards off. Seconds later a big bull walked out and stopped next to them. Before he could get a chance to spy me, I fired. He went a short distance and dropped. A quick note about elk hunt- ing - when you see a bull elk this huge, the adrenaline starts pumping through your entire body and your breathing is on the verge of hyper- ventilation. When the adrenaline subsides, you can catch your breath When you think trucks - Think Crockers 08 Ford F250 Super 06 Chevrolet Sflverado 08 Ford F350 Super Duty Crew Cab Lariai 2500 HD Crew Cab LT Duty Crew Cab Lariat Duramax Allison 4x4 20 Pickup 4D 8-ft Pickup Powerstroke 4x4 Lots of money spent on Wow! 8" Fabteeh lift, this low mile truck! Weld  Nice truck with really low miles! 20" wheels, 35" Toyo MTs, Loaded with all the classy 37" Nitlo Grapplers, etc. Fox Reservoir shocks, etc. features the Lariat package offers. Stock#B402 Stock#8397 Stock#8403 $34 995 $34,995 36,995 3195 S. SANTIAM HWY, LEBANON, OR 97355 1541-258-2175 I (DLR # 31021 MON-FRI: 8:AM TO 7:PM I SAT: 9:AM TO 6:PM I SUN: 9:AM TO 5:PM CROCKERSCARS.COM nAN gEE lilitEli FOR ALL YOUR SPORTING GOOD NEEDS 610 MAIN STREET J 541.367.S544 t HOURS: MON.- SAT. 9 - 6 I SUN. 10 - 4 HINI Hil5 LI5flT 2EA AA BATTERIES I ASSORTED COLORS. REGULAR PRICE: $9.98 StiLE PRI[E: S7.4g POTTIH5 lOPE 18--36X50MM I BUSHNELL REGULAR PRICE: $129.00 f BOlE [OLLEL'TOH KHIVE8 4-MODELS I BY BENCHMADE J MADE IN USA StiLE PIll[E: 1070 OFF PEPPER 8PRilY 3-IN-I FORMULA I ASSORTED COLORS J SABRE REGULAR PRICE: .$6.99 15fiLE PRI[E: SS.O0 WWW.LASSENRV.COM 541.91 7.7395 877.373.2678 1103 PRICE ROAD SE, ALBANY, OR 97322 and stop repeating (to yourself or out loud - you can't remember at the time) "Whoa," "Wow," and "I can't believe this." Then reality hits you in the face like a brick as you stare down at this animal the size of medium horse. Now you're repeating (out loud - you recall clearly) -"Now what?" Hunting is the easy part, now the real work begins. Field dress- ing doesn't mean putting on your camo in the woods. It's a process that involves steps such as gutting, skinning and quartering the ani- mal. This is hard enough to do with one or two others helping but it's a monumental task to accomplish solo. I actually started the morning off back at camp with two friends. One of them was somewhere on the ridge above me and I had no idea the location of the other. I thought my friend on the ridge would show up soon but he never did. He later said he heard me shoot but since I didn't yell or whistle, he conclud- ed that I missed as usual. For my part, I didn't want to make any ad- ditional noise, concluding that the cow elk were heading his way and he had a cow tag. What were chances of me getting an elk, I wondered? I had a bull tag and my two friends had cow tags. I always see cows and no bulls. Not today. So I took care of the bull by myself on that steep sagebrush hill, or rather it took care of me. After gutting it, I attempted to drag it whole down the hill into the trees to quarter it. The snow made it easier than I thought, a bit too easy actually. A few times the elk got away from me. Once, an antler hit me in the leg, leaving me with a cut and a bruise. The bull slid and rolled the last 20 or 30 yards on his own, finally coming to rest up against a big rot- ted log. I then walked the mile back to camp where I dropped off my rifle and picked up my Wyoming The author with his 6x6 bull - after saw, pack, rope, plastic bags and plastic sled. On the way to camp I ran into three more elk- a bull, cow and calf. My two friends didn't see an elk all day. Once back at the bull I got it quartered, cut up and loaded on the sled and in the pack. All that re- mained was the backbone, hide and head. I would return for the head. I now understand the phrase "the long haul." I took several breaks to readjust the load and catch my breath. On a few slight downhill sections I even sat atop the sled with my feet out front to act as steering and brakes. By the time I got to camp it was 4 p.m. and I felt totally exhausted. Both my friends were there and I thought I'd play a little joke on them and said it was a spike. They returned with me for the final trip ..... 2013 Dutchmen Kodiak 200QB Stk# RV 131 - Travel Troller MSRP$25,129 Lassen Price $21,814 2o13outooo..v I CreekSide 18CK I Stk# RVIO0 - Travel Trailer J MSRP $21,752 J Lassen Price $18,856 J Ute 770RSL Stk#RS022 - Truck Camper MSRP$13,800 Lassen Price $10,500 MSRP$25,759 Lassen Price $21,360 10% OFF PARTS & SERVICE WITH THIS AD! lucles any other counts or oners Expires 10/31/12 all the work was done. and when they saw the big 6 X 6 bull behind the log, their eyes about popped out of their heads. I had a similar scenario occur a year earlier the day before Hal- loween when I ran into a herd of elk just before dark. This time I got a spike bull and by the time I gutted him darkness fell uPon me. I had to leave and return in the morning. I returned with the trusty sled and pack, loading the two hind quarters and a front quarter on the sled and a front quarter and the backstraps and tenderloins in the pack. I had a rough one-mile haul through the snow-covered sage- brush hills to my truck but I made it one trip. Another memorable solo bull elk hunt that I'll never forget, no matter how hard I try, took place in southern Utah in October of 1996. I left the truck before light and walked along some old clearcuts. At 7:45 I took a breather and sat down. I looked up to see a cow elk approaching at about 100 yards off. As she looked straight at me I no- ticed a big bull elk about 200 yards off. When the cow stopped, he stopped and looked ready to bolt so I took a neck shot since that's all I had. He ran 100 yards and dropped. Even though I was about a mile from the truck I managed to maneuver it to about 250 yards from the elk. That was the good part. The bad part involved all the yellow jackets buzzing around, landing on me and the elk while I gutted and quartered it. At times I felt like a beekeeper with the bees crawling over me as I worked. I just hoped I didn't end up wearing a beard of bees. I'm allergic to bees and thought this might be the last hunt of my life if I got stung. However, I didn't have to pull out the bee sting kit. Scott Staats is a full-time outdoor writer who lives in Prineville. Contact him by e-mail at news@ sweethomenews.com. Please put "For Scott Staats" on the subject line.