Saturday, October 29, 2011

Teton Mountain Pass


On the third day we headed south to the Teton Mountain Pass area.  Just off of highway 22 was an access road that led into the mountains.  It looked like an old logging road that was blocked off and used now by the Forrest Service. It was an easy ride up the mountain and then it got really steep.  We tethered the horses and began climbing on foot.  I really got winded.

Then we heard a bull bugling.  Loud and clear, he let out a big roar.  Hustling as fast as we could, everyone scurried up to the top of the mountain.  Below us the bull bugled.  Across onto another mountain a bull bugled.  To the north of us and close by, a very big bull bugled.  We were surrounded on three sides with bull elk all talking away.  My guide began to respond by bugling on his own hoping to attract one of the bulls.  Hopefully one would come in a hurry to do battle and we would have the opportunity for a shot. 

Jason, my guide, moved further up the mountain. I moved down the mountain about 30 yards from Jason and got set up. Above me was Jason continually answering the bulls.  The ground sloped away steeply from me into the timber.  The thought racing through my mind was, "Yes, he is going to get it."   The bull moved to my right.  I could tell by his bugling where he was approximately located.  But still he did not come out of the timber. 

The first location
With the range finder a couple of different locations were sited to give me an idea of distance.  Everything would be less than 150 yards and fairly in the open.  Now all one had to do was come up out of the timber.

Facing down the mountain, another bull bugled to my left, and another behind me.  Jason continued to call, but the one we were waiting for did not come up out of the timber. 

This would have been a good shot and close if he had crested the hill.

After about 45 minutes, I moved  up to the top of the mountain with Jason.  A conference was held.  The one we thought was the prize did not finish and appeared to move up the valley below us.  The one on the opposite mountain was glimpsed by Jason.   He said the bull was out around 400 yards.  The glimpse he got was brief and no opportunity was available for a shot.  That left the one straight north of our location.

The conference

I moved down a different path and set up again.  Jason went back slightly above me.  The bull bugled, and Jason responded.  He sounded really really close, but he stayed down in the timber and would not come up to do battle.  The thought was that he was with a herd of cows and probably never really felt challenged enough to come up out of the timber and defend his stock.

This would have been a great shot and close if he had stepped out of the timber.

We then followed a very narrow and steep path down into the valley below, and went for several hundred yards into the valley.  We found nothing.  They had all moved on.

This was a really exciting morning and it was decided to come back again tomorrow.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck  Hank

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