Monday, June 2, 2014

First Post

June 2nd, Just 60 days away from the first day of hunting season, so long as you are Garth or also have a longbow Antelope tag! Thought I'd start this to let the comments and ideas start flowing. Here's an edit from a prior email:

Step Toe Valley is 6,000’ elevation so while it will still be warm in the days, it can get cold at night as well as rain/snow. The Eagles nest and the sand dunes are my choices for camp sites pending a change in patterns which we will investigate in August. I’ll have to show you where those are on the map and in last years photo’s. Eagles nest because it is just a really cool spot, and sand dunes because it is also super cool and it’s where Tammy and I camped the morning we did finally get the elk.  Here’s a start of a list to begin planning. Each item has its own discussion points so let’s talk about it soon one of us has at least one or some version of all these items to review and see if you want one.

Must have:

Gun ammo and hunting license AND tag. Hunting boots, layers of clothing, gortex shell at the least. sharp knife, 150 QT cooler, binoculars, extra water, sleeping bag, 2 way radio with extra batteries, one for every person and vehicle. Cheese cloth game bags. CB Radio in vehicle. Planned meals, ice chests can serve dual role of camp food, storage and game retrieval.  Flashlight,


Scout/spotter (don’t hunt alone, but we can do this for each other to an extent), Wyoming Saw, multi tool, skinning knife, hunting pack, to take with you on a moments notice away from the camp or group on foot containing water and food and shelter for long game tracking even overnight, upgraded binoculars, range finder, canvas game bags, tent, GPS device. Hunter orange material for flagging. extra gasoline, shooting stick, bipod or tripod. Camp chair.


Sat Phone, upgraded cooler (yeti etc…), upgraded binoculars with built in ranger finder, spotting scope. Camera. 

This will give you an idea what to expect. You can't see it in the photo, but the elk herd, or in this case, the harem was in view about 1-2 miles away. Two bulls were actually fighting which was a first for me and probably rare for just about anybody

The morning we finally got the elk, we spotted them about 3.5 miles away, immediately set out on foot. I took the shot from 290 yards away.

While I started field dressing, Tammy walked back 3.5 miles, got the jeep, then proceed south, down and around where the Elk was down, then proceeded offroad for about  1 mile. We were able to quarter the elk and keep everything from the shoulders to the pelvis. We discarded the neck, which was a considerable amount of meat.

I hope to use this blog to help everybody prepare and learn from last years (and a full lifetime) of mistakes!

The biggest mistake we made last year was always trying to drive a little bit closer. Guess what, the elk can see a car coming. They didn't always take off, but they were spooked and hauled ass way before a shot could be taken.

Use a shooting stick or tripod. It's all flat. Unless you are a bad ass and can just shoot offhand at 300 yards, you need to rest the gun on something. I will show you how to use the shooting stick. Alternatively, a shooting bi-pod or tri-pod would be even better. Needs to be at least 4' tall to shoot over all the bushes etc...

Better radio's. Our 2-way radio's crapped out and it would have been a huge problem. We'll shop around for a better brand. Garner has a very nice set so I am going to consider a matching pair.

Have a hunting pack ready to go and start earlier in the morning. This is a simple backpack that can hold necessities and even your rifle while hiking. Be up 1 hour before sunrise glassing the valley, possibly even head out towards the heard prior to sunup as to get a jump on them.

The other huge mistake I made last year is I tried to use a gun that I was never 100% comfortable with at the range. Ultimately, I took a shot and missed. Tried to shoot again, it misfired. Bad Bad Bad. I immediately went back to the gun I've hunted with for 20 years and it was perfect, though under powered.

To be continued....

June 3
This will give you an idea where we were last year both for camping and where we actually shot the elk:

If you overlay this with Google Earth, you can see the road where, after Tammy walked back to camp, she drove back to the East, then South about 5 miles, then back to the West just past my position, then back North about a mile to where we had the Elk down. Within 1 mile of the road is about as good as you can expect. Also note, that line running through the middle of the Steptoe Valley is a RailRoad track, not a road, but it's long since abandoned and can be driven upon in a pinch!

I mentioned some kind of shooting stick, monopod, bi pod or tripod. Check out

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