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Raspberry elk

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  • Raspberry elk

    This story starts about a year ago. I put in for three elk tags in the draw along with many other things. As everyone knows the tension was on until the results came out. I actually won a permit!!! DE706 (what was that for anyway!?!? It's been so long!). After looking it up again, I was thrilled. Cow elk on Raspberry Island! Time to start planning...

    After looking at what I had already accumulated in my recent move here, I started shopping around for stuff I thought I would need. You see, I moved up from Florida where hunting consisted of sitting in a tree stand for hours on end. I have never killed anything larger than a deer. This hunt is going to be special.

    Over time, I was able to put together quite a respectable gear list for a **** good price (I never pay full price for anything.) All in all this cost me less than $200 for gear/food/etc... specifically for this hunt. This I thought was important because I heard so many people say it is cheaper to hunt elk in the lower 48 than it is up here.

    After months on end of planning this hunt was finally coming to fruition. I think everything that could happen, happened. No ride to Raspberry, hunting partners backed out, leave might not be granted, you name, it happened. In the end everything worked itself out.

    Mr. G, Mr. D, Mr. F, and myself loaded the the boat (with way too much gear) on Saturday. Sunday morning bright and early we headed over to Anton Larson bay to launch the boat. Crap!! Its rainy... Go figure, we are in Kodiak!! We started out of the bay before sunup to what looked like a miserable day. After what seemed like an eternity the overloaded, underpowered boat finally made it to Onion Bay. We were treated to a show of sea otters, a rather large bear on the beach, and no rain!! This is going to be awesome!!!
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    We carefully beached the boat and started to unload the gear. Why on earth did we bring so much!! It ended up taking 4 of us three trips each up the the camp site.

    The plan was to have a ten day hunt, with weather possibly making it up to 15 days. Kodiak is no joke. The weather will turn on you in a quick second. Only Mr. F had done any "real" Alaskan hunts...

    After the utterly exhausting hike up 500 feet of stepped Raspberry terrain (you know, the kind with salmon berry bushes, boggy marsh, and thick scrub alders) three times, it was time set up camp in a well protected spruce thicket. We got the K2 XT and the Cabela's guide model tents (2 four man jobbers, so we could keep gear in them and sleep comfortably) up in no time flat. We set up a tarp near the firepit and one about 50 yds away for cooking. Completely exhausted, we decide to go in search of water. Just then it started to rain. What a blessing it disguise. We set up drain points from the tarps into collapsible water jugs. By the evening we had 15 gallons of water. Not too shabby.

    Water, shelter, food, and fire... Off to a good start.
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    Now the plan for the next day. Wake up, get an elk! If only it were that easy

    Anticipation sets it, making for a rough night and an early morning. 0600!! it doesn't get light for hours!! As I bide my time I run through all of the scenarios in my head. What if I miss, what if we run into a bear, what if we can't find them!!!

    Soon the others roust out of there sleep. we sit down and come up with a plan over some coffee and breakfast. Lets hike up over the ridge glass for a while. Maybe we see them, maybe we don't. We can get a good view of where to set a spike camp and start early the next morning.

    Rifle: Check, Food: Check, Water: Check, First aid kit: Check, Spotting scope: Check, Knife: Check, miscellaneous small items: Check. Lets do this!

  • #2
    Another 500 feet up and over the ridge we nestle down to scan terrain.
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    Out of this harsh rugged land... No Way!!

    There they are!!!
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    That was too easy!! Beautiful weather, easy to spot. Only the second day on Island!

    NO, NO, NO!!! Where is my tag!!! I left it back at camp. 500 ft down, 500 ft up. Wasting daylight here. We sit down and discuss some more on the plan. Go after them?, Watch there pattern and start fresh tomorrow? Set up spike camp in the valley? Another hour down and I decide to go after them. No shots after 1500. We have 8 more days after all. Maybe I can learn a lesson on Herd behavior?


    • #3
      We start our long trek down through chest high Salmon berry, grass, and alder thickets. After a while we get to the valley. Time to re plan. We can see they already know we are here and are closing the herd together.

      Some of us (not me) eat lunch. I decide we need to get closer. The plan is to follow the valley to the left to a somewhat large ravine. From the ravine head up until we get over the ridge they are on, pop on over and BOOM!!! Sounds like a plan, huh!?

      I didn't realize how nice the valley was until we started up the ravine. Sweet! 7 foot salmonberry, alder, and grass!! About half way up the ravine Mr. G and Mr. D decide to stay back. Too loud, exhaustion is setting in...

      After an eternity we make it up to the ridge. Our hopes were dashed when we saw the other side was more of the same terrain. Screw it, lets go straight at them. After another eternity of the "Worst and Loudest Stalk in the History of Elk Hunting" I decide it's time to drop the packs.

      Rifle: Check, Tags: Check. Lets do this!!

      We creep towards them at snails pace sounding like a herd of buffalo with the winds to our back, could this be any worse?!?!

      "I can smell them" I whisper to Mr. F...

      Just over this next alder thicket... Or this one... Or this one...

      Finally I see them!!! I have to stand, but I can see a head. What is it? Crap! A spike!! We move ten yards closer. Two heads, three heads... A spike, a 4x4, and a cow. All three are in line. Huh, three in one!?

      This whole time I stand to get a view, sit, stand to get a view, sit... Why won't you bulls move!!!!!!!! :shot:

      Finally, the spike and the 4 by get out of the way. I stand and take aim at the cow. NO NO NO NO NO!!!! I can't keep a steady hand! Ranged them at 168 yds. My BAR shoots 2" high at 100ds... small target area (due to the alder), no heart shot. It's all falling apart. I am dehydrated, exhausted, pumped full of adrenalin, and can't keep a steady hand. If we back out they will run, its now or never!

      Just then Mr. F tells me to use his shoulder as a rest. Great!! He stands up, and I take position. Still shaky, still exhausted, still dehydrated. So is he.

      Basic marksmanship. Breath, breath in deep, let it out half way, sights on target, hold, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.....BANG!!!!

      The 300 win mag barked with extreme ferocity. 180 grains of speer hotcor at 3000 fps head towards its target.

      Eyes close. Open! Whats the matter with you! Open!

      3 seconds pass by and my eyes finally open.

      What happened!!!! Mr. F says something about one stumbling... ISHT!!! Did I hit it?! I bee line it towards where I thought it was standing when I shot. Nothing! My heart sinks. The elk are running around up and back down the mountain...

      Clear shot, do I shoot again? No no no. Morals, ethics. Think about those. 8 more days. Take your time. make sure you didn't wound one.

      I breath. Start doing circles. Look for blood.

      What is that bright red out of the corner of my eye? The adrenalin kicks back in. Blood! I run towards it, sure enough!!! "Mr F. I've got Blood!!" I head up the mountain. I get no more than 5 yds and there she is!

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      I shot at 1455. 5 minutes before my cut off, half an hour after seeing their heads. Mr G and Mr D bee line it up to us. poor souls, I know that was rough. After a brief celebration, pics, and realization of what just transpired the real work had just begun.

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      • #4
        Mr F and I head back to get our packs. A quarter mile back!! Mr. G and Mr. D start with the fun stuff.
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        We get it dressed out in mediocre fashion. Time, planning, bears, Location and physical condition play a major part. The meat gets dirty, hairy, and cut up. We quarter it and decide to hang a hind quarter about 100 yds away. Time is not on our side.

        When we finish I shove a hind quarter in my pack. Holy Heck!! That is heavy. Still more meat to divy up. I grab another 50 lbs and shove it in my pack. We start side hilling it down with Mr G and Mr F about 200 yds ahead of us. After about 200 yds I can't take it anymore. My ankles are about to give. I slip, needless to say I cannot get back up. Just get down to the valley, flat land there. I can't do it. I start rolling the pack down the steep slope. Mr d has a smaller lighter pack and volunteers to take some of the meat. We wrap it up in my rain jacket, and he slings it over his shoulder. I carry and hind quarter, 2 backstraps and 2 rifles.

        Mr G and Mr F are at the bottom now. They start yelling about something in the bushes not 25yds away from us. Not a bear! Not now! I rack a round into the Bar with lightning speed and descend the rest of the slope without hesitation.

        On the way back we end up hanging the hind quarter and a shoulder in a couple of trees in death valley. Slowly we trudge up and back over the ridge. Its dark now. Creepy. Walking through the woods like a bunch of happy meals for bears.

        Without incident we make it back to camp.

        Time for a fire, water, and food...
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        • #5
          Congrats on your firsrt elk sir!! sounds like a lot of work but as you know its sure fun to put youre self through the punishment.


          • #6
            The next morning spirits are high. We pack light, so Light I don't have a gun, and head out. We get through death valley fairly easy and make it to the base of the climb towards the hind quarter.

            We side hill ascend single file with Mr G up front followed by Me, Mr D and Mr F. This terrain is steep, stepped, and you cannot see 25yds above you.

            about 50 yds from the kill site, on the way to the hind quarter Mr G stops.


            Huff Huff.. Bushes are shaking... Where is He!!! "Heeey!!!!"

            Mr G reaches for his 44, what is he doing he let go of it!!!

            All I could think was: "right or left" I heard somewhere bears can't turn very well going down hill.

            Crap, he's coming right for us....CRACK!!! CRACK CRACK!!!

            Mr. D lets a few bark out of the hand cannon so he knows where we are. Mr Brown wisely decides to go to the right.

            I look over and Mr F is right in line of Mr Browns downhill descent... He slipped at the worst time!!!

            CRACK CRACK!!! "Keep moving right" Mr D's cannon barked. Sure enough he went further right and about 75 yds downhill.

            Not good. That's the way we came. With a little more persuasion we were able to convince him to go down into the valley away from or path. I'm glad we never shot him. I understand the nature of beast.

            The rest of the story is rather uneventful compared to the first half. We deboned and hung the meat.
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            ane a couple half hearted attempts at looking for deer.

            We were looking for the pick up on Thursday, but ended up going home on Saturday due to the weather.

            I had a great time with good people. On the way home I had a bit of a lump in the throat seeing it all going away like a dream.


            • #7
              Fantastic report and a nice foursome, thanks for sharing. No one had a bear tag?
              Semper Fi and God Bless


              • #8
                I wish we had a tag...

                It's all good, though. That bear feasted and will be bigger for the next guy with a bear tag!!


                • #9
                  THIS is a Fantastic Thread Trap,....I don't know how I missed it til now,...Congrats

                  was there another like this, I remember the pic of your, "Cow down, and the Bear Thrill,"...
                  but was it this one ??

                  Well Done on the write-up too,...Got me Drooling for another shot at the Formidable, "Death Valley"
                  Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !


                  • #10
                    No other thread, I am pretty sure I PM'd you when we got back.. I did put the pic in the "Hunting picture thread"

                    Death valley... It was quite fitting. We also called it "purgatory".

                    My buddy Mr.D (from the first hunt) got this same tag for this year. I'm going to come back if I can. I do have my own Elk hunt to go on and am not sure I can take that much leave so close together. Either way, I owe it to him if I can make it.


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