Back from Wyoming (Unit 31 Elk)

I thought I would jump on and post an update of the past couple of weeks. I spent thurs – sun of last week in area 31 with my Dad trying to find an elk for him to call in. The elk were pretty quiet, but we saw quite a few bulls. We have a few pictures and video, but the camera is still with Dad. I will post some more pictures when I get a hold of it. The first morning we jumped a heard out of a meadow just as it was getting light enough to see. Unfortunately, we were on the four wheeler. The herd moved off, and the bull bugled. It was tough to see just how big he was. A decent six point at least. His bugle was the only one heard that day.

The rest of the day was spent sneaking cedars and glassing for elk. We jumped several other bulls, but always off the road. That evening we went to the other end of the unit. We got there early and slipped down a ridge, looking for sign. There were fresh tracks everywhere. We sat down several hundred yards from the bottom and waited for the sun to get a bit lower, hoping to hear a bugle. We suddenly heard footsteps and crunching brush, I looked up to see antlers coming out from behind a large cedar, Dad reached for his bow, and as he did the bull’s head came out from behind the tree. The bull was already moving fast, and when his rump came out from behind the cedar, we knew why. There was blood all over his flank, he kept his fast pace and before we could do anything, he ran over the next ridge.

We sat for a few minutes, talking about what we could have done, and what to do. The bull was a mere 9 yards from us. We decided to track the bull backwards to see what the cause of his bleeding was. Sure enough, about 200 yards back we found an arrow, it looked to have been broken off at the broadhead. About 20 yards past that, there were tracks of the hunters who had been following him. They had marked their spot and left. I backtracked, hoping to find them and give them an update on their bull. But they had already left. I wish them the best, and assume they returned to follow the bull, as they had marked where they last found blood.

Later that evening we saw 3 smaller bulls, small fives and a raghorn. One of the five points had a club growing for one of his antlers.

The next morning we returned to the same area, and heard a bugle, about a half mile away across a large burn. We worked towards the bull, using a ridge line as a shield so he wouldn’t see us. He was a decent 6 point, and had 20 cows with him. Another herd of 8 followed, a spike behind them. (Lucky spike I guess). We snuck in on the bull, and watched him bed at about 300 yards. Dad tried to sneak on him, but the cows busted him and took off. I stayed put and watched the show-down. As the bull ran off. I cow called. He let all of his cows run off and turned around and started coming back to me. Dad made his way back towards the bull, but was ultimately winded and the bull snuck out on him.

That evening we tried another area, where Dad has seen a pretty nice bull early in the week. While the elk were much more vocal, and we had a bull come in to about 50 yards, he was in some pretty thick stuff, and didn’t want to come see what we were. After about a half hour, we made our way into the trees and spotted a bull, out about 120 yards. He was a very unique looking bull. His fronts were extremely long (mid twenties) but he was only a four by five. If Dad was given an opportunity, he said he would probably take the bull, because he was so unique. But he moved off, and it got dark.

So, we both had to get back to real life for a few days and left the unit. While we didn’t end up with bull, Dad will be back, and hopefully will be able to seal the deal on a nice bull with his bow – or rifle.

We also ran into this feisty little guy.

 

2 Comments

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  1. Hi,
    I finally drew a tag and am looking for some help figuring out how to first approach Wyoming Elk Unit 31. I have only bow hunted heavily timbered, and heavily pressured elk in Idaho taking 2 bulls over the 7 seasons there. I see there is very little dark timber other than around Little Mountain. I understand the roads get nasty up there with bad weather, bringing a Quad but not sure about access. My plans so far are to start bow hunting Sept 14 near Wildhorse Basin or Jarvies Marsh Creek. I don’t have real info to go on other than it looks “a little harder” to access with some places to glass from. I am sure I will see a lot of deer hunters and people assisting other elk hunters all throughout the unit. I’m trying to find pockets of elk they may be over looked. So far I have everyone suggesting I hunt Little Mountain but something in my gut says that’s where the most pressure will be with smaller bulls. I’m not expecting a 350″ bull out of this unit, but I sure would appreciate a chance at nice 320″ bulls. I plan to stay through the first week of the rifle hunt if I am unsuccessful with the bow. Any help breaking this unit down a little would be greatly appreciated. 13 years sure has been a long time waiting!

    Thank you for any insight and happy hunting,

    Jacob Ceparano
    (Flat lander in North Carolina)

  2. Sounds like you’ve done your research on 31 already. I think you’re on the right track. Elk are all over that unit, don’t just look in the heavy timber. Find water, and you’ll find elk. If you get away from the roads you’ll find it much less crowded as many hunters in 31 stick close to the ATV and truck roads. There will be deer hunters, cow elk hunters, and recreational campers etc. Bring your big glass and find some vantage and start picking apart country close and far away down on the flats. There are always a few great bulls taken out of those units every year, but a 320 bull is still upper end IMO. Good luck! Let me know how you do. Feel free to shoot me an email brad@huntaddicts.com

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