Things got confusing the next morning. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do. Our local canyon seems to have dried up and the elk were nowhere to be found at the canyon we hunted yesterday.
I was invited to hunt yet a different canyon about a mile away from the one we were in yesterday. Scott and Zook were going to hunt it on foot as it's impossible to get horses in there. The only catch was it meant cutting my hunt short by one day. You see, this canyon is so steep and large that you can hike it down, but coming up is unbearable. Their plan was to hunt and hike it down to the road in one evening but there was no coming back. I thought about it but I had something else in mind. But first I needed to see what Kent wanted to do.
Kent had some business dealings that he needed to attend to back home so his wish was to take 3 of the horses and ride out today. This worked well for the outfitter since they wanted to hike out but that left too many horses. Doug wanted to stay behind. He's a wild man and wanted to hike all the canyons in the area prior to rifle season. It was confusing to say the least. So everyone had a plan and desire. Scott asked me what I wanted to do and my wish was simple. I wanted to take a small backpack tent back to our little honey hole canyon and hunt there solo for the last two days. There is nothing more that I love to do than solo elk hunts in the mountains, at my own pace, my own way.
Perfect! Everything fell together. By 3PM we all headed our separate ways. Doug was kind enough to ride me out to the canyon and drop me off with enough food and gear for 2 days. By 4:15 PM I was alone in my tent getting ready for my evening hunt in that canyon.
My strategy was to tread lightly. Staying high and simply observing and listening. I did that, and like two nights ago the bulls started bugling on queue - at 6:45PM. But they all started in the gorge and slowly faded away. They were bedded in the dark timber and moving into the larger canyon which ran perpendicular to this one. This made killing a bull here tough, but it was great intel for the AM hunt tomorrow.
I hiked back to my little tent and was listening to the wind and occassional showers by 8PM. There was nowhere else I wanted to be. Tomorrow morning is my last opportunity and I was going to make it count. No video camera, no still camera, hell - not even a backpack. It was going to be me, my bow, and the elk. Nothing more. I can't wait.