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Two Idaho Bull’s - 2018

In 2016, my wife Amy and I were talking.  We were discussing hunting, and I said “I want you to get a wall hanger”, referring to a whitetail buck.  She looks at me and says “I would love to get a wall hanger but I don't want a whitetail.”  She said “I want to get an elk”.  So we decided to interview elk guides for Idaho because Amy has family in the Boise area.  We went to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA to interview guides.  Long story short, we found an outfitter in Firth, Idaho between Idaho Falls and Pocatello.  We told my dad and he said he might be interested.  He ended up getting back to us and said “he was retiring at the end of the year and he wanted to go as a retirement trip”.  So Amy said “since your dad wants to go, I think you should go with him”. 

So after two years of saving, fitness training, and shooting.  We packed our bags, clothes, guns, and sent my parents on their way to drive to Idaho. 

We all met up at Idaho Falls airport and shuttled down to Firth Idaho.  As we left the town of Firth we went through the high desert farms and ranches.  The Fritz family made our trek from sagebrush landscape, then up in elevation into the beautiful mountains with ponderosa pines.  We had a four plus mile gravel road drive to make it up to the log cabin nestled in the woods. Excitedly we got settled in, met the other hunters in camp, and got our rifles zeroed in.

On the range my dads scope lens breaks thus making his gun unshootable.  Lucky another hunter had a back up gun that was the exact same gun and caliber as my fathers.

Day 1:

After not sleeping much that night we got woken up by our phone alarms at 5am.  Amy, my dad and I got dressed and had breakfast.  Dad and his guide, Cody, headed out on the side-by-side to go find a bull.  Amy went with me and my New Zealand guide, Dave (NZ accent - Dive).  Guide Dave, Amy and I parked our side-by-side at daybreak and headed out.  Within 50 yds of our UTV we kicked a huge bull with light antlers that took off below up that was bedded on our path.  We heard bugling ripping all around us.  So we made our way out the side of the hill.  We bulged and didn’t hear any bulls as we headed to a couple of wallows.  Our guide spotted a chocolate colored antlered bull about 100-150 yds in the thick forest.  As I got my scope up on the bull, he crested a knoll and I couldn't get a shot.  We hunted looking for more elk until lunchtime with no luck.  We decided to go back to camp, eat, and regroup.  

After lunch Dave said I have a spot that I want to try this evening.  We were agreeable and went out for the evening hunt.  I remember how dry and loud the brush was.  I thought we are never gonna stalk anything with this noise.  So we went a ½ mile and sat to try to ambush a bull after bedding from the midday heat.  After about an hour we saw some rustling in the brush across the canyon and sure enough it was a bull.  I got set up on Dave’s tripod.  It was like the bull was on a string.  He came up the draw in front of us about 175 yds.  He turns broadside and walks below us.  Then our guide hits his cow call and he stops in his tracks, swings his head to look around.  Bam, I shoot and he doesn’t move.  So I shoot again and nothing.   Finally he lays down and Dave says “whack another one into him”.  So I shoot the best I can, seeing only his top half of his body.  After four shots he goes feet up and rolls out of sight.  After lots of cheering, high fives we went down to see him.  He was a beauty, 6x7.  

We loaded up our bull on our side by side and headed back to the lodge.  As we ate dinner and talked, my dad and Cody said they hiked 7 miles and didn't see much.  The good news is that Amy filmed my hunt, I was tagged out and now I could follow dad and film his hunt.

Day 2:

Cody, my dad, Amy, and I went out before day break.  We hiked down a draw and then went up half way on a hillside to our left.  We sat and glassed that morning across at canyon to a north face slope.  We had some sage grouse within 3 feet from us as we waited for the big guy to show up.  We ended up seeing 2 decent bulls on the next ridge but they were too far to mess with.  We ended up near the same spot that evening and did a repeat of the morning.  A mature bull came out below us right before twilight but didn't offer us a good shot as he was moving and heading to the pines.  It was a magnificent day for seeing bulls but no success.  Still a blessing to be in God’s country and enjoying every moment.

Day 3:

Cody, dad and myself took the side-by-side to another location first thing.  As the sun came up on the top of this glassing point.  We could see a small herd of buffalo that we pushed when we got there.  As we watched them go to the other ridge across from us we then spotted a Shiras Moose skylining the same mountain ridge.  It was super cool.  As the morning went on we had 3 beautiful giant bulls below us that went to bed in some aspen groves.  We decided to move to get a better look.  As we were relocating Cody got a radio call from my guide Dave who was scouting another area and said we have 3 bulls closer.  We spotted the bulls from the side-by-side on our way over.  Cody had to spin us around and so we could get into a better vantage point to hopefully get a shot.  We ended up seeing the 3 bulls going up the mountain in front of us and Dad lined up his shot.  He shot at about 200 yds and they all just stopped.  So I said “keep shooting dad”.  So he shot 2 more times and one went down.  It was heart pumping and adrenaline packed.  As we were high fiving another bull that was below us sleeping in a thicket took off.  “Wow, what an experience.“   

So we made our way up to the bull.  A 6x6 with some velvet still on his antler tips.  Dad was stoked and everyone was pumped.  We got pictures with the tetons and Wyoming in the background.  What a great trip.  Not only to see so many big game animals but to both get magnificent bulls.

Roger’s Idaho Elk Video

Ryan’s Idaho Elk Video

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