We got there on Friday before the hunt and did some scouting. The area is in the migration route of elk, so depending on how much snow, and cold weather, the elk will be there or not. Last year had the cold weather but no snow, so the elk stayed high. Tag Soup.
The 7500 acre ranch has property on both sides of a highway. During the scouting session, we saw no fresh tracks on the west side, but saw elk grazing on the east side meadows through spotting scopes. Next day we put the stalk on some we had seen, but by the time we made it 3/4 of a mile in, and 900' up in 10" snow, they had moved back into the woods. A couple of us stayed in place to wait for the evening feeding, while two of the guys walked back down to get some food and water. On the way we heard shots. They saw, and killed two cows. (cow tags are what all of us had) We watched them get the snowmobile out and get them down to the road. Finally Mark came back up the mountain with the food. That guy was a stud! It was exhausting getting there once, but he did it twice in three hours, and helped drag out two elk(one being in a 30' deep ravine, on top of that!
Mark, being the elk expert decided that we need to scatter up the mountain, and he would circle around the herd we saw earlier, to drive them to us. I chose to go up the highest, climbing through some snow that was almost hip deep at times, and saw a bowl with a lot of elk in it. Mark made it around, and we saw around 400 elk come out of the bowl, and mill around in the meadow. They were over 600 yds away, and finally went back into the timber without giving a chance for a shot.
The next morning, we split up with one group going to the west and the other to the east. As soon as we got in and started walking up the mountain, the elk came out of the trees, into a meadow about 175 yds away, so we dropped two right away, with another hunter dropping one a little way up the trail. We contacted the other group, so they could come. They showed up, and went further up the trail, finally spotting a group of cows WAY up in a meadow. If I remember right it was over 500 yds, and he hit her, a little far back, but put another one in that broke the leg. They hiked up and finished the job. So the story is 7 hunters, and 7 kills.
Mine was a calf, which is ok, as I already have a half beef, three whitetail in the freezer already. My first elk, so I'm pretty happy.
You can see the cow down on the meadow.
Meat barn at the ranch. Made of hand hewn logs, chinked with mud. No telling how old it is.
Mark, the elk expert is in front. Oklahomabassin is to the right.