My brother's wife was lucky enough to draw on this same hunt and so he shared the story with me. Here is his story about his wife's first hunt, ever!
You have just read about my father's experience taking a wonderful bull on a very special hunt, and then my brother following in his footsteps and taking another wonderful bull elk with the same rifle 14 years later. I wish I could add another part to this story about me taking a once in a lifetime bull, but instead i get to share an almost better story about how my wife was luck enough to take an amazing bull elk on the same hunt a few years after my brother took his elk.
My wife grew up far from being the outdoorsy type, but when we met each other she took to it like white on rice! After being married two years I had finally talked her into the idea of shooting an animal so she took her hunters education classes, got her license, and we put her in on some hunts. Idaho does not have a point system or anything so when you draw on a hunt. Idaho does not have a point system or anything so when you draw on a hunt it is nothing but pure randomness and luck. Well both of those things were what my wife had apparently because she drew out on the big bull hunt that I had been putting in on for over 15 years. She was pretty excited when she realized how lucky she was to get the hunt, but I think I'm safe to say that she did not realize how lucky she really was to have such an amazing opportunity.
We started the hunt on opening morning and I will have to admit, I felt the pressure from my dad and my brother both bagging monster bulls on the opening day when they drew on this hunt. We worked hard to get Sarah around some elk, but with it being as warm as it was the elk were not in the full rut like we had hoped. After hiking plenty of miles and scouting we finally saw some elk far in the distance, but decided to let them be and hit it hard in the morning with a new game plan.
The next morning we hunted the same area, but came in from another side. The first thing we decide to do was get up on a high spot that we knew about and glass for the herd of elk we had seen the day before. We hiked in while it was still dark and sat up on the glassing point while the sun slowly came up. I realized then more than ever that I needed to forget about getting my wife an opportunity to shott a monster and just make sure she enjoyed her first hunting experience. We stood around and rested while we watched the sun come up. Sarah took some pictures of the sunrise with the Tetons in the Tetons in the background. We heard a few coyotes in the distance yipping at the morning, and then we heard the sound we were hoping for. . . just faintly we could hear a bull elk in the distance, bugle at the morning sun. My wife's face lit up with excitement and she couldn't believe that she had just heard her first bull elk bugle.
We soon set off after the elk we had just heard, and realized we were cutting it close with the time we had killed while enjoying the sunrise. We hiked and hiked but never heard the bull again. When we got to where we thought the bugle had come from, sure enough we saw some elk heading upt he edge of a ravine. We rushed to get ahead of them and get positioned to spot a bull elk. I told my wife that if it had horns at all she could shoot it. With this not only being the first bull elk she would kill, it would also be her first kill period! She was super nervous, but got positioned and waited while the elk slowly fed our way. Shortly, a bull elk grazed into view and presented a shot. My wife who had practiced plenty before she had come on this hunt, placed her Salvage 30-06 in her shooting sticks to steady her shot and slowly squeezed off the trigger . . to both of our surprise, after the shot the elk just stopped in its tracks and looked in our direction. . . Sarah quickly loaded and said, "I'm wiggling too bad!" I got behind her and started talking to her to help calm her nerves, slowing her breathing, just watching the elk through her scope, and waiting until she was ready before she took another shot. I tell you what, somebody upstairs definitely wanted my wife to have a good experience because that elk stood there at 300 yards just looking in our direction wondering where that last shot had come from. Right when I was about to open my mouth and try to help my wife with her nerves, BOOM, she took another shot. This time the elk jumped and started to sprint off. This elk didn't even make it 30 yards before it stopped dead in its tracks and fell over! My wife, being the tiny little thing that she is, just laid the smack down on a nice eastern Idaho bull elk. She just started asking me, "Did I hit it? Did it go down? I think I got it didn't I?" She couldn't even believe what she just saw with her own eyes.
We rushed over and saw her trophy she had just downed. She was grinning from ear to ear, and couldn't believe what she had just done. She said she never would have thought in her wildest dreams that she would have turned out to be a hunter, and be sitting by a huge bull elk that she herself had just shot. I would have to say; as much as I have always wanted the opportunity to take a big bull elk, I am just as happy if not more to have seen my wife turn into the hunter that she is, and watch her take a monster bull elk. She has by far put me to shame the last few years with her hunting luck, but I'm just proud that I found a girl like her!