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Thread: Elk hunting with the Krag

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    Really Senior Member jon_norstog's Avatar
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    Elk hunting with the Krag

    The rifle I've used hunting is one I had built up from a vandalized 1898 Kragicon. Roy Bedeaux Arquebusier in Albuquerque put an old Winchester Model 70 barrel on it. it is beautiful but will not shoot the 220 gr, bullets so well. But it is what I use. This year I won the draw for a controlled hunt in eastern Oregon. My brother said he wanted to come down from Idaho to help - we are old enough it is not so good to hunt in the mountains alone.

    I drew a tag for the last hunt of the year, Thanksgiving week, in the Murderer's Creek unit, south of John Day, Oregon. I had gone and scouted the area in October and thought it looked good around Big Creek USFS campground south of Strawberry Mountain, right at 5,000 ft elevation. When I got there it was snowed up pretty good, but some other hunters had broken the snow on the road in! It was the day before the season opened when I set up camp. It was cold and clear, below zero at night but got up into the low teens (f) during the day - beautiful weather, but too cold for the animals. They were not moving much at all.

    Paul came to join me right around dark the next day. It was too cold and dark for him to set up his wall tent so he slid in with me. He wasn’t quite prepared for sleeping on the ground below zero. He crawled into his bags - thee of them, on inside the other - fully clothed just after dark. I had energy left so I went out scouting in the moonlight … bright as day! And there were two bright planets lined up by the moon. When I got back a few hours later he was awake and shivering. I could hear my wife's voice saying "dad, give him one of your bags"

    I was triple bagged, so I gave him one of mine, a ten-pound Coleman Elk Hunter bag and he warmed up enough to sleep. I was still OK except for my butt.






    Paul stuck it out two nights, then suggested we move into a motel at John Day and commute. Got no argument from me. Everything was crazy there because of the virus. People were doing their best to comply with the state orders, even if they were not too happy about it. At least the heat was on in the motel.

    Next couple days we managed to find where the elk had gone but never got close enough for a shot. There wasn’t much sign of elk around Big Creek, so we decided to road hunt a bit. There was a tag end of USFS land just north of the Bear Valley private rangeland that looked good to me – 4,600 ft but a south exposure and as it turned out a fair amount of browse. Hunted that pretty hard. I managed to stir up a herd of 6-7 cows off a ridge. I saw them out in the open maybe 600 yards away. And me with my iron-sighted Krag! As I was walking back to the truck I heard a rifle shot, then nothing. Decided to give Bear Valley a rest. We drove on over a couple ridges into Murderers’ Creek and saw a lot of tracks there. Those two areas we hunted pretty hard the next few days.

    Back to Murderers’ Creek. Tracks everywhere but no animals. The road petered out at someone’s inholding ranch, it was 4,200 ft. elevation and I think the animals were further downstream and downhill, no way to get there except over miles of trail. I found where the elk were but not where they are. Back to Bear Valley the next day! After hunting the ridges in the morning we found fresh tracks goimg right past the truck. Paul suggested I follow them and lent me his scoped .35 Whelan (another milsurp, this time on a Gewehr 98 action). That cow (I think) really moved around but I kept getting closer and closer. I crested a ridge and found where she had rested a bit, then took off, trailing pellets as she ran. She made a run for the border, onto private land and out of sight. That was Friday. The hunt continued another day but Paul had to go back to Idaho and get ready for his hunt, while I needed to go home, lighten my load, take care of business and then get up there to help him on that hunt. (We are both of an age where we shouldn’t be hunting alone in the mountains, especially in winter)

    No animals were harmed in this hunt. Not for lack of trying though. It's a beautiful area, and off the beaten path, worth a visit in the summer.

    Camping in the snow: My own method for staying warm is to do a sponge bath in the evening - yeah, it's kind of cold - then put on a clean t-shirt and clean socks, plus the insulated underwear lowers I wore that day (i change them out every couple days) before crawling into bed. I have interlocking foam pads on the tent floor, the stuff grocery clerks stand on. I have an old square bag that I lay down as a pad. The square ten-pound bag goes over that and I put my mummy bag inside that. I sweat at night (everyone does unless they are dead) and the moisture condenses in the ratted out bag I use as a pad. In the morning I turn the whole shebang over so the moisture trapped in the bottom bag can kind of evaporate.

    That system keeps me warm and comfy and the bags don't get nasty and skunked out ... I've used that system on 3-week plus hunts in Idaho. The sponge bath isn't too bad if you can heat up a pot of water and get it done fast.
    Last edited by jon_norstog; 01-06-2021 at 08:45 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    What's with the mountain biking on a hunt? In the snow?

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    Contributing Member Ovidio's Avatar
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    Great! Wonderful! Wish I could be there with you!!!
    34a cp., btg. Susa, 3° rgt. Alpini

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    Really Senior Member HOOKED ON HISTORY's Avatar
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    HARD CORE!
    Looks like great fun.
    If I were younger. Holiday Inn is roughing it these days.

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    What a great read, thanks!


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    Really Senior Member jon_norstog's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Daan Kemp View Post
    What's with the mountain biking on a hunt? In the snow?
    I make bicycles. I designed, built and been using a series of bicycles to get around/scout the last 10-12 years. You can pretty much cover the same amount of ground as on a 4-wheeler, plus some places that are blocked off. I roll my own ... this year the snow was too deep to make much use of the bike, and Paul didn't want to bother with it on the N. Idaho hunt.

    Here is a link to that bike on my website, and a lengthier story https://www.thursdaybicycles.com/bic...lk_hunter.html

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Link doesn't work Jon...
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member jon_norstog's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jon_norstog;490872]I make bicycles. I designed, built and been using a series of bicycles to get around/scout the last 10-12 years. You can pretty much cover the same amount of ground as on a 4-wheeler, plus some places that are blocked off. I roll my own ... this year the snow was too deep to make much use of the bike, and Paul didn't want to bother with it on the N. Idaho hunt.

    Here is a link to that bike on my website, and a lengthier story

    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    Link doesn't work Jon...
    Sorry 'bout that!

    https://www.thursdaybicycles.com/bic...lk_hunter.html

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Thanks Jon, now I see...
    Regards, Jim

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOKED ON HISTORY View Post
    HARD CORE!
    Looks like great fun.
    If I were younger. Holiday Inn is roughing it these days.
    You mean younger than them?

    Good time to be in the woods - the ticks are dead or laying low.

    Everything about this says practical, well thought-out, economical and devoid of "hardware-vanity".

    Bicycles worked in a lot more places than the Ho-Chi-Min trail too. We have all sorts of e-bikes now, but is anyone building an "off-grid, off-road" variety? Of course weight is the perpetual problem I know: who wants to drag all that hardware around when pedalling?

    Have run-flat tires for bikes arrived yet?

    What's the rifle leaning against the tree?

    And you're using a down mummy bag and moisture migrates through that you find?
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