. . . .
As for the elk hunting. I can honestly say that out of my 18 years of hunting elk, and studying wildlife in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, the Royal Teton Ranch has, without a doubt, the greatest concentration of large record class bull elk that I have ever seen! I was shocked and amazed! You have a world class operation!
wildlife biologist/Yellowstone Park Naturalist
6 x 7
by Mel Siira, Victor, Montana
“The first day of the hunt was running into several six point bulls and Rod said not to get excited as there’ll be plenty of “keepers”.
The second day was similar to the first day with several bull elk spotted and Rod said to hold off. I was getting a little anxious to shoot one, but thought I’d better listen. Sure enough, in the afternoon as we were going up the road about 1:30, Rod spotted a big bull across the canyon and said “this one’s a keeper”. Rod looked into his range finder and said it was about 300 yards. I located it in my scope and took a shot. Rod spotted it and said “you got him”.
I was waiting while Rod and his helper went out to see the elk and thought to myself that I was happy that I had secured them for the hunt.
I am an amputee with an artificial leg and about a week prior I fell while doing an appraisal and injured both legs. I had been hobbling along on crutches as both legs were bruised and swollen, so I was glad that I had their services.
When Rod came back wiht the mount, it was six by seven and the largest I had ever gotten. I highly recommend their services to anyone wishing to hunt in these parts.”
…incredible number of bull elk
by Cris Faes
I am enclosing a picture of my elk for your collection. I wish to thank you again for everything, I thoroughly enjoyed my hunt. I would gladly recommend your hunting club to anyone interested. I loved the beautiful scenery and the incredible number of bull elk I got to see.
Thanks for a Great Hunt!
by Doug Dreeszen, President Montana Chapter FNAWS
Enclosed is a photo of my bull elk I harvested with Joe Heimer on February 16, 1998.
Patty and I want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to hunt on the majestic Royal Teton Ranch.
We really appreciate your friendship and generosity.
Growing up in Montana, most of my personal hunting has been directed towards deer, antelope and sheep.
My bull elk concludes my lifelong dream of taking all the huntable species of big game in Montana.
I will always treasure the memory of this hunt. Thanks again,
Doug and Patty Dreeszen”
A Great Christmas Gift
by J. T. Petrie, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep Life Member
“My sincere thanks to all who contributed in putting this hunting opportunity together and for all the effort that help make FNAWS the great organization it is.”
“Christmas 1999, was a great one for me for several reasons. First of all, my entire family; children, grandchildren and all were home for the holidays. Secondly, not only did my kids give me the Doug Eck Dall sheep bronze desk set, my wife gave me a life membership to FNAWS. My wife and I attended the show in Reno in January, and at the Saturday Banquet, my name was drawn as the winner of the new life member elk hunt with Edwin Johnson in Gardiner, Montana.
When I returned to my seat after shaking hands and getting my picture taken their was some guy sitting in my chair, cutting my steak and chatting amiably with my wife. He looked up and said, ‘Congratulations on winning the hunt, and oh, by the way you’re going to need another steak!’
It turned out to be my hunting partner for the hunt, Astronaut General Joe Engle. Joe is a terrific guy, during the hunt we began a friendship that I hope lasts for many years to come. Getting the chance to hunt with Joe was certainly a highlight of my trip.
The hunt itself took place in mid November on the Royal Teton Ranch. The Royal Teton is a beautiful 10,000 acre ranch that has a common boundary with Yellowstone National Park and when the weather is right, there are hundreds of elk migrating in and out of the park. I got lucky again as the weather this year produced early snows that brought elk down out of the high country.
During my hunt the weather was perfect with daytime temperatures in the 30’s and below 0 at night. I arrived in Gardiner, Montana on November 16th and checked in at Beede’s Yellowstone Resort. Bob and Shelly Beede run a first class resort operation with fine accommodations and great family style meals. They and their entire staff are willing to please in any way possible.
Edwin had 9 other hunters in camp that week, and after checking our licenses, etc. we all sat down to dinner and anxiously awaited the next morning’s hunt. At breakfast Joe and I met our guide, Arlyn Creek, a young man of 19, who as it turned out guided his hunters to the most number of bulls for the year. We discussed our game plan for the hunt and for the next 3 days searched the ranch for the right bull. Joe took his bull on the 3rd morning and my turn came the next day.
The evening of the 3rd day we made a climb to check out an area toward the back of the ranch for fresh sign. We found quite a bit and decided to return the next morning and be in position at first light. We knew that we’d have to leave camp earlier than normal to get to the top of the ridge by the legal shooting time of 7:00 a.m.
After an early breakfast Joe, Arlyn, and I started for the top. After about an hour we were almost in position so we stopped to catch our breath before we topped out. When we reached the crest we looked over and saw 4, 6×6 bulls feeding in the timber below while slowly making their way back toward the park. One of them had us spotted so the decision had to be made quickly, but it really wasn’t a difficult choice since one of the bulls was clearly bigger than the rest with wide sweeping antlers.
Since we were caught out in the open, I had no choice but to sit down, rest on my knee and take the 225 yard shot. I shot my Weatherby 7mm and the big bull collapsed. With that the high fives and hugging began! As we approached the bull, Arlyn kept saying, ‘You just shot one helluva bull!’ Never having hunted elk before I wasn’t prepared for the sheer size of the animal, and the antlers were just as big as I had seen in all the magazines. The bull was a big 6 x 6, and more than I ever expected.
As I reached the bull it started to snow and as I looked around I thought about how blessed I was to be there. I was in a beautiful setting in the high country of Montana, standing next to a true trophy animal, and sharing it with 2 new friends.
My sincere thanks to Edwin Johnson who has generously donated this hunt for many years to help promote new life memberships to FNAWS. He runs an excellent operation on a great ranch with a lot of elk. The Royal Teton is one of the premier places in the country to hunt free ranging elk in their natural habitat.
On this hunt the harvest was; two spikes for meat, one 5 x 5, 5, 6 x 6’s and a 7 x 6 that scored 364 5/8. On the next hunt Arlyn wrote me that one of his hunters took a 6 x 6 that scored 378 3/8. I would also like to thank General Joe Engle for co-hosting this hunt. Believe me, getting the chance to hunt and spend time with General Engle is worth the trip in itself.
Also, I got the opportunity to meet and have dinner with General Chuck Yeager who was co-hosting the next hunt that Edwin donated to SCI. This was a first class hunt in every aspect, and I encourage all members of FNAWS to consider upgrading their membership to the life member status so that their name might be drawn as the next winner of this fantastic hunting opportunity.
And finally, thanks very much to my wife, Mary, for a great Christmas gift.”
J. T. Petrie, Life Member
A Winning Bidder’s “Bull Of A Lifetime”
by Bill Hintze RMEF Life Member Houston, Texas
“At the very first RMEF Big Game Banquet and auction in Houston, I successfully bid on a six-day elk and mule deer hunt on the Royal Teton Ranch in southwestern Montana. The hunt was donated by Edwin Johnson on the Royal Teton Ranch.
Having just returned from this excursion, I can tell you it was like a dream come true. Royal Teton Ranch covers 12,000 acres of beautiful mountainous country, including some six miles of common boundary with Yellowstone National Park.
When heavy snows make the high plateau untenable, thousands of elk migrate northward out of the park to winter range on lands along the Yellowstone River. The RMEF has been instrumental in acquiring and maintaining some of these properties as wildlife habitat, rather than allowing them to be subdivided.
After arriving at the ranch, I spent much of my first afternoon settling into quarters and meeting people. There were several other hunters, including Gen. Chuck Yeager and former space shuttle commander Gen. Joe Engle.
Before first light the next morning, our guide Wade Peck led the way up a snowy path pock-marked with elk tracks. Temperatures were below zero, but the exertion had us unzipping our coldweather gear to prevent overheating. We picked stands along the flanks of ridges in hopes of intercepting bucks and bulls which might be returning up from a night’s feeding in the valley. With dawn, two shots echoed across the main divide to the north. Six cows stood near the crest. They drifted down a separate nose one-half mile away.
I glassed the heights in the direction of the firing, and saw two bull elk slowly descending the next finger ridge to my right. I thought they would continue to follow that trail, offering me a broadside target at about 200 yards. Instead, they turned right and headed for black timber in the intervening drainage. My only chance was to be at long range.
I took a firm sitting position with elbows on knees. The distance looked to be more than 350 yards. With my .338 Winchester targeted for 250 yards, I held five inches above the withers of the significantly larger bull and squeezed.
It took Wade and me nearly 20 minutes to traverse the slick slopes and treacherous snow-covered deadfall to reach the elk. The bull carried a well balanced 6×6 rack. Twenty-inch sword and royal tines crowned 54-inch beams, and the spread exceeded four feet. When the antlers were evaluated later, they scored 362 Boone and Crockett points. While my Royal Teton elk clearly is a “bull of a lifetime,” it surely is not going to stop me from continuing to seek this most regal game. The pristine environment and the congenial camaraderie that surrounds western wapiti hunting are too stimulating to abandon.
Not all auctioned offerings turn out so successfully. However, some of my most outstanding trophies and most scintillating experiences have been on auction-donated hunts. And I’m sure that outfitters are always going to give it their best when they offer an elk hunt to a member of the Elk Foundation at an RMEF fund-raising event. I strongly recommend these hunts to all RMEF members, to say nothing of the vital uses the funds generated perform.”
Finally….An Elk After 17 Years!
by Bill Adams, Owner Atlanta Cutlery
“Long before founding Atlanta Cutlery in 1971, I always loved hunting and fishing. Once I entered the catalog business selling knives, I simply started bringing the new knives on my trips to test them out. If they performed well doing the real work of the field and shore, then they passed. If they didn’t perform, we kept them out of the catalog.
Through the years I’ve tested our knives on many, many deer, some ducks, turkeys, quail and doves, a few boar and even a caribou a few years ago. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on safari twice to Africa where further knife tests were conducted on springbok, wart hogs, bushbuck, impala and even a water buffalo I was lucky enough to get. But until last year, I had never shot an elk. Now understand, I’ve chased elk unsuccessfully since 1977. In fact, I’d become an expert at not shooting elk. I’d chased elk in Idaho, Montana and Colorado and never got one!
I’ve backpacked through the snow over Montana’s Hellroarin’ Divide, camped in a tent for a month straight in Idaho north of the Selway River, packed out of a colorful piece of Idaho elk pasture called “Hell’s Half Acre” in,the teeth of a blizzard, and climbed a fair amount of Colorado Mountains…..all with no luck.
I’d shot at Idaho Elk (missed), shot at Colorado elk (missed), and not gotten close enough to shoot at Montana elk.
This gear I was determined that my luck would change. I summoned up all the hunter’s instincts I’d developed over 16 years of hunting elk, all the wily craftiness, all the outdoorsmen’s shrewdness I could muster – and signed on with a better outfitter.
This year I went hunting with Licensed Montana Outfitter, Edwin Johnson, who operates the Royal Teton Ranch in Gardiner, Montana (80 Mol Heron Creek Road, Gardiner, Montana 59030; 406-848-7265). The first day of hunting, we started down a snowy trail on top of a ridge at 7:11 AM. Seven minutes later I was in the middle of an elk herd. Crouching in the bushes, we could see elk all around us! Then, a 6 x 6 bull stepped through the bushes, stood on a mound 20 yards away, and turned to give me a long look – probably trying to figure out what I was up to. (It probably took only 40 seconds or so, but it seemed like a lifetime).
For years I’d waited for this moment. Over and over I’d dreamed of getting close enough to a big elk to shoot it. Now, here one was – 20 short yards away, smiling at me. I didn’t shoot.
This was just too easy. True, I’d waited 17 years for this moment, but I also wanted to hunt elk for longer than seven minutes on this trip. Fortunately, as I continued to hunt, I saw more and more trophy elk. In three days, I saw twenty-five 6 x 6 elk – all in shooting range. Finally, I sneaked up on #25 and put him down with a shoulder shot (see photo).
It was a great hunt! At a higher elevation on the same day, we tracked a nice mule deer in the snow; his horns now hang in my home in Atlanta.
Back at Atlanta Cutlery, a few of our barbecue experts prepared some tasty smoked elk for our celebration of the 4th of July, and it tasted mighty good. All the better for waiting 17 years!”