Backyard Elk Hunting During Idaho’s Muzzleloading Season, 2010

An elk like the one shown here, or any other bull elk, eluded the author during Idaho’s late November muzzleloading elk and deer season.

   The challenges of elk and deer hunting during Idaho’s muzzleloading season are that only open-ignition system muzzleloaders, loose powder and lead-alloy bullets (Excepting PowerBelts non-copper-clad bullets which have a plastic skirt.) may be used under conditions which usually include hunting in snow.  The advantages are that deer are in rut during this season and more heavily-horned deer will be seen during daylight than at any other time and the elk are usually moved by increasing amounts of snow to lower elivations by the end of November.


Snowy conditions dominated the hunt and the author's 9-day drive there and back.

This was a buddy hunt with Clint Boone, who I hunted with last Spring for black bear. We hunted a combination of private lands, public lands and I paid a tresspass fee to hunt a particular pasture where elk were grazing at night and where some spikes and low-rank bulls had been seen. This was useful because only antlered elk may be taken during the muzzleloading season on this hunt.

  I took two muzzleloading guns. One was a .75-caliber original Brunswick rifle that shot a patched belted ball and the other was a Traditions Magnum Hawken muzzleloader. Both were equipped with musket nipples, and I used a mule’s knee to protect the Brunswick’s action from snow and took the other gun to my blind (An Ameristep Crossbones Blind firnished by the maker.). This blind was noisy, but is a pop-up blind that was quick to errect and could stand up under snow loading.

  Although we hunted for six days we could not locate any shootable elk. Boone did see

Clint Boone with a hen turkey taken with an antique Stevens Long Tom 94-A 12-gauge.

numbers of  big  buck deer – more than he had ever seen in so short a time while hunting in that area his entire life. I also saw ample fresh deer tracks as the rutting bucks tried to find does. There were elk in the area, but I did not have the luck to connect with any of them.

  As a side event, I also hunted and took a wild turkey hen from a near-barnyard situation to use an un-used Idaho turkey tag remaining from the Spring season. This hunt is described and shown on a video, “Backyard Turkey Hunt,” that is posted on this blog as well as on YouTube.

  The video show below is also on YouTube, should you have any problems viewing it here.

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