The Middle Fork Chronicle 2007
Another year is gone and we are already gearing up for the 2008 hunting seasons. The seasons seem to get shorter each year. Karla and I hope that you had a wonderful year. Here is how our hunting seasons went.
We had two bear hunters this year. Larry Driver and I packed into the West Fork country to do a little bear hunting. The bears were everywhere and all of the baits were getting hit hard. Larry killed a nice blonde bear the first day. Three days later he killed another bear, a 6'6" bear with a red coat. We measured his skull at 19 1/4". Lonnie Brown came in to bow hunt bears. He saw numerous bears. Two of the bears he saw were huge boars but he was not able to stick either one of the boars.
We had a busy summer. The guys and I cleared 250 miles of hunting trails. We cut camp firewood and enjoyed some great fishing; both in the streams and the lakes. We spent July conducting a guide school on the B-C Ranch and in the Wilderness. Packing mules and horses in rough country is what we do and we enjoy passing that experience on to others. Outfitting is often subject to Mother Nature's moods and this summer was no exception. The fires started in late summer and went into early fall. A lot of country was burned in the wilderness area. As a result a large number of elk were displaced. Fortunately for us the country started greening back up by the end of September. The elk happily moved back into their normal areas.
Elk & Deer Chronicles
Thirty-one elk hunters chased elk with us this year. Eight killed elk; three were six points, two were five points, two were rag horns, and a spike was harvested. Four of our hunters shot and missed and another four turned down bulls. Our biggest bull was a 308 point 6x6 bull taken on the second hunt. Ted Kardos and his hunters saw twenty-three branch antlered bulls on one hunt alone. I saw two bulls up close that would have scored an easy 320 points and an easy 340 points if they were harvested. All of the guides reported seeing six point bulls in the 300 or better range. Our success rate with bulls was down from previous years, which I contribute to the fires. With the fresh green that's coming up this year after the fires I expect to have better than average horn growth along with good elk numbers. Our buck population made it through the fires in good shape.
The buck hunting was as good as I've ever seen it and I don't expect that to change. Ten bucks were taken and all of them were high scoring bucks. One was a 200 point buck, one was a 180 point buck, five were 160 point bucks, two were 145 point bucks, and one was a 3x4. We took some nice bucks and there are plenty more out there that are even bigger.
Although the fires were a set back, the wolf population seems to have leveled off a few years ago. The same numbers are being seen from year to year. If the delisting of the wolves from the endangered species list goes through, then we should be able to hunt then next year. That will be quite a season! I believe we will be able to kill three of four wolves a year but we will have to wait and see what the courts say.
We hunted an archery elk and deer hunt last December. There was plenty of action, a few missed shots, and a lot of fun.
Our lion season was a blast. We had five hunters and took four lions. Two of the lions were toms and two were females. The biggest tom scored 14 3/4". This was one of the biggest bodied lions that I have ever treed. I ran some young dogs with the pack this year and they did very well. I ran a pack of eight hounds this year and they all earned their keep.
We are going to be hunting the Middle Fork area more next year. We saw lions sign aplenty down there. Lion hunting on horseback is a great adventure. There are numerous pictographs to see, plus sheep, goats, elk and deer, and a wolf or two.
Karla, the crew of Middle Fork Outfitters, and I want to thank all of our hunters. We appreciate you hunting with Middle Fork Outfitters and we look forward to seeing you on the trail in the future!