By RALPH BARTHOLDT
Chelsea Frank of Spirit Lake had never been on an elk hunt.
The 25-year-old office assistant went along with her husband, Zac, on the 15th day of his archery hunt last week because he needed a good luck charm.
He had seen elk in the several weeks he spent in the brush, but hadn’t had an opportunity to harvest a bull.
Two hours after she and Zac and her brother-in-law, Corey Frank, snuck into the woods on the last day of the archery season, however, she was packing the back straps and a front quarter of a six-point bull elk through the Coeur d’Alene Mountains to her vehicle.
She’s a hunter now.
“I got to see the coolest thing ever,” Chelsea said. “It just totally made me start hunting.”
What she saw was a behemoth bull elk silently sneak through the forest as Zac used a cow call to lure the bull close enough to shoot it with an arrow.
The A-tag elk archery season closed last weekend in North Idaho — although archers can still kill elk during the rifle season if they purchased a B-tag (preferred by rifle hunters for the season that is open Oct. 10 through Oct. 24).
So far, hunters have fallen into two camps said Craig Wicks of Blue Goose Sporting Goods in St. Maries: The haves and have nots.
“Some guys were into elk all the time, and other guys didn’t see or hear any elk,” Wicks said. “That’s hunting.”
Hunters who stop by his store usually hunt units 5 through 9 from the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation east through the St. Joe River drainage.
Weather during the archery season was so-so, varying between hot days and a period of rainy days, but that didn’t stop most hunters.
“We had between 20 and 25 taken,” he said. “It’s about average.”
Zac Frank, who hunted units 2 through 5, saw many elk. Some of the bulls bugled and others were silent.
“We had multiple bulls bugling,” he said.
The only shot he opted to take was on the last day, which was kind of a fluke.
“I almost didn’t go out,” he said.
It was a turning point for the trio.
“He made me pack the back straps and a front quarter,” Chelsea said. “But, it was so worth it … It’s so rewarding, and we’re going to have meat for a good year.”
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Contact Ralph Bartholdt at firstname.lastname@example.org.