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Elk hunting adventure.


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Friend and I finally took off for Colorado. 

All packed up and ready to hunt elk with muzzleloaders  for the 1st time.

The night before our trip.  .. I printing out our reservation confirmation and discovered that I was off a day. We didn't have a cabin until 1 day later.

Well , we are packed and leaving regardless . We take our time and take 2 1/2 days to drive . Upon arriving we unload the sxs and start arranging our gear  to camp in the woods and hunt the next morning. 

Guess what we are missing....

209 primers and .50 cal bullets.. Bullets that we had settled on after spending the last month trying different loads and bullets. Somehow we(I say we, but it was my buddy.lol) had grabbed the wrong ammo box  .

Needless to say we had stopped at a hunting store/shop in at most of the state's on the way through. Collecting hard to find rifle cartridges, rifle primers ,and whatever else we couldn't find at home. There were 0 209 primers to be found ..

It was early afternoon . I don't care if we have to start nocking on doors and offering to buy any primers and or bullets that may work. We are determined to hunt in the morning.

1st stop was a small gun shop in town, mainly pistols and ARs. Run by a couple couple young veterans. As we tell them the story and our circumstances, the Fred(our hero) , had just finished buying a gun and was getting ready to leave.

I think I have some muzzleloader stuff in my safe, let me go home and look. After exchanging #s , we depart the store and hang out in the parking lot(store is closed now)

Our hero, dives home ,finds a full box of primers and 3 partial boxs of different bullets . 1 happened to be a combo that we had tried, hit very similar to what we had sighted in, just not as accurate. Boom! We are hunting in the morning. It's well into the evening now so we stay at a hotel in town..

 

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300 yds into our sneak into the woods. .."Whoa! There is something big 50yds over there"  

We drag out the binoculars. I still can't see from where I am , 

"It's a cow" 

"How many, is there a bull?"

"NO.. it's a cow, it has a tag in it ear.."

I was not expecting this at 9000' in the woods on the side of a mountain .lol. 

Turns out there are cows everywhere on this piece of national forest. We wandered around that morning looking for sign.. and we both found a decent spot for the evening hunt. Oh I forgot to add there was a forest fire this summer, pretty much centered over the exact area I had dropped waypoints to hunt at based on a lot of time on Google earth and Onx. 

That night my buddy sat watching a low mountain meadow  and I was at a nice meadow with a creek though the middle. Maybe a 1/2 mile apart .

I didn't see or hear anything. I arrived back at our campsite that we had set up mid day at dark.

And he's so excited ! He says he shot one. I really didn't believe him until we actually were well on the way up the mountain again. I figured there was no way he would hold to a prank this long and far up the mountain( after all we are two  50 + year old flatlanders)

We arrived at his elk which didn't run 30 yds.  Dang they are huge! Even a basic 4x4 with a couple stickers.(trophy for us)

OK. Maybe I should have payed more attention on how to dress this animal in the woods. 

Especially while lying in the ashes of a forest fire. What a mess..lol  

Still, it was a deer like critter, the anatomy was the same. We got it quartered. We hung the front quarters, misc. , and head in the trees and packed out the rear quarters 

We arrived back at our campsite just before midnight. Wiped out. We had walked close to 10 mile that day. All up or down..

The next morning we went back and packed out the rest in 1 trip.. all in all not too bad of a job.. I will have to say we both spent what seemed like a ridiculous amount of money on packs($4-500) . Everybody said not to skimp on that so we didn't and were thankfull..Besides the pack out we traipsed around the woods with 30#s on our backs with comfort.

 

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If something doesn't go awry on a trip, its usually not a memorable one, lol. Congrats to you two on finding success in the face of some challenges. Probably ranks up there with your best hunts I bet, when all said and done.

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Turns out the spot he found was 1 of my waypoints that I had marked from my desk at home. I will give my self an A for remote scouting..lol. 

He got himself a bear tag so he could watch the carcass. We split the trip hunting side by side and with him over the carcass.

We covered a lot of ground. He saw another elk and a large bear(not close enough) and I didn't see an elk.  

We did find the sign  tracks,scat, and lots of rubs . 

The area was thick and not conducive to glassing. The elk were not talking either. Not a single bugle. Temps were in high 70s to 80s everyday.

After talking with many of the locals we felt pretty lucky . The elk population in this area has been on a pretty steep decline . Most of the hunters we saw at the rd(we never saw one in the woods) were hunting bears or mulies.

The last sit if the trip was little bit of an adventure. I found a relatively easy, according to the map, spot.

1/2 mile off the rd and only 300' of elevation to climb .

Well the 300' of elevation was in the 1st 300' ..lol. sometimes I miscalculated how close those elevation lines are on the map..the worst part is that it was solid blow downs for the 1st 1/4 mile and an hour and half. My buddy was ready to quit so many times .lol.  we finally made it to the  meadow. About 2 hours into our sit He says "bull, bull! running right towards us" . We had a shield of evergreens directly in front of us and couldn't see great straight ahead.. All excited I get ready .... it's a large muley ..lol

He stops and and walks past us at 20 yds...

On the way out, instead of skirting a hill we went directly up and over and found  pretty clear walking...

All in all we had a great time, met a lot of great people and beat the odds by coming back with an elk .

My takeaway from our trip.

. I would like to find an area that is better for glassing and has more elk. Even though we have a grasp on what the elk are doing here, so we may come back to the same spot. 

Wish we had started accumulating preference points 20 years ago when we 1st started talking elk hunts.. 

I'm going elk hunting at least every other year (if not every)until I cannot do it anymore.lol.

The animals seem dumb compared to whitetails. We easily snuck to within 20yds of a couple of muley does. His elk just ran down the hill to hiss cow call and walked to him. The muley buck walked slowly past us( I have over a minute video) even after seeing  us.

Seems like the challenge is finding them, not so much closing the distance. But then again this observation is off my vast 1 week experience..lol.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, phade said:

no mulie tag? I'd have blown a wad of $ on any available tag to be advantageous lol.

Without a lot of preference points there was basically 0 chance of drawing a muley tag for our unit. We did try..

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 I spent 4 hours hiking to this "meadow". Sometimes satellite imagery isn't good enough... I had such high hopes too..I did find where the elk were not and a funnel where they skirted this area. . With very fresh rubs where the bull had leveled a few trees  ..looked like he bedded there. Near water as well. Water was hard to find. I was determined to find a wallow , but everything was dried up or a steeper creek. Next year ..maybe.20210917_141005.thumb.jpg.63aad45ac5256273cb56593f8b8f7b30.jpg

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