24 Years of Elk Hunting in Colorado

Elk hunting this year turned out to be another great trip to add to my log. We headed up on Thursday like we have done for the previous 24 years. We like to get up there and get camp set up that afternoon. Then on Friday we just take it easy and try to get acclimated. Even though we live at 5600’ going up over 11000’ and doing physical activity can really take it out of a person. For me this was the first year that I hadn’t had my dad to hunt with.
This is a picture of my dad a couple of years ago up at elk camp.  I know it was tough for him to miss it this year, but I am sure that it probably kept him in my mom’s good graces! Anyway, when we got up there the weather was just absolutely gorgeous.
Friday was much the same and I just basically lazed around for most of the day getting things ready for the upcoming hunt the next morning.

Opening morning came fast, especially when you are getting up at 4 in the morning! It didn’t really matter that much because I don’t think any of us had really slept that much. I don’t think that it was from the anticipation of the hunt as much as it was my snoring. I can snore with the best of them and by the amount of red eyes that I had staring at me that morning I must have been in fine form that night. After getting dressed and eating a bowl of oatmeal and a roll, we all headed out to our jump off point. Now there are good and bad points about were we start out at. The bad point is that for the first ½ mile it is almost all uphill.  The good part is that we hunt on top, so that anything we shoot. We just have to drag it down hill. If you have ever hunted elk, this is a really, really good thing!  After climbing for the past 35 minutes I found myself headed over to Mel’s spot. I don’t know about most other hunting camps, but for us we have come up with names to describe the different areas that we hunt. Mel’s spot was named after a hunting companion of ours named Mel. We also have the Run, Frank’s bowl, Corey’s spot, Gary’s spot and so on. It just makes it easier to identify the area that way. At first light I was sitting in Mel’s spot. I literally had elk bugling all around me, but none of them wanted to show themselves. I waited for about an hour and a half and then decided to go track down the nearest bull and see if I could get a shot. I stood up and put on my pack and just as a reached down to get my rifle, in the area behind me that was covered by trees I noticed a bunch of legs standing there. To myself I said shucks (actually it was a little more explicative) and immediately began pulling my pack back off trying to set it up for a good rest. Just about the time I got set up, the first cow came out from behind the trees. Having an either sex tag I could take her, but for the animals  to escape they had to cross a big open bowl, so I decided to wait and see if a bull would come out. Cow after cow kept on coming. Just about the time I was going to pull down on the last cow, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye going up the opposite hill side. Now I don’t normally do this but I pulled off of the cows and put the scope on the animal running straight away from me. He was a legal bull, but he wasn’t giving me a good shot. So I just waited. When he got almost to the top of the hill, he turned and stopped to bugle. I put the crosshairs on the upper back half of the shoulder and squeezed
the shot off. He never knew what hit him. He went down like a sack of bricks.
My hunt was over. At least the fun part. After gutting quartering and hauling him back to camp, I skinned him out and put him on the make shift cooling racks that we have and enjoyed the rest of the gorgeous day. The next day we woke up to sideways blowing snow, so we decided to get out while the getting was good. In all we had taken two elk, a cow and a bull. Only 50% but at least we would all have a freezers full supply of meat for the year and we had a great time.

One Response to “24 Years of Elk Hunting in Colorado”

  1. Phillip says:

    Sounds like a great hunt. I really love CO elk hunting. Wish I lived closer, so I could do it every year.
    Congrats on your bull.

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