Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Elk Hunting For The Layman - Part 2
Sunday morning starts with tending to the horses and a hearty breakfast. Today we will be taking the horses to pack the meat back to camp. We leave camp about 8:00 am to start up to the top of the plateau. Several members will climb to the top, then the horses are sent up unattended and caught as they reach the top. It is too dangerous to try and lead the horses up the steep trail. A horse falling would wipe out anything or anyone on the trail below it. After all of the horses have reached the top of the plateau, then the remainder of the hunting party will follow. All of the elk harvested will be skinned and the meat boned out. The hides and bones will be left behind. The meat from one elk will weigh from 180-240 pounds and will be loaded one elk per horse for transporting back to the camp. The preparation of the meat and transporting it back to camp will take all day. At day’s end the horses will be watered, fed, and rubbed down. Butts will be dragging by the time the sun has set and supper is eaten.

Elk Hunting For The Layman
Proof of a successful hunt. (The guy in the Hooters shirt is holding my rack.)

Monday starts with breakfast at daybreak. After each horse is fed and watered they are packed with the meat for transportation back to the trailhead and our trucks. A second trip will be made in the afternoon transporting any non essential items required for our last night in elk camp.

Tuesday morning we police our camp area after caring for the horses and eating breakfast. We make our last trip back to the trailhead leaving our camp area as it was when we first arrived. The trucks and trailers are packed and the horses loaded. We top off our fuel tanks and get a late lunch in Steamboat Springs before starting our five hour drive home. Another elk hunt is almost at its end and most of us are thinking this will be our last year. We are getting too old and it is just too damn hard to hunt this way anymore. It will be dark when we reach home. The horses will be returned to their stalls or home pastures just as tired as we are. A hot bath and a loving hug from the wife makes you almost feel human again. I am usually the only one that bathes while in camp. I will break the ice off of the beaver pond and bathe at least every other day, the rest of the guys are heathens and will go all week long without the benefit of soap and water.

Wednesday we meet up to process the meat. Cutting out roast, steaks, stew meat, and grind hamburger. The meat will be double wrapped before heading home to various locations around the country. We say a hearty goodbye to both old friends and the new friends made during our hunt. It will be several days before we start to think, “Maybe just one more year.”

I hope you future elk hunters have found this information and the narrative of one of my self-guided hunts both useful and entertaining. If any of you still want to try to kill your elk this year you have a little time left to apply for tags in a few states and there are a few guides or outfitters that may have some openings left to fill. If you have any questions I can be e-mailed at twcracker@netzero.com.

Tommy Cornelison was raised on a working ranch in South Florida where his time was spent hunting and working with cattle and horses. He is a General Contractor/ Construction Manager by profession which has allowed him to travel the country, working and hunting. Tommy is an avid hunter, shooter, and reloader and can proudly say he has taken all of his game with his own ammunition for the past forty years. Tommy is now building a custom 6.5 X 47 Lapua with plans for a 338 Norma Magnum to soon follow.

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