Re: ELR? Elk
Bravo 4 - Congrats.
I hunted 3rd here in CO and also got my bull but it was only a chipshot compared to yours (622 yds) - that is awesome on yours. I was hunting solo so that meant a solo pack out. I agree - just boning out the beast is enough to kill you. I tend to be sweating and half-exhausted just getting ready to pack...it's hard work, especially if you are bent over skinning and cutting. Its definitely a part guys don't think about and a time when helpers is a bonus.
I also just wanted point out there is a happy medium between what you experienced and paying a few grand to get hauled in. If you want to and have the money, go for it, but if you haven't hunted CO much, you just need to change to a different area. In many places, there are millions of acres of Nat. Forest and BLM and getting away from the crowds often just takes a 10-20 minute walk up a hill or over a ridge, especially if you can get a ways of a 4WD road. From what I see 3rd is usually not as busy as 2nd (in my area), but almost all camps are down low where they can park a trailer. I go 45 min up a 4wd road, and I'm usually miles from the closest camp (or at most one or two others are within a few miles). I had elk feeding in the meadow with my tent every night this year - spooked them when I went out to take a leak. From there, just about a 10 min walk away from roads will get you somewhere that will in many cases never see a hunter all season. Just want you to know with literally millions of acres of public land - it's not all like what you saw. I almost never see another hunter in the woods...just lots of road hunters and losers breaking the law riding quads in places they shouldn't be (outta staters 90% of the time...sorry).