Made it back!
Got back late Friday evening (21 Oct 2005).
The trip out to lower central Colorado was uneventful with good clear weather and no delays. We zero-checked the rifles at ~7,900 ASL (100 yard and 300 yards) and headed up to set up camp near Osier Park at 10,000 ASL
just to the west of the shown trail as it goes north at the small stand of trees between the two creeks.
Early Saturday morning Cheryl (my wife of 31 years) and I headed out for a hunt and stroll (I hunt and she tags along). We began moving (walking) a little past day break (0700 +-) once I was sure the hunter orange outfits were clearly visible. We walked about a mile (walk & stalk) jumping up at least one set of large critters (deer or elk as we didn't clearly see them) before we stumbled onto a fine confluence of ridges that screamed "good hunting spot". We weren't there, on the ridge for more than 3 or 5 minutes before two young bull elk crashed onto the top of the ridge in front of us and stopped. The smaller of the two stopped in clear view and the other stopped just to the right of the line from me to the first (smaller) bull in the Aspens. I verified the easy bull as legal and did a very quick check for a visual on the second bull but he was not in clear view... From about 80 yards the bull looked huge in the 3.5 x 10 x 40 Leupold even on low power (stalking power). I centered the crosshair onto the left front shoulder of the quartering-to elk and let the "Monkey Blaster" take over. The big 260 grain Accubond from the 375 H&H hit the elk square in the front left upper leg bone and penetrated into the chest cavity for what turned out to be a lethal-in-short-order impact. I quickly chambered a new round placing the expended brass in my left front bluejean pocket (cowboy or redneck-camo) saw the now dead-but-slowly-walking/limping elk move toward a clump of Juniper. I did a half-step forward to get a look at the other bull, the second bull stayed in place for only a second or two once I plainly saw him, he was a little larger than the other but still nothing in the true trophy class, probably a young, low-mass 5x6, tall main beams but lacking mass and spread.
Cheryl and I waited for a few minutes allowing the elk time to expire undisturbed before we walked to the site of the impact. There we examined the scene reading the tracks for the bits of story they could tell, the hurried arrival, the short wait and the quick turn and slow walk away. There was no sign of hair or blood just at the impact site but blood did begin to show within about 5 yards, small drops of blood on the patches of snow. After about 10 yards I could see the bull on the ground laying on his right side facing uphill between two Junipers. He had curled a little and placed his head near his left chest-abdomen as if he were going to sleep rather than dying. I did the standard rear approach and poke ritual before Cheryl came full on-site and we admired the fine animal, they (elk) are truly a beautiful and magnificent beast.
I marked the position with the GPS and headed for camp (.65 miles to the south-west away) to see if I could get the truck closer to the elk to make the drag shorter. As it turned out there was a jeep trail just 260 yards away (and mostly down a gentle slope) from the fallen elk. Once I had moved the truck and dressed the elk Cheryl and I had only a little trouble dragging the elk to within 70 yards of the truck before others from our hunting group came and helped with the last little bit. Had there not been snow I don’t believe we could have moved the elk more that 5 or 10 yards total. The elk was a small 4x5 and the folks I left the meat with were pleased as they thought the older/larger bulls were a tough meal by comparison to young cows and small bulls.
All-in-all I had a fine hunting and camping event. I saw many elk and had a fine time with friends and also enjoying the outdoors.
All tallied, I drove about 4,200 miles, spent 5 nights in hotels, slept in a tent 4 nights, sunburned my face and lips to crimson, drove & crabbed about 100 miles on “jeep” trails sometimes requiring “low-range” 4-wheel-drive, fired one round while hunting, saw 6 nice bull elk, 14 nice Mule deer bucks (3 were massive and definitely “shooters”).
On this teraserver image I hunted in Section 13, we had camp very near the bottom left corner (south-west) and I shot the elk just above center (north-east) very near where the 9600 terrain-line makes the little loop.