CO elk hunt success X 2
My younger brother, John and I set camp up about a mile in from the jeep trail. I was a little disapointed we were not able to access my original hunting area due to the 16" of snow up on the mountain. Even with tire chains we only missed the 12,200 foot summit by about 300 feet of elevation.
The long range option was now out, so we settled for a timber hunt. Luckily I had brought along some light carry guns for just this possibility. I carried a 300 win BDL and John carried my 280 rem with 140 gr NAB's.
John had never hunted big game before and came on the hunt to try somthing new. I hunted the area a few years earlier and was confident I could get us on animals.
Saturday started out nice and sunny but soon turned nasty, rain and snow domminated the day. We saw no elk and very little sign. That night we recieved another 4-5 inches of snow.
Sunday morning was beutiful fresh snow and sun, with no wind, other than the typical mountain thermals. We headed in the oposite dirrection as the day before. We slowly followed a old miners trail that cut threw the timber on a east facing shelf. As we worked this area the fresh elk sign increased. the only openings we had encountered were steep boulder fields that dotted the hillside to the creek some 1000 feet below.
I seen an opening threw the timber where the hillside dropped off fast, I told john to stay on the trail as I walked to the edge some 150 feet away. As I aproached, the tracks became abundant, I peered over the edge and to my surprise stood a bull a meer 25 yards away, he was pushing the snow aside to eat the small green plants growing through the rocks. I called my brother down. He looked with amazement at the bull. I was not intrested in harvesting the young animal. Knowing this may be Johns one and only elk hunt, and seeing that look in his eye, I handed him the 300 win and told him to put it right on the shoulder.
At the shot the 4X3's front legs came up as he hunched up a little, I thought he may go over backwards, the hit was just a few inches back, as the bull regained his footing, I put one threw his shoulder/spine to keep him from going down the steep slope. John had still not worked the bolt on the remington.
Just as he does I here him saying "COW!" I look in time to see a very large cow entering the timber on the opposite side of the opening. We both slide from the timber into the boulder field on our rear ends, because it was to steep to stand. The 280's scope was slightly frosted up because John had been carrying it by the wrist. John called out that I needed to go up to get a shot that the cow was now going up hill. I scrambled up slope and sat on a rock that would hold me upright. Just then the cow was in the clear going uphill at a trot about 150 yards away. I fired and seen her flinch, she stopped at the top of the slope. I fired again and she dropped.
It has been years since I seen my younger brother smile as he did on this day. He has always been pretty mellencolly, and now he was whooping and jumping around. I congradulated him on his first big game harvest, later when I asked him why he hadn't reloaded to shoot again he said he didn't know why, I think he was in that unreal state where a mans mind goes numb not believing what is happening.
Well 24 hours latter, with the help of a sled and game cart. 4 coolers were full of some beutiful boned out elk meat, and we were back at the truck. The 2 mile pack was relativly easy thanks to the miners trail. It was a great feeling hunting with my brother and sharring with him my love of the mountains.