My sons and I hunted the first rifle, 5 day Elk Only, season in CO this past week. Opening morning brought the first winter storm to Western CO with snow down to the 7500 ft level and rain below that. Between the mud and the poor visibility it was tough hunting.
A couple of hours after first light we got on a small bunch of elk with a 6 point bull working their way through dark timber to the bottom of the canyon. We could never get closer than 800 yards and couldn't get set up to get a shot off when the bull was in view.
Sunday we tried the same area again and again got on elk. About mid morning my son and I set up on a bunch moving up the opposite side of the canyon. My son gave me first shot on opening day so he was first on the second day. These elk were not running but they were not stopping much either and time for the shot was about up. I ranged the bull at 720 yards with no wind. In actuality when the shot was made the elk was just over 800 yards. We verified this when my son hiked to the spot the elk was and I ranged him.
What happened? Not sure of all our mistakes but the big two were not constantly verifying range on an elk moving through timber across a canyon plus being in a hurry cost us a fine bull.
We continued to hunt until the last day. We sat on a beautiful bowl most of the last afternoon not seeing anything so we decided to make a dash up the road to another canyon and glass it. On the way there two bulls crossed in front of us. We stopped and looked them over but felt that they had gone onto private property when they crossed the road and started to drive off with the two bulls watching us from less than 100 yards just across the stream the road follows in the canyon bottom.
We both looked at the GPS loaded with "GPS Hunting Maps" and then realized that the bulls were not yet on private.
So, in the last hour of the last day, a 5 X 5 bull allowed us one to many chances. Though this bull was an easy shot and will not make the records books he is my first bull elk and a heck of a trophy to me plus our freezer is plum full well taken care of young elk meat.
I took the elk with my new long range rifle at about 100 yards, close enough not need my expensive LRF, with a R 700P 338 LM built by A.P.A. After descending and climbing over 3,000 vertical feet around the 8,000 ft elevation level and packing this rifle I can verify that it is one heck of a physical training tool
Here' a pic of the country we were hunting and the rack.