Congratulations! and thanks for sharing the whole story including how you involved your daughters in the hunting process. It will be fun to hear how they like the elk meat that they helped harvest. Way to go Dad!
So, my second year going after elk. Last year I hunted CO 2nd rifle, never saw an elk and saw more than enough people to last me several hunting seasons. Well this year I was once again headed on my 20+ hour drive by myself, arrived to my units Thursday and immediately put boots on the ground looking for elk/sign. No luck Thursday so I finally got some sleep after being awake for nearly 40 hours straight. Friday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn checking out the next areas on my map. Finally found some elk (cows) and decided that will be where I start on opening day. Friday night dinner consisted of some fresh grouse and chili. Opening morning, comes and I one local hunter showed up and went flying up the trail past me like I was sitting still. I kinda was being a flatlander and stopping every hundred yards to gasp for air at the 9k plus altitude lol. Anyway, first light comes and I finally hear my first bugle in my life. The bull was 4/500 yards away through some thick stuff and I had no chance of getting ahead of him because of thermals, so I just enjoyed listening. After a couple hours I made my way to their travel corridor and made a plan to sit all day and hopefully ambush them that evening. No luck, so 3 hour hike back to camp at night. Boy it get SOO dark in the mountains! Next morning, I made a plan to hunt the same area and hopefully be able to put a move on them. No elk, no bugles no nothing, until around 11am. I was sitting down talking to some mule deer, they saw me and came over to check me out. They were hanging out all around me and didn’t have a care in the world I was there. Then all the sudden I hear a faint bugle. Figured it was another hunter, but I scream back. Nope, it WAS an elk, I took off after him pumped full of adrenaline running as quick as I could up the mountain, trying to get above him since the thermals were steady uphill. Well, I can’t outrun an elk and I thought my heart was going to explode. I managed to have him within 50 yards but he winded me before I had a shot. Talk about exciting, screaming at an elk and having him MAD! No other excitement for that day. Monday morning, up and on the mountain tried working a bull but no luck, too thick and the wind was less than favorable. So I went back to camp to tidy up and regroup. I looked over some areas on my maps and decided to hug a property boundary public/private. It was BRUTAL climbing up and into the area trying to keep the wind in my favor. I got in and found a nice little area to nap and wait till evening. Got a couple hours in and woke up with the urge to take a leak. While standing with my ding ding in hand, I thought to myself “ boy, it’s be nice if elk starting piling into this meadow.” Before finishing that thought, they did exactly that! I had 2 cows and 5-6 spikes within 200 yards while I’m holding my ding ding, about 20 yards from my rifle lol. I slip back to my gear, grab my rifle and shooting sticks. I make my way to a nice little bush to set up for a shot, a PERFECT setup between 2 small bushes, prone with my heavy coat as a rear bag. There weren’t any legal bulls that I could see, but the meadow hooked around to the left, so I decided to belly crawl about 20 yards to have a peek around the corner. As I’m looking around the corner I hear something BIG behind me, I figured it was a legal bull, sneaking in and I’m about 20 yards from the rifle. Nope it’s a Moo cow. So now I have a moo cow staring me down, im not sure if she’s going to bust out and run away, scaring the elk, or if she is thinking of stomping me into the ground. So I slowly start crawling back to my rifle, and moo cow is following me. We are apparently friends because she’s licking my boots as I’m working my way to my rifle, I get to the rifle and she decides to taste the proof barrel. I’m doing my best to shoo her away within being rude and scaring her. Then, the wind switches, starts blowing right toward the herd of elk. Of course they know something is up, and about that time I hear a screaming bull coming from the hillside to the left. Of course moo cow is here to save the day, nature calls and she starts taking a leak and it apparently was enough to cover my scent. The elk went back to not being concerned and here comes a bull. He works his way through the herd and finally stops giving me a broadside shot right at 290 yards. Moo cow has finally moved so I don’t have to shoot between her legs. I line up on the bull and send the first round, I immediately chamber another 215 Berger, and can’t see any reaction to the first shot! Thinking I missed somehow, I sent another his way, chamber a 3rd round and as it broke it looked like he was starting to run, but no, he was going down!! The 3rd round just clipped his back, barely grazed fur. I jumped up, fist pump call the wife and dad. Can’t hardly make a sentence up because I’m crying from joy and excitement. I wanted to give moo cow a hug he she was long gone. In my extreme excitement, I only took one picture of this beautiful animal before I started on the cutting. After the excitement and adrenaline wore down and I started thinking clear again, I started wondering what the hell happened on the 1st shot. As I was skinning, I only found 1 hole in the ribs, perfect, right behind the shoulder exactly where I wanted it. Then, I looked at the hide, and found 2 holes about 3/4” apart. Apparently 1st round found it’s mark and he was dead and didn’t realize it. I made one trip out that night and had a drink of Knob creek as a night cap at around 2 am when I finished. Went to bed and woke up to make 2 more REALLY heavy trips, on my birthday. Headed for home and made it back safe.!!!!
Sorry for the long post, here’s the pictures to prove it !
Congrats! Awesome story. Thanks for sharing and your fueled up for next year right??