2015 Colorado best trip/hunt of my life!!

Knot Tellin

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2015 COLORADO OTC ARCHERY ELK
Let me start this with a little back ground. I have lived in Michigan my entire life. I have hunted deer for over 20 years along with trapping and fishing. I am an outdoorsman to the core. I have always dreamed of hunting elk out west but always though it was out of reach. Then in 2013 both my wife and I were fortunate enough to draw a coveted Michigan elk tag. Mine was a either sex tag better know here as a bull tag. Hers was a cow tag. Here a bull tag is a once in a life time chance at a Michigan bull. Long story short I ended up killing a 6x6 bull. However my wife didn't get her cow despite all our efforts. But that taste of elk hunting changed me forever. I had to again one day chase these magnificent animals. Not only for the hunt but for their meat, and let me tell you I love elk meat.
I have a good friend that moved Wyoming a couple years ago. He has been trying to get me to come hunt with him. So I started applying for points the day after I killed my Michigan bull. I have watched all of Bigfins shows along with other elk hunting shows like the RMEF Team Elk and decided why wait to be able to hunt WY when I can go to CO and get some experience. I teamed up with a good friend (Todd) and started prepping. First we picked our gear. Then we picked an area to hunt. I pulled a bunch of statistics offline then we picked 2 units to hunt. Based on several factors, success rates, public, access, hunter numbers, and terrain. We made the trip to CO with hopes off taking bull and learning a little bit for future trips. We had decided 2 things we where going to shoot the first legal bull we seen and if either of us was successful we were going to split the meat. Little did I know this was going to be a trip that I will be telling my grandchildren about.
 

Knot Tellin

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Evening number 1
We arrive in Colorado and went to pick up some maps from the BLM office and decide on the exact trail heads to leave from. We ended up picking 2, close to where we wanted to hunt. We drove to both of the trail heads and picked one for the last couple of hours to hunt. I decided to go up the mountain and my buddy went down one of the hiking trails. I didn't see or hear anything but it was just good to have boots on the ground. Todd however walked only a 1/4 mile and jumped and elk. We got back to the car and heard 2 bulls bugle. I'm looked at Todd and said I think we found the spot.

The first full day hunting. Hiked 11 miles and up to over 11,000 feet. I didn't see any elk. But did see a bear and a mule deer doe. I also seen some of the most beautiful country a person could ever hope to see. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a big bull. Todd seen 4 elk. A cow that he jumped walking in dark timber, he gave her a pass as she offered a 30 yard shot. Then he had a spike bull make his way by him as he stopped to take a break. Then that evening Todd was watching an avalanche shoot and seen 2 4x4 bulls. He tried to make his way up to them but was cut off by a shear cliff.
 

Knot Tellin

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On the the second full day I hiked 9 miles with some serious climbing. No elk. I seen a pine marten, called it into 3 feet of me. Todd seen a sliver fox. We got back to camp for a hot mountain house and some sleep.

Day 3 We decided to take some time check out some other areas. Which I think will payoff. Got up on the mountain a little later in the day. It was really hot about 80. Walked 6.8 miles and I found a wallow some open areas high up the mountain. Todd sat in one of the open areas a little ways from me. Right at dark I had 2 elk come down the mountain to me. The one I couldn't tell what it was as it skirted the edge and never cane in. The other one walked right out in front of me at about 15 yard. It was a 2x2 bull elk. Watched him for 15 minutes before he wandered over to Todd. Not a legal bull or he would have been in serious trouble. Trust me I tried to grow more antlers in his head. The other one went between use. So Todd couldn't what it was either. Long day ready for some sleep. 4:30 comes faster than I would like.

Day 4 woke up in the middle of the the night to a bull bugling. Got up early and walking in heard a bugle. So I got out my call looked at Todd and said screw it I'm gonna try calling this bull in. So I gave a couple calls. The next thing you know the bull bugles at us. We both just looked at each other in disbelief. Then I started calling more. Then we could hear him coming through the woods at us. Oh shit spread out this is actually freaking happening. The bull came to about 100 yards and locked up. So I dropped back and started calling more. He started to come even closer. Then another bull showed up at 40 yards a small 4x4 but never offered a shot. The big bull we could hear give up on us and move up the mountin. So we gave up and went to check out some new spots.
 

Knot Tellin

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Eventually we made it back to a set of wallows I found on day 3. They where on a bench that had a spring and a few small meadows. We tried to pick out a good spot to try and kill a bull. After picking a spot we had heard elk walking. In the timber next to us. The came within a 100 yards and lay down behind us, so we where trapped. We sat down hoping they would come to the wallow. We sat till noon it was hot 86 degrees so we tried to sneak out to avoid the swirling winds from ruining the spot. As we where sneaking out, way off in the distance we heard a bugle. Then on the opposite side of us we heard a different bull sound off. We stood there for a minute and the closer bull cut loose again, even closer this time. Todd made the comment "he wants to be king of the mountain, he's killable". I said lets get around to the side of the mountain where the shelf starts to go back up. I bet he follows the bench at this elevation, and we will be above him. So we went to a little clearing that would be a good pinch point.

After picking a spot we could ambush the bull we held tight. Then all hell broke loose, we heard the bull run through the woods in front of us. Toward where we had be sitting. We though it was all over. Then just as fast as he had went by we hear him along with more elk running back. He had went down and found the elk that had bedded down by us at the wallow.
He then let out a bugle right in front of us, so I said to myself to heck with it and started cow calling and bugled at him. The bull responded with another bugle and came running right at us. I thought this is going to happen. The bull got less than a 100 yards, just out of sight and stop an ripped off another bugle. I responded back, but he turned and went the other way. I walked down by Todd he had a look of excitement, but also of disappointment.

I looked at him and said lets go. He said what! I said we are going right at him, lets push him. So as fast as we could go we walked right at where the bull had last sounded off. We walked through a small meadow and came to a dead stop as I heard a cow up above me on the mountain let out a chirp. I looked back at Todd and said that sounded like someone else calling. I no more than said it and looked forward to see a cow standing 40 yards in front of me. The cow was just standing there looking at us. Finally she took off up the mountain. I turned back to Todd and said do you want to kill this F'en bull!! He said very energetically YES! I told him get his a$$ 50 yards in front of me NOW!

Todd ran up to the next clearing as I proceeded to blow the woods up. I cut loose with a bugle followed up by some cow call. I kicked down a dead tree and started breaking every limb I could find. (Todd said he looked back in my direction thinking another bull had moved in behind us.) As I walked down further away from Todd. The bull let out a bugle followed up by a chuckle. I ripped off another bugle with everything I had and chuckled right back at him. I then grabbed a large stick and started raking a the dead limbs on the tree in front of me. I could hear the bull running at me then he rips of another bugle. Then I could see him in the clearing and then I see him hunch up and come running toward me. So I drop the stick and come to full draw. The bull runs up to ta clearing about 35 yards for me and stops. I put my pin on his vitals and get ready to release as I see blood painting the side of him right where I'm aiming. I think
Todd hit him yes! I say to my self should I shoot him again. Then the bull just falls over dead!! I watch him give his last kick of life and I let out a WOOHOO! I start walking to the bull and yell at Todd who is laying on the ground suffering from and adrenaline overdose. He didn't even realize the bull expired right I front of me. I said he's down, he said what. I say he's down right here. He makes his way over to me and the bull in total disbelief. And proceeds to fall apart. There where plenty of fist bumps. We just sat there in total disbelief of what just happened,1:15 in the afternoon. Remember it's 86+ degrees out. We snapped some pictures and I said I will be right back as I went to call our families and friend that was coming to hunt with us later that day.
 

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MT_elk

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What a great hunt and cool story. Congratulations!
 

Knot Tellin

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We started cutting up his bull. Using the gutless method. After finishing one side I went to try and get service to call Chris our friend coming to hunt with us on the way out I hear hey Keith is that you. Scared the crap out of me. Chris had found us in the middle of no where. We finished cutting up the bull and packed it out. 1 bull on the ground and a shopping cart full of groceries time to fill another.
 

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genesis273

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Now that's what it's all about! Loved the story, and great public land archery bull! Congratulations guys on getting it done!
 

Knot Tellin

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The rest of the hunt tomorrow. Got side tracked tonight. My son shot a whitetail doe as I was typing. More encounters and pictures to come
 

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Jwill

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And that is what it's all about! Looking forward to the rest of the story.
 

Knot Tellin

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Day 5 Todd went to get ice for his bull and some supplies. Chris and I went to kill a bull. We made our way into the woods and found some meadows on the side of the mountain and patiently listened for a bugle that never came. So we decided to push on. We worked our way along the side of the mountain. Then we heard something run up the mountain that sounded like an elk. We stopped and called a couple times and had a bull bugle right in front of us. We pushed forward a little and ran into a cow. I told Chris to drop back and call. Which he did but end more up the mountain than behind. He was able to call in a nice bull to about 50 yards but it offered no ethical shot opportunity. I could see the bull had at least 5 points on his left side. As the bull turned to walk away I tried to stalk into range but it was too thick and the bull was moving to fast. If we would have known the terrain a little better and made a little better plan of attack we would have killed the bull. But live and learn you learn way more from doing it wrong than doing it right.

After that Chris and I hiked around the mountain but never found and active elk. We finally sat down and waited for the evening thermals to take over so we could go set on wallows we had found. I snuck into the wallow I was going to hunt about 2-1/2 hrs before dark. I sat down on a log and looked up at the side of the mountain and had a bull standing there looking in my direction. I froze and just praying that he did not see me. He stood there for what seemed to be and eternity. Then finally started to come down toward the wallow. I thought come on buddy lets make this happen. Just then a cow made an appearance. Then another one, and calf, another cow another bull. In total there where at least 6 cows and calves a small bull and the original bull which looked to be a main frame 5x5 with some trash of his left whale tail. He proceeded to chase the cows around in front of me at 50 yards for an 1-1/2. He never bugled but chirped at the cows. There was to much brush in front of me to get a clear shot. I was afraid to move up on him cause I had so many sets of eyes. So I just sat put hoping he old come to the wallow I was watching. But no such luck he went to the other one I could not see and rolled then went after his cows. Right after he left the small bull come down and did some spins and jumps in front of me. I think he was trying out for the rodeo. Then he went after the heard. I moved up to where I could see where they had been crossing in front of me. Right at dark I could hear animals running me and chirping. I thought here we go. I pulled up my binoculars and could see a big cow coming right behind her was that damn little bull. He had stolen a cow and was running away with his prize. He chased the cow right down in front of me and stopped at 23 yards. Do I shoot her or let her walk, I decided to let here walk. They hung around till dark then made their we of into the dark. Meet up with Chris at the truck he got kinda messed up walking into his spot and jumped an elk, no shots.
 
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