2023 Colorado Elk and Deer

shannerdrake

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Indiana
HT Community,

I have been meaning to get this posted, but life has been getting in the way. I also originally wanted to do this as semi-live, but limited reception and exhaustion made me rethink that plan. I also didn't know exactly where to post this as it involves road tripping, elk hunting, mule deer, bear, and a tribute to man's best friend. I decided on the elk thread because for whatever reason, my wife and I have been calling it "The Elk Hunt" for months so it stuck.

PART 1

My hunting buddy and I had a track on a legendary moose hunt. I turned 40 this year so it seemed only fitting to celebrate by chasing moose in Alaska. I won't go into details, but the wheels fell off that plan in February/March so we decided to act quickly and see what we could pull off with our current points and pending draws. One of our best friends in the world lives in South Colorado and has leads on potential trespass hunt opportunities. Problem is we needed 3pts for a guarantee draw and we were only sitting on 2pts going into the draw. Wyoming point creep has hosed us the previous two years so we went in praying that Colorado would treat us better than WYO, but at the same time nervous to be putting our season yet again into a marginal point situation.

Ok enough drama - we drew muzzleloader elk, muzzleloader mule deer, and then picked up an OTC bear tag in the process. We quickly made plans and marked 9/8 as our departure date because season opened on 9/9. We spent the summer making all the necessary preparations, shot muzzleloaders, figured out our gear, vehicles, trailers, etc.
Labor Day weekend rolls around and knowing that we were leaving that upcoming Friday, we both spent some quality time with our families and make any last minute packing adjustments. Fast forward to Wednesday 9/6, my aging dog and best buddy John John, who has been fighting a few issues over the last couple years, took a turn for the worst. I ended up holding him most of the day on Wednesday and stayed up with him almost the entire night just waiting for the family vet office to open. I held out hope, but knew the truth, Thursday morning, we took our last ride together. He was the best dog a guy could have and he fought death for years. Most mortal dogs would have given in earlier, but he gave us several extra years and died just a few months short of his 18th birthday.
Handsome Man.jpg

Needless to say, I was a wreck after the whole affair and hunting was the farthest thing from my mind most of Thursday. However, I knew 5AM would come quickly so I did some last minute cooler packing and went to bed mentally and physically exhausted. Sleep didn't come easily and I believe I was finally out by midnight or so. My alarm went off at 5 and apparently it did for several minutes and my wife actually woke me up. I took a quick shower kissed my wife good by and walked out in time to see my buddy pull up with truck and trailer. We quickly packed my gear and were off. Only 17 hours of driving were between us and elk/deer/bear season!

The road trip is always fun and we looked forward to some familiar sights and stops along the way, like Mittens in Oakley, KS and getting a photo in front of the Colorado sign at the KS border. We also love to make a big deal out of the first antelope we see.
 
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PART 2

We pull into our friend's cabin at about 10AM local time. We are worn out, but beyond excited. We always show up with gifts for him and the family. This year we got all of the girls in the family personalized RTIC bottles, a set of blocks for the baby, some Sitka gear for him, and for those of you on the Bourbon Connosseur Thread, a bottle of Weller Special Reserve, a bottle of Eagle Rare, and a couple Cohiba cigars in case we got extra lucky.

After visiting too long, we went to bed around midnight local time and set our alarms for....yes 5am. 5am came too quick, but we were up and struggling to get ready with our stuff seemingly everywhere. Soon we were on the road and on our way to our spots. They were in the middle of a severe drought so we were planning on hunting around a few spots that held water. On our way down the road, a local herd ran in front of us. So we called a quick audible, parked and worked to get around them. We managed to get within 60 yards of the herd, but never could get eyes on them. We followed them through thick scrub oak. Eventually the wind swirled and they were gone. We sat a couple water holes without much action. We eventually decided to get back to camp to organize our stuff. Then hunted water again that evening with nothing to report. So ends day 1.
 
PART 3

We are up Sunday morning, seemingly no better rested. We went forward with the same plan as the day before. My spot was beautiful, but no deer. I tried a couple bugles to see if anything would respond back. Nothing. However, I took a great nap in the sunshine and was pretty sure I was woke-up by a boom, then I convinced myself I was dreaming and dozed off again. An hour later I hear my buddy on the road so I hike down to chat. I layout what I believe to be an amazing plan for the midday to which he replies "that sounds great, but maybe we should go get my deer out first..."

Jared Buck.jpg

Excited to be on the board, we get his deer out, get it gutted, skinned, boned out, and on ice. While eating lunch and celebrating our success, we see the clouds roll in. Let's pause here. Just a day before we left, we checked the weather on several apps and the forecast was for hot and dry. Then while driving out, we had several cooler (70s) days and two days with a chance of rain. By Sunday morning, the forecast was cool (60/50s for highs and 40s for lows) and rain every single day. Considering they only get 17 inches a year for precipitation, this seemed unlikely. Boy was I wrong. I didn't have nearly enough clothes, but luckily I had packed my rain gear.

Despite the rain and unbelievable lighting show, we went back out for an evening hunt. Sometimes thunder makes the turkeys gobble. Maybe it makes elk bugle?!?!? I decided to hike up a small hill that has a 20 acre meadow/pasture, a water hole, and an old storage shed on the edge. My thought is that it's food, water, and if the rain is too bad...shelter for me.

My friend and I crest the dam to the water hole and at the same time lock eyes with a mulie doe at 40 yards. We kneel down hoping that she won't bolt...but she does. I watch her run away, just in time to see a bachelor group of 3 mulie bucks, including one beautiful 4x4 with a kicker on his back right fork. After getting a good look at him through my binos, I get my muzzleloader in position and range him. 115 yards, which is doable. He's quartering too, but I feel good. He's nervous, but seems to be sticking around a little longer. I settle in and get comfortable with the shot, then BOOM!!!!! Lightening strikes on the ridge to the left. I jump, the deer jumps, we all jump and he runs off. He stops and gives me a super hard quartering away shot at 150 in the rain, but I elect not to shoot. My buddy who lives down the road is grinning ear from ear, says "that is bad luck." I ask him why he is smiling, he said "because that's the best mulie I've seen this year or last."

We hunt until dark thirty hoping that 4x4 with the kicker comes back, but he never does. We spot elk in a meadow half a mile away. Way too late to go after them, but we have a plan for the morning.
 
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PART 4

It is pouring! It is cold! It is windy! But we are 1000 miles from home and we have a bunch of tags. We had good intel on the elk from my hunt the night before. My buddy wins the coin flip and we agree that we will dump him out close to where they were the night before and I'll go to the backup spot. Admittedly we take too long to get ready and are not in a hurry to get out of the truck because it is raining in sheets. We slowly drive to our spot hoping it will let up, but knowing it won't. It is still very dark, but with binos you can glass the valleys and see shapes. We get close to where my buddy is going and we can just make out elk shapes!!!! So we let him out with a plan to connect back up in a couple hours.

Then I head further down canyon. There is a meadow and water hole I want to check. About two miles down the road I just happen to glass an opening and can see a loan bull standing in a grassy opening. I'm sure he sees the truck, and he trots into cover, but doesn't bust out of the county. I park behind some brush, put a cap in my muzzleloader, throw a diaphragm in my mouth, and check the wind and it is in my face. I haul it up a brushy draw and cow call making lots of noise. I get to the edge of my cover and have a decision to make. There is a 100 yard gap of open ground between me and the next patch of cover and I'm not sure where he is or isn't standing. I pause, glass and decide to cow call aggressively. After a few calls, he rips a bugle about 200 yards away on the other side of the cover and in the timber. I make a call and sprint across the opening and get in the cover. I cow call and work my way through a combination of oak brush, locust, and knee-high grass. Great cover. The cover I'm in transitions to pine timber in about 100 yards. For whatever reason I feel like he is just inside the timber. I pause, knowing I've made a lot of noise and cow call a few more times. He rips another bugle in my face. He's close. I can't see him, but i know he is just right there. I go to a belly crawl (mind you it is raining hard this whole time) and work up to get behind a bigger oak knowing that I might want the cover. I get to the oak and start picking apart the timber. Finally, I see a butt, has to be an elk! I clean my wet bino lens and look for him again, I pick up hide. Finally, I see what I think are antlers. He's well within 100 yards. There is an opening that would give me a great shot. It's to my right and if I can slide over to another clump of brush about 10 years away, I will have a great shooting lane. I crawl over there. I can see him, but no shot. He walks behind a big pine tree and I use that time to get up on a knee and rest my gun on a limb. I need him to walk a few more steps to his left, my right. I bend my head as far to the right as possible and put my hand up to deflect my call to the right and back and cow call softly. It works like a charm and he walks into my lane. His whole front half is there at 40 years and he is looking for me (a cow) hard, I stop him with a call and he freezes. I squeeze the trigger...
 
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PART 5

KABOOM!!!! Smoke and water vapor and rain and recoil and I have no idea what happened. I start cow calling like crazy. I know I have to reload. Shaking like a leaf from adrenaline and being super cold and super wet, I get probably half a powder charge down the tube, load a bullet, then try six times to get a primer loaded. I ease my way through the cover up towards the timber. I'm torn, if he is hit and struggling I need to get another one in him. If he is laying down and dying, I need to not jump him out of his bed. If I missed completely, maybe he is still looking for the cow that made "KABOOM" sounds???? Somewhere between a sprint and a crawl, I make it to the timber (I really don't remember) and I get to where he was when I shot. No blood, but not surprising, but I can see where she spun at the shot. I can see his tracks and I follow up the rise with my eyes and I freeze....elk butt. I pull the muzzleloader up and slowly work my way too him. When I shot my first bull with a 300WM, the bullet broke both shoulders, took out both lungs, and clipped his heart and he lasted three minutes...so no way my 50cal muzzleloader has him down this quick. I keep walking towards him and finally I get close enough to touch him. He's dead and was dead before I even reloaded.

It's a dream come true. I have since I was a very little guy read about elk hunting and calling in bulls in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life. I've killed a few elk, but have never called in a bull. Granted this was a combo stalk, call, ambush, I've hunted long enough to know that the cow calls were the only thing that gave me the chance. I snap a couple photos and realize that I have to get back to my buddy. I'm hoping maybe he has an elk.

I pick my buddy up and ask him about his hunt. He tells me he heard a couple bugles, but never saw them and was never in them, but is excited about the evening hunt. However, he'd like to go over to the south canyon and scout before lunch. I hand him my phone with a pic of my dead bull on it and say "that sounds like a great plan, but first check that out..." He looks with some shock and confusion. Then I say "but maybe we should get this bull out first..."
2023 Elk.jpg
 
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HT Community,

I have been meaning to get this posted, but life has been getting in the way. I also originally wanted to do this as semi-live, but limited reception and exhaustion made me rethink that plan. I also didn't know exactly where to post this as it involves road tripping, elk hunting, mule deer, bear, and a tribute to man's best friend. I decided on the elk thread because for whatever reason, my wife and I have been calling it "The Elk Hunt" for months so it stuck.

PART 1

My hunting buddy and I had a track on a legendary moose hunt. I turned 40 this year so it seemed only fitting to celebrate by chasing moose in Alaska. I won't go into details, but the wheels fell off that plan in February/March so we decided to act quickly and see what we could pull off with our current points and pending draws. One of our best friends in the world lives in South Colorado on and has leads on potential trespass hunt opportunities. Problem is we needed 3pts for a guarantee draw and we were only sitting on 2pts going into the draw. Wyoming point creep has hosed us the previous two years so we went in praying that Colorado would treat us better than WYO, but at the same time nervous to be putting our season yet again into a marginal point situation.

Ok enough drama - we drew muzzleloader elk, muzzleloader mule deer, and then picked up an OTC bear tag in the process. We quickly made plans and marked 9/8 as our departure date because season opened on 9/9. We spent the summer making all the necessary preparations, shot muzzleloaders, figured out our gear, vehicles, trailers, etc.
Labor Day weekend rolls around and knowing that we were leaving that upcoming Friday, we both spent some quality time with our families and make any last minute packing adjustments. Fast forward to Wednesday 9/6, my aging dog and best buddy John John, who has been fighting a few issues over the last couple years, took a turn for the worst. I ended up holding him most of the day on Wednesday and stayed up with him almost the entire night just waiting for the family vet office to open. I held out hope, but knew the truth, Thursday morning, we took our last ride together. He was the best dog a guy could have and he fought death for years. Most mortal dogs would have given in earlier, but he gave us several extra years and died just a few months short of his 18th birthday.
View attachment 293168

Needless to say, I was a wreck after the whole affair and hunting was the farthest thing from my mind most of Thursday. However, I knew 5AM would come quickly so I did some last minute cooler packing and went to bed mentally and physically exhausted. Sleep didn't come easily and I believe I was finally out by midnight or so. My alarm went off at 5 and apparently it did for several minutes and my wife actually woke me up. I took a quick shower kissed my wife good by and walked out in time to see my buddy pull up with truck and trailer. We quickly packed my gear and were off. Only 17 hours of driving were between us and elk/deer/bear season!

The road trip is always fun and we looked forward to some familiar sights and stops along the way, like Mittens in Oakley, KS and getting a photo in front of the Colorado sign at the KS border. We also love to make a big deal out of the first antelope we see.
18 years! Condolences on the loss of a dear friend and family member.
 
Great story and wight up
Sorry about your pup Ive always had labs lost last one a little over yr ago now have a shih tzu too they are great dogs
 
Great story and wight up
Sorry about your pup Ive always had labs lost last one a little over yr ago now have a shih tzu too they are great dogs
I grew up with hunting dogs (cocker spaniel, English pointer, beagle, Bassett) and have had labs for the last 20 years. My Shih Tzu John John was raised by a lab (Jake) and then raised my current lab (Jada). Despite being 18lbs he always thought he was one of the big dogs. He was without a doubt the best I’ve ever owned.

Thanks for the condolences!
 
PART 6

I never get over how big these things are. You know they are 3x larger than a deer, but until you put your hands on them, you seem to forget. Here we are, hundreds of pounds of animal and the pouring rain. Luckily, we can get a side by side close to him and our buddy who lives out there has a flatbed truck that has a headache rack and a winch that he uses for ranch work, so we decide to take him out whole. A week later, I still can't decide if we saved any time, but it was a cool experience none the less.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention some gear. I was using a 20 year old Remington Genesis muzzleloader (clone of a Traditions Yukon) that I have tweaked and modified to shoot Buckhorn 209. I used a max (84gr by weight) charge of BH209 and a Federal Copper BOR Lock 270 grain bullet. I was so wet after that hunt that I poured standing water our of my boots and when I changed, I could wring my underwear out. I drug my gun through knee high grass and when I shot both my peep and my front globe were dripping water. However, the muzzleloader went boom without even the slightest hint of hang fire. It is finicky, but BH209 is worth it. Now the bullets - shoot these things! They are unbelievable. I have shot two elk, two mule deer, and a whitetail with them. I've also been part of two other mulies shot with them. They always mushroom beautifully, never break up and seem to always be sitting under the opposite hide. My 2020 bull went 10 feet before tipping over. My 2023 bull went 20 yards. Two of the four mulies fell in their tracks and the other two died within sight. These things are awesome.

2023 Elk Bullet.jpg
2023 Elk Lung.jpg

The rest of the morning and midday involve getting him out of the field and as luck would have it, there is a small processor about 40 minutes away who in my opinion does a fantastic job. We were able to get ahold of him and he agreed to get it processed with a rush fee and have it done before I left town. This is a huge win and made it easier to keep hunting. With the continual rain, neither my hunting partner nor I minded a little windshield time. So we drove into town, dropped the bull off for processing and grabbed a burger at a local restaurant. It was a good day.

However, worth noting, when I saw that 4x4 with a kicker that was spooked by the doe I spooked and the lightening, I told my buddy who lives out there something like "I'm here for an elk and I'd take any legal bull over any deer, but if I take that deer home, this would be a successful hunt. I'm happy to hunt him the rest of the trip."

Therefore, with the elk tag notched, I decided to spend the next four days trying to catch-up with that mulie! That night I ended up watching the meadow I bumped him from. No luck, but it was still a good day.

We closed out day 3 (Monday) tired, wet, and with no additional animal sightings.
 
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PART 7

Tuesday morning. More rain and even colder temps. We wake up to cold rain. The temps are in the low 40s and the drizzle is steady. We carry on much as before with my hunting buddy hunting the freshest elk sign and I go back to the meadow where I saw the 4x4 with the kicker.

I'd like to have some great story, but it was a slow and wet day and I'm not sure either of us saw any animals. We did take a midday break just to warm up and dry-off (we called it "scouting") and we don't see any elk or deer, we do bump into a bear or two. Nothing big except for a massive sow, but she had a cub so we didn't pay her much attention.

I go back to what I've named 4x4 Meadow and my buddy tries slow walking ridges and calling to see if he can find fresh sign or get a bugle.

No elk sightings, a few does and a spike. We have a warm dinner and get in dry sleeping bags. 5am sure comes quick.
 
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PART 8

Wednesday morning - starts like the previous two mornings, it's cold and rainy. Just like before, I drop my buddy off to chase unicorns (I mean elk) and I head back to 4x4 Meadow. This time I sit in the old shed mentioned earlier because I am over the rain. I also had downloaded the newest Longmire Mystery (I recommend it for the folks over on the "What Are You Reading Now" thread) so by now I am full on in Indiana whitetail mode. I sit still. I read 2-3 pages. Scan everything. Glass anything that catches my eye. Read 2-3 pages. Scan everything...you get the point.

I get some cell service and I check the radar and it looks like the storms are going to break for the midday, maybe a little bit of sunshine and the wind is going to calm down. We don't hunt late into the morning and decided to meet back at camp, get some dry clothes on, eat a good lunch and get back out early.

By this time I have sat 4x4 Meadow Sunday evening, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Tuesday evening, and now Wednesday morning. I drove out west to stretch my legs and have an adventure, not read a Longmire book waiting for a single deer to enter the valley. However, I reflected on how excited I was when I saw that 4x4 with the kicker and during a midday call to my wife shared just how full of gratitude and appreciation I was for having the chance to hunt and take that elk. For some reason, I resisted the urge to see some new country and with a break in the rain and sun rays poking through for the first time since Sunday morning, I just feel good. And I'm about 3/4 the way through that new Longmire book and gosh it's getting good. I'm right there with Walt piecing together the mystery.

I hike back to 4x4 Meadow for my sixth sit with extra clothes, drinks, food, my book, and a happy heart. For some reason, it feels like a good evening. I'm not setup long before some rain rolls in, but it's a weird rain that falls while the sun is still out. I know it won't last long. However, I decide to setup in the old storage building. Mind you, building is an overstatement. Its smaller inside than a sheet of plywood, but it has a metal roof and someone before me had pulled of a couple rows of siding a few feet up so you could see out. It really made a pretty darn good hunting blind.

Problem is, whoever pulled the planks off must have been a foot or more shorter than me. I have to kneel or squat down to see the top of the ridge. However, I settle into my routine of read a few pages, look around, and every few cycles I kneel down and check the ridges. The special feeling I had is starting to manifest. I see a lot of deer. Mostly does and a couple spikes, but they are up and moving a couple hours before sunset. It just feels like a night animals would move. About an hour before dark (primetime in my book) nature calls. I make an assessment that I can't hold it for an hour, but I also decide that it's not a great time to be stepping out of the blind.

I look down about 18 inches of the ground an notice that there is an extra large gap between boards three and four. I pretty sure that when I kneel down to glass the ridge, everything else would line up nicely. I'm a two birds with one stone kind of guy, so my next glassing session affords me some needed relief.

Mid-stream, I start my slow glass of the ridge but I catch something that doesn't belong out of the corner of my eye in a thicket about 100 yards away. I slowly work my binos over there. Sure enough it's a buck. I take a big breath and brace myself and get him into focus. It is a buck. A NICE buck! I can only see one side, but there's four and I'm getting excited. Could this be "my" buck!?!?!?!? He turns his head and I can see there's no kicker on the right side. So it's not him. But dang his right side still looks great. I think I'm going to take him.

I reach back to my side and get my muzzleloader. I rest the barrel on the sling to stay quiet and I get comfortable. All he needs to do is walk 10-20 more yards and he will be broadside, out of the brush and less than 80 yards. Stay cool buddy and wait. I mentally shoot him a dozen times. I walk through my mental checklist. I even take my gloves off to get a better feel on the trigger. I just have to wait. He's quartering towards me and I have I have a little window to his front right shoulder, so I check periodically and make sure I'm lined up.

He just stands there. Scratches his face with his hoof. Scratches his back with his antlers. Eats some locust leaves. Looks around. But he doesn't see me. He doesn't know I'm here. Right?

Then that's when it happens. I feel the slightest puff of wind on the back of my neck and he goes from eating leaves to locking eyes. Shoot that has me rattled. He went from relaxed to tense. I decide it's now or never. I get back on the gun and put my front sight right on the point of his right front shoulder and try my best to not jerk the trigger. KABOOM!!!!!
 
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PART 9

The smoke clears. My ears are ringing. He's just standing there. What in the world happened!?!?!?!?! I quickly but quietly start to reload and he just suddenly tips over. I'm relieved, but decided to reload. I'm trying to get a stupid primer on (I hate those things) and he lifts his head up! Then it falls down. Ok. Just the death throws. I finish reloading, tuck in, zip up, and I take a couple steps and he starts to lift his head up again. Then it falls back down. What is happening? I tell myself to chill out and I sit down about 50 yards from him and wait a little bit, but keep my gun on him just in case. A few minutes go by and he doesn't move. I decide he's dead. I walk up to him. Gosh, he's nicer than I thought. Focus. I circle around and get a look at him square on for the first time. No kicker, but who cares! I start to set my gun down to put my hands on him and he locks eyes with me and his eyes get as big as saucers and he jumps up!!!!! He stumbles towards me and I'm thinking how embarrassing it's going to be to get scratched up by a velvet buck. He turns then takes three huge bounds. He lands the last jump and his legs get real shaky and he's going to fall. Screw that...BOOOM! I drop him there.

I don't reload this time....because I left my pack and I have to walk past him to get to it. This time there's no doubt and he is done. Gosh he seems like a good buck. By this time it is getting late. I know my buddy who is elk hunting will be by shortly to pick me up and I know we can drive right to him (he actually ran to and died on a trail). I snap a couple photos and gather up my stuff and walk down to the road to wait on my buddy. He comes by a few minutes later and says "they made our favorite dinner (jalapeño poppers and pork loin) and I'm ready to eat my weight in poppers." I said "that's great, but can you help me get this buck out first?" as I hand him my phone.
2023 Mule Deer.jpg
 
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Sorry to hear about your pup, I feel your pain. Congratulations on your success in Colorado. That’s a beautiful buck,I’d love to kill one in velvet.
 
PART 10

He just gets better the more I look at him. Maybe to the western folks out here who hunted mule deer their entire lives, he just looks like any 4x4. But to a kid from Indiana who was an adult before he saw the mountains he's full velvet and he's gorgeous. To say that I'm grateful is an understatement. I've filled an elk and a deer tag with a muzzleloader. What a dream come true.

Here's where the story get's interesting. I did this same hunt in the fall of 2020 and took a beautiful mainframe 6x6 bull elk that scored right at 300 inches. I just share that for context. On that same hunt I also shot a 3x4 150in mule deer. Both with a muzzleloader and only 24 hours apart. I had never had anything mounted in my life and this at the time seemed like a once in a lifetime event. I took both the 2020 elk and mule deer along with my first trip to the taxidermist. After leaving my deposit and my best wishes, I drive away. Fast forward, numerous unanswered emails and calls 18 months later, I finally find out that the taxidermist's studio burned down, along with all the mounts that he wasn't working on, and he left town with his insurance money and all our deposits. I was really disappointed. I realize that they were and are just antlers and memories, but it didn't feel good regardless. Wyoming also rewarded me another bonus point instead of a tag that same day I found out that my antlers were charcoal. I remember sitting there frustrated and my wife said "don't worry, you'll just go back out there and shoot another elk and a mule deer." I said "thanks, I know you mean well, but no one shoots an elk and a mule deer with a muzzleloader on the same trip....let alone twice." Let's just say my loving wife didn't say "I told you so" but she said it with her eyes.

The hunt ended Friday morning with no additional shots fired after my deer. I did get to share a couple great sunrises and a sunset with my best friend and hunting buddy without the weight of filling a tag on my shoulder. It's fun to observe hunts without holding a gun. We actually hiked up and sat on the rock the last night of our hunt where I had successfully harvested my 2020 bull. That brought back a bunch of great memories.
Landscape Photo.jpg

After the Friday morning hunt, we packed up and began the 18 hour drive back east and back to reality. One more gift from nature. Not terribly long into our home trip, we cross through a section of Comanche Grasslands and can't help but to notice that there are a lot of black circles on the road. We stop to check one out and can't believe our eyes. A giant spider! Some quick research and we learn that it is the annual Oklahoma Brown Tarantula migration and we've stumbled into the middle of it. What a week!
Tarantula.jpg

We had another week of amazing memories and beautiful families waiting for us back in Indiana. My favorite line from the movie Moneyball has Brad Pitt's character asking rhetorically "How can you not be romantic about baseball?" I'm not a big sports fan, but I often find myself quoting that with a little twist - How can you not be romantic about hunting?

The freezer is full. My deer is waiting at what I hope is a more trustworthy taxidermist and my elk skull is simmering away at 155 degrees in a cooler of water powered by my sous vide immersion circulator (thanks HT community for the tips on that).

The HT community has been with me every step of the way on my western hunting experiment. I reached out and annoyed the hell out of a few of you before I left on my first trip in 2017. I've got to pay that back to a few new guys myself. I've shared and gained recipes and picked up lots of tips. This forum has been a great place. Thank you all who have read this and for allowing me a space to document my amazing experiences.

Sous Vide Euro.jpg
Trophy Freezer.jpg

Seriously, how can you not be romantic about hunting?
 
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