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2023 Colorado Elk and Deer

Awesome write up and congrats on that stud buck! I just returned from a muzzy hunt in that general area and saw lots of those spiders…
 
Sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. Always so tough. Congratulations on the great hunt and thanks for taking us along !!
 
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..."
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I love how it goes the same as the deer, “that sounds great but maybe…” ha! And when I read the part about still looking for the cow that makes kaboom sounds I laughed out loud that was hilarious! Congrats man great write up!
 
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.

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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

Nice shot!
 
I’ve made some ground meat meals with this bull and he really is tasty. However, I’ve been wanting to do a reverse sear roast, but my pellet grill has been down. I finally fixed it this week and tried the roast out tonight. Wow. Honestly, I prefer it to most roast beef I’ve had.
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Great write up! congrats!
How did the skull mount go with the sous vide? how long did it have to go?
 

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