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Caribou Gear Tarp

CO ML Success

shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Indiana
Headed out to South Central Colorado for my first muzzleloader hunt. I have several posts in the ML section from the summer documenting my preparation for this trip. After three years of points, three years of waiting, and a spring and summer of prep, my hunting buddy and I pulled out of my Indiana driveway at 5:30AM EST on 9/11. The trip out was awesome and we were full of excitement. Many overpasses had proud American's waiving flags in honor and remembrance of those who fell on 9/11.

We pulled into our "camp" at about 10PM local time that night. There was still snow on the ground from a freak storm earlier in the week. It was chilly and we were full of anticipation. We had a an elk ML tag, mule deer ML tag, and a bear rifle tag. Hunting is always difficult, but we were optimistic and excited.

Opening day came and went as did the next morning hunt. We heard no bugles and saw no animals. Our enthusiasm was quickly curbed, but we had 6.5 days to hunt and nothing but time.

Our luck would quickly change Sunday night when my partner and I came across a bachelor group of six mule deer. I will post on the deer threads the full story, but the short of it is we managed to take two nice bucks out of the group. By the time we got the bucks out and back to camp, skinned, caped, and quartered, it was a very late night and we went to bed at about 2AM.

Up again the next morning at 5AM and dragging we decided to sit over and sleep at some watering holes and did not see anything.

That night we decided to hunt a new chunk of property that we had scouted midday on Sunday. There was some elk sign, but not much. Walking in that evening we discussed our standards and decided I should probably consider shooting a cow as my freezer was extremely low on elk meat. We went to the best sign we had seen, setup about 1.5 hours before dark and let out about four cow calls. Nothing. Three days into this prime rut hunt we had yet to hear a bugle. I allowed my mind to wander as I glassed a distant hill, when I heard my buddy whisper, "don't move....nice bull."
 
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shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Indiana
We had setup behind a very large boulder which would become a curse and then a blessing. I was running my new ML setup utilizing the Williams Gunsight Western Precision peep and globe, BH209, and Federal BOR Lock Trophy Coppers moving along at 1950FPS. I was dead centered at 150 and had a MBPR of 175yds. I had practiced several times through the COVID lockdown and felt really good out to the 150yds. I first saw him at 160 yards on the wrong side of the property line.

I had scouted the area the previous afternoon and saw that the elk were dropping down off the oil service road we were setup on and jumping the fence at a low point. As soon as his eyes disappeared below the road, I used that time to drop prone, get a good rest and get ready. Sure enough he popped back up on the road having crossed exactly where I had anticipated. He was at 130 yard, in my sights....and walking directly at me. Mentally I was already gutting him. However, he continued to walk directly at me and I really wanted a broadside shot at least a quartering shot. It likely only took seconds, but felt like minutes, he kept coming right at me! Still no great shot. Problem was the cursed/blessed boulder would soon take away any shot and I'd have to wait for him to cross past the boulder, into my scent stream (that I had tested seconds before I saw him), at only 20 yards. I felt like this was not going to be good.

Finally at about 60 yards he turned and gave me a sharp quartering to shot. I decided this is the best I was going to get. I took my time and touched off a shot. He took a step and just stood there. The last two elk I shot took a kill shot and acted like it didn't even happen. I waited for the smoke to clear and literally started looking for a bullet hole on him.
 
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shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Indiana
"I think you missed." I can barely hear, the cursed/blessed boulder and rock wall seemed to amplify the shot. Through the ringing of my ears I hear, "you missed, reload." I literally role to the ground behind the boulder and somehow with shaking hands, manage to load another shot while laying on my back. I'm not sure how much BH209 I spilled in the process, but I can tell you that it doesn't taste good. The entire time this is happening (which felt like minutes, but was only moments) my buddy is throwing soft cow calls in all directions. The bull knows something is wrong, but he doesn't want to leave that cow. I peak around the rock and see him look away, and I get back into position. This time I decide that under no circumstances am I taking anything less than a broadside shot...wind be darned. There was a nice crossing trail at about 55 yards that my scouting had shown elk were using. I really hoped he would take that trail. Finally he decided he had about had enough of whatever the heck was going on up on that ridge and decided that 55 yard trail would be nice. FINALLY, he turns perfectly broadside with a cursed tree between us. I have no choice but to wait. He eventually clears the tree and decides to move it out of there, I tell my buddy "stop him" hoping he'd blow a call. My buddy couldn't hear me as his ears were ringing and he had already plugged them expecting a shot and not wanting to lose his last bit of hearing. "STOP HIM" I say louder, but he still can't hear, but the bull does, he pauses in time for me to pull the trigger.
 
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shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Indiana
This time, the smoke clears and I see the hole right behind his shoulder and 1/3rd up from the bottom....perfect! He basically stands there and looks around like elk seem to do even though they are dead on their feet. I roll behind the rock (again) and reload (again) and taste the sweet bitterness of BH209 (again). By the time I'm up, he has fallen in the middle of the service road. Done deal I think. Nope, he gets up again, just 10 yards away is the drop off from the road, a ridiculously steep hill, and another 10 yards from that, the property line. I shoot again. This time he falls. Then in bull elk fashion, he uses his last bit of energy to wiggle towards the edge. I'm confident he won't cross the fence, but I'm not excited about him falling down the drop-off. I load again, this time on my feet just in time to watch him slide off the road. I decide that stealth is no longer important and spring down the ridge I'm on down to where he is. I find his antlers entangled in a tree and him struggling for his last breaths. Out of respect for the wood's most amazing creature, I put a third shot in him, this time it's over for good.

I finally sit down about 10 feet from him, barely able to comprehend what had just happened. All this time, energy, money, waiting, effort, and hope has paid off. A flatlander from Indiana is sitting next to a beautiful bull. It takes me a minute, but I finally walk up to him and he gets more impressive each moment. I'm exhausted, I had only slept a couple three hours the night before due to the mule deer and tonight will be another long one. I'm ecstatic (or as Randy's Uncle Larry says "exotic"), but silent. I take the silence to thank God for the opportunity and the blessings in my life. I also thank him for sending a potentially deaf bull :) .

I gut him as the evening turns to pitch dark, fighting the extreme slope he died on the entire time, but appreciating gravity's help after I finally cut it all loose. I can't help but notice how well his blood is draining too; I know he will be delicious. My buddy had decided that we could probably get an ATV to him, we agree that it's worth the try as it could turn an all-night into a late-night. Knowing he is still an hour out, I lay down and take in the night. Colorado was under a state-wide burn ban so I was unable to light a fire as I waited, but that turned out to the real blessing. With no moon in the sky, but a crystal clear night, the milky way was so bright and so close, I was certain if I reached up, I could touch it.
 
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shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Indiana
As you all like to say, it only happened if there are pictures. Here are a few. One is the bull himself with me for scale, the other is an "as he lay" I snapped right before it got too dark. I've also included a picture of the slug I pulled off his off shoulder. If you were wondering what happened on the first shot, the cursed boulder had a beautiful 50cal groove cut in it. Apparently I waited a little to
 

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beginnerhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
1,037
Wow, fantastic story. You guys really cleaned up. I dont think most people could fill that many tags in one trip.
 

maconbacon

Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
35
Location
Kansas
"I think you missed." I can barely hear, the cursed/blessed boulder and rock wall seemed to amplify the shot. Through the ringing of my ears I hear, "you missed, reload." I literally role to the ground behind the boulder and somehow with shaking hands, manage to load another shot while laying on my back. I'm not sure how much BH209 I spilled in the process, but I can tell you that it doesn't taste good. The entire time this is happening (which felt like minutes, but was only moments) my buddy is throwing soft cow calls in all directions. The bull knows something is wrong, but he doesn't want to leave that cow. I peak around the rock and see him look away, and I get back into position. This time I decide that under no circumstances am I taking anything less than a broadside shot...wind be darned. There was a nice crossing trail at about 55 yards that my scouting had shown elk were using. I really hoped he would take that trail. Finally he decided he had about had enough of whatever the heck was going on up on that ridge and decided that 55 yard trail would be nice. FINALLY, he turns perfectly broadside with a cursed tree between us. I have no choice but to wait. He eventually clears the tree and decides to move it out of there, I tell my buddy "stop him" hoping he'd blow a call. My buddy couldn't hear me as his ears were ringing and he had already plugged them expecting a shot and not wanting to lose his last bit of hearing. "STOP HIM" I say louder, but he still can't hear, but the bull does, he pauses in time for me to pull the trigger.
Awesome hunt and bull!

I know from the ML forum you’re shooting BH and copper federal bor locks. How did you like their performance on the bull?
 
Yeti

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