First Elk hunt and it was a success! (Long post)

Elliot1987

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Messages
47
I’m a bit late on putting this up here as this hunt happened during Colorado’s muzzleloader season. I’ll start out by saying I research A LOT. I don’t watch much tv, instead I review maps, draw odds, prospective hunts and anything else that will help me be successful. This is by no means my first western hunt or hunt in the mountains or even my first trip to Colorado hunting. I’m an accomplished backpacker, but have only done a couple backpacking trips into the mountains.

My brother and a couple of his friends wanted to do an elk hunt, so they talked me into this hunt. I’ve actually never been that interested in elk hunting. I love mule deer and bear hunting. I suggested an area based off of information I gathered. The area I suggested was some pretty rough terrain, but that plays into my equation for success. When they all agreed I began to really dive into the research. Spending hours going over maps. I had plan A-z covered by the time the trip came. I will tell anyone that is planning to elk hunt in Colorado to pick a unit and go. Don’t spend too much time listening to people say the terrain is too tough or that the numbers are down. That just tells me I need to train harder and escout/plan better. Limitations are created by others, expand your limitations to leave the others behind.

We arrived opening weekend of muzzleloader season and I had zero plans of shooting an elk the first few days. We packed in about 2 miles from the trailhead. For a Minnesota boy gaining 1,500 ft of elevation in 2 miles starting at 10,500 ft I did pretty well as did the other guys because we prepared our bodies physically. We saw other hunters on the way in as well as all weekend. Things toned down by Monday. After analyzing where other hunters had been I found I was right on where the elk would be less pressured. By Tuesday I was on elk. I found a rub and I could smell the wallow all over it and knew it was really fresh. I let out a blind mew which must have pulled the elk out of his bed with his cows. He couldn’t decided to come toward me or stay with his cows and paced back and forth between us. I guessed this at the time because I couldn’t see him, I could only hear him. He was roughly 70-90 yards away. I moved slowly closer. I had been shying away from bugling as I am not very accomplished at it and I was worried he would just gather up his cows and trot off to avoid the fight. I did bugle when he stopped pacing toward me as he must have made up his mind to stay with his cows. Seconds after I bugled he did what I feared. He tried to gather up his cows and move away. The bugle I made was one of my best and I had confidence it didn’t spook him. His mistake was that he didn’t go directly away from me and instead went up the hill roughly 50 yards from me providing a brief opening. I mewed with my mouth call with my gun trained to the opening in the timber. He stopped and I was able to place a perfect shot on him broadside hitting both lungs. He dropped immediately. Before he fell I was reloading my gun without taking my eyes off of him, I had practiced this all summer. There was no need for a second shot as he had expired within the minute or two it took for me to reload and get to a better angle to shoot. I was alone and the heat concerned me as well as the flies/hornets so I took a couple pictures and worked quickly to get the meat hanging. Halfway through my brother found me and we were able to turn the elk over together. I will say this, I have cleaned some stinky animals in my life and grew up on a farm with cattle, goats, horses and chickens. This freshly wallowed elk take the cake as far as how terrible it smelled. The smell on my hands 2 afterwards would wake me up while I was sleeping if I put my hands too close to my face.

I know I am very lucky to have been successful and normally I am a very modest person, but I know my success was due to my preparations. I can boast about this because my waypoint titled, “overlooked bedding area” I dropped 3 months prior from my home in Minnesota was 398 yards from where I shot my elk. Am I a good elk hunter, no. Am I a good hunter yes, but only because I put in the work to be one. Anyone who is motivated enough can be successful, set your own limitations don’t let someone else set them for you.

The pack out was grueling, but at least it was down hill. Roughly 3.5 miles to the truck. I’ve never been so happy to be carrying that much weight on my back. I will also add that who you bring with you is a big deal. The guys I went with took the preparations seriously and they kept a positive attitude despite the adversity of everything. They were also more than happy to put a quarter in their pack and hike it to the truck.
 

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tdoubled

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
38
Nice work! Great write up and I can appreciate your process. Interesting how so very often, I found hunters "choosing" to not harvest or hunt a specific animal because the drainage is too far, rough, or some other limitations they've put on themselves. Congrats on getting it done.
 

EKYHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
736
Sounds like you’re proud of your accomplishment and you should be! Congrats to you on your hard work and the rewarding payoff!!! Beautiful bull.
 

Elliot1987

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Messages
47
Nice hunt, awesome attitude! A wallow stink you'll never forget :poop:😵‍💫🤪
Thanks! I can still smell that stink! We had some tenderloins the same night and I couldn’t even eat more than one slice. All I could smell and taste was elk wallow!
 

Elliot1987

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Messages
47
Nice work ! Any of your buddies fill their tags ?
Unfortunately no. With all of us together we saw 22 elk.
One guy shot and missed, but he tripped on some rocks the day prior that tore up his knees, pride and the fiber optic on his front sight, so I give him a pass on that clean miss.
 

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