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Hunt recap - first elk

I went into this past third rifle season with a bull elk tag, a doe tag, and a strong desire to find some success. The cow elk from last year that my hunting partner killed and we split had run out, the deer I had killed earlier this year on a private land tag had tested positive for cwd, and despite some close calls I hadn’t connected with a cow elk during the archery season. I just had one turkey breast left over from the spring! Plus, I had yet to kill an elk of my own despite quite a bit of hard effort and close calls.

I headed out Thursday morning so that there would be 3 prime time glassing opportunities before opener so that we could ideally get it done opening morning before things get blown up. Our style is generally ultra mobile, glassing based - don’t go in anywhere that we haven’t seen elk but definitely willing to hike fairly hard to glassing vantages and will backpack camp when advantageous.

I went in with a bunch of new glassing spots in mind at a lower elevation band then previous hunts since this was the first time I had been there in 3rd and I had heard they were lower during first season. However, when I arrived Thursday afternoon and headed up the first access road on my list there were more camps and horses down low than I had ever seen including a camp at the new spot I had been planning to hike in from. So I scraped that and drove higher up into the snow to hit a phenomenal glassing spot that had literally always presented elk. Sure enough within a few minutes of glassing I spotted elk on the far side. The thing is though, this place is the last spot you wanna have to pack an elk out of - the access is on the top and you drop into a wicked steep 2200’ deep canyon. Towards the end of light I spotted a lone bull on the near side fairly far up the canyon - not a terrible spot. This made me feel that the elk where no longer lower down and would probably be found in the same areas we have found them in past years.

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Congratulations on a great hunt and bull.
I love reading these stories. Great write up and thank you for taking us all along with you. Congrats on a fine animal and a full freezer.

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