Llama Drama - Part Deux The Lazy Bugler

wllm1313

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This tale begins with death. Beware of the kamikaze deer.

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Long haired vegans were picked up, convinced this was going to be a gentle "hiking" trip into the backcountry.

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Lightly loaded we took our first of many breaks as we ventured further into the woods. (30lbs and 20lbs of weight respectively)

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Between llama pick up, driving to trailhead, and packing we didn't start on the trail until 2:30pm.
Llamas don't seem to love walking in the evening, prime feeding time?
Trail miles came slow the first day and we only made it 7 miles, arriving to our first camp just before dark.

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The next day we made our way the 5 or so miles to our base camp.

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wllm1313

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Opening morning we made our way up through the timber and spooked some elk.

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Had a cow come in hot to a call


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About 2/3 up the mountain, we found a patch of dark timber that was boxed in on two sides by cliffs, we decided to try and do an elk drive. Joe waited on a well used game trail while I walked up the middle of the timber. I bumped this spike, a 4x5, and a couple of cows to Joe. Both of us had shots, but that really wasn't the kind of bull we wanted to pack out 15 miles.

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It was about 11am at this point. We decided to push up to the summit through a basin in order to get to a good glassing point for the evening.

10 min into our climb we heard a bugle rip, and then another and then another from just below us, the 4x5 and the spike had circled back into the timber below me so we figured it was probably those two young bulls playing grab-ass.

We got into the basin and the cacophony continued.

We had some lunch, took a 45 min nap, let the wind shift so it was blowing up hill.

Glassing the opposing ridges the conversation turned to plans for the evening, tomorrow, etc.

It was going to take us a bit to get back to camp... and we probably weren't going to come back up here again...

so we talked ourselves into the bull.

Lunch spot
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wllm1313

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I realize as I approach the apex of this narrative that I forgot to introduce the cast of characters, well character. Most know me as the garrulous technologist, that is often a bit to big for his britches (foreshadowing).

The other character is Joe.

Joe and I met through a mutual acquaintance, a transplant to CO, we have very similar interests, hobbies, and spouses in the same profession.

On the forum we have had a number of threads on adult onset hunters, new hunters, etc. Joe is that guy that everyone hopes to meet. We chatted via email, I gave him some advice on spots, he burned some serious boot leather on his own. His dedication piqued my interest and we planned a late season cow hunt. Joe hit the paint hard, we did 11 miles a day got into lots of elk. He kept his composure and positivity when things went south.

Seems like great humans are in sort supply these days. Joe's the kind of guy anyone would want around their fire.

Joe didn't get an elk last year, and was looking for redemption. If I'm being honest, I felt like I had left a task uncompleted and was looking to settle the score with the mountain.

Getting an elk is hard, getting someone else an elk...
 
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wllm1313

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Back to the matter at hand.

We descend the ridge and are immediately greeted by a bugle. It's 2:15pm and hot.

"I don't know man that bugle sounds pretty raspy, doesn't that mean he's older" - Joe

"Nah, man it's mid October during the middle of the day no older bull is bugling unsolicited for hours on end" - [forum member who causes the likes of greenhorn to roll his eyes on just about every thread]

We creep forward.

I'm softly cow calling trying to get the bull to move towards us.

Lots of bugles no movement.

We edge forward until we hit a rock slide.

Bugles.... bugles... bugles

Screw it we cross the slide in the open trying not to twist ankles, making more noise than a couple of drunk teenagers trying to sneak back into their parents house.

Bugles.
 

wllm1313

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Crossing the slide we enter the timber, wind in our face. I pull out my binos and catch a few cows filing past.

I glance at Joe, he puts a round in the chamber and moves forward.

"He's right here"- Joe

"I see him"- wllm1313

 
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wllm1313

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"Don't take this the wrong way, but I want to do the gutt'n and gill'n"

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High shoulder neck shot.

Boned out weights
51.8 - Rear
48.9 - Rear
36.8 - Front + Neck
17 - Trimmed Front/ Neck
27.5 - Back strap, tenderloin, skirt, brisket left
27.5 - Back strap, tenderloin, skirt, brisket right
24 - Skinned head jaw removed

Total 233.5lbs

From shot to loaded packs 3hrs 45 min.
 
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wllm1313

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Here we made an interesting choice.

Bull was 1.09 miles and 1800 vertical feet. Llamas probably weren't going to be game for the shwack... we didn't want to return.

One trip a bull, 2 guys... how hard could it be.

Joe had a light pack with just food, I had my camera, med kit, spotter and tripod.

4hrs later

Here's the thing about heavy packs + handheld sacks of meat, you tend, like water, to “flow” with the contour of the land.

We got sucked into willow hell. Last 150 yards took us 45 min. 🤮
 
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Dsnow9

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Awesome story and trip! I feel like you still left us hanging on the kamakazi deer though! Nothing about the new hunting rig?!?! And what ended up happening to the deer? Haha
 

rtraverdavis

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Phenomenal write up (and pictures) and a great bull. What a cool surprise for you guys that he wasn’t what you thought he was.
 

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