MtnElk's Season of Firsts... Tag Soup Edition

MtnElk

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Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
589
Location
Conifer
First ever hunt. First elk hunt. First season Colorado.

Well, the day is here. After years of sitting on the sidelines wondering whether I should get into hunting, today I leave for an area a few hours north of me to chase elk. Now that I'm in it and doing it, it seems ridiculous to me that for so many years I was worried that I couldn't get into this without a mentor or family member. Oh well, no use worrying over what I missed in the past and instead looking forward to what comes next... which is hopefully a whole lot of elk and a full freezer. With a 1st season either sex tag and a 3rd season cow tag, I am hoping I'll be able to punch at least one of those tags. I'm so flipping excited just to be out there.


I'm excited to be hunting out of our converted van for this 1st season hunt as most of my spots are in one area and my backup / Hail Mary spots aren't far away either. My wife and daughter helped me get it all packed up and ready to go today, and we cooked a bunch of meals ahead of time to quickly heat up each night when I get home.

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The little one is home sick from school today, so its nice to get to eat lunch with the wife and daughter before heading out to "set up" camp. Just before we sat down for lunch, the little one made me this good luck melty bead sign... and even though the rack is upside down, it looks like a legal bull 😂


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A huge thanks to everyone on HT that has reached out, given me advice and checked in. I am wicked grateful for all the help and advice people have provided and hope that I can update this thread with great elk photos and one hell of an adventure story. No matter how this hunt turns out, I know its going to be a wicked fun time and a really rewarding experience.

Bryce
 

wllm

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Dec 9, 2015
Messages
16,505
Location
Boston
Good luck! Excited for the write up, remember the journey is the most important part, don't judge the experience as a success or failure by whether you end up with meat and antlers or not.

Sweet van BTW, do you have a second row of seats for the kiddo?
 

Dsnow9

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Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
2,178
Location
Colorado
Awesome man! Have a blast and enjoy it! As long as your learning your winning! Looking forward to hearing all about it!
 

TOGIE

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Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
3,301
Location
CO
man, i feel like i kinda missed the memo that this is your first hunt ever.

i love the wife and daughter helping you pack and cheering you on. go enjoy being outside, elk or no elk.

i'll be happy to pile on any advice or info so feel free to PM.

not that my advice or info is any good.
 

MtnElk

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Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
589
Location
Conifer
Wed 10/12 PM

Arrived at campsite to find two outfitters hauling their camp in - not the site I really wanted to see. But I am hopeful they are going to be way back beyond where I had hoped to hunt (2-3.5 miles). For tonight’s scouting missing, I hiked up behind my camp up a steep embankment on a bit of a Hail Mary mission. As you drive down this forest road, there is a steep hill to your right - but if look on a map, it all but benches out after a brutal climb. Was hoping I may have discovered a gem of a place, but it didn’t hold any elk currently. Lots of old sign, but I think this was an early season location as it would have gotten all the first sun and rain early on, so it was probably a feeding frenzy up there. Lots of variable sized tracks included calfs. Long gone now. But it was a beautiful night. Hoping an early AM hike in will produce some elk sightings and let me know whether it’s worth it to stay. This area is more heavily burned that I anticipated and originally witnessed on drive bys and short hikes. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.

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MtnElk

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Joined
May 17, 2022
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589
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Conifer
Thur 10/13 AM

Woke up at the ass crack of dawn, hoping to put eyes on my A spot in this area at first light, much like I would come Saturday when the season opens. Start off the day not paying attention and climbing 800 vertical feet in 1 mile… on the wrong trail. after quickly backtracking, I make my way to the right trail and proceed to hike 3.5 miles back to an overlook that looks down on a few benches, a glade with a small pond and river, and has views for 3 miles in all directions. During the course of what turned into a 9 mile day, I saw 8 deer, zero fresh elk sign or tracks and found an area even more burned than has been let on. If there were elk in there, it’s almost so bare that you wouldn’t need binos. Glassing for 3 hours in all directions, nothing popped up. What’s even more strange is that the area seems void of most wildlife - I saw no evidence of bear, fox, rabbit, squirrel…. None of the normal creatures I would expect to see in a healthy ecosystem.

cue Michael Scott telling Where Are the Turtles (can’t paste the gif, lame)

Alas, I am kicking myself for a rookie mistake. Until this past Monday, this spot was my spot to go if my first two didn’t work out. But for some reason I got in my head - after reading too many posts - that my other two spots required too much hiking. 12 miles later, seems like I still ended up with the miles lol

I’d rather hike a ton and see elk, than hike a little and see nada. The van has been moved and we are back to what was the primary spot. Going to rest up and glass tonight at dusk.

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MtnElk

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2022
Messages
589
Location
Conifer
Good luck! Excited for the write up, remember the journey is the most important part, don't judge the experience as a success or failure by whether you end up with meat and antlers or not.

Sweet van BTW, do you have a second row of seats for the kiddo?
We don’t have a second row seat yet, as we’ve brought a second car if the little one comes with. We are waiting on the van buildout company to sell us one of their new back row seats, that folds up perpendicular to the floor, so that you can still access everything else when it’s in. Hopefully soon!
 

Jwill

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Joined
Nov 7, 2011
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1,569
Location
Virginia
Fairly anecdotal, but I've seen elk in worse looking burns than that. Also, there will probably be a lot of elk on the move once the rifle shots start to ring out opening morning. Good luck!
 
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