NM elks...


Well-known member
Jan 8, 2015
...fickle critters.
Been a dead quiet rut. Nocturnal activity. Big moons. Elk scattered everywhere. All along the hwy at night.

Just sent a text to Ty who is on his way with his bro. To hunt bulls, 140ac RO tags. A buddy of BF who I met last year. Bison ranchers.
Told him the weather will be perfect fall NM temps. 70's and high 30's in morning. Not a peep, but they have been here.
Tracks tell the story. Water and feed in the open is the draw.
The trick is catching them before they leave.

Bacon on the smoker. Big pot of NM chile ready,tortillas. Rio sound asleep on the couch.
It's about to get busy on the Rockin' Double J!
Well, sort of.

Oh, the message was a tease. The link to the huge bull ,pending record 430...insane huge....and another taken 10 miles from here green scored 404.
This should be fun.
Ty just called an they're headed for Farmington to get tags and be here around midnight.
Hunt on opening day. Manana.
Stumble out and see what it looks like.
Good plan. NM style. lol

I have the NM ranch bacon and eggs covered. More on way,MT ranch style. NM chile and fresh tortillas, the thick flour ones.
Tri-tip tomorrow. And I have to take a couple chunks of elk backstrap out...to make room for 50lbs of bison grind.
I have the firewood permits. Fresh fuel and saws ready.
Fair trade for the tags.

Rio knows there's something afoot. He won't leave my side and he tore a claw...ouch.
Might have to sneak over and see what pies are ready.

Life is good.
1230 , I hear a truck. They made it. 17 hrs.
A spike crosses the road on the way in.
As soon as the truck is off a faint bugle.
Ty & Todd are all smiles...in the dark.
I tell them to sack out and I'll wake them at 0630 and we'll see what we see. I'll guide them.

0530 and faint bugles.
Have my new Prana pants and boots on, ready. Rio is out like a light next to me.
Bino harness ready, wind checker in pocket. Jacket by the door.
This should be fun.
I slipped out without Rio the wiser.
Sawing logs they were. I woke them and got them a cuppa.
Several bulls softly bugling in the dark. Getting light. Time to go look see.
Of course non can be seen easily at 1st. I see cows across the valley. Gone into the trees.
Ty bugles and gets one right on my road to reply...another up the valley joins.
Then they all head into the trees elsewhere. One last tease from the guy right here as he heads up the mesa.
I see one we had missed with a cow just on my neighbors. Ty and Todd ask where is he. Then he squeeks from a dip on the other side of the fence.
Rio wants out and I leave the guys to glass and call.
Ty finds some great tracks.
Todds 1st elk hunt and 3 real bulls are about . One distant shot heard on opening morning.

They're out now setting up the tent.
Chance of showers is the word as they have brought a cold front and the elk are enjoying it.
More noise from the elk than all the last week.
Not a peep from the outfitter camp that appeared down the valley last night.

Todd finds 2 small tarantulas to take home for his son. Did not know they can climb a clean plastic bucket.
I have a freezer full of bison grind.
Rio is their best friend now. He had been running around like a puppy and now fast asleep.

They made the mistake of bad choices on road food. Taco Bell was the ...un-clincher. LOL ,luckily no clothes were harmed.
NM chile should fix them up. LOL
They brought a new canvas tent they got a deal on. Montana Canvas. 18x34...Montana hangar,just enough room for 2 guys. LOL

We checked sign by the tanks. Tracks past the house. Rubs.
Big bull tracks.

They took a drive for beer, and are now making bison tacos. Evening hunt in works.

I pigged on chile and tortillas with Rio. He approves of the bison meat snacks. We both do. He likes the guys. They like him.
He's staring out the window watching for them to walk by or something.

I'll have the energy for a bbq manana.
77 today and sunny. Rain in the area tonight and tomorrow.
They know the lay of the place and are on their own now. They pinned 5 bulls in the area this morning total.
No hunters visible anywhere here.

Rio sees them now and gives a low growl. For show.

Real nice folks.
We have plans for a couple habitat projects next year already.
Hunt dates in NM work great for hardworking guys from MT it turns out. Catch up time on the ranch. A free week in Oct.
Turns out their stepdad and I had some things in common. Service in the Nam.
Their step grandpa may have sunk my dad's ship in 1939...research in works. Too many coincidences in time frame. WOW!
A small world on a small NM ranch.
Well,Ty can call.
He has had several almost come in from 1/2 a mile,and stop.
Yesterday morn, the same .They are right there...but not here,yet. Nocturnal still.
He was going back and forth with a bull that had a bunch of cows 1/4 mi away at another tank,next to the county road. He started coming and stopped,a cow came back. Running to his calls.

Sat. evening a bull across the road was chuckling and coming in, went into a dip. They heard a gunfight brake out. 5 shots.
No one I know has permission to hunt there. No trucks or people visible.

We had fixed an H-brace at a gate the elk had pulled over. Got chain saws out and fueled. Sharpened.
Ty wanted to fix my tweeked door on my Ford. I had it ripped out of my hand last Fri with a 60mph gust. Bent the hinges. F me.
I called time out and we sat in the shade and talked. Fed Rio chunks of bison sticks. Oh, he is a happy dog.
Thunderheads were building and I turned on the smoker and put tri-tip and elk BS on to smoke for a bit.

Rain drops. Some thunder and lightning going. It had come in Sat. afternoon too.
They brought the front ,use it I said. They went out for an evening try.
Rio and I went in out of the rain after I rigged a snowshovel over the digital controls to keep rain out. 5pm.
I can hear elk in the area and Ty's calls. Short showers going on and off.
Meat done I cover and stick in warm oven and heat chile.
Still daylight left and I am hungry and eat. Rio gets some meat and juices with supplement and he polished the plate.
Sunset I check and they're not back yet. Cover the smoker and wait.

Go up with chile pot and Todd puts it on the stove to heat. I go back for meat. Ty out, still having TB issues it seems...LOL
Dark now and I go back into tent and they are shoveling bowls of chile and cheese. Ty says its great. They rave about the meats.
I ask if they saw any? Yep,next door.
And Ty says just as he gets back to the tent in the dark, that chuckle bull was right at my gate chuckling. I turn to that direction and he starts again. 400 ft away , on the ranch. So he made it through the gunfight.
Get some rest boys.
I get the chile pot and head home. I'll get the left over meat in morning.

Got a nice fire going. 36 out. I turned the heat on before I went to bed. Just heard a bull before I turned volume on weather up.
Rain showers the next 2 days here in the SW.
Cool. We will have damp roads to go get firewood today. Mid day. In between hunts.

I had semi-made excuses for the hunt as they messed with their saws. I said it was an opportunity hunt...Ranch Only tags.
Ty stops me dead. Says this is great. Perfect.
They both say Thank You. All smiles.

I hear a good bugle just now. Right out front by the big tank.
The boys must be up getting some coffee down. Pitch black out now.
Good Luck and Good Hunting gents!
1230 , I hear a truck. They made it. 17 hrs.
A spike crosses the road on the way in.
As soon as the truck is off a faint bugle.
Ty & Todd are all smiles...in the dark.
I tell them to sack out and I'll wake them at 0630 and we'll see what we see. I'll guide them.

0530 and faint bugles.
Have my new Prana pants and boots on, ready. Rio is out like a light next to me.
Bino harness ready, wind checker in pocket. Jacket by the door.
This should be fun.
Good luck
Right out front.
I had to go look. I usually leave the hunters to them selves.
100 yards from my door I see the bros to the south of the house moving forward thru thin cover.
100 yards later I let them know I'm there. A wave and a thumbs up from TY.
Quietly I meet up. There are still some elk about, quick story of what happened. Todd had 2 quick chances as the bull ran right to them head on. No real shot. Ty sees the bull who has now winded them running to the flat. Off hand, 250 yards on a running bull.

We move forward and right where an opening is, a flat between the trees is a down bull.
A bull bugles across the valley. Cows call from behind us. Another faint bugle.
Carefully we walk up and a hand shake to TY. 5x6, nice young bull.
I realize I'm speaking above a wisper and I drop down. Is that cows right there?
No, but they are calling all around us and a few faint bugles still.
I sneak back to the house.

They are still out there calling. Hopefully another will head back.
1 down,1 to go.
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