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Hey everyone, how have you all been since I've been gone? Anything exciting happen? The story of my elk trip is below.

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  • Hey everyone, how have you all been since I've been gone? Anything exciting happen? The story of my elk trip is below.

    Hey everyone, how have you all been since I've been gone? Anything exciting happen? The story of my elk trip is below.

  • #2
    As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

    Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

    Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

    To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

    Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

    It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

    Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

    I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
      As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

      Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

      Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

      To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

      Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

      It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

      Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

      I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
      Great photos! What part of the Rockies was this?

      Comment


      • #4
        For some reason I couldn't attach these 2 photos to my other post.

        Just thought of another interesting anecdote. Even though it looked and felt like the middle of the wilderness, it was amazing how much sign of people there was. Almost every day we could hear 4-wheeler hunters buzzing up and down the road we came in on, and there was flagging all over the woods. Most of it seemed to be random, and not marking trails, which we could never figure out. There were boot tracks of varying ages even in the deepest corner of the drainage, a good 3 or 4 miles from any kind of road as the crow flies.
        And the capper was that we had 2 guys walk through our camp about 8:30 one night, in the pitch black! We heard limbs cracking along the stream where we got water, about 60 feet below camp, and thought a bear or elk was coming. But then the lights hit our tents, and these two hunters walk up. They apologized for disturbing us, and started to walk out the trail we had come in on, but then changed their minds and walked back through our tents again and just went straight down the steep 50+ degree slope, making for the road a good 600 feet below. We couldn't believe it.

        P.S. I've attached a couple photos of the black timber, too.

        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
          As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

          Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

          Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

          To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

          Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

          It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

          Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

          I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
          Thanks! We were about 2 hours west of Denver. The nearest town was Carbondale, CO.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
            As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

            Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

            Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

            To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

            Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

            It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

            Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

            I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
            Man that's pretty country.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
              As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

              Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

              Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

              To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

              Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

              It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

              Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

              I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
              Sounds, even on the bare bones, that it was still a heck of a trip. May I ever be so surrounded by elk on a hunt that I complain of them keeping me awake.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
                As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

                Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

                Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

                To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

                Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

                It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

                Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

                I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
                In this case the bull was a good half-mile away, across a big basin. I could barely hear him, but it was still enough to keep me awake. I started to hate elk about 4 AM. Lol

                Comment


                • #9
                  When they start bugling at the horses in the middle of the night, that's what makes me nervous! Those bulls get pretty worked up. They have been known to kill horses and mules ... and hunters! Many a night I had to go out and move the horses in from picket to camp. But, like you said, the same elk that kept me up all night seem to know how to dematerialize when the sun comes up. Thanks for sharing the pictures and story. Brought back a lot of great memories.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
                    As all the regulars here know, I was going along on a CO elk hunting trip this year, and the trip was last week. Left on Friday, and just got back last night.

                    Actually being out there was awesome, but the drive sucks, especially when you do it at night and only get 1 hour of sleep. Took about 14 hours going out, which was actually on the quick side. The last 15 miles are on a dirt jeep trail, which means that you can't get out if it's raining, which was a concern due to the rain that was forecast for Thursday. You don't want to slide off a 100 foot drop because of a muddy road. We got in to the trailhead about 10 AM, and discovered 3 other vehicles, which was not surprising but still disappointing. One of them was a car, which none of us could believe - you'd have to be either a complete idiot or a truly expert driver to get an ordinary sedan back through the ruts and washouts.

                    Our campsite was less than a mile from the vehicle, which wouldn't have been bad except that it was almost all uphill, and by uphill I mean a 45 degree slope. Add in the dense oakbrush and the fact I made the rookie mistake of packing too much weight - 60+ pounds total - and the pack-in was pretty brutal. That was really the only time the as whole trip I felt bad physically though, otherwise I felt great the whole time. I definitely was very well-prepared. The worst part as far as the hiking was concerned was navigating all the pine beetle damage in the black timber (what the thick evergreen forests are called out there). That was NASTY stuff, with fallen, dead trees laying jumbled up like spilled Lincoln Logs, on 35 degree slopes. You had to pick your way slowly and do a lot of zig-zagging, which isn't pleasant on those sidehills.

                    To make a long story a little shorter, the hunting was tough. There were elk around, especially at night, but the heavy hunting pressure had them laying low during the day, and we never really were able to pinpoint where they were staying. It wasn't where they were "supposed" to be, though. We only laid eyes on 2 elk in the 5 days we hunted, although we heard quite a bit of bugling. The first evening we jumped a cow that almost ran through camp, and then there were 2 bulls bugling only about 200 yards away at dark, so we felt pretty optimistic, but the hunting got worse from there. The next day we ran into a herd bull that was just going nuts, bugling and growling like crazy. Got to within 100 yards, but we bumped one of his cows, and couldn't call him in all the way. Still a pretty cool experience though. The day after that we hiked probably 7 or 8 miles, and gained about 1500 feet in elevation. Our camp was about 8500, and we topped out around 10,000 feet. I consumed 3800 calories that day, and still lost weight. Crazy how much you burn hunting at that altitude. We called in one bull, but he was obviously wary from all the hunting pressure, and just circled us about 60 yards out, in thick brush. No chance of a shot. That was the last close encounter we had. The last full day was a bust, with no elk seen or heard.

                    Tuesday night a bugling bull kept me awake most of the night, which wasn't pleasant. The weather was clearly turning worse by Wednesday morning, and after hunting for a couple hours we figured we'd better get out before it started raining. The bull that had kept me awake was bugling all morning across a big valley from us, but there was no way to get at him under the circumstances. We packed up camp and headed out, and just got back to the vehicle before it started sprinkling.

                    It was actually warm most of the time. There was frost the first morning, but after that it warmed up every day, and was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday. Made for more comfortable sleeping at night, though. The scenery was just incredible, and the aspens were almost at peak color, so it was a successful trip for me, since I was "hunting" with my camera.

                    Driving home the vehicle broke down in the middle of Nebraska, which was bad, but could've been worse, since it happened in a fairly large city, so after spending the night in a motel we were able to limp to a mechanic, and got it repaired in less than 2 hours. The trip was quite the adventure, all in all, and I'll definitely be going back, though probably not every year. I have even less desire to actually kill an elk myself now than I did before, though, when you weigh the cost of the tags and the length of the trip against the low odds of success. I think I'll stick to deer hunting!

                    I've attached a few photos. They're just JPEGs, straight out of the camera, which is why they look kind of blah. You can still get a feel for the grandeur of the country, though.
                    Brings back many great memories of my elk adventures, thanks for the story hft and glad you had such a wonderful
                    trip. I can assure you that you will return as elk hunting can get into your blood and into your soul. The hunting
                    pressure is brutal, the ATV traffic has made the rough part of elk hunting a breeze now to too many people and to
                    find yourself alone is almost impossible unless you can gain access to back country thru the use of horses. Thanks
                    for the photos, glad you made it out and back safe !

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
                      For some reason I couldn't attach these 2 photos to my other post.

                      Just thought of another interesting anecdote. Even though it looked and felt like the middle of the wilderness, it was amazing how much sign of people there was. Almost every day we could hear 4-wheeler hunters buzzing up and down the road we came in on, and there was flagging all over the woods. Most of it seemed to be random, and not marking trails, which we could never figure out. There were boot tracks of varying ages even in the deepest corner of the drainage, a good 3 or 4 miles from any kind of road as the crow flies.
                      And the capper was that we had 2 guys walk through our camp about 8:30 one night, in the pitch black! We heard limbs cracking along the stream where we got water, about 60 feet below camp, and thought a bear or elk was coming. But then the lights hit our tents, and these two hunters walk up. They apologized for disturbing us, and started to walk out the trail we had come in on, but then changed their minds and walked back through our tents again and just went straight down the steep 50+ degree slope, making for the road a good 600 feet below. We couldn't believe it.

                      P.S. I've attached a couple photos of the black timber, too.
                      OL will only allow you to attach five photos to each post.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Glad to read you enjoyed the area and you are the first hunter I've heard of complaining about elk keeping you awake. ATVs suck, I try my darndest to avoid hunting in areas where they are allowed. CO has vast areas that are off limits to motorized machines; it's those areas I focus hunting.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                          Glad to read you enjoyed the area and you are the first hunter I've heard of complaining about elk keeping you awake. ATVs suck, I try my darndest to avoid hunting in areas where they are allowed. CO has vast areas that are off limits to motorized machines; it's those areas I focus hunting.
                          Yeah, we're going to find another hunting area next time. This spot was good the last two times they went - they shot an elk each time. But the hunter numbers for that unit jumped at least 30% since then, and we're not sure why.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You mean elk hunting isn't like the TV shows portray it? Sounds it it was still a fun trip(aside from the car troubles, that's never fun). Good thing you opted for the camera instead of a tag. I've gone hunting a few nights, but with 0 intention of shooting anything. Have had a few does within putting range, but the heat has always persuaded me not to take a shot. My friend shot a doe last weekend, and against the advice of a few people on this website we just covered it with ice as best as possible and drove it home. Might've gotten lucky, but it worked out perfectly. This is the first year I've really been into trail cameras and we have been getting some pretty cool pictures that have been exciting to see.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm curious. You had other hunters in the area. Did you hear them bugling? Could you differentiate between the fake and the real thing? It should not have been hard.

                              Comment

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