2012 Colorado Elk Extravaganza

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by CowboyColby, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. CowboyColby

    CowboyColby Die Hard Bowhunter

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    This is my little recap of elk camp 2012 in Colorado. First let me say a few things as to how I got involved in this camp. Last year I was fortunate enough to be placed on Tineacious Team 6 for the deer contest. Will Nelson (Iamyourhuckleberry) was on that team and they were the champions from the previous year. Well in Colorado you can only shoot one deer. Will is from Colorado and and knows that in order for us to be a competitive team, must get an out of state tag for a deer in order to get the number of deer we are allotted for the contest. Will invited me on a hunt with him in Nebraska which I graciously accepted and we put down two does each. On this deer hunt Will mentioned that every other year he puts up camp for elk hunters and its pretty much an open invitation to everybody. I got the privilage of being able to attend this year and had an absolute bast while meeting some very educated, worldly hunters, and some firt time hunters. All were great to be around and hear there stories and how they had come to elk camp. One thing we all had in common and agreed on was that people like Will are one of a kind and we see less and less of them in our world today. This guy donates camp, had the dinners pre made, gives out information on great honey holes to set up or hunt, and asks nothing in return. He just simply loves to let people get involved in hunting, yet alone hunt one of Colorado's greatest sought after game.

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    I started my adventure Friday September the 14th. I headed out to Colorado Springs to stay the night at my little sister's house so I could cut my drive in half. Which is only 6 hours but doubted my abilities to find camp at night. I woke up around 5:00 a.m. and took off to Buena Vista then North to Leadville. I made a quick stop in Leadville to buy a pillow because I had forgot to pack mine. From Leadville I made a short 27 mile drive to Forest Road 705 where camp would be awaiting me. I arrived in camp hoping I was at the right place and judging from the pictures I had seen of years past this must be it. With everyone out hunting I decided to start on dinner and cut up some jalepenos to make poppers, dove breast wrapped in bacon, and Rocky Moutain Oysters (Yes calf nuts).

    A vehicle pulls up and four Texas boys start unloading and introduce themselves. They got their cots set up in the same tent I was in and we shook hands over a beer.

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  2. CowboyColby

    CowboyColby Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Elk Hunting '12 018.jpg Elk Hunting '12 001.jpg Will and everyone showed back up to camp around 2 or 3 and we made introductions and went over the afternoon hunt plans and what sign or game everyone had seen earlier that day. Matt (bz711) from Illinois arrived with his friend and his father. I also met John from Boulder, Rex from New York (old pimping), Kevin Reyes from Texas (the greatest elk caller I've ever been around in ten years), Mark from Texas, Andrew (Afflicted) and Bert (First Priority) from Florida, and a bow rep from Utah that is lucky enough to be a rep for the fastest, gretest, bow ever made ( Justin Lossee, PSE REP). Aussie John from Australia, he was a hoot to listen to everything about the OZ.

    Saturday afternoon I went up to the end up No Name road and dropped off into some thick dark timber with a lot of deadfall. I side hilled then dropped down a ways until I found some fresh sign along a trail then set up about 23 yards off the trail to watch it for the evening. I waited until dark but didn't see any elk or hear any but it was my first evening out so I was mainly just getting my bearings straight and aclamated to the elevation. Will cooked up some hot dogs and hamburgers and I cooked poppers, dove breasts, and calf nuts. I'm sure if some of those boys would have known what they were they wouldn't of eaten them.

    Sunday morning we arose and left camp around 5:30. While getting burritos warmed up for everyone I managed to drop my release from my pocket. Which I didn't realize until Kevin and I were up the very top of a steep rocky jeep trail. Luckily Matt was dropping off the other side of the jeep trail and lent me his spare release which I greatly appreciate other wise my morning would have been ruined. Kevin and I made our way along the moutain side calling now and again but never heard a response. We came upon some grouse but they never let us get close enough to get a shot. We came upon some rocks that had recently been turned over by a bear looking for a snack which got me excited hoping I would get a chance to use my bear tag.


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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  3. CowboyColby

    CowboyColby Die Hard Bowhunter

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    To be continued my internet keeps kicking me off and I've lost two days of hunts already

    Please bear with me


    We had made our way around the mountain and decided to rest a bit, eat a bite, and glass a couple meadows across the way. We didn’t see any game but did take in views I only get see once a year and enjoyed the scenery. Going down the mountain a couple hundred yards we headed back around the way we had come. We ran across a lot of small creeks that seemed to appear out of nowhere and some nice little meadows or clearings we would scan and glass before passing by. With a nice leisurely hike under out belts we headed to the pickup and back to camp.
    That afternoon Justin, John, and I headed to a small pond that John knew about to set up on for an evening hunt, it was surrounded by dark timber and lots of deadfall but had numerous trails coming to and from it. We threw up three Montana Elk Decoys and spread out about 40 yards each watching a trail. Just would call now and again but as it turned out we had a hard time getting any bulls to bugle in the evenings. We sat until after dark then made the hike out of thick timber back to the pickup to head back to camp for the night. That evening Will took off back home because he had to work that coming week. It was great to see him and get the chance to share camp.
    Monday morning Justin, Kevin, John, Mark and myself decided to try a new mountain range. We went to the top of Tigwon road and along the way we saw lots of mule deer and a decent 4x4 buck. It began snowing heavy wet snow. I was glad for the snow as it would remain cool most of the day and hoped it would keep the elk up moving and feeding. We dropped off Kevin, Mark, and John planning on meeting up at a pond we could see while studying a topo map of area. Justin and I dropped off the mountain after putting on our rain gear. My rain gear consisted of a cheap poncho and pants from wal-mart which proved to be water resistant but sounded as if a herd of elephants were coming down the mountain unless I moved very slowly. We made our way through a marshy area towards the pond calling now and again but the only thing responding was Kevin’s bugles back. It did however get two hunters that were glassing that marsh excited as they would jump out of their pickup and glass after each bugle. We met up with the other guys and Justin and John decided to climb up and walk the ridgeline while us three stayed lower looking for elk. After being on the ridge not ten minutes Justin had a bull bugle back at him. We all went up to the top of the ridge and looked down across a very steep, very beautiful valley that had a stream running all the way through it. We got the bull to respond a few more times and finally located him with five cows across the valley halfway up the next mountain about 800 yards away. The bull was a 4x5 with all dark horns. It was awesome to see some blonde patches in the trees as we sat there and just glassed them a while.
    We were debating the best plan to see what would give us the best chance of getting to these elk. Our options were to go right over there after them except the wind wasn’t good for us so we would have to go around and come in from above them which would take a couple hours, set up in the valley with a Montana decoy or two hoping to lure them in that evening if they came down for water, or wait until the next morning and get across on the next mountain where we had seen the elk and try to locate them again. With the day half over all I had to do was look at that steep nasty mountain I would have to go down then back up and the thought of a quarter of an elk on my back I was all for waiting until morning. Justin, John, and I went and moved our pickups so that they were both at the trail head and while parking we came upon a hiker/photographer feller that was very chatty. I’m pretty sure I heard the music from Deliverance playing the background. This guy informed us he isn’t into hunting but has some hard core bow hunting buddies that wear the face paint and everything. So Justin, John, and I put on some face paint so we could be “hardcore” too and we bid the hiker farewell as we passed back by him.
    Justin and Mark decided to drop off suicide ridge into the valley and try to set up on them that evening. Kevin, John and I glassed from the ridge top like watching a big screen TV at how our two hunting buddies would do on their evening hunt. It became dark and with no luck made our way along the ridge back to the pickup and awaited Mark and Justin.
    We go back to camp and see that Rob (KodiakArcher) has made it into camp from Alaska. We have chicken enchiladas for dinner and listen to Rex, Rob, and Aussie John tell stories of hunting in Australia which I enjoyed listening too and hope that someday I can make it to the OZ to hunt.
    Tuesday morning we are up early again and off up Tigwon road though this time we split up with Kevin and Mark going around into the valley and Justin and I up the ridge to call and glass to see if any bulls would answer us with the plan to then drop in on them. On the way up to mountain Justin points out a cow moose right off the trail about thirty yards away. Amazing I have lived in Colorado all my life and this is the first time I had ever seen a live moose. I couldn’t get over how awkward she looked, as if God had played a mean trick giving her such and ugly head and gawky features. But then again I’ve known some women with the same problems. I tried to snap a picture of her but it was too early and it didn’t come out well. Also on the way up we came across four mulie bucks. A 4x4, 3x4, and two forkies. It was awesome as the two forkies started sparing and being not quite light yet I got some footage but very poor. I’ll attempt to add it in here.
    We hiked along the ridge to our observation point I’d named suicide ridge and Justin made a couple bugles. We did get a return scream or two near where Kevin and Mark would be entering the valley. It turned out Kevin didn’t get him but got pretty close but the bull shut up and wouldn’t talk anymore which seemed to be how any bulls we got to respond ended up. We would call, they would call, we would call they would call we would call they would shut up to never be heard again. With nothing close Justin and I hunted the ridge then on past the trail head to see what the other end looked like and if there was any better way off suicide ridge. We did come across some very fresh sign right on the hiking trail. That afternoon Justin and I decided it was time for a shower as it had now been about four days since I had last showered and I knew if I could smell me so could the elk. So Justin and I headed into Leadville for a shower and a steak dinner at Quincy’s.
    Wednesday morning we woke up early again to decide what to do for the morning hunt and upon inspection I saw I had a flat tire that would need to be fixed and our gas cans were out also so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.. So Mark, Kevin, and Justin took off on Tigwon road while I happily climbed back into my warm sleeping bag to catch up on some much needed sleep. I got up and did a few camp chores and Rex returned and I was fortunate that he had a small compressor I could air up my tire with and head to town to get it fixed. Side note here at home it cost $8 to get a tire fixed. In Vail it cost $22 bunch of yuppies. I returned back to camp and Mark and Kevin were back, Justin decided to drop off suicide ridge once more to see if he could get in on a big bull. Kevin, Mark, and I head to a new mountain to see what we can find. We make a short trip and hike heading up toward a big rock face planning to reach it and circle back down. Along the way we come across sign from elk and lots of mule deer sign. We reach the elevation we want and wait for a little bit for it to start getting dark before heading down. Kevin would throw out a bugle now and then but we never got an answer. Almost all the way down we find a small meadow with a very fresh wallow which was cool. About 150 yards from the vehicle I stop and see two cows and a calf at about 60 yards standing in a small clearing. I knew the answer before even holding my bow up but did anyways and I was correct. I wasn’t able to see my pins. Ten to fifteen minutes earlier I would have had a shot at a cow and a short pack out to the vehicle which almost never happens. So since I couldn’t see my pins a get Kevin’s attention so he could see the elk as they started to walk off. We head back to camp to see how Justin and the others did. Turns out Justin had a nice 6x6 bull at six yards but could only see his rack, neck, and the front part of a shoulder in a shooting lane and wasn’t able to get a shot at the big boy. He guessed him at 300 to 315.
    Thursday morning after starting the generator I crawled back in my sleeping bag as it would be the day I would pack up and head home. After getting all packed and saying bye to the few left in camp not hunting I headed southeast back to the plains. I had a great time in the mountains met some awesome people and can not wait to get after it again in a year or two. A couple things I learned from this trip are that I need to invest in good quality rain gear, always have a spare release, and get an either sex tag instead of just a cow tag. I really appreciate Will hosting camp and appreciate everybody that came. Lets do it again.

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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  4. Hungry Horse

    Hungry Horse Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks Colby for starting your story. Sorry the internet connection is poor for you, grrr ! I just saw Kevin Reyers photos off his FB Timeline page, thanks Kevin.
     
  5. Tony

    Tony Legendary Woodsman

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    Talk about a teaser thread! :rant:
     
  6. Afflicted

    Afflicted Grizzled Veteran

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    It was great meeting everyone and really enjoyed the breakfast burrito's you made for all of us Colby and I'll add some of my own story's and photos later.
    And Yes, major thanks to Will! What a fantastic friend and hunter to put all of this together for strangers with just one thing in common, the love of hunting. Thanks Will.
     
  7. Hungry Horse

    Hungry Horse Weekend Warrior

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    Colby Thank you for your completed story. Not sure you made any points with our female readers, if any, on the moose comparison, LOL. I have always enjoyed watching moose, they are magnificent animals. Best of luck to you on your next elk camp hunt. HH in Pa
     
  8. CowboyColby

    CowboyColby Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I still have more pictures to put up but thought I would post the story any way. Hopefully tonight I'll post the rest of the pictures. I only lost points with the moose looking girls lol
     
  9. Hungry Horse

    Hungry Horse Weekend Warrior

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    LOL, moose looking girls, you bad ! I wanted to tell you www.camofire.com has some good deals on good rain gear. They have daily offerings, usually 4 to 5 items. You just have to check daily for their offerings. I will patiently await your additional photos. Thank you.
     
  10. Bails-UK

    Bails-UK Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Great write up Colby, glad you had a great time. Sure is addictive isn't it, I missed being there with you Guys this Fall, but rest assured I will be there in 2014.

    Will is a class act and great Guy to do what he does with Elk Camp every 2yrs, can't wait to hunt with him again sometime.

    Colby and fellow Elk campers, get them other pictures loaded up, I wanna see what I missed :)
     
  11. JCraig

    JCraig Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Sweet!!
     
  12. youngfart

    youngfart Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Colby
    Great read,only one question,did anyone get to tag an Elk? I'll be there next year as Will & I will be exchanging a Moose Hunt for an Elk hunt. He is a class Act. Thanks again for the story.
    Rocky
     
  13. SouthDakotaHunter

    SouthDakotaHunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Cool post, thanks for sharing! Sounds like a great time!
     
  14. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Great to hear your story Colby...great sharing camp with everyone...only wish there was more time for BS - because man I am whipped each night I get back to camp.

    Swamped at work and home right now - but hope to get up story and pics next week...I gotta say it just an awesome week for me...sure hope to continue and see familiar faces there throughout the coming years!
     
  15. Fitz

    Fitz Legendary Woodsman

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    Good stuff Colby! I'm excited to chase elk next Fall :tu:
     
  16. CowboyColby

    CowboyColby Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Couple of pictures added
     

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