CO Elk 2015

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by bz_711, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    ...just finally posting this up from last season...


    CO Elk – 2015…Another week in paradise!

    Anyone that knows me…knows I look forward to Elk camp year round…and 2015 was no different. My Dad would be going for his 4th consecutive trip with me, always fun…as well as other returnees: Good buddy Matt, his Dad Greg, Shawn, and LB. Someone new has joined me each year and this year we had three newb’s: Jaimie, Eric, and Kerry. We loaded up on Friday evening 9/18 and hit the road.

    Unfortunately I don’t have quite the story or kill pics to share as I have the past two seasons…
    2013 http://forums.bowhunting.com/bowhunting-talk/co-archery-elk-2013-word-pic-heavy-53132/
    2014 http://forums.bowhunting.com/bowhunting-talk/co-elk-2014-–-doesn’t-get-much-better-than-66283/
    …but punched tags are just icing on the cake…we had a great week in the Rockies regardless…and not without our chances.

    Weather was good for the drive out…and things were on track to roll into camp late Saturday morning to set up camp. The closer we got to camp the more we were hearing some grinding in the left front wheel of my suburban anytime we took a right curve. Once we got camp set up…our suspicions were confirmed – Blown wheel bearings – sure glad it held on coming thru the mountains.
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    I was a little nervous at first, but my buddy Shawn knows a thing or two about cars (owns a body shop)…so we took a ride to O’Rielly’s in Leadville and luckily they had a wheel assembly and I bought or rented the tools we needed. As you can see, we had the Suburban safely blocked with firewood should the jack give out Big Thanks again to Shawn – lunch was on me.
    Will, Rex, and Paul made their way into camp and always great to catch up…get a few more of Will’s great hunting stories…and get the daily report from Rex who just seems to always know what’s going on in all parts of the area Caught up with MN Greg as well…and he would team up with Shawn for some mulie hunting that week.
    The Texas boys made their way into camp and always enjoy seeing Waid & Steve and the rest of their bunch. I wish I would have taken a picture of their new camp…Wow, everything IS bigger in Texas! The funniest part is I have no idea how they packed that much tent and gear onto that little 6 or 8ft trailer they had…those guys must rule at Tetris. Night always comes early after that drive…but I rounded up anyone interested and we did tipped back some mini bottle of Fireball Whiskey to the Elk gods…
    The weather and Aspens were absolutely beautiful the whole week.
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    But I saw this same thing in 2011…warm, dry, no rain and no weather at all…and hunting was tough that year as well. It was shorts and t-shirts every afternoon. For camping, and having a beer, it’s hard to beat.
     
  2. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Day 1:
    The group split up in multiple directions for elk, and Shawn was the only deer tag…so we also knew he could be doing some road scouting for us. My dad and I stuck together this morning in hopes we’d get into some of the fresh sign I found in 2014 and try to get my dad his first opportunity. Although there wasn’t a lot of sign, there was still enough to keep us on point.
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    Stopping for a late morning snack…just something about being in the Elk Mountains that’s good for the soul.
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    No sightings for us…but the other guys had a great first morning. LB, Kerry, and Eric were not too far up the mountain from us, and as they took their late morning break they continued to bugle some. Then they got a response…and before long they knew the bull was coming. Long story short…LB ends up at full draw with a 6x6 at 15 yards with no open shot…the bull got away…but the 2 newb’s were hooked now Matt & Jamie also had a bull bugling that they worked their way in on…both of them swear they were within 50 yards of this bull and could hear every noise he made…but never laid eyes on him. Later in the afternoon Greg had a spike bull come into about 10 yards…Greg just couldn’t find that 5 inch brow tine to make him legal. Overall – spirits were high after day one – 2 elk spotted and another one bugling…
    We also had our funniest gut wrenching laugh of the trip on Day 1. My dad kept making comments that the bottoms of his feet were hurting him, especially for Day 1, felt like he could feel every rock. Back at lunch I’m making fun of him for being a Sally as he puts his leg up on my chair to rest…when we saw the bottom of his boot – we all lost it – NO WONDER HIS FEET HURT!
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    Day 2
    My plans on day 2 were to put the miles on…I had the guys drop me off about 5 miles before their stopping point and I planned to hunt their way. I got into some beautiful country, and some great old elk sign, but nothing fresh…and always some mulies to keep you on point.
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    Went high for the evening hunt and ran into a cow tag rifle hunter in orange…beautiful night but quiet all around.
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    LB must have offered something more to the elk gods because him, Kerry, and Eric got into them again on day 2. They tried a new area we always talked about going but had yet to try. When they didn’t show for lunch we took a ride to make sure they were OK…ends up they stayed in all day because they were on a nice bull and group of elk. They got some decent footage of the bull on their phone (never got much closer than 90 yards) but could hear multiple other elk making noise in the dark timber. They never were able to close the gap – but they sure were doing good with the elk and that helps keep spirits high in camp as well. Shawn was seeing some mule deer but had planned to hold out for a good one, and had not found the one yet.
     
  3. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Day 3
    Four of us tried a totally new area of the unit we had not hunted before…and unfortunately did not lay eyes on any elk. I did get into some of the better fresh tracks for the week along the creek…but a small part of me did not want to shoot any elk there as the climb out of that hole was long and crazy steep. Beautiful country though.
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    I also had some unique findings that day…first of all a couple broken wing parts from a small plane.
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    And then came across a camp that had clearly sat for years…old coleman cooler, propane tanks, tent remains, etc…surely they used horses to transport this gear at one time as I can’t imagine anyone carrying this by hand to this location…was an odd scene to just all be left behind.
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    With no elk spotted that day – a couple of the guys had to lower their standards to a mouse hunt…as this little rascal was encroaching on our tents & supplies
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    That evening another unique finding…some kind of homemade teepee.
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    Day 4
    They’re finally bugling! It might have been short lived for me…but that morning started with an hour plus of multiple bugles ringing out…man I love that sound and sure is worth the price of admission. I hurried toward the first one which seemed to be heading away from me as I don’t think I ever got more than 150-200 yards from it and traveled a lot of ground. My dad also had another bull in his direction that I could hear and was hoping the whole time he would get an opportunity. Neither of us were able to lay eyes on the bulls…and just as I thought they were done for the day I had another 20 minutes or so of bugling close enough that I knocked an arrow…but again, never laid eyes on the bull. Still being early in the morning and day 4 I stuck to original plan to press on as deep as I could. As I continued to climb toward the target area I began to slow and scan ahead as much as I could. Out of nowhere I see tan hide and freeze. I then see part of a tine. As I’m trying to make out the whole animal thinking 50-60 yards away…the entire silhouette comes into focus and I have a 6x6 bull bedded at roughly 25 yards. How did that happen? First things first – a thank you to God for this opportunity – and then assessing the situation I realized I’m stuck up against a downed pine full of dry/dead branches and the cover between us is too thick to consider any shot. Thermals had just begun to move up the mountain and were perfect for my scent. I had 2 choices, freeze and hope bull gets up and comes my way for shot, or make a move knowing bull is likely to rise to his feet when I break limbs and maybe give me a quick shot. I’m a guy that lives with no regrets…but I’d pay a pretty penny to get this chance over again. I chose to wait him out…for 45 minutes…the woods were so quiet and calm I was afraid to move. I considered making a move if I could get a jet to fly over, a helicopter, or the typical big rush of wind noise. Nothing but sun and silence. The bull stood up and slowly walked directly away. I gave chase and closed the distance once to under 40 yards again with nothing but his rear end facing me. As elk do, he simply disappeared into the dark timber. Amazing. That one encounter made the whole trip. This bull was not much bigger than my others, but in back of my mind I know he was a little bigger…I had plenty of time to study.
    Lesson learned – be aggressive.
    That evening I hunted a familiar area and made my way by last year’s kill site…I took a shoulder blade with me as I was surprised my arrow had penetrated it, but made perfect sense with the higher hit and not the best penetration.
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  4. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Day 5
    One last chance. Made my way into some great sign and a big area of fresh rubs. Even found an area of ground all tore up with what I assume was big urine spot in the middle…it couldn’t have been more than a couple hours old.
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    I gave my best effort but came up short. At some point during the week Greg also came across a cow. Sightings might have been lower than normal this year, but we were also a couple moments from bringing two 6x6 bulls home and having the most epic elk camp ever for us!...it’s a fine line…but the camp was a success in all other areas. Good food, good laughs, beautiful scenery…and it sounds like everyone is ready to do it again. Hard to beat a week in paradise.
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    Sure glad I run into Will each year – the whole group owes him a thanks each time we head to elk camp!

    Who’s ready to give it a try?
     
  5. Cledus

    Cledus Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Jealous for sure
     
  6. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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  7. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    Thanks for the report/story. Sounds like a great time was had by all.
     
  8. foodplot19

    foodplot19 Grizzled Veteran

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    If the story is anything like the real thing then it sounds like it is a blast!!!
     
  9. Bails-UK

    Bails-UK Die Hard Bowhunter

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    What an awesome thread, thanks for sharing Matt, if ever I needed encouragement to get myself fit and ready, its here!!
     

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