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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,201
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Well, I'm home,, after a 12 day absence, elk hunting.

The cats are delighted,,, & it does have a certain feeling returning to the comfort of home.

The basic report,,, there were 15 people hunting on a section of 3800 (approx.) acres of private land a little north of Craig Colorado. There was a lot of BLM land all around,, and even some mixed in around the private,, so we had thousands of acres to hunt.
If you've ever been to that area,, it's known at the main concentration of elk, by their migration routes in all of Co. But,, it's also open land,, covered in sagebrush flats,, with long distance spotting & hopefully picking the right area when the elk are spotted & moving to you. You try & intersect them & ambush them,, unless you find a herd holed up in a canyon, draw,, or coolee. Then it's spot & stalk. Very different than hunting them where they have timber to hide in,, or mountains to make you hike hard.
To try & find them,, you pick a high spot,, where you can do use good glass & try & catch a herd moving your direction. I had a great spot,, where I could watch things for a good 3-5 miles.
Opening day,, it was active,,, with hunters. You had to bring your own high spot to use for spotting. I was perched on a hilltop,, overlooking some of the private,, out across BLM,, and onto more private land. As the days wore on,, many of the local hunters moved elsewhere,,, and we saw fewer & fewer trucks & atv's cruising around. Being the new guys to the area,, and having just a few units to hunt,, my group wasn't sure of all the areas we could hunt. Plus,,, we did have the private land to keep trespassers off. The owner was quite vigilant at watching for those folks. And the area we had did have some attractive qualities for critters. In fact,, due to this,, we saw a LOT of mule deer.
Just for fun,, I put the sneak on a few small bucks. I got well within handgun range too. Yes,, I was only using a handgun,, much to the surprise of many in the group. I really wanted to use my .45 Colt El Dorado (made locally,, by friends,) to honor them with an elk kill. I did have my FA in .454, scoped, as a back up gun. And I never leave home w/o my T/C Contender for really longer shots.
But the weather was not cooperative,, for the elk to want to migrate down just yet. Too warm,, no snow,, etc kept them mostly up high & away. I did see a small bunch on day 2,, about 1-1/2 to 2 miles out. As they were moving my way,, getting my hopes up,, I saw the group of about 25-30 elk, split into 2 groups,, turn away,, 180 degrees & start a hard run,, away. Apparently somebody else,, on another piece of private must have shot one.
I never saw another elk all week.
In fact,, nobody, and I mean nobody of the 15 in our area got a shot. We all get to enjoy tag soup this year.
The landowner was very nice,, and felt really bad about things. He kept trying to find places we could go & get a chance,, but even his guide friends in Wyoming were calling him about "where are the elk?"

Skunked,, but that's why it's called hunting & not killing.

However,, I did enjoy myself,, and got to see a few things & try a different type of hunting. A pair of owls in the early morning light talking back & forth,, close enough for me to hear them popping their beaks. They flew off a bit later.
Or the majestic bald eagles I saw within 100 yds of us as we drove around one afternoon.
The numerous mule deer,, including some nice bucks,, in & around,, including a few trying to tend a doe. Watched a big boy intimidate a few smaller bucks with a good display of bush horning.
We had chosen to stay in motels,, so it was not a "roughing it" type of hunt. A few of the guys are a bit more affluent and enjoyed their comforts. Plus,, out of the 9 guys in my group,, there were only 3 guys younger than me. Hard, mountain hunting is not for a few of them.
And the trip driving out & back,, we did get to see a few things some had never seen. A few things were cancelled,, such as a trip to the Cowboy Museum in OK City,, as it was closing early the day we were supposed to visit. (The trip planner didn't check such stuff.) But a side trip to the St. James Hotel in Cimarron NM was good. Only Sam & I chose to go there the day we stayed at the Whittington Center. After we returned,, a few of them were expressing the feeling that they wished they had listened to me and went as well. (Again,, the trip planner wasn't addressing that place as a good stop.) The history of that place is amazing when you study it. Something like 19 gunfights,, with about 16 killed & 11 others shot. There are still original bullet holes in the ceiling inside. And many famous folks of the era stayed there,, including Jesse James,, Bat Masterson, Doc Holiday, Davey Crockett II, (who also was involved in shootings & killings there,) to name a few.

I did take some pictures,, and I will share a few once I get the time to download them & such. Be patient,, I've a lot of catching up to do.

So,, it was a fun trip,, and while no elk will grace my table this year,, I'm not upset. The Good Lord blessed me with the safe trip, good fellowship,,, and allowed me to enjoy a different part of His creation.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
10,123
Location
Webster, MD.
Welcome back home. Sorry you got skunked but stuff happens. It's a shame you didn't get to the Cowboy museum. Truly an interesting place. So, the cats were happy, guess that is as good sign they didn't give up on you.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
7,114
Location
missouri
Well, Ty maybe we can make the NM trip in 2020. I'm concerned about your range limitations but there's a chance it could work.
 

AJGUNNER

Hunter
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
2,140
Location
The Sticks---N.W. Orygun
The elk hunting seems to be tough all over this year. My friends that hunt the Oregon rain forests and kill multiple bulls every year, came up with only 2 rag horns this season. Their slimmest success in almost 20 years. Weather (warm and dry) was certainly not in their favor this season. Scouting for more than a month they had put eyes on numerous branched bulls in their unit, but none were seen during the season. In fact they reported seeing very few spikes or cows. We know they are out there, but just seem to know when the season starts and where to hunker down and wait it out.

Sounds like you had a great trip. Lots of country to see in Colorado. Hopefully you had a chance to see enough to make another trip---even it is just for the scenery.
 

blackhawknj

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
1,945
Jeff Cooper once said it was enough to say "I spent the day hunting" even if you didn't score anything.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,201
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
PS; The mulies were in season,, IF you had a tag. I didn't. And we could not buy one over the counter. Had to buy in advance AND needed a preference point to do so!

"Jeff Cooper once said it was enough to say "I spent the day hunting" even if you didn't score anything."
Well put! I do enjoy my time afield,, and while tag soup is quite bland & not filling,, the experience was quite rich & fulfilling!
 

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