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Colorado ELK Hunt Nov -Dec 2022

 
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GregE
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2022 11:21 pm    Post subject: Colorado ELK Hunt Nov -Dec 2022 Reply with quote

We left /Sat afternoon Nov 26 and got back Tuesday night /Dec 6= 2511 miles total. We spent nearly 3 weeks rebuilding the little travel trailer for Judy's grandson to use and were Way behind getting gear and sundries packed so the planned early morning start, didn't.

One needed 3 hour sleep stop and we got to the State campground about 1030 Sunday night. rough set camp, went to sleep and got things organized and met our guide Kyle for breakfast followed by a trip to the local range to verify the rifles. There was already 6" of snow in the valley and another 7" fell that night. As a result the steep mesa face the wind drift was too deep for the Quad seat ATV and we had to dig it out. The outfitter brought his Tundra up and lowered the drift enough to get to the overlook.
Our view from the fence road along the ridge was full of ELK we could see over a mile to the adjacent property and rough counted 200- some were duplicates I'm sure but Wow- what a start to a 5 day hunt. We watched several herds move toward the sanctuary ( no hunting in there) and went down the hill to the resteraunt again to await going to the afternoon stand location.

Both Judy and I had anterless tags and the outfitter had one of us wait until a elk was confirmed down before the other could load up. Judy and Stew went to the hexagon stand that overlooked 4 different paths the elk often used to get to the hay stubble of grass fields. They saw some elk but they didn't get close enough before dark.

Judy has supported my archery elk hunts over the years so last year we got her a tag in an area S of this one and met guide Kyle. We were impressed by his efforts though Judy didn't get a shot- to move to this new outfitter with him.

I'm going to post some pictures for this start. JUdy's 200 yard group from bench rest ws 1'', mine 2". Yep, she has been shooting her Rem 700 BDL for 35 years. The last big game animal I shot with a firearm was a FT Sill OK deer with a 12 gauge slug in 1974.

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GregE
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2022 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wednesday was much the same... Kyle and I on the overlook ridge could see elk moving on the distant ridges but they didn't come within sight of Judy in the blind. onE LArge group on adjacent property moved east to a uphill fence line road when two hunters put a stalk on them. they moved uphill aross the ridge rather than down toward the stand..... Elk do what Elk do.
Kyle had his 20-60 x 80 spotting scope set up with a phone adapter. the wind gusts caused the tripod to flex- so I grabbed a aouple frames. See how many elk you can spot and can you tell the bulls from the cows?

Thursday was the first day of December and we had to pack up and leave as the state park was closing. We had made reservations at the county fairgrounds in Hayden and were ready to go back hunting after lunch. I accompanied Judy to the blind and we spotted 3 groups of elk feeding toward us but no shot opportunity. Bulls were forming 'batchalor groups' though some remained with the larger herds.

I was solo in the blind Friday morning when a snow storm hit hard- so cold that the snow grains were dry and the wind gust to 40 caused a white out. Kyle showed up in the ATV to get me out before the trail become filled with drifting snow. We spent the morning in the resteraunt and I had their Juevos Rancheros - again.

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Last edited by GregE on Fri Dec 23, 2022 12:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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GregE
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2022 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The snow and wind cleared up by 1 and by 2 I was seated again in the Hex blind carefully scanning the the ridges and gullies. Elk and deer seem to be active after it clears and I didnt want to miss them.

Looking L to R down the valley I could see several of the referances I had been viewing and discussing with Kyle from the overlook. The N/S fence/ road is around the corner of the L picture. The sharp peak is above the stream road/ fence and the road that goes up to the right thru a saddle. We saw elk along this ridge several times.
The center section contains the saddle road to the left and a upsloping rounded center section lthat drops off in the third section.
Also visible in the last section is the stream fork to the left, and road/ fence extension. The stream south fork is blocked from view.
Kyle brled elk could show up in any of those sections and range checked landmarks I could remember. The pond and road were 115 yards and I had out to 450 down the vallieys remember that there is a private land boundery about 2/3 up the hill to my front and sloping down in front of the L sharp peak.

The On X display shows the overlook in yellow, blind in green and some of the elk sightings. The distance from the overlook to the bulls l that Kyle videod is 1.13 miles.

OK, wake up- it's 3:20 and there are two elk heads showing above the ridge over the saddle. then two more and three more- eventually over a dozen were feeding on the S side of the slope and in no great hurry to get down to me. The top of the ridge was witthin shooting distande - 350 yards- but they were still beyond the boundary. AS long as they are moving- I'm patient, shooting light ends at 5:15.

Another larger herd starts down the slope W of the saddle and look to be converging toward the stream fence gate. AS they crossed below the boundary fence I verified the safety was on and took practice aims judging hold over and body angle shot placement. Once they got to 225 yards I no longer worried about holdover as I was zeroed at 200.

Now passing150 and I could see the calves and spikes were leading the way quickly getting to the frozen over pond and mock fighting joined by a couple spikes. The older elk moving slower about 200+ yards away and the 1.5 year olds fed along the 150 - 200 region.

OK, picture tiime:

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Last edited by GregE on Fri Dec 23, 2022 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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GregE
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2022 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The snow and wind cleared up by 1 and by 2 I was seated again in the Hex blind carefully scanning the the ridges and gullies. Elk and deer seem to be active after it clears and I didnt want to miss them.

Looking L to R down the valley I could see several of the referances I had been viewing and discussing with Kyle from the overlook. The N/S fence/ road is around the corner of the L picture. The sharp peak is above the stream road/ fence and the road that goes up to the right thru a saddle. We saw elk along this ridge several times.
The center section contains the saddle road to the left and a upsloping rounded center section lthat drops off in the third section.
Also visible in the last section is the stream fork to the left, and road/ fence extension. The stream south fork is blocked from view.
Kyle brled elk could show up in any of those sections and range checked landmarks I could remember. The pond and road were 115 yards and I had out to 450 down the vallieys remember that there is a private land boundery about 2/3 up the hill to my front and sloping down in front of the L sharp peak.

The On X display shows the overlook in yellow, blind in green and some of the elk sightings. The distance from the overlook to the bulls l that Kyle videod is 1.13 miles.

OK, wake up- it's 3:20 and there are two elk heads showing above the ridge over the saddle. then two more and three more- eventually over a dozen were feeding on the S side of the slope and in no great hurry to get down to me. The top of the ridge was witthin shooting distande - 350 yards- but they were still beyond the boundary. AS long as they are moving- I'm patient, shooting light ends at 5:15.

Another larger herd starts down the slope W of the saddle and look to be converging toward the stream fence gate. AS they crossed below the boundary fence I verified the safety was on and took practice aims judging hold over and body angle shot placement. Once they got to 225 yards I no longer worried about holdover as I was zeroed at 200.

Now passing150 and I could see the calves and spikes were leading the way quickly getting to the frozen over pond and mock fighting joined by a couple spikes. The older elk moving slower about 200+ yards away and the 1.5 year olds fed along the 150 - 200 region.

OK, picture tiime:

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Last edited by GregE on Fri Dec 23, 2022 12:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Magic
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2022 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still reading.
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GregE
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2022 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the prompt Lynn


The top picture shows the elk coming across the ridge top a little before 4. I have another picture taken at 4:26. See if you can tell the difference ( beside the sunlight showing in the later pic and size )

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GregE
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2022 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judy had stated she wanted a large cow, I would be happy to take a Smaller cow. Since she was 1st up Kyle didn't try to set up a shot situation on the closer, smaller cows- hindsight is 20/20.

We had Saturday remaining after this day and I had hope Judy would have chance at these two herds. I tried to block all other thoughts other than choosing an animal, picking a spot and holding steady. Several med/ smaller cows were feeding near the bottom of the hill around the sage and oak brush. I took a couple practice aims using the fold down window frame and folded blankets but needed to raise the rest several inches to keep my fused back straight. I wadded up my fur cap like a taco folded three times and that helped. I double checked to insure no other critters are in line with the shot and took several more practice aims.


She was about 150 yards, nearly broadside and undisturbed. As a bowhunter I would have to be less than 50 yards and would avoid hitting bones. Kyle had recommended taking out the shoulder to anchor them quickly......... I compromised and held just behind and 6" below the humerus joint with the shoulder blade, breathed deep, let 1/2 half out and squeezed. T'he practice aims must have helped- I was calm and steady.........

The 30-06 180 gr Norma BondStrike pushed me hard but the elk even harder. She took 2 hops tried to turn up hill and went down. I had my 2 way radio and after watching to make sure she stayed down pressed the call button to make sure Kyle and Judy heard the shot. Yep, they had and were gathering scope and tripod to start my direction.

Here's a picture showing the pond with several elk tracks in and around it the base of the hill and the two large oak brush clumps I used to keep oriented.

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GregE
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2022 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kyle and Judy showed up and we drove down through the fence opening and parallel to the pond area. It looked different and I spotted her and we backed up 15'. I told Kyle I needed to touch her first and went through my Jaegar last bite offering in respect.

Pictures and Kyle demonstrated his gutting skill- in about 12 minutes he had her ready to slide down the slope about 15 yards to the ATV tow rope and drug her a short distance to Sam's truck.

Normally the elk are taken to a meat processor for skinning, cooling, cut and wrap. We stopped to watch the sunset and Judy insisted that she enjoys doing all that and a garage area was graciously found to hang the cow overnight. WE made short work of the skinning and took the quarters, back strap, tenderloin, neck roast and Judy trimmed everything else.

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Last edited by GregE on Fri Dec 23, 2022 12:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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GregE
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2022 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We got back to the trailer about 11 but made it for the 0600 pick up 'Saturday- the last day of the season

Tired after a short night we were in the blind early for the morning hunt- A few elk spotted but way off.

Lunch and back at it for the afternoon. We spotted some elk and watched carefully as they fed high up on the hill beyond the boundary fence. A few were moving closer as darkness fell and the ATV arrived to take us in....

We spent the next day organizing and packing and checking the truck and trailer. Judy took some pictures during the trips and I grabbed her sunrise picture as I always try to post both SR and SS of our trips.

We left Monday after getting dry ice for the cooler driving thru freezing fog and slush that coated the trailer in spite of the mud flaps. The roads got better as we got into Wyoming. We spent the remainder of the night in a rest stop just inside Idaho and got home Tuesday night about 10.

We found snow at home and the dogs were happy to see us. We set up a workstation and deboned the elk meat. Wrapped a Lot of roast size packages after trimming the silver skin and fat, sorted grind into 5# bags along with cubes for stew and put everything into the chest freezer set to -10. It's easy to cut steaks etc later.

The answer to the difference in the pictures- in the first the elk are moving closer and in this one you can see two herds walking away after the shot. Slide right for the closer group- about 270 yards.

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Magic
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2022 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats and thanks for sharing your trip.

Now it's time to start (again) thinking about next year. I know that I have. Wink

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GregE
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2022 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, already planning...... We saw elk every day sometimes several hundred in various locations. But we only had 866 acres in this area so the farther ridges were on adjacent properties.

This outfitter stays booked solid a- our guide from last year pulled some strings- hoping he can do it again

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Magic
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2022 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marty and I talked last night. Yup, planning.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2023 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

50 years ago in 1973, I applied for and got my first Elk license. That was a looong time and many trips ago.

Well in keeping with the tradition I applied for a 2nd season Colorado Bull license this year. It takes 5 PP's and I have 5 so there is a possibility that I may draw.

We have a plan "if" I do not draw, but for now, I am not planning on "if".

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