Colorado, 2009, DIY, Public Land
As a kid growing up on a farm in Virginia, elk hunting the West was just a dream. I read countless outdoor magazines and especially enjoyed the articles of western hunters going on adventures in the Rockies. I once read an article about a man going trout fishing somewhere near the Continental Divide. He wrote of the beauty and the remoteness of the glacier fed lakes and of the trout that had never seen an artificial fly. I showed the article to my dad and said, “One day I’m going to do this.” He probably thought this was odd, because I didn’t even trout fish. But it wasn’t the fishing that intrigued me. It was the adventure.
As I got older, my attention turned to whitetails and my western dreams faded somewhat. However, when I was about 20, my future father-in-law and some other men in the community got together and started going elk hunting in Colorado. I listened to their stories year after year and their adventures again sparked my adventurous spirit. I wanted desperately to go with them, but I just couldn’t justify the money.
Finally, ten years later in October of 2000, it became a reality when my good friend Robert called and said, “Let’s go elk hunting.” I jumped at the opportunity and we headed west. We hunted with rifles, stayed in local hotels, and drove into the national forest each day. We had a great time and packed several bulls out of the mountains over the next few years but, for both of us, this type of hunting lacked the remoteness I had dreamed of as a kid. In 2006 we put up our rifles, picked up our bows and our backpacks, and took elk hunting to the next level.
We tried some limited entry areas our first year, but were unsuccessful. In 2008, along with friends Tim and Danny, we decided that an OTC unit in Colorado would be our best option. We could be guaranteed a tag and hunt in the same area each year. Since we have no time for scouting, already knowing an area would be a huge advantage. We studied topo maps and satellite imagery of several areas, finally deciding on a spot Robert had picked out. It had everything we were looking for - water, dark timber, open parks and remote country not easily accessible. The only question was, “Are there any elk?”
For a full account of Paul's adventure, go to page 38 in the July/August 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.