Colorado, 2009, Guided
With every hunt, we wish for perfect weather. Weather is something that we’d always like to have on our side, but we must adapt when it’s not. For this hunt, I wanted the high-pressure system to remain and keep the rutting bulls in their groove.
My son, Tyler, and I arrived at the 3R camp to hunt with friend and outfitter, Joe Grisenti. Sandhill cranes called and bulls bugled as a beautiful evening engulfed our camp.
On the first day we spotted a young 6x6 along with several other bulls and cows. The six was close, but too young, so we moved on.
The next morning, we climbed a ridge to a huge park interspersed with ponderosa pines. The park was beautiful, but empty, so a lusty bugle from below had us making quick time through the scrub oak to cut the distance. We were too late, but another bugle sounded up the ridge.
We returned later and waited for the elk to emerge. The wind was in our face, pushing the lingering fog upward in spires and dancing columns. Finally, a spike, 5x5, and a symmetrical 6x6 came out. A bugle from below erupted as fog again swallowed the meadow. The wind started to grow fickle and hit the back of our necks. The feeding bulls yanked their heads, got a whiff of our scent and were gone.
Intermittent screams from the bottom of the meadow continued and we knew more elk weren’t far. One bull was just about to step out, but like clockwork the wind changed again, sweeping the fog (and our scent) over the top of the meadow and right down to the bull.
The fourth morning came with rain, making for a silent stalk. Easing along the top edge of a park shielded by both fog and scrub oak, we stumbled onto a small herd at only 75 yards.
Farther into the meadow, we found the big bull – a large and magnificent sevenpoint on one side and a massive, gnarled mess on the other. I set up for the shot as he fed along the backside of a rise. As he lifted his head, I realized how magnificent he was. When he cleared the rise, I took the shot and quickly ended the hunt. My son and I shared a hug, gave thanks to our Creator, and savored a special moment.
For a full account of Joe's adventure, go to page 44 in the October/November 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.