June/July 2013 EHJ (Issue 137) - Like any other year, 2012 started out like normal. Around the 1st of April I started discussing hunting plans with my partners, Keith and Scott. We decided to hunt elk during the third rifle season in November.
I grew up in southern Colorado and hunted all my life with my Dad and his best friend Bert. Over the years I have taken my share of nice bulls, so I decided to dedicate most of this hunt trying to help Keith and Scott get their first bull, guide them, so to speak.
In June, Bert called and asked if we could help him fix a fence. After spending a weekend fixing fence, Bert told us we were welcome to hunt on his property. I spent a lot of time as a kid hunting and camping in the national forest close by. Being comfortable with our knowledge of the area and not being able to resist the chance to hunt on private property, we decided to take Bert up on his offer.
Typically, we take a lot of time to scout out the area we’re hunting. This season all of our scouting was done while we were fixing fence. We saw plenty of elk sign and felt good about the upcoming season.
The night before season, Keith, Scott, and I met up with Bert and discussed our plan of attack. There’s a nice stream that goes through the middle of Bert’s property in the low area, so Scott and I were to watch the valley with the stream while Bert and Keith went up on top of the ridge above the valley. They were hoping to catch a bull working his way up the hill to his bedding area.
Opening morning, we were excited as always. Once the sun came up, we followed our plan. But, after a few hours of glassing the surrounding area and not seeing any animals we moved to a different area. Throughout the day, we saw plenty of fresh sign. Unfortunately we didn’t see any elk. Feeling good about all the fresh sign, we knew the elk were in the area so we decided to stick with the same plan the next morning. The only difference was Bert and I would go up on top of the ridge while Scott and Keith would stay down in the valley.
When the next morning came we got in our hunting area well before sun up. Scott and Keith went down in the valley by the creek while Bert and I started up the ridge, hoping to get ahead of anything coming up from the valley.
About halfway into our hike we could smell elk, so we decided to stop and wait for the sun to come up. Once it did we saw fresh elk sign. As we slowly worked our way up a game trail we spotted a bull elk looking back at us. Bert and I both froze, trying not to spook him. I knew as soon as I spotted him he was in the 400 class.
For a full account of Chad's adventure, go to page 26 in the June/July 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.