August/September 2013 EHJ (Issue 138) - My hunting partner John Hewitt recently said that after 13 years of trying to harvest a bull elk maybe you can’t get it done on public land. Well, for all you hunters who can’t afford to have a cameraman and a guide lead you to the big one, there is hope. Doing your research, scouting, and just plain trial and error can get you the hunting experience of a lifetime.
In early October my brother-in-law John Hewitt called and asked me to take off work to join him for a Colorado elk hunt. I thought it over for about three seconds and told him I’d be there. John had to work late so after his wife and I arrived in Walden, Colorado at 10 p.m. we set up camp in a snowstorm. John arrived the next morning. He and I and Austin Barker, who was younger and had not hunted before, started our hunt without much sleep.
I sat that morning in a meadow with Austin for about four hours while the snow blew sideways. I noticed Austin had on a pair of boots that were maybe good enough for the summer, but not quite enough for winter in the Rockies. He also had no base layer and was obviously cold but he never complained once. That day I met a guy that I would consider it an honor to hunt with. The next day he would prove to have more hunting ethics that most.
Later that first day we hiked for miles trying to find signs of life for the elk we had seen the previous spring. By the end of the day we decided that maybe the elk had moved to lower elevations and private land. It was too early to panic so we headed back to camp for dinner and planning the next day’s hunt. But, the first thing on the agenda was to get Austin a base layer, which we did.
Day three started with one mission – to climb one particular hill and hunt the ridge and the bottom on either side. We split up and hunted the west side before the big climb to the top, and after a few hours of glassing we decided to go on up for the rest of the day. I ran out of water very early and this would haunt me later in the day.
For a full account of John's adventure, go to page 26 in the August/September 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.