2011 Archery Elk Season - A Learning Year
This post is a recap of our first attempt at elk hunting. We moved to Colorado in 2010 and gained residency finally. We don't know anyone out here that elk hunts, so we learned the hard way.
We drove out ( a new route, saved us an hour! oops! ) Friday afternoon and we were at the trailhead by dinner time. To my dismay, we passed a dozen vehicles already set up along the dirt road to the parking area. Wow. I expected some people here, but not this many. Luckily, everyone was camped right there as well, so maybe we could gain an advantage by packing in.
We packed in about 3 miles and set up camp. In the morning we bushwhacked downhill to a meadow and set up, doing the occasional cow call. We still had some exploring to do, and we weren't quite in the right spot that morning as the night before we had packed in on slightly the wrong old trail :D
Four or five miles slow later, we had established where we really wanted to be, and we were back at our camp and it was roasting. I took a nap and read some, and then we packed up and moved our whole camp about two miles, almost all bushwhacking. That evening we were able to glass a nice area and we were set up overlooking a heavily used set of game trails, as well. I spotted a single mulie doe.
Up early in the morning, cooked our oatmeal and got ready to head out. I could see a headlamp headed in our direction ... seriously? We have to be at least three miles from the trailhead and a mile bushwhack from the closest trail! Well, it shut off before it got too close. I don't know if they saw our headlamps or what, but we were headed a couple hundreds yards downhill to our spot. The person was definitely set up on the same game trails as us ... but neither of us would see anything that early morning ... the elk had found some place else to hang out.
Now, we could be crazy, but at about 2am there was the sounds of a couple dogs going nuts down in the direction of where we expected to find the elk. Could they have pushed the elk out?
We followed a game trail up to an old trail and did a big loop of about six miles, looking for sign and elk. Instead we found five other hunters. Three of them were from the same camp of ten hunters. They had taken one bull and wounded two others on opening day (that's not a good accuracy rate!).
Well, we got back to our camp around noon and it was roasting again. The sun was out and yet it poured, making it a sauna. During a break in the weather we decided to pack out early, as it just seemed too hot to get much elk movement. We'll be back later, for longer!