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2013 Archery Elk Hunt

Posted by 220swift, 02 October 2013 · 2118 views

2013 Archery Elk Hunt Well another Colorado elk archery season comes to a close. I had a very good hunt in some exceptional surroundings, but having only 2 ½ days to hunt and hunting in an area that I was not able to do any scouting turned out to be the challenge. No elk again this year.

I left the house Thursday morning at 4:30a.m. and by 9:30a.m. I had the camper setup. I decided to have a late breakfast and take snack bars for the rest of the afternoon. 11:00a.m. and I’m standing at a trail head, GPS ready to go and up the trail I went, oh by the way catcapper, the wind was blowing pretty hard. I hike up the trail about 1 mile and the elevation change started getting quite a bit more aggressive. Sadly I’m not seeing the elk sign I thought there would be. I continued up the trail another mile and a 975 foot increase in elevation to where I expected to find an open meadow surrounded by quakies. Surprise, when I crested the final hill the open meadow turned out to be shoulder high scrub oak that a billy goat would have trouble getting through. Oh, did I mention the wind. For you flat land guys, this kind of wind blowing through the mountain pines will produce a level of sound that will cover the sound of a small water fall on a river, or in this case, the pounding of my heart in my ears. I worked the edge of the scrub oak for about 200 yards and found no elk sign at all. At this point I’m convinced I’ve chosen the wrong area to hunt and it’s late enough in the afternoon that I need to be heading back to the camper.

Back at the camper and after having a hot meal, I start pouring over maps and DOW game unit information. After an hour of research I decided I would move the camper about an hour north and hunt an area another 45 minute drive and 2 ½ hour hike north and west of the camper. Off to bed.

Friday morning I got an early start and moved to the north. About half way to the new site a light rain started to fall. No big deal, right? Got to the camp grounds and setup, still a light rain, but now the temperature is starting to fall. I drove up to the trail head and started the hike back to the area I was going to hunt. For those of you, catcapper , Ruger, and a couple other local guys that know the area, I’m east and south of Independence Pass hiking into the east edge of GMU 471.


It’s snowing now, but not very heavy. About half way in I started crossing elk tracks and droppings. A much more promising sight. At about the 3 hour hiking point I was at the area I identified on my maps. A small open meadow area with pine trees on the lower side and quakies on the upper side. This is where I’ll be tomorrow morning as the first light hits the meadow. At this point the snow was starting to get just a bit heavier, so back to the trail and down to the truck. I’m back at the truck with about 2” of snow on it and a temperature of 30 degrees. Good to be in a warm place.

3:00a.m. Saturday morning I step out of the camper and there’s not a cloud in the sky. There are millions of stars giving me an indication of a good day to come. The drive up the canyon to the trail head was a little treacherous due to more overnight snow with patches of ice but I made the trail head only being behind by 30 minutes. Backpack on, head lamp on and bow in hand I start my hike up to the meadow to see if I can finally take an elk with my bow. As I’m walking I realize there is not a breath of a breeze at all. I stop to catch my breath and lookup to a sky that is so covered with stars that it almost look like continues streaks of light and the Milky Way is as bright as I’ve ever seen it. Welcome back to the high country Mike. Continuing up the trail I here noises just ahead, I shine the head light up the trail to see seven mule deer cross some 30 yards away from me. The morning just keeps getting better. The morning light is now starting to creep in and I no longer need the head lamp. I’m also only about 20 minutes from where I want to start the morning hunt.

I’ve arrived at my spot, set down on a comfy log, had a good drink of water and will give the area about 30 minutes to see if anything moves into the meadow. 15 minutes later there is movement to my right at 110 yards (range finder), more muleys. I let another 20 minutes pass and let out a good loud bugle. I no more than lowered the call and got an answer from quite a distance up the mountain and to my right. I guessed about three quarters of a mile away. I gave a couple of soft cow calls and wait. At the end of my cow calls another bugle. Good news, at least I got an answer. 30 minutes passed without another answer to my cow calls so I went to a soft high pitched calf call. 15 minutes and 5 or 6 calf calls later there is a noise behind me. Just when I convinced myself there’s more deer coming in a young cow elk steps out of the pines into the meadow 22 yards to my right. My license is for either cow or bull but I’m a rack hunter. I want elk meat as bad as the next guy, but I also want some antlers. As this yearling passes through the meadow and out of sight, I decided to move further up the mountain to do some glassing of the area. After glassing for 20 or 30 minutes I spot 4 cows and what looks to be a 4X4 bull about ½ mile below me. I give a couple of cow calls and they seem to turn towards the meadow area I was sitting at before. I head back down doing soft cow calls every few minutes and this time setup in the aspens above the meadow. 55 minutes passed (seemed like hours) and sure enough, the 4 cows and what turned out to be a very nice 4X4 bull step out of the pines into the meadow 125 yards away. Here we go, I watched as they grazed their way to about 100 yards away and stayed in that area. I waited several minutes and gave a very soft cow call. Wow, I didn’t even finish the call and all 5 of the elk snap their heads toward me and I was busted. Ever seen the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds” , these elk were gone in 6 seconds.

So ends my 2013 archery elk hunt, no elk taken this year but I HAD A GREAT TIME!






Just seen your blog, sounds like you had a good time and thats all that really matters even though the meat would have been a bonus, lol

 

Sure is beautifull country there

Great write up, pre-scouting out an area is so important, but doesn't happen most times as a person is usually so busy that just to get out and hunt at all is rewarding enough.

Thanks for reading and the comments guys!

Yeah well at least your camping!  Good read.

wow sounds like a good time. You did better than I would have for sure

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