Well we put another season away, to think about next year and future plans
Gear is almost put away and the Elk is at the butcher with my instructions. It takes more time to plan, load gear, drive and reverse the sequence every year and sometimes it works out, and sometimes it does not. That’s why they call it hunting!
This year was strange in CO. This year we hunted as we have for the past several, 4th Rifle in western CO. We hunt public land as we always do, rent horses from the same guys and Cowboy Up. It’s a time when we recall old skills and kindle new ones. You used to turn a strap this way, but wait a minute, it works better that way….you must continue to learn. But so many skills are used when you hunt, it just keeps your knowledge fresh. From knots to saddling to tracks and fire-making and many more.
Over the years in the area we hunt, we have started doing 4th rifle only. We did 3rd but that was a zoo. 3rd rifle is when they normally get the first of the weather for the fall and that my friend is the most important part of this hunt. Weather, weather and weather! Elk move due to weather and nothing else. When they need to move to feed or fill that age old drive to get to the winter grounds, nothing will stop them. And guess what we had, very little weather. When we arrived, no snow on the ground. In past years we had to dig out the area where we camped, had lots of snow to put in coolers after the tags are filled, not this year.
It was not until Thursday that we did get a snow storm. On top of the mountain where we ride to, the shemagh was pulled up tight against the wind and driving ice. It was cold but if you are a skilled dresser, you are good to go. Snow piled up about a foot in places. When the storm broke, it warmed up into the high 50’s. I forgot my shorts and tank top. It was so good, we grabbed the fly rods and fished the White River and local ponds instead of chasing elk, which to date had not moved. We got one additional storm on Friday night and Saturday, but by Sunday was melting fast.
I was able to be in position to get a shot to fill my Cow tag on opening day. She was obviously pushed by other hunters and at 275yds on a slight trot, quartering away, she went down. It was quick and done, just the way I like it. No suffering for the animal, we as hunters have that responsibility. If you shoot, make sure you did not wound and always track down a wounded animal. But if you set the shelf right, practice, practice and only taking that shot that “you can make”, we do the job quickly and effectively. Any butcher who dispatches animals wants it quick and clean for both parties and we should do the same. My partner was not so fortunate in filling his tag, it’s usually the other way round. So of course we share the elk with each other, it’s the right thing to do.
I get so frickin angry at what I see and hear from other hunters. One guy from another state was bragging he was set up for that 1000 yard shot, I almost fell over. The only reason for taking a shot like that is that that you are starving to death, literally and you have no other option. Frankly that’s not hunting. When we look through our “Binoculars” (not rifle scopes), we should be looking at employing more skill sets. Can I stalk closer? Can I figure out where that animal is going and intercept? Should I just let this one go and plan to get back in this area at first light?
So many things you could do and should do, but most hunters don’t even think about this. It’s hunting, it’s a skill to get close. It’s one reason I like bow hunting (another skill), you must get close. So the gear get put back into containers until next time, which I swear needs to be sooner.
Much discussion was had about returning to Colorado. We almost went some where else due to the states denial of our second amendment rights there. We need to help them throw these bums out of office as we already have to two of them. More heads need to roll. The state also change the tags where we hunt from either sex to either a bull or cow. This I think was done to increase tag sales, not to the hunters advantage. I also found that the normally friendly CO residents were not so this season. Not even a wave or head nod to you, just complete denial to contempt at your “taking their elk”. Well to those who smiled, thanks. To those that wanted to be that turd in the neighborhood, screw you! We are looking at Montana next year, just 1.5 hours more driving. What’s that when you been on the road for over 12?
Well here’s to next season chasing them again!