September 19, 2021, 11:49:21 PM

Author Topic: My 2019 story contest!  (Read 897 times)

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Offline mpkalblinger

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My 2019 story contest!
« on: November 07, 2019, 11:51:55 AM »
Before I get started, I have a spoiler alert.  This is a guided hunt on private property.  But my elk hunt this year was more about the experience than the actual tagging of the animal. Please read with that in mind. This was my first elk hunt as an adult.
This year 2019 I was selected for the hunt program from Grand Junction, COs VA recreational therapy department.  Matt Lucas at the VA Western Colorado Health Care System started this program 13 years ago and has been able to do it every year for a small group of disabled veterans. Veterans must apply thru the program, and they select 4 lucky veterans for a cow elk hunt and another 4 for an antelope tag.  Matt partners with the Eleven Bar Ranch out of Hamilton CO and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunters Education program.  This wonderful group of people deserve all the credit for how amazing this experience was for me and the other veterans on this hunt. It is important to know that Eleven Bar Ranch does not charge for this program to hunt on their property. The guides and majority of the people involved in this hunt, volunteer their time, and do such a spectacular job at creating a lasting memory during this hunt. The veteran was required only to cover the cost of the cow elk tag. Food and tents were provided by the CPW Hunters Education program.
It all started on Monday morning, we all met at the Meeker CPW office where we received an in-brief and we all introduced ourselves to each other. From there we convoyed over to the ranch where we were to set up camp.  We confirmed that all our rifles were dialed in good and then we started setting up camp.   The camp was the epitome of all camps I have been too, there were sidewall tents with generators, a camp kitchen, a community tent, and Teepee like tents for sleeping. Each tent had buddy heaters and plenty of room for one another.  Once the camp was all set up, we took a break for lunch and got to know one another a little bit more.  From there we all got into our hunting clothes and shortly after that the guides from the ranch arrived so we could meet them.  Around 4pm the first day we all set out in groups, one veteran with a guide and a volunteer. I was paired up with the most amazing guide Jimmy, and CPW volunteer Doug.  These two guys were so knowledgeable with everything hunting and elk.  We took a trail up the mountain behind the camp in the side-by-side, and then parked and hiked a good distance to were we set up for the evening. This was a rifle hunt, so I had my grandfathers Remington Model 721 .270 Win. rifle with me. We sat down near the top of this long draw beneath a saddle between two hills. Jimmy said that the elk should come down over that saddle and right into this draw down to the feeding area further down. We would be able to catch them right when they begin to descend off the saddle into the [/size]dra[/size]w.  Shortly after we settled into our spot Jimmy started to hear elk bugle off in the distance, I was not able to hear them bugling for awhile longer.  About an hour after we set up, we all could hear bugles from what later turned out to be one stud of a 6x6 bull and another large 5x5, among them screaming we could hear about 40 cows and calves in the herd directly across the draw from where we were.  It became quite the spectacle of which I had a front row seat too. That [/size]in itself made the trip successful for me, whether I would fill my tag or not. We watched in awe of all these animals moving around, talking back and forth, all about 250 yards away from me.  Jimmy and Doug were analyzing all the cows making their way closer to us to find the biggest one that did not have seem to have a calf this year. Although it was close to them being weaned, they didnt want to put that calf in unnecessary jeopardy. They pinpointed a great looking cow to take, once we communicated back and forth to be sure of which I was to shoot, I ranged the bush next to where she was feeding at 161 yards.  I settled behind my rifle, took aim, took some slow deep breaths, and squeezed the trigger.  I immediately reloaded with the next round and got her back in my scope.  She took 4 steps, turned back and took those 4 steps back, laid down and expired in the exact same spot I shot her at, facing the opposite direction. It was all over in a matter of seconds.  We stayed in our spot to allow the rest of the animals time to relax and move down the draw, another veteran was set up down there next to the area they go to feed in the evenings.  Just before dark we made our way down to her. I took a few pictures and then was given some instructions on how to field process the animal.  We got her and then loaded her into the side by side and drove back to camp. From there we were able to hoist the animal up and I was taught how to skin and prep it to allow it to cool overnight.  Shortly after I got to the hoisting area another veteran showed up with his animal, and then the third, and within 30 minutes the last veteran showed up with their animal.  All 4 of us veterans tagged[/size][/size]ou[/size]r animals within 10 minutes of each other.  This was the first time in the 13 years that all the veterans tagged out on the first night in that short of timeframe, it was an ecstatic camp that night to say the least.  We were scheduled to be there for 2.5 days of hunting, but with all our tags filled we packed up camp the next day and headed home.
Again I cannot give enough thanks to Matt (VA), Dede (VA), Doug (CPW), Kathleen (CPW), Art (CPW), Jimmy and the other guides, the Sullivan family, the Brennise family, and all of the others that made this possible for us.  This is going to be one of the most memorable hunts that I will ever get to experience, and it wasnt [/size]all about harvesting the animal, it was all about the amazing people behind it.  Thank you all for doing what you do!!!

Offline cohunter14

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Re: My 2019 story contest!
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 07:52:12 PM »
Awesome story, thanks for sharing Brad! And welcome to the forum  :welcome:

Offline cnelk

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Re: My 2019 story contest!
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 08:01:30 PM »
That was a great story! Thanks very much for sharing.

Offline klyons

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Re: My 2019 story contest!
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 02:12:24 PM »

Thanks for sharing your story of your successful hunt.  Glad to hear that all of you guys could connect and shoot an elk. 

That whole experience sounds amazing and you had a great group of people to help
make it happen

Lastly, thank you for your service to our country.  It's very much appreciated!  Happy Veterans Day!



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