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Topics - Elk Noob

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Classifieds / Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter Pack
« on: November 06, 2019, 09:59:47 AM »
I've got a used Outdoorsmans Optics hunter pack. I have the additional pocket that can clip onto the pack as well as a rain fly and a nalgene pouch for the belt.

I believe that the belt is a Medium, I am 6'3" and wear a 36" size pants and the belt is very snug on me so someone with a slightly smaller waist would fit this great.

This is a bomber pack, built in the US. Retail for everything is approaching $700. I'd like to get $300 OBO. I'll post up pictures when I get home from work tonight.


Hiking with a Bow, Elk Hunt in the Making

Back in 2010 was the first time I had gone west for a hunt, I grew up in the midwest hunting whitetail from a tree stand. I was fortunate to have the opportunity at getting an elk and sealed the deal on the last day of the hunt. After that rifle hunt I was absolutely hooked to western hunting and knew I'd be moving to CO to chase Elk with a bow.

In the summer of 2013 I finally made the move. I was too green to hunt Elk that first season, and was still a non resident. I had a rifle hunt that year that I had paid for prior to moving. I had a great time, but unfortunately didn't fill my tag.

In the winter of 2014 I tore my ACL on March 1st. I had surgery April 7th with the hope that I'd be able to get into the woods to chase elk for my first time. That first year I had a lot of firsts; I heard my first bugles in the woods, camped solo for multiple nights, and hiked more miles and elevation than I had thought possible. It was a great first year and I learned a lot even though I never even had a chance at a shot.

During the summer of 2015 I did a ton of scouting and was ready for the hunt. I had possibly the best opening morning you could ever ask for, until it wasn't. I had 2 different bulls at 30yards or less within the first 15minutes of shooting light. I drew on the first bull multiple times but never had a good shot, and managed to get a shot on the 2nd bull. Unfortunately the shot was low, and I never recovered the animal. That was a brutal opener. I spent the rest of the season searching for that bull while having a deer tag in my pocket.

During the 2016-2018 seasons I got into elk multiple times with multiple different scenarios. Every time doing something incorrectly to either bust the animal out, or ruin my opportunity at a shot.

At this point I'm 0/5 with a bow, and am determined to get an elk in 2019.  I start my training early and begin walking my dog with a weighted pack shortly after the 2018 seasons have ended. I was doing well with my training, scouting and planning. My pack began getting heavier and heavier and the mileage I was able to put in kept going up, eventually getting to packing 80lbs 5miles with 2k elevation gain and also mountain biking frequently. I was also getting faster on the mountain bike because of this training and eventually decided to enter a race. This is where my training goes south.

In late May while training for my race in June I was pushing it and was riding the fastest I've ever ridden. I made a mistake in a high consequence area and ended up with 5 broken bones in my foot. Needless to say that 3 miles back to the car was not fun.

Eight weeks non weight bearing on my foot, and another month in a boot and I was cleared to start activity again. At this point I only had a month to get back some of the endurance I had previously built up before the Elk season started. I did whatever I could to build up my strength, but still had my doubts about my abilities for the year.

The week before the season started a buddy of mine asked if I'd scout an area we are planning on hunting 3rd season mule deer. I said I'd be slow, but this would be a good test to see how the foot is doing. We hiked 10 miles and just under 2k elevation. The foot felt good, but it was definitely fatigued. I talked to my buddy and we decided to come back to this spot for opener.

During the week we both spend hours on google earth and OnX finding the best places to go and places to avoid. We decide to get to a glassing spot first thing in the morning to see what the area looks like and hopefully spot some elk. I am very glad we got to this spot because we ended up ruling out an area very quickly. The area we had hoped to access was littered with fireflies on the ridge, headlamps from hunters, going into "our" spot.

Not being too discouraged, as it was just opener we decided to let out a bugle. To our amazement we had a bull sound off about 300yards away. The wind wasn't cooperating at this time so we decided to see if we could get into a spot to make a move later on. At about 10am we heard another Bugle as the bull was heading to his bed. We waited till the wind was in our favor and decided to sneak in, unfortunately we took the wrong finger ridge and never found the bull. Later on in the weekend we took the correct ridge and found where he had previously been, unfortunately we never caught up to him the rest of the weekend.

Since we weren't seeing a ton of fresh sign, and the only bull we had heard to that point was gone we decided to get up very early Monday morning and bugle from multiple different locations. It was very quiet and we weren't getting any responses. Slightly discouraged and tired from the weekend we decided to start making our way down the mountain and back towards home. As we are driving down we decide to pull of and do a few road bulges. To our amazement, we get a response 200 yards from the road, it's about 20min before first light at this point and we quickly scramble together to get our stuff on. As we're getting our gear together we can hear twigs snapping no more than 200 yards away. My buddy lets out a bugle and we get an instant response. Then the cows start talking, mew's galore. This is it, we're on them and we're getting responses.

We look at OnX as we are not familiar with this location and end up heartbroken. There is a fairly big meadow in front of us and the elk are moving to private and we have no way to stop them at this point. Not wanting to call too much and push the elk even further we watch as they disappear into the un-pressured magical private land. The Elk just know where those boundaries are and these ones didn't ever come back.

The following weekend I head back to the same area in hopes of locating these elk we saw near the private. It had rained the prior night and the ground was very soft which made looking for sign very nice. Unfortunately I didn't see anything, and I didn't see any elk the rest of that weekend.

The next weekend I went with a different unit with another friend. We put in a lot of miles and covered a ton of ground, but never saw an elk. We did see some fresher sign and I had a general idea of where I would like to hunt the following week.

The 3rd weekend of the season I took off Thursday and Friday because I wasn't going to be able to hunt the weekend. I'm glad I did because this was the best weekend I had all season. I went back to the area I had been in the week prior only I came in from a different side and decided to get off trail immediately from the car. After hiking 2 miles and just over 2k elevation I was on the top of a ridge at 10am listening for bugles. Not more than 10 minutes goes by and I hear a chuckle. I get a rough idea of where he is and decide that he's about 1/2 mile away around the ridge so I might as well go for it.

I start making my way through the woods around the horseshoe and hear another bugle. This is coming from up higher on the ridge. I keep making my way along, eventually the bulls go silent. I let out a bugle hoping for a response, nothing. Not letting that get to me I decide to cow call. Instantly I get a response from one of the bulls, then the other. My heart starts racing again and the chase is on. I continue along the horseshoe and eventually decide to go for the bull that is lower, his bugle sounded more mature, and he was responding to every cow call I was making. I slowly make my way down towards the bull as he continues to respond to my cow calls. Eventually I get to what I think is within 200yards and he goes silent. I cow call, nothing. I wait. 15 minutes, nothing. I cow call again, nothing. What happened? Did I bust him out? The wind was perfect the entire time. What do I do now?

I decided to wait it out in hopes that he becomes vocal again before the evening. One hour passes and I haven't heard anything from this bull. The bull on top of the ridge did make a few sounds while I was waiting so I decided to start moving back up again in case I had blown out the lower bull. As I get on the ridge and start moving to where I thought that bull was the sky begins to darken. Black and Grey clouds start booming in and I am quickly starting to think I've made a mistake. At this point I'm about 4 miles and a very steep 2k' from the car. I decide to put my bow on my pack and make my way down.

As I'm heading down the bulls begin to bugle again, at this point it's 4:30 and the lower bull is screaming. I rip my bow from my pack and make my way towards the bull moving slowly and not calling at all. I wasn't going to alert this bull that I was coming. I get to what I thought was about 150 yards away and then look up, there's a cow at 40 yards. I hadn't noticed the cow because I was paying too much attention where to place my foot when walking. My foot is mostly healed at this point, but if I stepped incorrectly I'd get a sharp pain. The cow looks up but isn't afraid. I let out a soft cow mew and she puts her head down and starts walking away. Instantly the bull screams, HE'S 35 YARDS FROM ME, my heart is racing. He's in a thicker set of pine and I have no shot. I looked around and tried to see if I had any shooting lanes, nothing. I had to move or get him to come to me. I try a naisly mew, he screams and starts thrashing a tree, but still doesn't come towards me. Eventually I decide to move in slowly, as I'm walking in I hear a rustle above me and then more noise, damn.. A cow. She busts me and starts moving, not fast, but cautiously. I cow call and slow her down, the bull hasn't left yet, but is watching his cows. I try the naisly call again but he doesn't budge and eventually he goes off after his cows and the last thing I hear is a bugle saying "better luck next time" as he heads over the far ridge.

I'm discouraged, but extremely exited by what has just happened. As a mostly solo hunter I have made a lot of mistakes, but I felt I worked this one pretty well and got my chance. I did make some mistakes, but overall I felt good about this interaction. The sky does eventually open up and buckets of water are released. I'm soaked and make my long way down back to the truck. On my way back to the truck I did manage to get close to a couple cows (less than 400yards from the truck), but didn't get a shot before they dropped off the ridge. That was it for the rest of that week. I didn't hear another bugle for the rest of the season, and didn't see another elk.

I'm now 0/6 on archery elk hunts, but have learned an incredible amount throughout my time in the woods. I was determined to get an elk this year, but unfortunately that didn't happen. Many might say that this season was a failure because of that, but less than 1 month before the season started I didn't think I was even going to be able to archery hunt this year. As a mostly weekend warrior I put in 12 days this year. I learned a lot, and had my chance at a "monster" bull, at least for me. Tag soup never tastes good, but at this point I've become slightly accustomed to it during the archery season. I'll be back next year, and every year I'm able for as long as I can. I'm an addict, Elk hunting is in my blood now, and I am addicted for life.

I'm just hiking with a bow, but all of these lessons I've learned are getting me ready for an elk hunt in the making.

General Elk Hunting / CO Unit 01 2nd Rifle Cow Tag
« on: August 29, 2018, 03:41:59 PM »
Hey Guys,

I picked up a unit 01 Cow tag on the leftover list. Doing a bit of initial reading online this unit appears to have quite a bit of BLM land, the issue i'm seeing now is accessing it. It doesn't look like there are many roads going in/out of that unit.

Do you guys have any suggestions for access? I won't really have much time to scout it as I'm in the woods with the Bow through Sept.

I've also got a 2nd rifle Unit 35 Muley Tag. Do you guys think Unit 01 Cow > Unit 35 Muley tag? I am debating if I turn in the Mule deer tag or try and keep both and go for a Cow 1 weekend and a Mule deer the 2nd?

General Elk Hunting / Plan for Opener
« on: August 20, 2018, 11:45:22 AM »
I was out scouting my Unit this weekend and found a few nice Bulls Sat night. Right now it seems like they are still in bachelor groups, but a few of the bulls were beginning to engage with each other and it seems like they are really starting to get worked up.

Do you guys think these bulls will likely be in a similar spot come this weekend, or will they already be out looking for their cows?

I wasn't able to glass up any Cow's, but have a good plan for getting after these Bulls if I think they'd be in a similar area.

Hunt Planner / Unit 11 Late Season Cow Colorado
« on: November 30, 2017, 05:09:55 PM »
Hey Everyone.

I've got a late season cow tag for Unit 11. I've done a ton of searching online and google earth etc. for places to go, but was wondering if anyone had any first hand experience in this unit? Looking at recent late season success it seems that the success rate is pretty high.

I was hoping we'd have plenty of snow up high and the elk would be migrating down lower, but I'm thinking that likely won't be the case this weekend.

If anyone has any tips and doesn't want to share online feel free to send me a message.

I'll be hunting solo as usual, just looking for a cow for the freezer as I ate tag soup for my other seasons.

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