I doubt that many people really understand what it is to go on a hunting trip. We like to watch hunting shows on TV sometimes, but it is amusing when they talk about how rough the country is and how rugged the hunt is, and then proceed to drive their four-wheelers around to haul their game out. They head back to the hunting lodge where a five-course meal has been prepared for them and sit by the fire to retell the story of the day’s hunt. Hmm, I think I’ve been missing out a bit…but not really.
We generally draw elk tags every other year where we hunt. So, Friday morning, the horses were in and fed by 3:45AM and after one last cup of coffee, we load the horses and head off through Denver and up to the mountains. Saddling up and loading the saddle bags and pack panniers, we ride up the trail. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the ride along the creek with the bright yellow aspen and the deep green of the pines was amazing.
Setting up our tent at 11,700 feet or so, we had our camp organized quickly and bid goodbye to our pack train as they headed back down the trail to take the horses home. While hunting season doesn’t open until Saturday morning, we hiked around to all the spots where we can glass for any elk that might be out and about. We spotted a nice six-point bull, a couple of moose, and then in the early evening, eight or nine cows and calves with another nice bull passed right by our tent. I was so excited!
The high mountains are gorgeous in fall and normally very cold. Not so this time as it was unseasonably warm and while I didn’t mind not spending five days shivering, I wasn’t sure what this would mean for our hunt. Our hunt “schedule” means: up and have a granola bar, gear up and hit the trail to 12,070 feet by 5:30AM, glass for elk, find elk, shoot elk, prepare meat to pack out…of course, you only get this far if you have spotted the elk first. We spotted eight very nice buck deer and two moose, Mr. & Mrs., and one cow elk-we had bull tags.
More to follow tomorrow.