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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jerry's Colorado Elk hunt

I normally write this blog, but here is Jerry's breakout of his one month long Colorado elk hunt. -Scott

I was very fortunate this year to be able to plan and go on a month long elk hunt in Colorado. I had a very good time but I think it will be the last time I stay for a solid month. I had the opportunity to hunt with my cousin who I grew up with. It took my dads funeral to get us back together. Last year, matter of fact, I was on the way to Colorado when I received word that he had passed away. My cousin BUDDY and I started talking elk hunting trying to get our mind off of the current situation. Out of that came the plan to go hunt together the following year.

My youngest son, Chad, goes with us every year and my dad would always go and hang around camp before he had so many strokes and was not able to travel anymore. But it was pretty cool that my dad and one of my sons would go with us. This year not only did my son get to go, my cousin and his son also. I know my grandsons like to hunt so I cant wait until three generations will be there.

I love to hunt in Colorado, but we also have the chance to try out a lot of the gear we sell. So when you call about a certain item maybe we have field tested it and have a better info than the guy who just sells stuff. From the clothing to the bows, range finders, binoculars, spotting scopes, arrows, broadheads, different gloves and camping gear as well from pots and pans to cooking stoves, sleeping bags, tents, cots and pads. Accessories for the 4 wheelers such as bags and bow holders and also different tree stands. Which reminds me if you leave a stand in the woods for the evening hunt be sure to lock it up as we had one stole from us this year.

Like I said we sure did a lot of planning for a year but of course everything did not go as planned. We were going to try a new location that my cousin and his son had hunted before. However when we got there it was wall to wall people as it was Labor Day and everyone wanted to be in the woods. I can not blame them. So we moved about 30 miles away. We scouted Friday before the season opened and had seen a lot of elk. Saturday morning we headed out and found one bull but he was to far so we watched him walk off. We put in lot miles that morning. Buddy found a place he wanted to hang a stand and Lance, my cousins son, also found a nice place to hang one. I wanted to do some more scouting and still hunting. I glassed several bulls but they were very high and a long way off so nothing good happened other than getting to see some elk.

I was waiting at the trail head and Lance showed up and was grinning from ear to ear. He said he stuck a 6x4 bull and got a good shot on it, but did not track it as he wanted to give it plenty of time to expire. We later found Buddy and we headed to the spot where the elk was hit. It was a good pass through with the Rage broadhead and what A TRAIL OF BLOOD. I do not care about entrance holes, only exit holes as that's where the blood will flow... down, not up and out. We tracked him about 75 yards and right before he died, he decided to give us a work out! He went down in a hole and expired on a steep hill. Lance shot him at about 7pm and it was 2am when we made it back with a load a piece. I could not go any father, but Lance and his Dad went back to get the final load. I think they got back to camp around 5AM. I really don't know as I was sawing logs. This is one thing elk hunters don't talk much about. The work, and I mean work, starts after you kill one. I thank God that I went to the gym and worked out quite a bit. I thought I was ready but I needed to work out much more. While you're planning, remember the maps are flat, the mountains are not and the air setting in your home is great but the air high in Colorado is light and not much of it. So always try and acclimatize yourself for a couple of days before you have to get after it.

A couple days later, Lance and I crossed a meadow, stopped to drink some water when Lance pulled up his White Water binoculars and seen just the tips of elk horns. They had a lot of mass that high, so we wondered what the lower part look like. We thought he had walked up and was looking out into the meadows, so I was going to try and get down wind of him. After Lance was going to give me time to set up, he was going to cow call with a Primos HOOCHIE MA MA. When he called, the elk was not standing looking out over the meadows, he was laying down. When he herd the call he stood up. Lance called again and he simply turned and walked away. I never saw him after the initial sighting and did not know what happened afterwards. We would have tried something different if we had known he was bedded down. I guess that's why they call it hunting and not shooting.

We went back to camp with great story, but Buddy had one to top that. Buddy decided to hunt the same location Lance killed his elk a few days earlier. As he was sitting in his stand he had chance at some cows but let them pass. Then BOO BOO the bear walked by and went in the direction of Lances kill. But Buddy did not have bear tag. That eve he climbed down and met Boo Boo on the same trail and things got little harry as they looked at each other neither one of them wanting to yield. But after a few seconds the bear walked up the hill and turned around and sat down and watched Buddy as if to say “I'll be glad when this hunting season is over!”

Buddy and Lance left after about 2 weeks of hunting and I moved back to the area I hunt in every year. I was by myself but next group as planning on being there in about 4 days. They included a group from our church, Gorden and Jeff, and Chad my son was flying in the following week. But Hurricane Ike and their wife's had other plans. Jeff and Gorden had to ride out Ike and get generators lined up before they left. They were out of electricity for about 5 days. Boy I was glad my sons were home as they took care of everything! Jeff and Gorden were scheduled to be their on Saturday, but it was the next Tuesday before they arrived. After being in the mountains over a week by myself I was glad to see them! My son, Chad, flew in Thursday and the hunt was on.

We have a lot of folks that use traditional equipment. Jeff shoots traditional and tries out different arrows, broadheads and quivers. Jeff always hunts from a tree stand over a wallow or over a trail and has become the most successful hunter out of our bunch. We kid him about the stick and string but I guess the proof is in the pudding. However, he got skunked too this year. They were out of his range and one lacked enough points to be legal. Gorden put a good shot on cow but we never found her after looking all one night and the next day. We do not have clue where that elk went. As always, I learned a lot about hunting in the high country and also a lot about all the gear we researched. I can't wait for next year! I hope Scott can fit it in next year as well. -Jerry Huff


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