Name: Aaron P
Date of Hunt: November 18, 2017
Location of Hunt: Central Colorado
Animal Hunted: Cow Elk
Were you successful?: Yes!
Weather, Wind, and Conditions: Partially cloudy with 2-4 inches of snow the night before, 40’s with light wind
Interesting Details of the Hunt: After two hard days of hunting without seeing any elk, I was re-thinking my idea of hunting 4th season. However after hiking all morning my wife and I came to the top of a ridge where there were fresh tracks everywhere. We were walking along at 12:10 pm when suddenly my wife whispered, “There’s a elk!”
About 75 yards away was a cow elk running away from us. I really wanted my wife to shoot but she was uncomfortable with taking a shot like that, so she whispered for me to take it. At about 85 yards the cow stopped broadside. I quickly pulled up my gun and fired (30-06 with 180 grains) . The cow took a couple steps forward and then started walking away from us. I took another shot and the cow ran off to the right.
I wasn’t confident that either shot had hit and with me rushing both shots, I didn’t feel very confident. We quickly went up to where the cow had been and quickly found tracks in the snow. We followed the tracks for several hundred yards until we finally lost it among other elk tracks. There was no blood and I was fairly confident I missed. We spend the rest of the day with no other sightings.
The next morning I was headed back to the same area by myself. As I hiked up the mountain, I decided to check out the area one more time. I’m glad I did.
Major Lesson Learned – Always check and re-check when you shoot. I found where we had come up and started following the tracks the day before. I looked around and 10 yards further behind a row of bushes was another set of tracks. We had followed the wrong set of tracks the day before! I followed the tracks 25 yards and found the cow elk laying there dead.
It was a small calf. It appears that it’s mother had been shot, and it was lost and alone. We just happened to stumble upon it. I field-dressed and deboned it and was able to get it all down in one trip. While I wished that I could have harvested it the day I shot it, I gained valuable experience and had another great hunt.