Name: Aaron P
Date of Hunt: November 3rd 2018
Location of Hunt: Northwest Colorado
Animal Hunted: Bull Elk
Were you successful?: Yes
Weather, Wind, and Conditions: Overcast and snowing . Low 30’s with a steady wind from the West.
Interesting Details of the Hunt: This hunt took place during the 3rd rifle season. I have had the opportunity to hunt this area for the past couple years and so I had a good idea of where I wanted to head. It had snowed during the night and there was about 6 inches on the ground. It was fairly calm but there was a light steady breeze with a light snow continuing to fall.
Opening morning I arrived at the trailhead well before sunrise. I was the first one there and the hike in revealed that I was the first one up the trail that day. As I got to closer to my location there were elk tracks everywhere. It looked like a substantial herd has passed through just earlier that morning. However, since I was looking for a bull and not a cow, I continued further up the mountain.
As it got to shooting light I was working my way up through an aspen grove. I crossed three or four sets of elk tracks crossing the side of the mountain but saw no other sign. Within 15 minutes I came up to the top of the ridge and walked through a couple of pine trees on the edge of a meadow.
Suddenly, I saw two bull elk walking towards me at 75 yards through the meadow. Neither one had seen me, and the wind was blowing in my face. I quickly pulled up my 30-06 and shot offhand at the first bull.
He made a slight jump forward and I was sure that I had hit him, but I quickly chambered another round and quickly shot.
The bull ran forward 20 feet and fell to the ground in the middle of the open field. It was 7:20 am.
The second bull stood there for a couple minutes trying to determine what happen before if finally turned around and ran into the woods.
I walked up to the bull elk and looked at it closely for the first time. Because of the speed of how things had happened, all I had the chance to do was to make sure that it was a legal bull before shooting. Now I could see it was a nice sized 6×6 bull. My biggest bull yet! I had indeed hit him twice. The first shot had been a perfect double-lung shot and was completely fatal. My second shot had been rushed and I actually shot him in the lower jaw and through the neck.
I took a bit of time to take some pictures and text my wife the good news! I then spent the rest of the morning skinning, quartering, and deboning the elk. I packed the backstraps and tenderloin in my pack and hung the rest up in a nearby tree. I took that first load back that afternoon and then over the next two days took two more trips. In three trips overall I retrieved all the meat as well as the head. By the end I was exhausted. Yet once again I was privileged to complete another successful elk hunt.
This was the first time I had the opportunity to shoot a bull opening morning. While I joked with a friend that I only got to 30 minutes this year, I had a great hunting experience and memories that will last a lifetime!