It started out early with my alarm going off immediately sending me upright in my bed. Many hunters can sympathize with the excitement and adrenaline that is pumping through ones body the day of the hunt. It was a brief ride over to my friends ranch in Sedalia where Nathan and I decided to start my hunt on a ridge overlooking a large swath of the property. To our surprise after 15 minutes of hiking we ran right into two bucks and at least four doe’s on an opposing lower ridge. The bigger buck was partially obscured by scrub oak and facing down hill away from us. after waiting about 5 minutes the larger buck turned broad side still entirely unaware of our presence. I took the shot off of a pair of shooting sticks at 125 yards. My trophy disappeared behind the low ridge immediately. At that time i was unsure whether of to be disappointed or elated. Nathan was confident i had hit my target but i wasn't because of the recoil of the 30-06 and the immediate retreat over the ridge. we waited an excruciating 15 min to allow the buck to bleed out if i had hit him to avoid chasing him all over the ranch. Finding the buck proved some what tricky through the thick scrub oak. eventually we found him lying 15 feet from the spot of impact. the shot was about an inch and a half forward from the heart. It was a lung shot that passed through the back of the shoulder and exited out the front of the other. I used a 180 grain bullet which i believe contributed to the quick kill despite the less than perfect shot as all but one of the lobes of the lungs where reduced to a pulp. The next 2 days where spend cleaning, butchering, and tanning the buck in house. More to come on the buck skin wallets being made from this kill.
It all started on the Sunday before the Season when the massive arctic storm front blew in and blanked most of the Northern 48 states in snow and extreme cold. Then came Thursday when I could finally get away from school to go out west in Colorado's unit 14 for my first hunt in the state. The drive was long from Fort Collins to Laramie then to Walden then into the unit. There was already easily a foot of snow on the ground where we spent the night in a motel. Then it snowed lightly through the night to leave the snow total still around a foot. The snow was coming down hard when we went out Friday morning it was nothing less than harsh with the wind and snow. We went out hiking around Friday morning came across some tracks, but as conditions deteriorated we went back to set up camp. Once we had the tent set up we hunkered down for a little while then I decided to go back out into the weather and try to get an elk. Snow shoes this time made my hike a much easier trek. Though once I decided to go off the road even with large snow shoes I was sinking in the loose fresh powder. All afternoon I marched all over the snowy beautiful landscape. Then after seeing no more sign than the tracks that morning. We hung out ate diner inside the tent. Then went to bed really early for me which was around 7 PM. Although the wind was so harsh all night the I woke up nearly every thirty minutes to an hour. The gust caused our tent the Bibler Bombshelter to bend and flex all night. Then when we awoke we opened the tent to see that yet another foot of snow. We decided with two feet of snow on the ground and this storm not letting up my truck may not be able to safely handle much more snow so we began the sad process of packing up camp and getting ready to go home. The drive out was amazing as the scenery was breathtaking but the road was difficult to drive on and stay on. After about an hour we reached Walden. Then we drove to Laramie which was relatively easy with just heavy snow but the roads were relatively clear. Then on the drive down from Laramie to Fort Collins conditions deteriorated quickly giving me my first taste of driving through a white out. With the windshield freezing over in some areas a had to lean over to view through a clear part of my windshield. Once home there was the job of unpacking all of the snowed in gear from the truck. This trip just left me with more experience and reason why not to go hunt during Colorado's 4th rifle season.
So far a hunt that had been a snowy wet mess of a goose chase had yielded no animals harmed on opening day, or the next morning. My dad and I headed over to any area of the Murderers Creek unit that had been good to us the burn. We pulled up around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Leaving the truck we hiked up from the base of the ridge, and about a third of the way up the ridge my dad glassed up some cows moving on the top. Deciding it would be a good idea to get a better look we went around a different ridge. Once we crested over the back side of the next ridge over we glassed up the biggest spike bull I have ever seen. Ranging it at 480 yards quartering away I got bull fever and decided to let two rounds fly. Both clearly missed as we hustled over to get another shot, or maybe see a blood trail. Once where he had stood we saw the bedding locations of at least 3 dozen elk. I immediately followed there tracks, and upon emerging from treeline the whole ridge was moving with elk. This included about 10 spike bulls and 4-5 4 bi's. I hustled to the top of the ridge where I waited for a bull to show himself not surrounded by cows to get a shot off. After about 3 bulls passed through my sights surrounded by cows. A spike emerged unprotected by females. I put my sight on him and squeezed the trigger. "Click" the sound no shooter wants to hear. I quickly thought I hadn't chambered my third and final round so I threw the bolt open, but instead of nothing popping out as expected the only round I had flew out landing in the snow. I quickly dug around in the snow and found the round. Throwing it back into the rifle and racking the bull had frozen in place it seemed. I let that round fly. Knowing I was out of ammo my dad ran up and tried to hurry me to load and drop a bull. I was still frozen; then I pointed out to him that I had dropped my first bull ever with that one round there on the top of the ridge. (Range 65 yards) The work as it always does began then. We quartered one side and hung that in tree and hoped the other half would cool off in the snow that night. I took the head off and Proceeded to pack that out that night. We came back the next morning bright and early to pack the rest out. 11/1-11/2/2012
Wake up call 4:30 am. We were all prepared to do what must be done. We had glassed up quite a few bulls the night before, and had decided on a plan of attack to bag one at first light opening morning of the hunt. Loading gear into the truck we took off. Arriving around 5 am we began the hike to get into position. The hike was somewhat difficult we spotted up our first bull around 7:15 am and he was beautiful except for the fact he had a massive five, but had been beaten down to a very small two. Looking around we spotted another great five by five this time intact. Putting my scope on him; he was ranged by John at 365 yards. I decided to take my gloves off for a more accurate shoot. Mistake glove got caught on the trigger bull fever caused mistake. This may have actually helped bull froze in place letting me get off a broad side shot which connected. This tough bastard wasn't done yet he kept moving at around 10 more yards away per shot I connected 3-4 more times as he moved up and away from us finally going down on some nasty ass terrain. He slide a few feet before being hung up by the tinniest bush. Our work far from done we headed over to pack him out. It took us just about 45 minutes to get to him. Then the real work began practically on a cliff. Sliding all over the place cutting with your arms above you head it was done, and loaded to pack out in about an hour and a half. Then we hiked out. No one seemed to care how hard or long the hike was since we had one in the books with opportunity to bag another. (My Uncle had a tag as well; which would be filled a couple days later.) 11/30/2012