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The infamous THR elk hunt of 2012.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I have deliberately been waiting to write this as I wanted to give the other guys a chance to tell their story as they saw it first. However I can no longer wait. And since I'm telling the story first please note that this version shall be the historically correct version of this hunt. ;)
    Caste of characters pictured below.
    Robert AKA (Poo Hands The Misty Glassed Rock Slayer) is in the orange hat. Justin AKA (Cold stove) is the man in black I am not pictured but surely the guys will post some photos and reveal my elk hunting call sign for the hunt.
    DSC03824.jpg
    The hunt started for me arriving Friday night and setting up camp. Our camp was located at 11,423' in the central Colorado Rockies. after setting camp I took a quick scouting trip and discovered that my fears were correct. the weather was absolutely horrible for elk hunting. It was warm during the day. There was very little snow and virtually no elk sign to be had. early the next morning I was up and headed to one of my honey holes. After about a miles of "ghosting" through dark timber in crunchy iced over snow I found the beds of a cow and calf that were less than an hour old. I took the track and to make a long story short followed them for about three hours until they took me into an incredibly steep ice and snow covered scree field that I was forced to climb up and over as it was simply to treacherous to follow them across it. I lost their tracks and decided to climb over the mountain I was side hilling back to the jeep. It turns out that the elk had circled around the peak and passed with 30 yards of my jeep in the process of ditching me! Oh well elk have a funny way of making you feel small in insignificant when playing with you in their back yard.
    The morning hike had taken its toll on me so I returned to camp where I found the guys had just arrived and were in the process of setting up camp. After some struggling with the guy's tent and stove pipe we ate a quick lunch and headed out for an afternoon of elk hunting.
    I took the guys up to one of my favorite elk holding draws and after a mile or so it became evident that the only living thing that had been there since the last snow was one big old male Mt lion and a coyote. there wasn't another set of tracks to be seen. So, defeated we plodded up the draw back to the jeep arriving just as the sun disappeared and the blanket of night covered us with a brisk blast of cold air.
    Day three was an early morning get up and another " honey hole" check that revealed smoking hot elk sign that after being followed unfortunately wound up leading us to private land causing us to give up on it and return to jeep after several fruitless hours of tracking and glassing.

    Basically the whole trip went this way, we'd find some recent sign and sit and glass the area or try to track it fruitlessly. That's the bad news the good news is that we found some great new country for future reference. We hiked some gorgeous canyons and mountains. we played some great tricks on each other and got along very well in general. We had some adventure.
    Some of which to include;
    Listening to Justin fight with the cylinder stove in their tent which was at times hilarious. Poor old Justin and that stove didn't make friends until the last day or so. He'd go into the tent to start the stove and you'd hear him banging around and clanging stuff. Finally you'd hear him arguing with the stove there would be an expletive or two dropped and finally a frustrated Justin would emerge with one of those "REALLY!" looks on his face as Robert and I would be lounging in camp chairs around the campfire giggling like a couple of school girls at poor Justin's frustration. Thus Justin became (Cold Stove) for the remainder of the trip.
    Robert arrived in camp with an old pair of 7x35 binos that were left over from the Roman Empire as far as I could tell. They were decent glass in the days of the Caesar but had suffered from their time on this planet and were just a "bit" clouded and foggy. Robert was the only man to fire a shot during the whole hunt. After days of frustration at not seeing an elk We decided that a rock was to be sacrificed in honor of the hunting gods. Robert was given the honor and picked out a rock at 570 yards, killing it with one shot from his M-70 .375H&H. In between glassing through smoked lenses and killing innocent rocks Robert thought it freaking hilarious when he rubbed chocolate on his hands then without me knowing it was chocolate and not something else much more alarming then jamming his finger under my nose and proudly proclaiming "HEY SMELL THIS!!" Thus becoming known as ( Poo Hands the Misty Glassed Rock killer.)
    We did have one serious OH CRAP moment on the trip thanks to an adventurous spirit and a deceptively deep snow field. We were attempting to cross over a pass to get back to camp and hunt our way there. We'd gotten over the top of the pass when and has started down the North side things were going well until suddenly they weren't, when we stuck the jeep solid in deep crusty snow. It was an ugly situation as we were on a very narrow two track and the downhill side was a steep 60 degree slope that led off into a boulder strewn canyon. We took our time and thought it out, then pulled out shovels and were able to dig a path just wide enough to let us turn around with a classic 34 point turn about 20 inches at a time and every time I backed up I was hanging my rear end out over the chasim, one wrong turn and it would have been a long tumbling fall to my death. At one point my rear end slide out of the track and was starting down the slope was in four low and simply dumped the clutch and let the front chains claw me back onto level ground, 4 wheel drive, chains and adrenalin saved the day. If it wasn't for Robert's expert guidance taking me to edge of the track with each turn I'd probably still be up there. In any case that was an hour or so of excitement that ended well.

    Looking down from the pass.
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    The only known photo of Robert getting ready to kill the rock.
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    The jeep
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    The guys impressed me with their attitudes and they hung in there through thick and thin. Both paced themselves well and never tried to move faster than their fitness level allowed which I respect whole heartedly. It's tough to have a good attitude when you aren't even seeing any game much less not getting any shot opportunities. Justin and Robert are the kind of guys who are welcome in my elk camp any time and while we had a bit of fun at each other's expense all in all I think we made a good team with everybody pitching in to ease the burden of cold weather camping in the high Rockies.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A friend reported a similarly productive Colorado hunt.
    Fewer memorable moments, though.
     
  3. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    It's been a horrible season so far for elk in Colorado.I know a couple of guys who've killed elk but it's been few a far between.

    I've got a late season deer tag starting Wednesday. We'll see how that goes.
     
  4. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Sounds like you had fun. A colleague of mine lives in Colorado. He couldn't make it this past weekend to hunt for Elk with his brother and was a bit bummed out about it. That was until he heard how warm it was like you mentioned. His brother didn't see anything.
     
  5. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    My father and I hunted second season in the Unit 37 Ute Pass, Henderson Mill, Williams Fork area. We saw NO ELK, not even a dead one hanging in a camp. Plenty of hunters though...

    I saw only one Elk in the back of a truck on C-470 this year while driving to work last week. Not much success this year.
     
  6. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    Justin and I had one heck of a time. My asthema kept me from moving as fast H&H and Justin but I hung in there and had one amazing hunt. H&H is an awesome guide and mentor and even though we did not see a single elk I learned a great deal about hunting, and elk, and just how much I can do. Even at 12,000 ft.
     
  7. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    At 12,000 ft. all I can do is hold my head and beg for more Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
     
  8. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Gospel truth right there, especially for negatively tempered folks like m'self.
     
  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Sounds like a lot of fun and somewhat frustrating. Tis the nature of hunting.

    What's with two pairs of green pants? Twins? :D

    Did you drive in to your camp site or did you have to park and pack in?
     
  10. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    Heh, I wondered if someone would see that. We bought our wool pants at the same place, and they only come in one color...

    We drove into camp and along the main forest service roads. But we did a great deal of hiking everyday to get back into the dark timber and bedding grounds. The roads only get you into the general area.
     
  11. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    Sorry to hear you guys & many others are striking out this year. 3rd season was almost a wash for our group too, there were just very few animals around this year. We were all getting tired, grumpy, and running out of ibuprofen after sleeping on the ground in a wall tent for 9 days. And then the snow came & went, that got 'em moving. Closing night all the sudden we got covered up in elk, and I happily took the first legal bull that loitered in the general direction of my scope. 20 minutes left till the end of the season & I got my bull! :)

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  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    ^^^^^

    Nice scope!
     
  13. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    Thanks. :) The majority of the shots I've had on elk have been at dawn or dusk, and here the Swaro succeeds where other scopes have failed me. As the light fades I can actually see better through the scope than I can with my eyes. I took this bull with a TSX to the heart at 248 yds, the glass let me be darn sure he was legal before I let it fly. It's not a perfect scope in some areas, but for low light hunting I think it's the best.
     
  14. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Always with the great stories..Been there a few times..... My brother told me not to even think of flying up this year.. Sucks cause I'm out of elk.
     
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    12,000 feet? There ain't any air in the air up there! :D
     
  16. danweasel

    danweasel Member

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    Reports from here in Sheridan, WY are about the same. Not a ton of luck with the elk during rifle season. However, the Bow Guys seemed to do alright earlier in the same areas. Luckily one of them was my generous landlord.

    Oh, I forgot to add, Thanks for lunch break story time!
     
  17. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    GJ

    What caliber is that beast?
     
  18. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    It's a Vanguard w/ a Timney trigger, chambered in 300 WSM. I push a 180gr TSX @ ~3050 with H4350. I've been using this combo for years but I'm considering stepping down to the 165gr for next year to get it a bit flatter & better expanding since penetration really isn't an issue. I really like the caliber, much more pleasant to shoot than my 300 WM.

    This bull was a really nice experience, after the shot I racked in another round & re-acquired him in the scope. That fast he was already on his way down, never even knew what happened. A really suprising end to an otherwise very hard hunting week.
     
  19. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    My bull elk hunt starts on 30 Nov-6 Dec in unit 5B in Arizona. I went up there last weekend to do some scouting and the weather was rough. That Saturday morning it was snowing off and on. It had rained there the day before and the back roads were a muddy mess. My F-150 FX4 took the roads on rather well but they were very slick.

    We didn't venture in too far since the snow was falling but did see some elk. We seen over 50 head total. All of the elk we seen were no more than 50 yards off of the main hard top road. All of the elk were around the 6800ft elevation mark. The deeper in we went into the unit, the lower the signs we seen.

    I am heading back up there the weekend after Thanksgiving to look at another area and hopefully the weather will be more friendlier.

    Will post picks and a story after we get back from the hunt.
     
  20. ApplePie

    ApplePie Member

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    Most of the elk we saw this year had taken shelter on private land, where we watched hunters who paid $10,000 each sneak around in trenches with their guides and shoot the biggest bulls in the hayfields. Counted 170 elk in the pictured hayfield. The frustrating thing was, even after they shot 2 or 3 bulls per day, the herd stayed there all week.
     

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  21. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    Alright, so this post has been a long time in the making...or else it's just long overdue.

    So, to start, here's a pretty picture.

    panorama_mtns01.jpg

    Now, I've always described myself as a shooter first, and, well, not much of an outdoorsman. I mean, I know a few things about the great outdoors; for instance, if you see a cougar, the best and safest course of action is to get it a margarita.

    So, H&H Hunter had his work cut out.

    H&H's account of things jives well with how I remember it, minus a trip to town to get a propane tank. (I'm fairly certain he frightened some herbivores while in town!)

    Lots of good times and conversation around the campfire was had, and while I may not be able to light a stove with anything approaching speed, I will point out that I did eventually get the blankety-blank lit and going.

    While there were no elk to be had, good times were in abundance, and I couldn't tell you the last time I had this much fun wandering around in a forest.

    IMG_1131.jpg

    H&H Hunter was an excellent guide, showing us the ropes of tracking elk, as well as giving excellent direction on where and how to move through the woods. In addition to all of this, there were some excellent conversations around campfires, a few tall tales (or not so tall...) and just general good times.

    On top of that, one afternoon of somewhat harrowing danger was, in retrospect, the kind of thing that results in excellent stories to tell.

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    Robert and H&H Hunter looking for a rock...

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    Panoramic shot of the Taylor Pass area.

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    Robert brought goggles. You can see H&H and myself reflected.

    On the way back to civilization (?) the opportunity to presented itself to wander around Independence, CO, an old mining ghost town.

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    A photo of H&H and Robert sporting the grizzled look.

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    All in all, this trip was well worth the time spent in the woods. H&H pretty clearly knows his stuff, and even better, he's one of those rare kinds of people who can not only do things, but teach others about them as well.
     
  22. Boxhead

    Boxhead Member

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    Close to area 49?
     
  23. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Lesson #1 on this trip DO NOT EVER lean against the edge of a hot stove while wearing a fleece jacket. It will produce a large hole in the jacket and a large red welt on your skin where it burns the crud out of you.:D
     
  24. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    On the border of Unit 47.
     
  25. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    I can honestly say this was one of the best outdoor experiences I have ever had. I have always been good at bush craft, tracking and the like. But it is always good to spend time in the woods with a true master. And H&H is just that, a master. I am better for having known him and I am lucky to call him friend.
     
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