Sitka Mountain Gear
2019 CO Public Land DIY Elk Hunt
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
switchback229 14-Oct-19
switchback229 14-Oct-19
Ucsdryder 14-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
Wv hillbilly 15-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
Treeline 15-Oct-19
Roderick12 15-Oct-19
Roderick12 15-Oct-19
Scoot 15-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
Inshart 15-Oct-19
sdkhunter 15-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
switchback229 15-Oct-19
WV Mountaineer 15-Oct-19
BULELK1 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
deer tracker 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
APauls 16-Oct-19
Elite 1 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
bigswivle 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
Empty Freezer 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
switchback229 16-Oct-19
Rgiesey 16-Oct-19
elkster 16-Oct-19
Scoot 16-Oct-19
Stoneman 16-Oct-19
Treeline 16-Oct-19
Twinetickler 16-Oct-19
Brian B 16-Oct-19
Grunt-N-Gobble 16-Oct-19
gunnar 16-Oct-19
bowhunter24 17-Oct-19
midwest 17-Oct-19
Jeff Holchin 17-Oct-19
elkmtngear 17-Oct-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 17-Oct-19
Sivart 17-Oct-19
APauls 17-Oct-19
Z Barebow 17-Oct-19
bigswivle 17-Oct-19
fastflight 17-Oct-19
stick n string 17-Oct-19
switchback229 17-Oct-19
bigswivle 17-Oct-19
switchback229 17-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
SD BuckBuster 18-Oct-19
Z Barebow 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
SD BuckBuster 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
Geno 18-Oct-19
Twinetickler 18-Oct-19
Scoot 18-Oct-19
JohnMC 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
IdyllwildArcher 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
switchback229 18-Oct-19
Twinetickler 18-Oct-19
sdkhunter 19-Oct-19
Brian B 19-Oct-19
Treeline 19-Oct-19
pav 19-Oct-19
switchback229 19-Oct-19
switchback229 19-Oct-19
grossklw 19-Oct-19
switchback229 19-Oct-19
stick n string 19-Oct-19
switchback229 19-Oct-19
Yellowjacket 19-Oct-19
Blue Buck 19-Oct-19
standswittaknife 19-Oct-19
Z Barebow 19-Oct-19
elkmtngear 19-Oct-19
ryanrc 19-Oct-19
jeg 19-Oct-19
switchback229 19-Oct-19
Scoot 19-Oct-19
Quinn @work 20-Oct-19
Bowbender 20-Oct-19
otcWill 20-Oct-19
Snag 20-Oct-19
shb 20-Oct-19
switchback229 20-Oct-19
switchback229 20-Oct-19
thedude 20-Oct-19
BOWNBIRDHNTR 21-Oct-19
Stoneman 21-Oct-19
Southern draw 21-Oct-19
14-Oct-19
Hey guys, I finally have a little time after a couple of weeks of being home and getting caught back up with work. I wanted to take you guys along with my Dad and I’s elk hunt from this year. Just as a heads up, it’s going to be a long story with plenty of pics along the way. I’ll do my best to get through it as fast as I can.

14-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
So Dad and I decided to cash in some points for a limited draw unit. We finally came to the realization that we were never going to be able to get to the top tier units, and with Dad getting older we wanted to still do this on our own while he was physically able.

We’ve had success in the past on our elk hunts, but with hunting a new area you never know what to expect sometimes. Living in West Virginia it’s definitely not easy to get out there for a weekend scouting trip.

When we put in for the draw in March we knew we were almost guaranteed to draw. The spring through the summer seemed to fly by. It consisted of a lot of running, shooting, and packing. We knew September would be here quick and our goal was to be at our peak physically to be able chase Elk through the mountains for two weeks.

From: Ucsdryder
14-Oct-19
This is the year of the recap! Great looking GSP! Also, you said colorado, but you’re obviously in Idaho!

15-Oct-19
All summer Dad and I were studying maps and marking spots that looked good on Google Earth. I also got to speak to some great people from Bowsite that provided us with great past experiences and where they ran into elk before. Can’t thank them enough for some invaluable information!

When looking at the dates for the Colorado Archery season we decided we better take advantage of the later dates, so we planned to leave home on September 12th and we were planning to hunt all the way through the season and return home on October 1st.

Before you know it was September 12th and we loaded up the truck to head west on I-70 for 25 hours. Driving straight thru is always fun with two people, especially when I always end up with the 12am-4am shift!

15-Oct-19
Thanks for sharing. Keep it coming I’m reading this and packing the truck now. Headed to co for a rifle hunt with my dad and little brother.

15-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

15-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
Anyone who has made the drive knows the best feeling is when that sun finally starts creeping up behind you!

From: Treeline
15-Oct-19
Any hunting trip with your Dad is a Great Hunting Trip! Looking forward to the rest of the story, have a good feeling about this one:-)

From: Roderick12
15-Oct-19
I love this forum

From: Roderick12
15-Oct-19

From: Scoot
15-Oct-19
"Any hunting trip with your Dad is a Great Hunting Trip!"

Bingo!

15-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
So after making it through the worst part of the drive Western Kansas/Eastern Colorado we finally hit the Rockies and made it to our unit.

Every year in the past we had packed in to setup camp 3-5 miles in Wilderness areas or spots we thought most people wouldn’t go. Out of recommendations from a few different people we decided to start out in a campground that had good access to several trails close by. I guess our main goal was to cover as much ground as possible while being as light as we could with our packs.

So we arrived at this spot around 5pm on the 13th and that evening we just set up our camp and got all of our gear laid out and ready for the next day.

I will say this area was infested with moose as we had encounters close to the campground almost every day.

From: Inshart
15-Oct-19
I just love these recaps. Good start, with Dad - yup, all the way!

From: sdkhunter
15-Oct-19
Heck yeah! Nothing like a good story with pics!

15-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
So on our first morning of hunting we ran into more moose than we did elk. Our plan for that afternoon was to get up high above timberline and glass as much territory as we could. That evening we glassed up several different herds of elk and saw several great bulls. We came close to making a play on the closest herd, but it came down to not enough daylight left in the day. We felt super encouraged for the next morning.

15-Oct-19
The next morning we woke up early and planned to get back on the ridge where we saw the elk feeding above timberline the night before. It took us a little longer than we though navigating the blowdowns and aspen groves in the dark. We finally made it up to where we wanted to be around 8:30-9am.

Once we got up there we were seeing a lot of sign so we hung out and listened for bugles. Around 11am we had several bulls start firing up, and we had the wind in our favor so we started to move in on them. As we got to around 125-150 yards of the closest bull we started to call and he answered immediately. As Dad was trying to get setup the wind just shifted slightly and we see some cows blow out, but the bull followed them continuing to bugle. We moved down the ridge to circle around where they were headed and I happened to look over the hill and see a nice 6x6 just below us. I moved down as he was paying attention to the other bull bugling and got a range of 52 yards on him, but no clean shot. He ended up dropping down the drainage following the herd and could never get a shot at him just due to being in thick timber.

Soon after it they bedded back down, and shut up for a while. We decided to hang out and try to make a play on them that evening once they fired back up.

15-Oct-19
I’m listening and hoping you guys got it done!

From: BULELK1
16-Oct-19
Lining up to be a dang good read!!

Thanks for bringing us along

Good luck, Robb

16-Oct-19
One thing I learned through several years of elk hunting is that there’s nothing quite like a midday nap in the mountains. We got some rest while waiting to see if the bulls would bugle from their beds. Sure enough between 2-3 pm the herd bull started sounding off on his own and he’d bugle every 3-5 min. He had a very distinct growl in his bugle and half the time he would just be chuckling.

The wind was out of the west and sucking down into the drainage. This let us begin closing the distance as he kept bugling. We ended up getting to about 90-100 yards of him and his cows. Once Dad got setup, I got ready to cut him off during his next bugle. As soon he bugled, I hit him right back with a bugle of my own. He answered immediately and it was probably one of the meanest dinosaur sounding bugles I’ve ever heard. The thing that sent him over the edge was when I started raking, he made a noise that I can’t even hardly describe, but he just sounded pissed! I thought we had really good chance of him coming over to whoop us.

He began to close the distance and was tearing up every tree in his sight. He closed to about 75 yards and we finally got a good look at him and he was a giant. (I’m guessing somewhere around 340-350” bull with massive 3rds) Like so many times before I felt the wind switch ever so slightly and he got a whiff. He took his cows on down the ridge, and still bugling as they were moving. We decided to leave him be for the next day to try to make a play on him.

From: deer tracker
16-Oct-19
Thanks for sharing, I'm looking forward to how it plays out.

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
It’s always cool to see the sun start coming up over the mountains

16-Oct-19
The next day ended up being one of our slowest days. We got up to the same spot as the day before. We heard several bugles, everything shut down pretty early. We heard some bulls sound off midday.

It seemed like we waited for these bulls to get up out of their beds. They didn’t want to work or respond throughout the day. At around 6 pm we heard the herd bull sound off across the drainage. He came out of the timber at about 300 yards, but he was headed straight up the drainage above timberline. We didn’t think we would be able to beat him up to where he was headed.

We ended up circling around and to a lower meadow on the mountain and got into several bulls bugling right at dark but ran out of daylight.

We planned to get back in that drainage the next day and hopefully catch that bull going to bed or getting back up in the evening.

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
Some of the most picturesque elk country I’ve ever been in.

From: APauls
16-Oct-19
Dangit! I'm hooked too early in this one!

From: Elite 1
16-Oct-19
Ya had me from hello hope wait isn’t to long

16-Oct-19
Simply put September 17, 2019 will be a day I’ll never forget. Dad and I woke up early to get up the meadow where we had the bulls bugling the night before. As soon as we arrived we started hearing bugles. About the same time the wind started to pick up and we saw some clouds blowing in. It started dumping it down and huddled under some trees and peeled out the rain gear. We have it about 1.5 hour or so and it hadn’t let up at all. Looking like it wouldn’t give up anytime soon we decided to head back to camp and wait for it to pass and be ready to go for the whole afternoon/evening.

The rain ended up quitting around 12-1230. We loaded up and were headed back up the mountain. Now if you remember the last 2 days the same big bull had been hanging in the same drainage. Usually after they were getting up they headed up above timberline to feed for what we figured all night during the full moon. There was pretty good spot in the bottom of that drainage where we felt like one of us could setup and wait on the bull to make his move with his cows. We made the decision that Dad would slip up the drainage to try and head off that bull. I was planning to take on the stew part of hill to get on top of the ridge and work that ridge and be able to hear over into the next drainage as well.

We finally reached the spot where we were gonna split up. What could go wrong right? We told each other good luck and I started climbing this beast of a hill.

16-Oct-19
So I finally made it up this death of a hill that was covered in aspens. As I’m catching my breath and wiping off the sweat I heard my first bugle. (It was 2:30) As I’m putting on some more layers the bugles just keep ringing out from the same place. It just so happens to be the exact drainage Dad is headed up. Now in my head I’m thinking do I try to make a play on this group of elk, or I do let Dad try to slip in on them and I stay up high.

It really didn’t take me long at all to decide. These elk were making way too much noise for me not to make a play. Up on top of the ridge it seemed like the wind kept swirling in every direction. From the night before though the wind in the drainage kept sucking straight down. As I made my way up the ridge my game plan was to get even with the elk and then move down into the drainage. They were making so much noise it was easy to slip in on them, just having to keep the wind in my favor. I knew these elk were going to continue to go up the drainage, but I was afraid to get above them because the wind kept sucking down. I was hoping to at least be even with them and be able to call something over to me in the middle of this herd.

From: bigswivle
16-Oct-19
Dude, u gotta speed this up

16-Oct-19
I really can’t even describe what I witnessed that day. I don’t know if elk frenzy, madness, or rutfest describes it best. But, it just continued to ensue. As I kept creeping down that hill 10-15 yards at a time, I just kept picking my spots as close as I can. I finally get to the point where I see elk moving all around this bottom with cows and bulls everywhere. I got to a spot where I thought I might be able to call something within shooting distance.

Just keep in mind this whole time I have no clue where Dad is, but I hope he’s getting to witness this. As I begin to call I get responses immediately and I call in a cow and 2 spikes to 13-15 yards. I finally get a glimpse of our big herd bull at about 100 yards and he’s running cows every which way. He’s moving up the drainage and I don’t think I have a shot at getting him to turn back. I continue to call and finally one of the bulls is sounding like he’s starting to come back, but he’s on the opposite side of the drainage. I’m stuck on the side that’s in the sun and can’t really move much because the cows and spike that are around me.

Something about this time catches my eye, it’s Dad! He’s slipping up the other side in the shade within 50-60 yards where the bull was bugling. In my head, I was thinking we’re in business!!! The cow and spikes finally move back up the drainage enough for me to move slightly. I’ve got this bull screaming, but I’m trying to drag him back just a little further. I move back 10 yards or so and start raking as loud as I can. It sounded like I heard him start tearing up a tree so I continued to call.

After that other bulls continued to bugle, but I never heard the close one. Next thing I know I see Dad slipping back down to me with a huge grin on his face and giving me a thumbs up.

16-Oct-19
"Your Killin Me Smalls" dont make us wait any longer please....

16-Oct-19
Once Dad got back down to me we talked about what happened. He slipped within 25 yards of the elk and had a little rise in between them. He said the bull was bugling right over the rise but couldn’t get any closer for a shot. He said as soon as I began raking the bull was coming on a string to me and he ended up getting a shot at 10 yards. He hit him a touch back with him walking, so he was a little worried about how far he might go.

We debated whether or not to try and get me a shot at another bull, but we decided one bull would be enough work for the both of us. After waiting about 30-40 min we got over to where he shot the bull and I ended up finding blood within the first 10-15 yards. We kept following and it was really good blood. Our plan was to follow the blood for 100 yards and then make a plan depending on the sign we found. The bull starting angling up the hill but we continued to find good blue blood. We got about 70 yards into the trail and we both look up and see tan further up the hill! There he lay about 100 yards from where Dad shot him! We were both pumped up and I couldn’t be happier that we got Dad a bull.

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

16-Oct-19
After some pictures, we started working up the bull and getting the meat hung up. It started to rain on us that night so we decided to leave the meat hung up rather than trying to navigate the thick aspens and blowdowns in the dark.

We ended up packing meat out the whole next day. I think we started up the mountain at 7am and we got finished around 7:30pm. It wasn’t easy getting him out of that hell hole of a drainage, but all we kept saying is the pain is only temporary!

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
Headed up that Wednesday morning to start packing the meat out.

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
Last load!

16-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
We woke up Thursday and drove into town to take the meat to the processor. We made sure to have a big burger and cold beer to celebrate!

After this quick day to rest our legs, we needed to get back focused because we still had 8-9 days to fill my tag. There is nothing I wanted more than to have both of us head home tagged out!

From: Rgiesey
16-Oct-19
Great deal!

From: elkster
16-Oct-19
Enjoying this.

Well narrated.

From: Scoot
16-Oct-19
Saweeet!

From: Stoneman
16-Oct-19
I like the pace, thanks for sharing.

From: Treeline
16-Oct-19
Congratulations to both of you guys on a great bull and an awesome hunt so far! Lovin it!

From: Twinetickler
16-Oct-19
Another great recap, congrats on bull #1!

From: Brian B
16-Oct-19
Did you end up tagging out as well? That sounds like an amazing experience to share with your Dad.

16-Oct-19
Looking forward to the rest of your hunt!!

From: gunnar
16-Oct-19
Great story! Looking forward to the conclusion.

From: bowhunter24
17-Oct-19
Really enjoying this story well told great pics and you did it with Dad way to go!

From: midwest
17-Oct-19
Congrats dad!

17-Oct-19
Congrats well done. Is there a Part 2 to the story???

From: elkmtngear
17-Oct-19
Cool Story...Way to go, Dad!

Looking forward to "Part 2"...

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
17-Oct-19
Excellent recap so far. Looking forward to the rest!!

From: Sivart
17-Oct-19
Awesome story....Keep going.....

From: APauls
17-Oct-19
Tremendous!!!! Don't stop now!

From: Z Barebow
17-Oct-19

Z Barebow's Link
You need to type faster! LOL!

From: bigswivle
17-Oct-19
Holy Hell man!!!

From: fastflight
17-Oct-19
Great job on the recap.

17-Oct-19

stick n string's embedded Photo
stick n string's embedded Photo
I need more. I NEEEEED it....

17-Oct-19
Hahaha you guys are killing me with these memes. Sorry for the delay. Been one hell of a day at work. Bout to get back to “part 2”.

From: bigswivle
17-Oct-19

bigswivle's embedded Photo
bigswivle's embedded Photo

17-Oct-19
Ok so back at it now. Did I mention that cold beer must cure sore legs?? I wish it did, but we got back to camp that evening and we were still pretty sore from that all day pack out. We got our gear back organized and ready to go for the next morning.

Our plan was to get back up where all the chaos was happening on Tuesday and hopefully Dad’s carcass wasn’t bothering them or moved them too much. During the all day pack out on Wednesday we were still hearing bugles in that area.

The other thing I want to mention are the words that drove me the most as we were headed back to camp. You know when we were in town we were sending out pics to all of our family and friends back home. My father in law texted me back and he was pumped for us. He knows how hard it is to hunt elk with a bow. After several congratulatory messages he left me with “50% that in itself is a successful trip”. I don’t know what it was this time about hearing it. I’m super competitive in anything that I’ve ever done from sports to academics to you name it. I obviously know the statistics in Archery Elk hunting success is never a high number, but for some reason his words just stuck with me this time.

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
We got up early the next morning to get up on top to see if any bulls were bugling early. Out of all the days we hunted this was by the far windiest day we had. It was kinda scary moving through all of the beetle kill, we had trees falling down left and right throughout the day. We still covered some ground making some calls here and there, but with the wind I don’t know if you woulda ever heard anything unless you were inside 100 yards.

In the afternoon we finally found a spot for a decent wind break and hung out there for a while. The wind finally laid down some what around dark, but still didn’t hear much noise from the elk.

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
We woke up on Saturday the 21st with some of the coldest temps we’ve had thus far. Super clear skies had the temps down around 21-22 with a hard frost. We figured we were in for a great day because it was so windy the day before and we were coming off the full moon.

That morning we got a bull working early on and I thought we had a good chance of getting him close enough for a shot. Like so many of them do he hung up about 80-100 yards and he eventually lost interest.

For most of the midday we set up on a wallow that we had found when packing out Dad’s bull. We hadn’t been hearing much after our one encounter, so we decided that was our best option to pass time throughout the day.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
18-Oct-19
Will be checking back often today!

18-Oct-19
After one heck of a nap we decided to move and call a little bit as we were waiting on the elk to get up and make some noise for the evening. We covered a good bit of ground, but hadn’t heard anything. As were thinking about moving lower on the mountain to where we got into elk several days ago we heard our first bugle. Straight out of the drainage where we sat and napped all afternoon. We took off in that direction moving at a pretty good pace to cut them off if they were headed above treeline. As we were moving that way we heard another bugle and sounded like he was getting closer.

Next thing we know at about 80 yards we see cows filing out of the timber followed by a 6x6 taking up the rear. They were headed up above treeline and we couldn’t get out in front of them without getting spotted. They ended up getting above us and were about 110-115 yards and the bull is starting to get cranked up. Dad decided to drop back and start calling at least to keep the bull making noise so I could try to move on him.

As I was watching these elk, my game plan was to sneak up and close the distance any way I could. Throughout timberline there was a spruce tree here and there and my goal was to try to keep getting a spruce tree between me and the elk and continue moving up. Dad kept calling behind me and he called down a 4x4 and several cows and spikes. I had my goal set on this 6x6. My plan was working out better than I thought I ended up closing into about 75 yards, but the bad news is that I ran out of trees to continue my stalk.

As I’m sitting here watching this 6x6 with his 8-10 cows, I finally here another bugle coming out of the head of the drainage to my left. I finally get a look at the bull coming out of the drainage at 400-500 yards. It was our big herd bull, but he didn’t have any cows. (Which I’m still unsure why) He and the bull in front of me were bugling back and forth and he was headed our way. As he continues to come bugling the whole way the bull in front of me started raking the willows and continued to bugle at the bigger bull. So in my head the game plan I was now thinking was once the big bull got over to us I figured him and the other bull might lock up and fight over these cows. Whenever they locked up I was going to run as fast as I could to the closest spruce tree (about 30 yards from me). That would leave me about a 45-50 yard shot at either bull. I didn’t really care about spooking the cows because I didn’t figure the bulls would have a clue what was happening. Can this master plan actually come together??? I was sure hoping so

18-Oct-19
………………………………………………….. I sense another pic coming real soon! Great story and great writing!

From: Z Barebow
18-Oct-19
Refresh, Refresh, Refresh,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

We might have to give you the "Scoot Award" on how to draw out an exciting story.

18-Oct-19
So this giant bull is finally getting close, I’m already planning this run. As he closes the distance, the other bull sorta tucks tail and starts heading down the hill directly my way. So now I’ve gotta make a quick decision, do I pass up this 6x6 that’s headed my way in hopes of getting a shot at the bigger bull? It really didn’t take that long to decide, if this bull gave me a shot I was gonna take it.

It felt like all of this played out in 5 seconds. The bull keeps getting closer. I range him 50, 40, 35. I was standing behind this tiny spruce and he was headed on a string down the hill. I wasn’t sure he was going to Dad’s calling or just afraid of the bigger bull. He’s still coming so I get drawn back. The next decision that comes in my head is whether to try and stop him or not. My fear was that if I cow called he’d pick me off immediately because the spruce tree is now on my right as I’m setting up for the shot to my left.

I made the decision to shoot him while he had this slow pace going down the hill. I feel very confident in my bow out to 65-70 yards so 26-27 yards should be a chip shot. As I was anchored I split my 20 and 30 yard pin directly behind the shoulder. If I hit a little back I was fine with that if I could catch lung/liver. I release my arrow and the shot felt great, but when I watched it hit the bull it looked a touch forward with little penetration. I see him run off and he gets about to 80-90 yards. I get binoculars on him and the shot was forward, but I can see blood just pumping out of him.

He slowly walks up the hill and stopping every 10 yards or so. He finally gets over a rise and I can no longer see him. In the meantime, the big bull is at 90 yards just screaming his head off with his cows. I’ve hit animals in the shoulder before and it’s never a good feeling. I’m honestly not sure what happened on the shot if as I was moving with him aiming I swung my arm to far at the last second. Still out of all the animals I’ve shot/killed it was one of the most relaxed shots I’ve had. I didn’t really get the shakes until afterward.

After he went over the rise, I slipped back down to Dad and explained what happened. I was upset with where I hit the bull, but I’m almost certain I would’ve done the same thing if I had to do it over again. The positive thought that was in my head was that I saw a lot of blood coming out, but you guys know how much elk can bleed and how much ground they can cover all while surviving. They are one tough animal!

We definitely knew what we had to do. We had to get back to camp for the night and pick up the blood trail first thing in the morning. It was gonna be one long night!

18-Oct-19
The view I had that night where I shot the bull.

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

18-Oct-19
So the GIANT bull,, He was barking at 90 yards.. Is that the closest he would get to you before you want to talk to your dad???

18-Oct-19
That’s the closest he ever got. The cows were moving up the hill and to the right and he was following them

From: Geno
18-Oct-19
Great story, keep it coming. :)

From: Twinetickler
18-Oct-19
Dude I've gotta be in .y whitetail stand November 2nd. Is this thing going to be wrapped up by then? You're killing me Smalls! Good stuff

From: Scoot
18-Oct-19
Awesome stuff!

Z, ya damn whiner! My story this year was done in 2 days! lol

From: JohnMC
18-Oct-19
You guys aren’t suggesting he’s milking this are you?

18-Oct-19
So we got back to camp and it was tough to get any sleep at all. I’m sure all of you have had one of those nights before where you keep replaying the events in your head. I said a prayer that we could find this bull and it would be a quick recovery. We got up early the next morning and were headed back up the mountain to start tracking the bull.

So I knew about where impact was and we were first trying to find the arrow to see how much penetration I got. We found the arrow after 10-15 yards or so and it wasn’t a good sign. The arrow was broke right at the broadheads and only had up the arrow for 5-6 inches. We started tracking and like I saw the night before there was really good blood every time this bull stopped. It seemed like he was stopping every 10 yards or so and that continued for 200-250 yards. That’s where we lost blood. We were on our hands and knees just trying to find a direction that he went with no success. When you were up the willows above treeline it was almost like a maze. They were anywhere from 2-5 ft tall. You could almost be 20 yards from something and have no clue it was there unless you walked right up on it.

Finally Dad and I sat down and were eating a snack. He really thought this bull was still alive and thought we should move on back down the mountain and see if we can get into some more bulls. I was feeling pretty down about the whole situation.

18-Oct-19
You guys are so impatient ;)

If you've never written one of these... they're a lot of work and take a lot of time. My last one took 24 hours of actual typing/editing time. But that's why I type them up and copy/paste or else I'd be worse than Scoot.

18-Oct-19
Still to this day I can’t really explain what told me to keep looking. Something inside of me said to look further up the hill. Dad stayed back at our last spot of blood with the bow and packs. I kept getting further and further up the hill to check for blood. Finally I started getting a whiff of elk and I got excited since the wind was pushing down the hill. I kept going up the hill and finally got to the point where I couldn’t smell anything anymore. At this point I’m probably 250-300 yards above Dad. I’m finally thinking hey let’s give it up and get back down to Dad. Since I got higher up on the hill I got more of a vantage point of everything down below. Before heading back down I thought I should go ahead and glass all of these never ending willows that was basically like trying to find a needle in a haystack with no blood.

As I’m glassing I see a weird looking object, it looked like a dead branch sticking out. I’m looking everywhere else to see if I can find anything else that looks the same. I couldn’t. I had to double check and triple check to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating what I was seeing. I think I’m looking at a 6-8 inch piece of antler sticking out of these willows at 400 yards. I knew as soon as I started dropping down the hill I wouldn’t be able to see it anymore. I picked a dead tree on the horizon and started to head that way. I finally got to a point where I thought I should be close to whatever I saw from up above. I look over to the right and there he was at 15 yards!!! It was truly a miracle to find this bull and I couldn’t have been more pumped!

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
The next 24 hrs were a ton of work getting this bull worked up and getting him off the mountain. Not to mention 2 pack outs in 4 days were rough, but I couldn’t haven’t been any happier

18-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo

From: Twinetickler
18-Oct-19
Dude way to go man!!! Or I should say mans! That one hits home for me as my Old Man is my only hunting partner and I have 30 years of experiences similar to you and your Dads. Nothing better! Congrats to you both and thanks for taking the time to share it!

From: sdkhunter
19-Oct-19
Great story! Congrats!

From: Brian B
19-Oct-19
That's awesome, congratulations to you and your Dad.

From: Treeline
19-Oct-19
Thank you for sharing a truly great hunt with your dad! It don’t get no better!

From: pav
19-Oct-19
Two for two on Colorado bulls with your dad....successful trip indeed! Congrats to you both!

19-Oct-19
It truly was a trip of a lifetime for me and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Like many of you have said, trips with your Dad are really special. He’s my favorite hunting partner and best friend. He’s taught me a lot about life and has been who I look up to my entire life. I really don’t know where I’d be today without his guidance. I’m trying to squeeze every little last trip I’ve got out of him because you never know when the last trip will be!

19-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
It was definitely a fun drive home with full coolers and plenty of honking and thumbs up along the way.

From: grossklw
19-Oct-19
Great write up. Really enjoyed that.

19-Oct-19

switchback229's embedded Photo
switchback229's embedded Photo
I just wanna thank you guys for all of the kind words and for being patient with me along the way. I know I’m not the fastest; but I thought this story truly deserved to be told in its entirety. We made it home and got one final pic. Not bad for two flatlanders from WV!!

19-Oct-19
Awesome story, doesnt matter how long it takes. The anticipation is a big part of the excitement!

So, what is the report on the arrow placement/vitals hit?

I am assuming heart but maybe not full penetration thru heart? How far did the arrow actually penetrate?

19-Oct-19
So we looked that thing all over. As far as we can tell the arrow never entered the cavity, or at least we never found a hole from the inside. The only thing we thought could happen was that when I busted in through the shoulder it had to catch one of the arteries running down the leg. Which I guess is what brought so much blood. I got really lucky this time, but I’ve had my share of bad luck in the past. Truly got my prayers answered and couldn’t be more grateful.

From: Yellowjacket
19-Oct-19
Great story, congratulations! That's not easy hunting that high up.

From: Blue Buck
19-Oct-19
Awesome. Congratulations and thanks for taking us along.

19-Oct-19
Congrats!! Very well earned.. backpacking for elk is amazing but the work load is also amazing..

From: Z Barebow
19-Oct-19
Great hunt and great story. Thanks for sharing.

From: elkmtngear
19-Oct-19
Amazing recovery...almost like it was "meant to be"!

Thanks for sharing, Congrats to you and your Dad!

From: ryanrc
19-Oct-19
Thanks for sharing. How did you get the skulls so cleaned up so quickly?

From: jeg
19-Oct-19
Wow, great story. Congrats on two hard earned elk!!

19-Oct-19
Ryanrc-The meat processor we took it to also happened to be a taxidermist. He gave us a deal on boiling the skulls as well. Worked out pretty good!

From: Scoot
19-Oct-19
Many congrats!

From: Quinn @work
20-Oct-19
Awesome congrats! Glad you had a great trip here.

That's great you kept looking for that bull and found him! Losing an animal is the worst feeling.

From: Bowbender
20-Oct-19
Most excellent read!! Congrats to both of you!

From: otcWill
20-Oct-19
Congrats on a spectacular hunt/memory with your Dad! It doesn't get better than this

From: Snag
20-Oct-19
Well done all the way around. Thanks for letting us in on your adventure. Was there another round of burgers &beers? Bet you guys had those smiles all the way home.

From: shb
20-Oct-19

shb's Link
how did you get the heads euroe'd so fast?

20-Oct-19
Shb- the meat processor we took it to was also a taxidermist. He gave us a pretty good deal to get both done

20-Oct-19
Snag- Oh yea there was definitely another celebratory meal. This time it was stone oven pizza and beer! With the best smoked trout dip I've ever had!

From: thedude
20-Oct-19

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
21-Oct-19
GREAT hunt and write up. Thanks for sharing and congrats to you and your dad!

From: Stoneman
21-Oct-19
That was a good story. Congratulations to you both and thanks for sharing.

21-Oct-19
Thanks for sharing your story and congrats to you both!

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