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Ends with a rifle, but worth it
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
Westy 23-Oct-23
WV Mountaineer 23-Oct-23
Treeline 23-Oct-23
Rob in VT 23-Oct-23
Bottomdweller 23-Oct-23
scentman 23-Oct-23
Dinkshooter@work 23-Oct-23
drycreek 23-Oct-23
HUNT MAN 23-Oct-23
Bowfinatic 23-Oct-23
Goelk 24-Oct-23
LFN 24-Oct-23
hdaman 24-Oct-23
DanaC 24-Oct-23
Missouribreaks 24-Oct-23
Bou'bound 24-Oct-23
BULELK1 24-Oct-23
T-rex 24-Oct-23
Treeline 24-Oct-23
KsRancher 24-Oct-23
>>>--arrow1--> 24-Oct-23
KHNC 24-Oct-23
buckeye 24-Oct-23
BOWNBIRDHNTR 24-Oct-23
fuzzy 24-Oct-23
Smtn10PT 24-Oct-23
TMac 24-Oct-23
Bigfoot 24-Oct-23
SteveB 24-Oct-23
SBH 24-Oct-23
ahawkeye 24-Oct-23
Alexis Desjardins 24-Oct-23
Nomad 24-Oct-23
TJS 24-Oct-23
tradi-doerr 24-Oct-23
Lee 24-Oct-23
bowhunter24 24-Oct-23
BrentC 24-Oct-23
Grunt-N-Gobble 24-Oct-23
Hancock West 25-Oct-23
From: Westy
23-Oct-23
This is a forum I check regularly, and fully understand that it is for archery. I really appreciate and learn from all that is posted here and do my best to apply that in the field when I head out myself. Unfortunately, my bow was not apart of this hunt, but I hope you can enjoy my little story despite the weapon used. This year is my 6th elk season, with all the previous being great experiences but not coming home with any meat. Some have been rifle, some were archery. Archery has produced the most encounters, but unfortunately there have been some circumstances with past partners that have foiled them. I had a few things to learn from those experiences as well and have done my best to do so. Last year was supposed to be the best yet, and I had my first rifle hunt in CO, a 1st season rifle. Ended up being a lost season due to an Achilles rupture so I worked on PT instead of looking for elk. 2023 was to be the redemption year, and man did it deliver in the end!

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Son napping to rest up.
Westy's embedded Photo
Son napping to rest up.
In archery season I held a cow and a buck tag. Opening weekend, I hunted with my 12-year-old son who to this point hasn’t wanted to hunt, but likes to come along. I am hoping he will get his hunter safety and we can get him started soon though. We saw some deer, but couldn't get a shot on the couple of bucks we got somewhat close to. His allergies turned into a bit more of an illness and he felt miserable so we ended up heading back home Sunday midday to get him some rest so we were done for that trip a day and half early. He would have toughed it out for me, but I knew how he was feeling.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Breakfast during the hunt, kid started to like oatmeal.
Westy's embedded Photo
Breakfast during the hunt, kid started to like oatmeal.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
All of us out together, which is the best weekend of hunting for me.
Westy's embedded Photo
All of us out together, which is the best weekend of hunting for me.
The next weekend the soccer schedules aligned a bit better and we were able to get the whole family out for a couple of days. We were also able to use my parent’s camper, so the wife, son, daughter and I enjoyed a bit more luxury for the weekend! We covered a good amount of ground that weekend but still weren’t able to turn up any elk. I did have a shot on a small buck about 15 minutes into our weekend hunt, but I decided to pass. Would have been a great family experience as we were all together and could have tracked, cut up and packed him out. While there is some regret from that perspective, it was the correct decision to let him keep growing. Ended up being a great weekend together!

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Fire for smores after a long day hiking.
Westy's embedded Photo
Fire for smores after a long day hiking.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Not sure what happened, but missed him by a couple inches. Bull was walking from right to left.
Westy's embedded Photo
Not sure what happened, but missed him by a couple inches. Bull was walking from right to left.
Third week was to be the hunt with a couple of buddies and put in some serious effort. First day being back in the woods and I was able to get one of my buddies on a bull I spotted on another ridge. We busted our butts and covered the mile in about 15 minutes, though I could not relocate the bull when we were heading that way. We got to where I thought he was, and figured he must have gone up and over the hill. We took a few more steps and all of a sudden a bull busted out. Not too fast, so I had him go get the wind perfect and we could start to get things going. About 3 minutes later I heard his bow go off, followed by a thwack…. Tree! A different bull was bedded nearby and he was walking behind a tree when he took his shot. Stuck the tree instead of the bull, but I quickly looked over and saw the bull standing there. I cow called to try and give him some time to nock another, but he only stood there for a few seconds before he ran out of our lives. Obvious disappointment for both of us, but his was much worse. We did bump a bull out of his bed the next morning when the wind did a 180 on us as we were side hilling. Never saw him but heard it and saw his tracks. I ended up catching whatever my son had and it had gotten pretty bad by this point and coughed a lot. Unfortunately we had to call it a hunt at that point as one guy was set to drive from MN and wanted to make the call before that happened. Week long hunt cut to 2 days… Grouse was the only animal shot that week.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23
4th weekend ended up mostly being me talking with the older neighbor guys. I did a few solo hikes that didn’t turn up any animals. Although sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and chat with people and hear about their lives. No pics of my ugly mug this weekend!

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Westy's embedded Photo
All of that leads up to 1st rifle and the tag I really was disappointed missing out on from the year prior. Archery hunting is the passion, but I have always figured rifle would allow for a bit easier and longer shot. My brother flew into town from MT to go with me so I did all I could to be prepared for our time in the woods or hunting from the camper. Food, gear, sleep set ups and luxuries were all packed and ready. We were set for 5 days and would be putting in the work to turn up any legal elk, which I had already decided would be the target and I wouldn’t be waiting for something better. My goal was to get on the board with an animal, and whatever it might be would be an amazing trophy! On the drive to our spot, I outlined what I was thinking would be the plan and that I wanted to get to a spot about 5 miles back. Bikes were ready to make that quicker, but my brother asked my reasoning. Other times to this particular area I have always been able to locate bulls, and that was the biggest one, but it was a long way away and we would be passing a lot of huntable ground. He ended up talking me out of it, and starting closer to the camper. So, we built a fire that evening and had a beer together enjoying a beautiful evening as the sun set.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23
Woke up Saturday morning and got going a bit later than originally planned, and were finally hunting just before 7am. We began walking down an ATV trail and about 5 minutes into our walk my brother says “there’s a bull!”. I had to ask where, and he pointed directly in front of us as it was walking straight to us. There was a couple of down trees that had limbs so I was trying to get into a spot I could see him and get a shot. As I did that, he slipped away without either of us seeing him. My brother went high, and I walked to where he was but neither of us saw him. I kept going and as I came to the corner of the hill spotted a herd of 20 or so with a bull in the middle feeding on private. I signaled my brother to come over to me and we would wait for them to hopefully cross onto the public.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Finally got my elk, and could not be happier!
Westy's embedded Photo
Finally got my elk, and could not be happier!
As we sat for a minute discussing what these elk may do, we kept a lookout for the other bull that had disappeared when and all of a sudden, he started walking back up the hill towards us. Wind was good and going about 20 mph behind us. He was a legal bull and was walking with intent somewhere. I set up a for a shot sitting on my butt and anchored to my knee and when I felt good pulled the trigger. I don’t know exactly where that shot hit, but am pretty sure it was a little back. He turned and walked towards the herd going from our right to left. I ended up putting a couple more shots in him as I just felt like I needed to keep shooting until he was down. Ended up being 5 in total with a couple in the lungs, 1 in the heart and another that took out a shoulder. After what may have been a chaotic minute he was laying less than 100 yards away from us! We gave him a good 20 minutes to just be sure he had expired, all while my brother was telling me he was a really great bull. I was trying to process all that had just happened and could see he was a 6x6 and I was beyond stoked. I had finally been able to accomplish this task I have spent countless hours prepping for and in the woods hunting. As we approached him, he just kept getting bigger and bigger and my smile kept growing at the same rate. When we got to him, he was real big! When I lifted up his head, he was even bigger. With this being the first elk I’ve harvested my judgement isn’t the best, I just knew this was an amazing day and I couldn’t care less about any number put to it. We were only a half mile from the camper so we went and ditched some stuff from our packs we wouldn’t need anymore, and told one of the neighbors about the bull. I also decided I may want to cape him so needed an internet signal to figure that part out. He guessed he would be about 300-310, and for my first elk I couldn’t have written it better than that. Early the first day, cool weather for cutting him up and a big rack to go along with it. The process of cutting and hauling started and lasted about 10 hours as we were figuring it out as we went. Videos on YouTube only help so much! Not sure if that is a record one way or another for a couple of newbies to the gutless method, but we did our best to get all the meat. The hike out was about as easy as it ever will be at only ½ a mile. Still work though, and glad we hunted close.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Last load!
Westy's embedded Photo
Last load!
Got him all taken care of and into the coolers loaded in the back of the truck safe from other wildlife hopefully. His majestic rack hanging over the side of the bed. Woke up the next morning to check out the truck, yep all was good! Packed everything up and got the camper stored, then we were on our way back home. Called the wife and told her I would need another large cooler as the couple I have just aren’t cutting it, so she had that when we finally arrived. A train derailment pushed us back about 1.5 hours but fortunately the ice was still good when we got back to the family. The kiids were playing soccer in the front yard as I pulled up and their faces dropped at the size of the rack strapped up in the back. They were all so excited for me, not only for the big rack but to have gotten an elk after the hours and work put into all the hunts leading to this. Got unloaded and it was finally time to have that first tenderloin. Definitely worth the wait as it was a perfect med-rare and delicious! Enjoying that steak as we talked through the hunt made for great evening and the smile stuck for days. On the way home my brother and I talked about how big this rack really was and felt that it had to be a bit larger than the 310 my neighbor thought. I had some buddies tell me that it was a once in a lifetime, so it got us thinking. My brother pulled up the B&C scoring website and we decided to try our hand at measuring. We did our best to do it all correctly and from the proper starting locations, but I really have no idea how close we are but should be in the ballpark. After getting it all entered it spit out 361 and with deductions 354. If I am close, great! And if not, I don’t really care as it was an amazing experience and I have a great bull in the freezer and getting ready for the wall. I did all the butchering myself, which was a first as well. Went better than expected and my kids helped most of the way since they were on fall break. My wife also gave a hand when she was around, but overall worth the savings and a good skill to have in the back pocket. Only thing left is to grind it.

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Hike out was tough, even though short. Achilles did well though!
Westy's embedded Photo
Hike out was tough, even though short. Achilles did well though!

From: Westy
23-Oct-23

Westy's embedded Photo
Season wrapped up and just a drive home to go.
Westy's embedded Photo
Season wrapped up and just a drive home to go.
Sad the season is done, but really happy how it all unfolded and ready to begin getting ready for next year. I appreciate all you share on this forum and the learning guys like me are able to do as a result. Next goal is an archery elk in 2024!

23-Oct-23
That’s a brute!!

From: Treeline
23-Oct-23
Hell of a bull! Just saw the pictures but will take my time and read.. Congratulations!

From: Rob in VT
23-Oct-23
Great bull, congratulations!

23-Oct-23
Congrats on an awesome bull! Thanks for the posting. Sometimes it’s just in the cards!

From: scentman
23-Oct-23
Thank you for sharing, you got it done is what really counts!

23-Oct-23
That is a GIANT Colorado bull. Congrats

From: drycreek
23-Oct-23
Great bull no matter the tool. Congrats !

From: HUNT MAN
23-Oct-23
whooo wee

23-Oct-23
Beautiful bull congrats

From: Goelk
24-Oct-23
Congrats Great Bull

From: LFN
24-Oct-23
Congratulations on a great bull and thanks for the story. As for your son don't forget he can try out hunting in Colorado without hunter ed ? An apprentice certificate can be obtained for hunters who are at least 10 years old (age 12 for big game) and who must be accompanied by a mentor in the field. This hunter education waiver can be obtained twice in a lifetime: cpw.info/ apprentice-certificate

From: hdaman
24-Oct-23
Congratulations!

From: DanaC
24-Oct-23
Great bull, congratulations. (And thanks for sharing.)

24-Oct-23
Very nice bull and documentary. Thank you for a nice thread.

From: Bou'bound
24-Oct-23
Great bull and adventure. Well Done

From: BULELK1
24-Oct-23
Fun times for sure.

Congrats,

Robb

From: T-rex
24-Oct-23
Great bull! Congrats and well done!

From: Treeline
24-Oct-23
Excellent story to go with the pictures! Congratulations! That really is a bull of a lifetime!

From: KsRancher
24-Oct-23
Nice!! That thing is HUGE!

24-Oct-23
Very Nice Congrats.

From: KHNC
24-Oct-23
Nice job!

From: buckeye
24-Oct-23
Great story and an awesome bull, congratulations.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
24-Oct-23
Great bull and great story, thanks for sharing with us!!

From: fuzzy
24-Oct-23
Great story, thanks for sharing.

From: Smtn10PT
24-Oct-23
great bull, I'd say hes well north of 300

From: TMac
24-Oct-23
Well done and congrats on a fine bull!

From: Bigfoot
24-Oct-23
Archery or rifle, it's all good. Thanks for sharing. That's a great bull - certainly looks in the 350 range. I've hunted Elk for 30 plus years and not been fortunate enough to take one that size....yet!

From: SteveB
24-Oct-23
Congrats and thanks for sharing!

From: SBH
24-Oct-23
BOOM BOOM......Awesome bull!

From: ahawkeye
24-Oct-23
Great story, great bull!

24-Oct-23
Good bull congrats.

From: Nomad
24-Oct-23
Very nice!

From: TJS
24-Oct-23
Vicarious living here. Good for you and all involved!!!

From: tradi-doerr
24-Oct-23
Great story Westy! And that is a great bull, I'd put him 340+ easy.

From: Lee
24-Oct-23
Awesome and can totally believe the size. When you said he was a legal bull I wasn’t expecting to see that brute when I scrolled down! Congrats,

Lee

From: bowhunter24
24-Oct-23
Thanks for sharing and a big congrats!

From: BrentC
24-Oct-23
Congratulations. Thanks for sharing.

24-Oct-23
NICE!! Congratulations

From: Hancock West
25-Oct-23
Nice bull.

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