Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hunt 2007 - Part 3 of 3

After hunting exclusively in the towers area all week we decided to ride up the airport road and hunt around a basin. Plus after Friday's pack Dave and I didn't want much of a hike. After having a flat on Dave's trailer, we decided to take three pickups each with an atv in the back. This made us a bit late as we headed up the road. Last year I ran out of gas on this road, so I took along an extra gas can.

As we started getting into the pinions, Justin spotted some deer near the catch pond. We spotted a nice buck, but couldn't get off and get our rifle's in time. Dave and Justin headed out and spotted another little buck and took him. The buck traveled 10 yards up hill with a 6 inch hole in his side. Steve and I went farther up the road. Steve decided to walk down at the gulch where the other buck headed. I found a nice opening on the hill and decided to glass for awhile.

I spotted the deer in an upper meadow. I was hoping Steve would get a shot, but he didn't. Dave drove his atv right into the park where the deer were. If I could have shot from here, I wonder if I would miss.

Later we decided to go on up, even though it was midmorning. Steve and I went to the end of the road. He went down to overlook the meadows. I went up and across to overlook the far bench. I made it all the way to upper texas, but not to where D got his bull.

The forest ranger gave me a ticket for not having current stickers. Steve filled his buck tag with a nice 3pt. My atv made it back to the truck with plenty of gas to spare. Not sure what happened last year, though we did go across the top then.

Saturday night we cut up two hind quarters at camp and Sunday we broke camp and went back to town. I spent nine hours at Dave's cutting up meat.

Hunt 2007 - Best of 3

I took Tuesday night off from hunting to watch Dave's son Justin play in the pee-wee football superbowl. Wednesday Michelle and I built the rest of Millie's fence. Steve and Dave both had to work and Dalton had to return to Moab to sell his 4Runner.

Thursday it was only Dave and I hunting. I decided that it was high time I went up into the high bowl to get the bull I seen in there opening morning. Two young guys pulled a six point out of there opening morning. We followed two other guys up the towers trail. Every time we caught them they would take off ahead. Finally at Dalton's rock, I passed them as they stopped to watch the sunrise.

As I continued up, I heard some rustling in the trees. The hunt was on. Turned out to be just a bunch of beef cows in the high meadow.

As I topped the ridge and looked into the bowl I spotted two bulls sparring. Very cool. They were at least 600 yards away, so I decided to try to get closer. The bulls where whistling and bugling.

It took me an hour and a half to come down the hill, cross the oak brush and meadow. The willows and oak brush got so thick I was getting stuck with thorns and sticks. Finally I made it onto the boulder outcroppings above the high meadows. I knew those two bulls were here somewhere, likely bedded down as it was approaching noon. I found a nice bench and set up my backpack as a shooting bench and decided I would stay here all day if necessary. I even contemplated spending the night here. If I built a fire and used my space blanket it might be less than miserable overnight.

I was getting chilled sitting in the shade so I decided to find some sun and a different angle. It didn't take long before I spotted a nice bull lying up hill from the meadow where he was sparring with his buddy that morning. My blood was pumping, but he wasn't at all aware of me so I took my time and found a nice rock to take my shot. I dropped him in his bed with one shot! I was very happy.

I gathered my things and worked my way down to the meadow thru more oak brush and then up to his bed. By now the day was warm and I stripped down to shirtless to do t he dressing. I felt very wild there bare skinned with my knife covered in blood. A couple of hunters watched from the ridge below Indian Point as I finished skinning my bull. I didn't have a bone saw to quarter him, and the hour was late enough that I knew I wouldn't have time to return to this place from my atv today. So I skinned the elk head and removed it from the neck. I set off for the atv with antlers in hand. I would return tomorrow for the meat.

The trip back to Dalton's rock was an hour and a half of nasty bushwhacking thru thick oak brush. There is a reason not too many people hunt up here. I was getting tired by time I reached my atv at the towers.

I made it back to camp before Dave and Steve did. They had taken an evening hunt up the diagonal road to try and get a buck. We celebrated my successful hunt and decided to try and get the bull out via W Gulch rather than the towers trail. The next morning we left my atv at the end of gulch road and headed over to the towers trail. As we headed up the road we came upon a guy who had high-centered his 2WD truck in the ditch. We tried to get him out with Steve's truck but no luck. We were the first ones onto the trail, but we were way past sunrise. The hunt wasn't fruitful this morning. As we headed on up we found a better trail to my elk from Dalton's rock. If you stay a bit lower by skirting the bottom of the open parks the oak brush isn't quite as thick. It still didn't change our plan to head down into w gulch for the pack.

We loaded my pack with a hind quarter and the backstraps. Dave took the other hind and we put the front quarters in the tree. The trip down the gulch as a bitch. By far the worst pack ever. The vertical is brutal for quite a ways as soon as you start down. I think taking the tower ridge would have been easier. To make matters more fun, as we arrived at the atv, we spotted a buck running. We decided we better go hunt him as tired as we were. He went up and around the hill and eluded us. Dave chewed my butt for talking him into hunting that buck. lol.

My first elk in three years made me very happy. Thursday was my best day hunting, Friday my worst!

Hunt 2007, Part 1 of 3

Unlike last year, this year I wasn't going to miss opening day. Steve and I were the only hunters, Dave had a football game, Dalton went partying with his friends, and Ronnie couldn't leave Denver until Sat. morning.

We hunted the bowl in the morning, then heard shots above Dalton's rock. We decided to go higher. I seen 4 cows in the meadow below Dalton's rock, but didn't get a shot. Just then I heard shots on the back side of Dalton's rock. Steve tracked and shot a nice 5-pt bull. His first opening day bull ever.

Sunday with the whole crew, we decided to hunt radio towers again and then haul Steve's bull out. We woke to a blizzard. The ride on the atv's was a pelting of ice in the face. We decided to stay in Dave's truck and see if the storm let up. Finally in the afternoon the snow let up and we were hoping for some good hunting. Dalton headed up to his rock as we dressed out the elk. We didn't have any luck.

Monday Dalton wanted to go hunt his meadow. The road to his meadow starts at the powerline and heads diagonally across the desert. Dalton watched the meadow while I took a walk up the hill and then back to the peak toward Well's Gulch. No elk tracks in sight, but I did see some cat tracks at the top of the peak. This peak offers nice views in all directions.

Since I told Dalton I would be back at the ATV by noon, I headed down the ridge. As I approached the meadow at the end of the road I spotted a little buck. He wasn't a hundred yards from the ATV, so I decided to fill my tag. I considered taking the 300 yard shot, but decided to try to get closer. I sneaked to within 150 yards and crouched to take my shot. A clean drop with one shot.

The two does with him were hanging out waiting for him to join. They seen me but were not spooked. I watched them for a while and took some photos. The buck turned out to be a small 2pt. I lost my camera so I can't post the photos :-(