Opening day of hunting season: one very anticipated day! On Saturday Steve and I took the spur off wells gulch road. Dave's knee was hurting so he had to sit opening day out. Steve and I reached the end of the road while it was still quite dark, but we could see someone camped there by the light in there small tent. Burr... that had to be a cold night. With other hunters in the area we decided to stick to our plan. I hiked straight up from the road, Steve hiked over to meadow. The hike was easy in the dark even without a solid trail. At around shooting light I saw 7-10 elk at about 600 yards away. I then spotted a cow elk at 400 yards and debated taking a shot. Instead I tried to work my way closer. The pinions are thick in here and I heard them barking but could not see them. Finally they spooked and I heard two shots down below. Damn, I guess my strategy was wrong. Steve didn't get a shot due to the safety on his gun. I hiked on up to Alkali Basin then across to the far ridge and down. At the end of the day I saw the two hunters there on that far ridge. I surmised that the elk went across and down toward the private land ranch.
On Sunday we decided to hunt the Mesa Pt Road and the next road over to lover's rock. I took my ATV and went over to lovers rock and hiked up. I was surprised nobody else was there. Once above the burn if you stay too low you get into some thick oak brush as seen in the photo above. I fought the oak brush for over an hour. It sucks. I then fought my way through the aspen groves. In this area there are lots of small streams and downed trees. I got a text from Dave saying there are elk below Indian Point. I heard shots and he got his rag horn. After much bushwhacking I actually spotted the elk bedded down right where he said they were. Check out the photo to the right. I worked my way up high and came upon boot tracks and saw a blood trail. The tracks were going the wrong way for me, so I followed the bootprints backwards to the tall pines. Knowing I couldn't get much closer, I worked my way down to some boulders where I could shoot across a small valley. I took off my orange and tried to hide behind the boulders. As I scoped out the herd, I saw many cow elk, 3 spikes, and one bull who looked to be legal. Finally he turned his head to prove it. I set up my shot on the boulders using the snow for a solid base. I took the shot and elk scattered everywhere!
I saw the bull standing on the hill side and tried to bring him down again. Finally all elk were out of sight, so I walked over along the one elk "highway" through the black timber and boulders. I spooked a calf who was separated from the herd. When I got to the meadow where they had been bedded, my bull elk stood up and I dropped him with a final shot. A very nice 5x5 bull!
After hurriedly doing a gutless field dressing, I started down the mountain. As I crested the ridge, I seen the elk herd again just below me in the meadow. A couple of the spike bulls were sparring. The lead cow was barking to get the group to gather and go down. It was quite a beautiful scene. There must have been 40 elk. Check out the photo to the left.
I watched the elk as long as I could, then tried to make my way down the mountain without disturbing them too much. It was getting very late and I needed to get to the trail before it was too dark. Busting tail, I made it to Dalton's Rock before dark then walked out on the trail in the dark. Johnny, Dave, and Clark came back to get me at the radio towers. I ended up leaving my ATV and pickup over at lovers rock for two days.
Here's a nasty picture of my bull. Nobody was with me to take a nicer picture. What an awesome day of hunting! It started out brutal with the oak brush and downed quakies, but ended with the best elk hunt I can imagine!