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Just got back early this morning from my first Colorado OTC Archery elk hunt. Buddy and i decided to hunt unit 62, which is the busiest unit in Colorado, but supposed to hold decent elk population. Once arriving Saturday the 4th we realized that the place was a mad house. Hunters, campers, bikers, ATV, dirt bikes, horses, all use the area for recreation and there was a tent or camper tucked behind every tree. There is also cattle being ran on it. We drove 20 miles of dirt roads looking for a spot the stick the camper in. Once we found one we got set up, grilled some steaks and fired up the generator and watched football and relaxed after the 16 hour drive.

Sunday morning we woke up and ate breakfast and decided to do a warm up hunt and scout the drainage a few hundred yards behind camp. We work our way to the head of the drainage and let out a few cow calls. Shortly after we see movement of another hunter walking up the drainage. We just sit tight and watch him slip by below us. Optimism is low, but we decide to just keep easing along the side of the ridge within ear shot of the drainage. We see tons of old sign but eventually stumble into a small bedding area with fresh sign and rubs. We hear a bugle in the distance toward the head of the drainage and write it off as the hunter. We let out a few cow calls and slip out of the bedding area. As we are navigating some blow downs we hear another bugle but closer. Now we are wondering if this is an actual elk or the hunter. As we’re debating if a person could walk down that fast we are interrupted by the sound of something walking up the hill toward us. We now know this isn’t a person. Next thing we know there’s a bull elk about 60 yards away from us chuckling and raking a tree. I can’t see it through the small spruce trees but Toby can see it’s head and horns. He ranges it at 56 yards, i nock an arrow and clip my release in and get ready. Bull stops all the commotion and i hear It start walking a couple steps closer and he wheels around and barrels down into the drainage with a loud crash. Quick wind check and with us standing in the shadows our thermals were drifting down toward him. Rookie mistake! He was gone just as quick as he showed, i never got to lay eyes on him. Toby said it wasn’t no 300” bull but it was very nice elk.

Monday morning we decide to leave the area alone we ran into the bull in and scout out another area down the road. 2 mile walk to the end of a long ridge. We’ll walk a 4 mile loop, no big deal, we’ll take our time and make the day of it. By 1:00 in the afternoon we had made it halfway down the ridge and were pretty warn out navigating the blow downs. Long story short it got hot, we found a dead cow elk, never made it to the end of the ridge and we made the 1.5 mile hike back to the truck with my right hamstring cramping up. Saw 2 nice young mulie bucks.

Tuesday was uneventful, hot and sweaty walking and seeing mule deer. Walked around the area we ran into the bull blind calling.

Wednesday morning we hit a new drainage, looked good. Did blind call set ups and scouted our way up the drainage. Saw what looked like a wallow, i slipped down the drainage to get a closer look. Day winds had picked up and as I’m standing there looking at a wallow i hear what i think is the tail end of a bugle. I look up and Toby has the big eyes waving me up. I quickly get set up behind some spruce trees with a V shape shooting lane up the hill and down into the drainage. Toby sets up 50 yards behind and calls. After a few minutes i hear through the wind what sounds like a stick break ahead of me on the trail. I get the bow up and on high alert. Few seconds pass and i hear what sounds like a heavy hoof running off down the drainage. The wind is swirling bad, nothing seen to confirm what we assumed was an elk.
Wednesday evening we make the hour drive into montrose for more ice and a couple extra groceries. We enjoy a pizza on our way back up the mountain.

Thursday morning we wake up with what we assume is food poisoning. We spend the first half of the day taking turns doing the shovel run. Luckily i avoided the heaves, Toby wasn’t so lucky. We rested and recovered the rest of the day

Friday was hot, we spent the whole day doing blind calling set ups with no excitement other than almost getting ran over by a couple moo
Cows during an afternoon Ciesta. Seen mule deer.

Saturday was a nice day, we prepped camp for departure for Sunday, spent the day indulging in some coors light and watched football and made sure the whole mountain knew the hogs were beating Texas!

Sunday morning we packed up and headed East. Got home early this morning.

Minus the pizza debacle and the warm weather it was a fun trip. Seeing Colorado is worth the drive in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed being disconnected from the world for a week, only communicating with the wife and kids every couple of days. I won’t ever go back to Colorado without a mule deer tag. They were everywhere!

I’ll post a few pictures in a while but pictures of Colorado are nothing compared to seeing it in person.
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