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Colorado deer and elk 2010

 
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a3dhunter
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Aug-14-10, 
11:01 AM (MST)
"Colorado deer and elk 2010"

LAST EDITED ON Aug-16-10 AT 08:53 AM (MST) by Founder (admin)

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My name is Jason and for about a year and a half I have been planning on moving from Amarillo to Colorado Springs. With this in the back of my mind I started the application process thinking about where I would like to hunt deer.
I was looking for a unit with limited hunters, access to high country, and a fairly high draw success with 0 preference points.

Once this was accomplished I submitted my application and waited. I was hoping to move to Colorado during the summer but that did not happen. It became apparent I would have to make the 8 hours drive to the unit to scout and use vacation time for the hunt.

I drew the tag and had a friend who was a resident of Colorado who did not draw the tag. I was now thinking tag out early and then focus on OTC elk.

As I continued to evaluate this unit, I found there were leftover either sex elk tags available and decided to purchase one of those.

So, now I am sitting here with an elk tag and a deer tag for a Unit in central Colorado and I live 8 hours away.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Aug-15-10   1 
 RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Aug-15-10   2 
  RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Sep-02-10   3 
   RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Sep-10-10   4 
    RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Oct-22-10   6 
     RE: Colorado d...  a3dhunter      Oct-22-10   7 

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a3dhunter
(633 posts)
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Aug-15-10, 
04:08 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

Conditioning:
As the spring rolled around I started hitting the gym to get into hunting shape, and I had a long way to go. I had started back to the gym at the beginning of the year and didn't have much success losing weight, but was in better shape.
Then June rolls around and while outside in the backyard and barefoot I managed to tear the arch ligament in my left foot. After seeing a podiatrist, he confirmed a severe case of Plantar Fasciitis which is the tearing of the ligament, in my situation a blood clot formed around the tears just in front of my heel, causing pain with every step.
This put exercising out of the picture since it was all I could do to even stay working at my job, on my feet all day.

Definitely not the situation I wanted!

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a3dhunter
(633 posts)
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Aug-15-10, 
04:08 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

Scouting:
Fourth of July weekend I head up to the unit and get familiar with the roads and access points again.
Spent the first night at 9,000' elevation and then did some fishing the next day as well.
Spent a little time behind a spotting scope as well.

Not able to hike due to the problem with my left foot.

After seeing the options I narrow my search down based on the amount of summer pressure in these areas.


Scouting trip #2
The first weekend in August, back up to the high country to glass.
The first evening I spotted 3 does. Not what I'm looking for, also dealt with 7 hours of rain in the afternoon.
Head out the next morning and spot over 20 deer in the same basin, with 8 bucks. One shooter looks to be in the 170" range.

I start hiking testing my foot and my lungs. The arch gives me some pain but feels okay. Still not more than 60% but I am sure I can hunt on it, which is a relief.

At this point I know I won't have time for another scouting trip, so it's back to the flatland to do what I can to prepare for the season.

I have been shooting my bow on and off all year, I know broadheads are dialed in out to 80 yards and ready to shoot since turkey season. I start shooting 4-5 nights a week just to be ready.
Now, for those who don't know I am 6'1" and over 300 lbs. with this comes some concerns. Usually I am down to 260 lbs for hunting, but not the last two years. Some people say it can't be done if you are not in top physical shape and I have refused to believe that. Determination and persistence makes up for a lot, put your head down and get there....then enjoy the hunt!

There are some concerns with this year though....
The big concern is physical.
Will my foot hold up to hiking?
Will my weight affect my foot...and my hunt?

The mental side:
Will I be able to focus on the hunt the way I should if in pain?

To add to this, for the second time in my life I was hit with altitude sickness on my scouting trip. This is nothing to mess around with and is a huge concern for me. I don't want this to train wreck my hunt, so I ramp up the training and start eating healthier, and focus on making this work.

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a3dhunter
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Sep-02-10, 
07:29 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

Took the friday before the opener off and headed up to get set up and do some scouting.
Saw very little sign and decided to hit some areas that used to hold elk.
Up at 5am and out the door of teh fifth wheel trailer, started hiking and getting away from the roads. After a while setup and did some calling but nothing moving or responding.
Spent quite a bit of time moving through a good looking few miles that held nothing, no deer or elk.

Decided to go higher in the afternoon. Started seeing deer early while contending with storms. A little rain coming down dropped the temps and made for an enjoyable evening hunt, passed on a few small bucks looking for something bigger. Hope I don't regret that decision.

The next morning out the door and headed high. Hit the continental divide and started heading north. Nothing moving. Kept glassing hoping to spot some movement but nothing. After a few hours back to the truck and headed down the mountain. Checked out a few new areas, and then ran across the strangest thing I have ever seen in the mountains.

I came around the corner on the road and sawa grown man in a blouse and skirt!
Yes, you heard me right! Signs indicated "Goat Wadi" this way........don't know what they were getting ready to do to that poor goat but when you see 100 men dressed in skirts you don't stop to ask questions!!!!!

I will say that my hunting partner and I cracked a few jokes about this one, we proved that Gatorade can come bursting through your nose and record speeds and tears can be coming out of your eyes bad enough you have to pull over to regain control!!! LOLOL

After that headed home for the week at work and will head back up next weekend. One last problem was a speeding ticket that set me back another $260 in New Mexico on the way home.......! I was sure to thank the officer for his time! ;)

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a3dhunter
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Sep-10-10, 
04:26 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

With the speeding ticket still fresh in my mind, my trip to Colorado was a little slower than normal!

Got up to my hunting spot where I had left my fifth wheel trailer during the week and pull in on BLM land and find 5 tents set up around my trailer.
Two of the tents are setup within 6-8" of my trailer tires, close enough that I can't walk down the side of the trailer with stepping on the tents! There are about 15 people sitting around my campfire ring burning my wood that I cut the previous weekend.

As I get out and walk around the truck one of them cops and attitude and says in a smart alleck tone of voice "something we can do for you?". Now if it wasn't for the sarcasm things would have went better from here.......but after hearing that I told them all to get out of my camp right now! They had their dog tied off to my trailer and I could not even make it to the door without moving stuff. I started unloading my stuff, out came my bow, and then the guns....and then people really started moving off. Thes hippie hikers up the camping decided they should leave my camp. My back was to them most of the time as I went about my business of unloading. This happened around midnight....my hunting buddy rolled in to camp around 2AM and woke up everybody due to dogs barking at his arrival....and then we were back up around 4AM to get ready to head out, had to let the truck warm up for a while and that had the dogs barking again.....I think those campers learned a lesson.

The hunting still wasn't very good. Finally got on some deer Sunday morning, and after three hours of hiking I was within 50 yards off a nice buck, when he pegged me and decided to walk dead away from me without offering a shot. Still the most exciting thing all season!

Had plenty of long hard hikes, and learned a lot about the unit.

Physically, my feet are still causing a problem. Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot is bad, after half a day of hiking I want to put it in ice and stay off my feet the rest of the day.....but on I go.
Mentally, getting stronger with every trip. Proving to my self I can go further than I think.

Can't wait for the 18th, I have the last week of the season off and plan on getting something accomplished during that time.

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a3dhunter
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Oct-22-10, 
08:01 AM (MST)
6. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

Well, it was a really tough hunt.......
It has taken some time to get over it mentally, so I feel I can actually post up about it now.

We started off my last week up there glassing the high country for mule deer in the mornings and then dropping down and still hunting the timber for elk.
After two days of not seeing anything worth going after we headed to a basin a little farther back. When glassing at daylight we spotted a bull and 5 cows out in the wide open. We dropped into the basin and moved down to cut them off. Somehow they got into the timber above us and moved like ghosts around us, once into the timber we never saw them again.
We hunted the timber all day in that basin and set up several times doing some calling, never had anything come in.
Late that afternoon we headed for a glassing point to see if the mule deer were coming out.
After about a half hour glassing over and over again from the same spot, when looking as far away and as high as possible I spotted some bucks feeding and I got this sick feeling in my stomach.
As I looked at one of the deer I secretly hoped it was actually a bighorn sheep.......since I did not have a tag and would not put myself through the punishment of going after it.
This buck had it all and when I evaluated the shape I was in we loaded the truck and left the basin headed for camp, I just wasn't ready for him.
At this point we decided to drop lower in elevation for elk hunting. After moving camp the next morning we started hunting and were into elk immediately.
A cow elk gave me a shot and I watched my arrow ricochet off a branch on the way, leaving me wondering what happened. The elk stopped and gave me another shot, ranged at 49 yards, but I was shaking so bad at that point that I solidly stuck a nice dead tree!
Spent the next three days hunting elk, nit getting close enough for a shot, and thinking about the huge mulie up high.....

more to come on that......

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a3dhunter
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Oct-22-10, 
11:31 PM (MST)
7. "RE: Colorado deer and elk 2010"

After thinking about the big buck all week, I decided I had to give it a try. A solid week of elk hunting really had my legs under me and I couldn't walk away leaving it untried.

Up at 4am, a 2 hour drive up a 4wd road into the basin, then a 2 1/2 hour hike put me up near the bucks. They fed out and skylined above me, 7 bucks total. I spotted them and had to wait for them to feed around the corner of the ridge. After holding tight about 15 minutes they were out of sight.
I had about 400 yards to cover, most of it being straight uphill to get above the bucks. At this point I was well above 13,000 feet and breathing hard.
I kept thinking I needed to slow it down, and not make too much noise. I finally arrived where they had fed around and I could hear them...but I couldn't see them. A few minutes later they fed underneath me. I picked up the rangefinder and took a reading, it told me the big buck was 33 yards away, with the steep hillside it read to hold for 31 yards.
I started to draw my bow and realized something didn't feel right. I used the rangefinder twice more, and got the same reading both times.
I watched the bucks, the big one was the closest (how lucky is that?) and I could get my first really good look at him. he was 29-30" wide and had great mass. He had forked G-4's on both sides making him look awesome. On his right side, with the forked G-4 he also had another extra, making him a 7x6.

I started to draw and they were all still relaxed and feeding broadside, I aimed with my 30 yard pin and waited, all of a sudden my bow went off and the shot felt perfect.

There is that moment when you know you just made a perfect shot, as the arrow is in flight, and then it happened.
The arrow dropped and went right underneath the buck. He blew out of there and stopped about 30 yards from where he had been standing and he had a tree between us. He stared up at where I was for the next five minutes keeping me pinned down.

I used my bino's to verify, it was a clean miss.

When he moved he blew out the bottom and up the other side, then over the pass into the next basin.

I walked down to where he had been standing and ranged back to my position, it read 45 yards. I started walking uphill until it read 31 yards and found myself standing in a small brush pile, that had grass coming up out of it. It is the only thing my rangefinder could have picked up on between me and the buck.

I went back and sat down trying to figure out what I could have done differently......but it was over.

The rest of the story is just details. The defining moments of the trip were memorable, just not the way I wanted!

I left the mountain heartbroken.
Completely beaten.
Wishing I could hunt high country mule deer all year round!
I missed a buck of a lifetime, my true trophy dream buck, and I will always look for one to live up to it.......

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