CO 2nd Season - GMU67 Success

dihardhunter

Active Member
Messages
138
First off thanks to many on this forum and several others who pitched in with advice, encouragement, and pointers along the way. I was in the boat of saving a decade worth of points with no clear plan as I grabbed multiple lower-tier units off the leftover list. A couple years ago, when the season structure/dates changes were finalized I knew that I would be converting my 10 points into a “3rd season” tag with the extraordinarily gracious coupon issued by CO Parks & Wildlife. I get infatuated with places and the Gunny Basin was always on my bucket list. When the draw results came out this spring, I confirmed what I already expected – I was Unit 67 bound.

Summer family vacation plans were oriented around a 3-week road trip with at least 10 days camping, hiking, exploring, fishing, and yes – scouting the area. That trip went off without a hitch. Well, actually I lied. That trip ended up costing me nearly $8,000 in repairs for a couple busted head gaskets and some other damage sustained on the family Pilot. Oh well, she limped us home to Ohio before she rotated in and out of the mechanic’s shop for past couple months. With access figured out, some bucks located, and more glassing knobs pinned than I could glass in an entire month, it was a classic case of hurry up and wait. …And hope, pray, and do all manner of snow dances in hopes that the new 2nd season was a great rendition of a nasty old 3rd.

It’s been a great fall and we arrived in Gunnison Thursday before season after a great elk hunt on public down in NM the prior week. Scouting revealed few deer – does and dinks – and plenty of elk. Camp was set, drinks were drank, and we hoped for good things on opening morning.

Quite honestly, the first 6+ days were a kick in the nuts. Warm afternoons, no bucks bigger than forks in the doe groups, elk everywhere I thought I would find deer, and a quick rushed shot opportunity in a doghair pole patch of pines at a 3x3 with no fronts being my one and only sighting, let alone chance, at a decent buck. We hunted high up to 11,000 (good way to find elk), we camped on knobs to glass long and low over sage, we pounded north-facing dark timber benches during the midday (another good way to find elk), and ran our bull count high enough that I needed to start taking my boots off to count.

Back to all that great forum-advice – forum advice in my opinion is first and foremost to triangulate and set expectations. Any tangible locations, pointers you get beyond that is icing on the cake. Everyone’s advice is spot on, I’m sure of it, but it’s unique to the circumstances of their hunt year, the weather leading up to the hunt, their mobility, the run-up of previous winters and potential die-off’s, all that must be taken into account, and the wide range of “you ought to do this” and “that worked for me” was just that – a big wide range with the truth of the 2021 2nd season deer hunt in that unit lying somewhere in the middle.

Fast forward to the good part. I got a tip that suggested an area I had scouted in the summer was heating up. Lots of roads, but all no vehicle BLM 2-tracks. Friday pre-dawn found me staring at a whole bunch of doe ears on the horizon. Working around several doe groups, I found myself staring into the back canyon behind all the vehicle access. Does EVERYWHERE, but no bucks.

Then the thermals switched around 8:45 AM.

At the head of the long canyon, there are several patches of dark timber and thick aspens, and there were a pile of bucks biding their time waiting for the updraft of a certain sexy scent to bring them out of the woodwork. It was a train. 1 buck, 2 bucks, 3 bucks, …, 6 or 7 in all. The 2 biggest were both 4 points, both looked equally mature – don’t confuse with old; however, they were the 2 best bucks I had seen in a week of summer scouting, 2 days preseason, and now a full week into the 9 day season. Once the bucks all joined the largest group in a rocky outcrop with intermingled aspens, I scrambled my gear and ran along the rimrock to get above them as the thermals were now ripping up the canyon. This not only put me with a wind advantage - it also allowed me to stalk in with the sun at my back which effectively blinded any deer looking back uphill at my approach. It was pretty much a done deal at that point. Come down the finger ridge and sort out all the doe ears and antlers to find the buck I wanted. I shot him twice at just over 100 yards over top of my spotting scope tripod. Didn’t go 2.

I am thrilled, dare I say ecstatic, with the buck. As I stated above, he’s the best I saw. He’s also the best I have taken anywhere for that matter. He’s incredibly long everywhere just lacks the width and more mass necessary to be a true giant. For folks with a 3rd season tag, Friday and Saturday suggests to me that it will be a rut fest even with brightening moon and warmer than ideal temperatures.

Once more, thanks to those who contributed time on the phone or through PMs – I really appreciate it. I’ll leave you with some pictures to enjoy.
 

dihardhunter

Active Member
Messages
138
Gunny1.jpg

Gunny3.jpg


Gunny4.jpg


Gunny2.jpg
 

bonepicker

Very Active Member
Messages
1,293
Great color on those antlers! Sounds like you put in the work to make it a success, and that buck is a dandy!
 

Country

Active Member
Messages
293
Great job and congratulations. You stick with it with less than ideal conditions and we’re rewarded for your efforts! Nice buck
 

AaronS

Active Member
Messages
136
Congratulations on a great buck! That's what happens when you grind it out!

I'm leaving out in a few hours to head that way for 67 3rd rifle. I'm hoping what you say is true and the rut will be kicking in!
 

Thomas11

Active Member
Messages
334
First off thanks to many on this forum and several others who pitched in with advice, encouragement, and pointers along the way. I was in the boat of saving a decade worth of points with no clear plan as I grabbed multiple lower-tier units off the leftover list. A couple years ago, when the season structure/dates changes were finalized I knew that I would be converting my 10 points into a “3rd season” tag with the extraordinarily gracious coupon issued by CO Parks & Wildlife. I get infatuated with places and the Gunny Basin was always on my bucket list. When the draw results came out this spring, I confirmed what I already expected – I was Unit 67 bound.

Summer family vacation plans were oriented around a 3-week road trip with at least 10 days camping, hiking, exploring, fishing, and yes – scouting the area. That trip went off without a hitch. Well, actually I lied. That trip ended up costing me nearly $8,000 in repairs for a couple busted head gaskets and some other damage sustained on the family Pilot. Oh well, she limped us home to Ohio before she rotated in and out of the mechanic’s shop for past couple months. With access figured out, some bucks located, and more glassing knobs pinned than I could glass in an entire month, it was a classic case of hurry up and wait. …And hope, pray, and do all manner of snow dances in hopes that the new 2nd season was a great rendition of a nasty old 3rd.

It’s been a great fall and we arrived in Gunnison Thursday before season after a great elk hunt on public down in NM the prior week. Scouting revealed few deer – does and dinks – and plenty of elk. Camp was set, drinks were drank, and we hoped for good things on opening morning.

Quite honestly, the first 6+ days were a kick in the nuts. Warm afternoons, no bucks bigger than forks in the doe groups, elk everywhere I thought I would find deer, and a quick rushed shot opportunity in a doghair pole patch of pines at a 3x3 with no fronts being my one and only sighting, let alone chance, at a decent buck. We hunted high up to 11,000 (good way to find elk), we camped on knobs to glass long and low over sage, we pounded north-facing dark timber benches during the midday (another good way to find elk), and ran our bull count high enough that I needed to start taking my boots off to count.

Back to all that great forum-advice – forum advice in my opinion is first and foremost to triangulate and set expectations. Any tangible locations, pointers you get beyond that is icing on the cake. Everyone’s advice is spot on, I’m sure of it, but it’s unique to the circumstances of their hunt year, the weather leading up to the hunt, their mobility, the run-up of previous winters and potential die-off’s, all that must be taken into account, and the wide range of “you ought to do this” and “that worked for me” was just that – a big wide range with the truth of the 2021 2nd season deer hunt in that unit lying somewhere in the middle.

Fast forward to the good part. I got a tip that suggested an area I had scouted in the summer was heating up. Lots of roads, but all no vehicle BLM 2-tracks. Friday pre-dawn found me staring at a whole bunch of doe ears on the horizon. Working around several doe groups, I found myself staring into the back canyon behind all the vehicle access. Does EVERYWHERE, but no bucks.

Then the thermals switched around 8:45 AM.

At the head of the long canyon, there are several patches of dark timber and thick aspens, and there were a pile of bucks biding their time waiting for the updraft of a certain sexy scent to bring them out of the woodwork. It was a train. 1 buck, 2 bucks, 3 bucks, …, 6 or 7 in all. The 2 biggest were both 4 points, both looked equally mature – don’t confuse with old; however, they were the 2 best bucks I had seen in a week of summer scouting, 2 days preseason, and now a full week into the 9 day season. Once the bucks all joined the largest group in a rocky outcrop with intermingled aspens, I scrambled my gear and ran along the rimrock to get above them as the thermals were now ripping up the canyon. This not only put me with a wind advantage - it also allowed me to stalk in with the sun at my back which effectively blinded any deer looking back uphill at my approach. It was pretty much a done deal at that point. Come down the finger ridge and sort out all the doe ears and antlers to find the buck I wanted. I shot him twice at just over 100 yards over top of my spotting scope tripod. Didn’t go 2.

I am thrilled, dare I say ecstatic, with the buck. As I stated above, he’s the best I saw. He’s also the best I have taken anywhere for that matter. He’s incredibly long everywhere just lacks the width and more mass necessary to be a true giant. For folks with a 3rd season tag, Friday and Saturday suggests to me that it will be a rut fest even with brightening moon and warmer than ideal temperatures.

Once more, thanks to those who contributed time on the phone or through PMs – I really appreciate it. I’ll leave you with some pictures to enjoy.
I just got back from second season there for elk. We never spotted an elk in 10 days. And I’ve hunted the unit before w good luck. I’m not sure where they were and I covered some country
 

brushcreek

Active Member
Messages
223
I just got back from second season there for elk. We never spotted an elk in 10 days. And I’ve hunted the unit before w good luck. I’m not sure where they were and I covered some country
sounds similar to our hunt. I saw 4 bulls on private but none on public. My two cousins hunted hard for 7 days and saw no elk.
 

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