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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I sit here typing in the notes section of my I Phone on the 6th day of a 7 1/2 day hunt…. due to no cell signal. Though something could change in my next three sittings; it’s easy now to see how things are likely to turn out.

The highs of the journey are that I have had the quality of hunt that most can only dream about. I have gotten to share that with 4 good friends. One is a top cook so we have eaten pork chops, fried crappie, hush puppies, fries, fried grouse, etc and we have likely all gained weight despite the many miles a day put under foot. I think we all know the right hunting buddies can make a great hunt even better; and likewise a poor hunt not nearly so bad. This has been a great hunt!

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Collectively, we have done really well. We have taken two really good mule deer bucks, a mature boar bear, and numerous grouse. I have the only elk tag and I have seen more (and bigger) bulls on this trip than any in the past. In 6 days I have seen likely 15 or more bulls, many way over 300 P&Y and only four cow elk.

The lows…despite seeing that many bulls, none have been less than 40 yards except one 5x5 that got within 25 yards, but never offered an ethical shot. It’s often been said that traditional bowhunting is not about how far you can shoot; but how close you can get. It’s about setting the table so that you can embrace the limitation of a stickbow. That said, I have failed miserably to produce the shot I have needed. The table has been difficult to set.

The stock ponds are very low and the they have receded even further from the oak brush and aspen edges of the past which make good ground blinds. Combine that with an Aspen tree die off makes setting up close difficult. These two facts being somewhat significant, mostly I have been a victim of just plain dumb bad luck. I can’t explain it, it’s just happening. It’s said that luck all averages out in the long run; but you couldn’t prove that by me!

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My patience has been tested to the point that I made two of the worst decisions to shoot in my life. I’m a pretty disciplined shooter and rather shoot past about 22 yards but not on this trip. One 40 yard shot right at the end of legal shooting hours dropped dreadfully low and struck the front hoof of a nice 6x6 bull resulting in nothing more than a shattered Stinger broadhead and the wounded pride of both myself and the bull. It could have been worse….. the funny thing is that I mentally said “dead bull” when I dropped the string. The low light conditions likely distorted my depth perception. That my story and I’m sticking to it.

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The other shot was another dreadful decision to shoot but actually was executed quite well. Early one morning, I saw a massive bull ( I call him the UFO bull for reasons to be disclosed later) looking at me. It had come from my left side but slightly behind my field of vision. When I saw him; he pivoted away and walked rapidly away at a rear quartering angle. For some reason completely foreign to me, my mental red light changed to green and I launched an arrow at about 45 yards straight into a 25 mile per hour wind. The three 5” white feathers tracked the arrow flight perfectly and the arrow impacted the bull ahead of the hams, but behind the the shoulder….near the back end of the rib cage. As the bull kicked into overdrive, I saw the arrow hanging straight down. I found the arrow about 5 yards from where I saw it hit. I got about two or three inches of penetration! Please tell me what happen so that we will both know. I’ve never had anything like that happen before.

The cool temps that I cherish this time of year in the high country have elevated to mid 60’s to low 70’s at night and 85”ish”during the heat of the day. In all my past trips I’ve never seen it this way. Please keep in mind we are at 9,000 feet! It’s brutal enduring the wind, sun, and sweltering heat. My face looks like I’ve been bobbing for french fries! I packed too much of everything; but failed to pack sun screen. Who would have thought? I probably need to set an appointment with my dermatologist in about 30 days. I will probably need it.
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That brings us up to today. I’m positioned at a waterhole that I killed a cow elk on it almost 20 years ago. It offers a much closer shot if anything shows up in later in the evening. This hole is on public land, but despite being 13 miles from the nearest trail head, it looks like a ATV motor cross speedway all the way around it. It’s in the middle of the week and hopefully one elk will try to chance a drink at the waterhole in front of me. Final details of this hunt in few days or so……
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
We left Saturday morning and finally got back late Sunday night. On the way back down the mesa to Grand Junction, we saw about 2,000 bikers pedaling up the 6 mile grade to the top. Young, middle age, old folks (all very fit) were huffing and puffing their way to the top.. It was interesting to see the three mile line of bikers!


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On the way back, we blew a trailer tire just before we got to Denver that created a white knuckle moment; but we survived to tell the tale....barely.

In the remaining 1.5 days of the hunt from the last post, we killed a second bear. I didn't see anything the afternoon on the waterhole (that I mentioned on the earlier post) that looked like it had been used for an ATV motor cross event....but Saturday afternoon a new group hunting the ranch killed a 350 bull there! Like I said, I could buy any luck on this trip for any price.

I did see a small bull chasing a cow for two complete circles on the ridge line that was separated by about an hour.... the next morning. That afternoon, both were in the water at about 4;00pm as I came down to hunt the ladder stand on it.. No need to mention the status of luck again...I believe that lack of it is clearly established on this trip:)

As the sun set on the last day and the full moon rose in a direct lighted path home, I took this final picture to remind me of the last hunt. Though I will never again be able to hunt a bull elk there...I still have enough mule deer points to go back. I will get them then!
 

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Hate it didn't work out for ya. Still quite the experience to lay eyes on all those bulls! Glad ya'll got to capitalize on some other species. Run into the famous YouTuber hunting the unit? If he has a good hunt, point creep will be even worse for that unit.

Our public lands of the west have turned into ATV/UTV playgrounds. Since they are managed for a variety of recreational uses, can't really complain. BUT so many are going off the approved roads/trails and making their own. Really chaps me! Wish the governing public land agencies had the manpower to really crack down on the illegal ATV/UTV use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't run into anyone on this trip as about 98% of it was on private land.... with the exception of the waterhole that looked like an ATV speedway. In somewhat of a ironic twist, after I hunted the ATV speedway waterhole; the next group that followed us killed a 350 bull on it on Saturday afternoon the first day they got there!

Just goes to show you you can never know exactly what a bull will do.
 
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