CO Elk Camp 2012

coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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148
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Elizabeth, CO
And so the adventure begins

Animals feed, wife and kids kissed (not in that order). Leaving Elizabeth CO and heading north west to set up Elk and Deer camp.
Already had half the hunting party cancel for numerous reasons so we will see who shows up Friday night, day before opener.
Truck is loaded down with ice chests, fire wood, canvas tent and stove. Will pick up supplies in town when I arrive.

Will post pic’s once camp is set up.
 

robby denning

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Awesome! I love the 2nd and 3rd season hunts in Colorado: snow (usually), leaves off the oaks, lots of elk sightings and always a chance at a good buck in Colorado. I'll be watching this thread.
 
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coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
day one...
almost made it to the location where i was going to camp. however do to down trees across the road i had to opt for plan B. Plan B was to camp 300 yards down hill. not to bad considering the amount of dead fall across the road. got the camp set up.. new wall tent and stove as i thought the BIL would be joining but they could not. went to light the stove and all my lighters were not working... where did i put the emergency kit... what no matches... TP and mag fire starter does wonders (20 minutes to get things going). Note. do not leave store door open when you go out and get more wood else tent becomes smoker.
Also, Garmin GPS do not chage when pluged in via the USB port.

if BIL bail next year i will need to get a lighter setup.

got a late start glassing but turned up 3 bulls. could not get a good look as i was trying to get the spotting scope set up and they went into the trees.
2 note - do not asume that everything is charged up just because it is plugged in.

trying to get tap talk working. if not wife will post for me.
 
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coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
Day 2
Hiked to the top of the ridge and watched the sun come up

Did not pick up the three bulls from yesterday but did pick up 5 new camps
Everyone is starting to roll in

Ten yards from the trail head I ran into deer. Was not fast enough to catch the 3 x 3.
Good thing View attachment 3735 I have a deer tag too
 
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coOverwatch

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148
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Elizabeth, CO
Sorry for the lack of posts. Had phone difficulties and could not call out or Text with regularity. (wife not real happy with that)
Following are the posts that were suppose to make it out grouped by day. Summary to follow after the truck is unloaded.
 
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coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
Friday night (10-19)
Friday was spend running back into town to pick up a “few” things that were forgotten at home and to charge up the Garmin. Per Garmin tech support you can use alkaline batteries if you have that battery pack, which turns out to be an add on item.
Returned to camp around 3 with my Pheasant hunting friends in tow. They had called and confirmed they would make the trip Thursday night. We rolled into camp at 9800 feet with their two trailers and got them all set up.
We spent a few hours that night going over the lay of the land as we have little experience in this Unit.
With areas picked out we all headed off to our respective sleeping accommodations. To regroup and head out in the morning.
 
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coOverwatch

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Location
Elizabeth, CO
Saturday, 10-20
Got a late start and reached the trail head at shooting light. Two of my friends took off around the south side of the hill which overlooks the basin I saw the 3 bulls in two days ago. I took off around the south side to see what was there. This side showed a lot of Aspen groves between dark timber patches. my plan was to find a place where I could sit for a few hours and watch to see what might wander by. All I could turn up were Doe’s and two Forkies who passed by less than 10 yards as I ate lunch. As I was hunting for meat this year the thought of tagging out with my deer was tempting. Only thing I was at 10k and on the side of a steep hill. Figured might as well wait to see what else shows up.
Heard lots of shooting from camps that were about 4 miles down hill (8500 feet). Being this low I think they were looking for deer.

Figured this day could be counted as more of a scouting day. Found a lot of good pockets that showed lots of elk sign on the north face of this one mountain. Lots of little benches between rock slides.
 
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coOverwatch

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Location
Elizabeth, CO
Sunday, 10-21
Got a phone call from a friend at work who said he was able to get a few days off and would like to join the fun.
Told him I would meet him back in town that afternoon (had to charge up the Garmin a little more) and that we could hunt a lower section that I saw deer in on Thursday.

For the morning hunt we decided to run over to a different trail head that would cut 2.5 miles off our hike to where I saw the 3 bulls from the day before. Hiked around the timber all morning and only turned up two does. This doe thing is starting to get a little old.

Off to town to meet my friend and charge the Garmin.

Back from town and a quick even hunt lower in the area. Turned up shooter bucks ( 3X or better. Again not trophy hunting as meat supply is getting low) however they were all 100 yards onto private. At least we are seeing game.
 
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coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
Monday 10-22
Finally got everyone out of bed and heading to the BLM land. I wanted to be in glassing position BEFORE light and it was a two mile hike to get back to where I wanted to glass from. Last year this turned up 100 elk, to bad all I had was a deer tag. Tried to help out two other hunters last year but they did not believe that Elk would be any other place then up on the mountain. Oh well, I tried.

Wind is something awful. Got into position and glassed for about an 30 minutes to an hour before the other started to get antsy. Group B (2 to a group) had enough after 30 minutes and head back the way we came in to “walk” the ridge and other pockets to see what they could stir up.

Group A took off to the north to drop down into the bowl to the southwest. Area has lots of high sage and conifers.

my friend from work and I were going to climb the ridge and to get a better look into the bowl. This would put us real high with the wind into our face. This took us an hour to get half way as we started out at 8400 and half way up we were at 92 with another 2k to go (estimates. Will get more once I get it off the GPS)

Half way up we found a great little pocket that you could not see from where we started and found a big doe feeding. We dropped our packs (which the others gave us grief for carrying, “Too much weight”) and started to pick apart the sage, scrub oak, and confers for bucks. I figured I would deer hunt that day as my friend only had a Deer tag.

As we glassed we turned up 3 Cow elk bedded under the confers. Great, Elk!!! Too bad we left the spotting scopes in the truck to cut weight. (opportunity for lighter gear?? Any suggestions??) We sat there for 45 minutes trying to map out the best way around to try and drop in on the Elk, while still picking apart the area for more deer. Where there is one deer there are more deer. The deer was 400 yard downhill with a 30+ mile wind into our face and the Elk was at 800.

Group A saw we had not moved for some time and radio if everything was oaky, told them we were into deer and elk. Saw that they started to change course to head in the direction of where we were. Only problem was they were up wind.
 
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coOverwatch

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Elizabeth, CO
After another hour we had made it to the top of the hill, or what we thought was the top. Later we found out that there was still another half mile or so to reach the very top. That will have to wait for another day.
With bearing recheck I started to descend. The plan was to come up the finger where the deer was spotted and glass into the trees to see if there were any bulls. By this time Group A had moved to within 500 yard of the back side of where the Elk were bedded. They were given instructions to sit tight and have lunch. If I buggered this up the Elk with move out up wind and through another bowl on their way to another grove of scrub oak.

On my descent I started to come across multiple Elk sheds. Ohhhh, the Elk gods are smiling on me. This is going to be good.
I dropped my pack and started to slowly work my way up the downwind side of the finger. My buddy from work was still up high so he could spot anything that I might spook up. Group A was sitting somewhat patiently on the downwind side of a knoll Up wind of the bedded elk. (not to my liking but was what I had to work with)

As it turned out I had missed in the first finder and came up 15 yards from the bedded Elk. I had a few minutes to glass in and see that the two we could not make out from atop the ridge were Cows before they got up and moved out the other side into view of group A. All three Cows walked out and into the opening of this little bowl which was completely hidden from where we first glassed. They moved to within 70 yard from Group B. on their way to another scrub oak patch. After retrieving my pack, and the 4 sheds, I moved my way through the trees where they were bedded to regroup with my friends finding nice Mule Deer sheds as well. We talked about how cool that all this work came together and that it was unfortunate that no one had a cow tag.

Group A worked back out of the area and we sat for lunch as we wanted to work back up the other ridge to see what was there. Might as well as we already did most of the work to get into the area.

After Lunch we started to work our way back up out of this bowl when we caught movement under the scrub oak above us. As we glassed up we caught a bull Elk getting up and moving back into the trees. He had to have been bedded there the whole time.
We played hid and seek through the oak for about an hour finding sheds all over. Finial we gave up as we were not going to find him playing his game and climbed out of the trees and up the ridge. This “little area” seems to be a refuge of some sort for a lot of big deer and elk based on the sheds we found.

With sheds strapped to our back we started the daunting task of working back out of this big bowl. We kicked up another 6 or 8 Does out of deep draws as we climbed our way out and back to the truck.

Group B who pulled out after 15 minutes of glassing bumped two Bucks out of one draw but with the high winds and 300yd no shot was taken.
 
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coOverwatch

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Location
Elizabeth, CO
Tuesday 10-23
Up early and heading out in a new direction from camp. The other two in the party of 6 now, saw deer and a cow elk a mile below camp. I am starting to think that I set up base camp a little too high. However, I would rather camp a quarter mile from the top and be able to glass down and then move from there, instead of glassing from the bottom and trying to climb up on what I spot.
Thoughts??

Tuesday was a bust and did not see anything. Spent most of the time moving through the heavy timber. Not sure how effective this is as I can only see 20 yards at the most. Sort of like flushing things and hoping they stop in a shooting lane. Has anyone one else had much luck with this approach? I normally find some sort of clearing to sit and watch instead of constantly moving through an area. I figure all I am doing at that point is driving game to other hunters, but the others are doing that and they have been seeing Deer, but no elk.

Group A has to be back for work so they are packing up to head out. Group B is going to pull out after the morning hunt on Thursday. My friend has to be at work Thursday so will pull out Wednesday night. Me, I have till Sunday to hunt. Concerns are starting to set in as a weather front is to work its way in Wednesday afternoon.
 
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coOverwatch

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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
Wednesday 10-24

My friend and I are back off to the BLM land to look over another section in that area for deer. This area is pretty open with patches of scrub oak and pinion pine which is similar to the country we are use to hunting. Group B set out from camp to walk the heavy timber again. Not sure if this is the most effective way to hunt Elk or if sitting an area that has signs and catching them moving in and out of there bedding area?.

Got the area we wanted to look over with enough time to get set up on a ridge overlooking another. At the bottom is a good size creek which last year had 4 camps set up on. This year there is no one back hear.

As the sun came up high enough to see things we started picking up deer slowing feeding their way up the ridge to private. As we ranged each deer we remembered we took our spotting scopes out of the truck the night before and did not grab them before heading out. Rookie move..

This morning there was only a light wind as sun up. The predictions of two weather fronts moving in must be wrong. Yahoo for us.

Most of the deer we were seeing were Does. Then moving out of a little pinion patch was a nice buck. 4x4 with okay forks. Nothing like you see on TV but will put food on the table. Range was 450yd. a little much for the 30-06 I had. So I dropped down the ridge to cut the distance. I worked my way to within 350yd. My longest successful shot was at an Elk at 325. At the range I am consistent out to 450. I figured this is going to be my best bet as there is no time to drop down, cross the creek and move up the ridge and try and pick him up again. I got my pack set up, got pone and dialed him in at 375. A bit far but a doable shot. With the excitement I had dialed my Nikon BDC scope up to 9 power to make sure I was on the right deer. Put the correct dot a little high on his shoulder as he was now standing broad side looking over at us. Boom, Shot and a miss. Hit just below and in front of him. How can that be. I hit a paper plate all day out to 450 and ring the gong more often than not out to 600?? I recheck the hold over and yes… had the right circle… oh, shit.. did I turn the scope back down to 6 power where all my settings were for. Nope! Still at 9. All my hold over’s were incorrect for that setting.

As I cuss myself for 1. Taking that long of a shot and 2. For not double checking my setting I see the buck slowly working his way up the ridge and through the pinion. He stops several times to feed and I can see that there is no blood. Even though I am positive that I missed I was taught by my dad and grandfather that you ALWAYS go check for blood no matter what.

As I make my way over there my buddy heads off over the other side to see if he can stir up anything. As he starts off I can hear him say that 500 at the range is not like 500 out in the field… which is so true.

As I climb the other ridge to check for blood and anything else that I did not spook the wind starts to pick up and snow starts to fly. Guess the weather guys might be right so I better make this quick cause we are 2k feet in elevation then what camp is.

Only other deer we find is just on the private side. Snow is falling pretty good now and we decide the best course of action is to head back to camp.

Back at camp we find Group B is packing up. So much for staying another day even if there is a little snow. Checking the weather reports, snow totals are revised to a few inches in town. We already have 4ish at camp. Figure I best break down the wall tent now while I still have help even though I have till Sunday to hunt. Going to eat the Deer tag but can hit another unit for Elk a little closer to home as it is an OTC.

Glad I made the decision to pack up and the snow started to fall. Took the two of us 2 hours to pack up. Group B had their trailer loaded in 30 minutes and headed down the hill. Said they would wait at the bottom to make sure we made it out as they were going to move slow down the hill. Needless to say we didn’t see them at the bottom, or off the side of the hill for that matter.

Followed my buddy all the way back to Elizabeth through snow the whole way. Wife extremely happy that is did not stay on the mountain by myself.
 
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coOverwatch

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148
Location
Elizabeth, CO
again, sorry for the tech. difficulties with posting as thing transpired. Will post lessons learned later today regarding hunting public land. I am blessed with having private land where elk move through on a regular bases.
I figure i would try public land this year, and although i had run into some bumps i had a great time. for me it is not about shooting the biggest animal, but getting out and putting away all the other difficulties life throws at you.
the blm area that i hunted is special as this area my dad and i was to hunt last year, however he passed unexpectedly 2 months prior to the season opening. He now looks over the bowl were we saw all the elk, keeping a watchful eye for next year, where i will have an either sex tag for both elk and deer :)
 
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coOverwatch

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Elizabeth, CO
Okay, after spending the last two days thinking about it i have decided that there are two days left so i am hitting the road early Saturday morning to drive back and give it one more try. it will be a 5-6 hour drive but should be able to getter done.
 
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coOverwatch

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Jun 30, 2012
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Elizabeth, CO
Just got to the trailhead. 20 degrees and 20 minutes till shooting light. Have 1.5 mile hike to my glassing point.
Time to get geared up.
 
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