Hunting Trip from Hell

Firehole Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
200
Location
Atlanta area
1st Rifle Season in Colorado 2019:

Well I had to tell you guys about my recent trip out West. I realize it is more therapy for me than anything. After last year when I hit the jackpot, this year was quit a bit different. Last year I had a 5x4 down by 8:00 a.m. on opening day on my first trip out West on my own. I shouldn't say I was on my own, because my best friend accompanied me, but he was more inexperienced than me when it come to hunting. We had 2 elk down by 8:30 in morning of opening day. Elk were practically running over us. In the first hour and a half we had seen over 25 elk, several bulls and lots of cows. The only problems were getting all that meat out of the woods. This year, well that's another story:

Everything started out fine, got my 2 wall tents, 4x4 and gear load up in the truck and trailer. Traveling from home the first stop is Topeka. When leaving that morning I noticed when looking at my trailer tires through the rearview mirror, I notice one of the tires was not sitting well and went to a gas station to fill up and check the tire. Upon closer inspection, I realized that I had lost the wheel bearing on my left tire. I hadn't greased the bearing before leaving because I had just bought the trailer the season prior and thought they should be fine. Lesson No. 1. Clean and grease the bearings every year. I think that after 5-6 years I will be changing them out. Anyway, I limped across town to a trailer repair shop. Told it may take 2 days, I offered to go back to KC to get any parts needed. Went to KC to get a new axle and they installed and was back on the road by 4:00 p.m. (I noticed the tire issue at 7:00 a.m. that morning) and less $600.

I needed to get to Colorado as soon as possible because a mother of a storm was bearing down on it and we wanted to get over the Vail pass before it hit and we'd be stuck until the roads were cleared. Therefore, I had the hammer down on the truck and trailer when I ran over something in the middle of the road just lying there. It was a few miles east of Byers. Thought it was a bear but everyone tells me no chance. I only say it for a second and centered it between the tires but felt it hit the trailer hard. It looked black and hairy. Some said maybe a deer or even a pig. Hell for all know it could have been a big tire tread with threads protruding looking like the hair of an animal. I don't know. We pulled over after a few miles and looked everything over and it seemed fine. Back on the road saw a rig pulled over and then another vehicle. So maybe it was a tire. Anyway shortly before Byers I saw some smoke and sparks from the left tire, then I saw what was left of the tire come off and then thought it was on fire. Pulled over and saw I was riding on the rim and I had a spare. Changed it in low 20's or teens with about 30 mph gusting winds. Looked at the other tire and saw that it was almost shredded as well and riding at an akward angle. Figured the axle was bent in the middle causing both tires to tow/cant in towards the front. Limped to the next exit in Byers and stayed at a raunchy hotel for the night around 10 p.m. Next morning got up and went into Denver to get another tire for the right side because it would not make it the 40 miles or so. IronBear Trailers was a true blessing. The owner gave me 4 tires to try on my trailer to bring it to his shop because I wasn't sure what the spacing was for the 5 lug nuts. Denver had 4-5 inches dumped on it that morning. Going to get the tires, going back to get the trailer and taking the trailer to the repair shop was treacherous. Cars and trucks were off the road everywhere. My fellow hunters were likewise bring a trailer with their a big surburban type vehicle went off the road to avoid an accident and about flipped their trailer. Actually, the snow on the road help my tires not get eaten up by the concrete. I am sure that anyone following thought the road was extremely dangerous because the trailer was all over the place because of how the axle was bent and caused the tires to act as snow plows. Any any rate we, by 4:00 p.m., were back on the road again, with a new axle, 2 new tires and a new rim and less $1000, give or take. Lesson number 2: Go slower with a trailer than you can go with just a truck.

The hunt is later:
 
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Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
3,325
Location
Sodak
Ya, trailers are a weak point. Can't avoid them camping and boating, but do at all costs when hunting.
 
OP
Firehole Hunter

Firehole Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
200
Location
Atlanta area
To continue:

Took most of Friday to set up the tents, one a cook tent and the other a sleeping tent where 4 of us slept. One guy brought his own tent and 2 others slept in their trailer. Opening morning I was so exhausted (mentally and physically), I didn't go out at all that day. Next morning went out and my knee that I injured this summer on a training run in the N. Ga. Mts. started hurting and was sore that evening. Nevertheless, I kept pressing on and the knee kept getting worse. I finally shut it down and I really only hunted a day and a half. No one was seeing any elk or any sign after the first morning. We saw lots of bear, deer and cattle sign, and several deer and some nice big bucks but no elk, except for my favorite cousin who was hunting in my spot. I gave up my prime spot to him and he missed a cow, he always misses. He saw a spike, raghorn, a 5x5 but he had a cow tag and several cows that were almost on top of him and his partner. He said it was if the bulls were protecting the cows. He tried a head shot but missed. Some of my other hunters did push a cow into some other hunters and they took that one.

We figured that the full moon made the elk nocturnal and in the deep, dark stuff during the day. We camped at around 8700 ft. but brought spike camp equipment but never used any. I became the camp bitch and still had a good time considering everything. I guess this was my trip to put in my dues. Next year the moon is supposed to be waning I believe. Not sure about the description, but it is supposed to be less than a half-full moon and diminishing.

An eventless trip home was a nice reprieve and my credit card was sure thankful.

Lesson # 3: If you're going to hunt a full moon with clear skies, be prepared to go high into the dark stuff to hunt the pressured elk. Our unit in not heavily hunted during 1st rifle but is heavily hunted during bow, 2nd and 3rd rifle I am told.
 

BRTreedogs

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
3,374
Location
Central Oregon
I hate trailers people think were crazy but we always have problems.
Fyi I've never seen a trailer tire rated for over 55mph.
If it has the tiny tires you need to mod the trailer and get the bigger ones on. And have to go 15" rim to get an 8 ply.
 

aggieland

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
860
Location
N.E. Texas....
One year from East Tx to southern Colorado we had 7 or 8 flats on truck and trailer while on the highways. We have good equipment craziest thing I have ever seen.
 

All American Boy

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
173
Location
Colorado
Glad you are OK. Those CO mountains can get treacherous. Snapped the leaf spring on my trailer last year in the middle of nowhere on a BLM road. That was fun!
 

mmcneil

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
46
Location
Georgia
Firehole we make the trip out from Ga also. Pulling a trailer always adds another element to the adventure. You handled it well. Can only get better next year.
 
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