It is run by Fred and Michele Eichler out of Trinidad, Colorado. Thatís about 10 mile north from the N.M. border just off I-25 or about 120 miles south of Colorado Springs, CO. I flew into Colorado Springs and drove down to Trinidad and itís an easy 2 hours drive. I have to inject here when I arrived the rain storms where hitting hard 35 miles south around Pueblo, CO and had flooded out the highway and it was closed. It flooded parts of the town and they where evacuating people from their homes. I mention this because my hunt is based on the lack of rain bringing the game to water at cattle tanks or water holes. The rain caused the hunt to be more of a challenge for the outfitter, the guides and the hunters.
The outfitter Fred and Michele Eichler greeted us with a very warm friendly welcome to their home and lodge in the Rocky Mountains. Log cabin still lodging was adorned with a fantastic collection of trophy animals the two had taken. I met a couple other hunters at that time so we unpacked our gear and got our bows out to shoot the Eichlerís 3D range to make sure the bows were good from the traveling. All and all they had ten hunters come out for the 4th week of antelope season and everyone of them were friends before we left after our four-day hunt. Two were wives that joined their husbands and they were bowhunters too. We met all their guides at dinner the evening before our hunts began and they all were genuinely great guys to hang around with.
The food was excellently prepared by their cook Bonny and by Michele. Breakfast was ready at 4:30am and we were gone with our packed lunches until dark. Dinner was home style cooking delight with gourmet elk steaks or some other wild game served with other vegetables. The sleeping arrangements were very comfortable with modern bathrooms in their bunkhouse just off the main lodge. The elevation there was around 4 thousand feet and the views of the mountains to the south were fantastic for a flatlander.
We got out before sunrise to our blind and came home after sunset in the dark from our blinds. I saw antelope most every day from my double bull blind using my 10x binoculars. They have some impressive buck antelope parading the fields. The weather was hot and sitting in a blind for 15 hours with hot sunny weather for three days was my challenge. I brought a book to read authored by Cameron Hanes Back Country Bowhunting and managed to finish it from the lack of more active hunting. On the 4th day we resorted to spot and stalk style hunting. I have to hand it to some of the hunters cause they did a great job of it. One did connect with an 80 yard shot to put down a buck. He regularly practices at that range so it wasnít an obstacle to try for him. I will say the land was extremely open country and no real cover and the antelope knew how to use it their advantage. For the most part the goats saw you well before you had a chance to stalk in on them. They would bed down in wide-open country that you could see for a mile. I tried a couple of time on an all fours crawl for several hundred yards and so did all the hunters but that proved difficult. Cactus grows their everywhere and it was hard to avoid. Plus no other large cover like trees where available for a different approach. The guides knew it was darn near impossible but they worked hard to give it a chance and several hunters took long shoots at their intended buck. I didnít have that opportunity plus I didnít feel taking an iffy shot was right so I held back.
Iíd rate the trip a 10 ring shot if the darn rain didnít monsoon on us the day before we started hunting. It rained again the evening of the 3rd day as well. Thatís why we changed things up to a spot and stalk on the 4th day. The trip had all the right stuff for a great hunt and lots of places to hunt on the thousands of acres leased by Fulldraw Outfitters. We saw some of the leases and not half of them while spotting antelope on the 4th day.
Side note: While I was there Michele Eichler had just arrowed an elk and we ate some sirloins the first night from it. Excellent steaks and she knows how to fix them up too. Fred was out hunting elk on their lease to the south and the last night had arrowed a great bull elk that scored P&Y around 330. Their lease backs up to the Hill ranch and thatís known for incredible trophy Bull elk. It was all on video for the Easton show he hosts. For an archery hunter this outfitter knows what it takes to get it done and Iíd recommend it.
Edited by Rowdy Yates, 04 September 2007 - 11:21 AM.