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No Joy For '09

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#1 Larry $

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:36 AM

Despite a lot of hard work on the part of Bruce and the ranch owner, J.T., I couldn't seal the deal. We got into a herd of at least 100 elk on Tuesday morning including the grand daddy of all grand daddy royal bulls. They were on the move and spooked from earlier pressure. J.T. and I ran to a likely ambush spot and just as I settled down in a prone position, here came the herd at 250 yards and angling away. I had a cow tag, so I settled the cross hairs on the lead cow, J.T. hooted at her and she stopped. I squeezed the trigger and...... nothing. I made the classic bonehead mistake of leaving the safety on from our sprint to get into position. :sick: By the time I got everything straightened around, the herd was on the move again.

They were strung out but not in single file, so to ensure I didn't get a pass through and hit 2 animals, it went like this: pick my head up, spot a lone elk stopped, back down to the 'scope, settle the cross hairs and the elk moves off. Head up, find a lone elk stopped, drop down to the 'scope, settle the cross hairs, and another elk either steps in front of or behind my target. Head back up, find another cow stopped by herself, head down, ...... and so on, and so on, and so on until the entire herd had passed by at a trot. ARRRGGGHHHH!

As a side note - it was an unworldly experience to have that massive B&C bull ghost through my cross hairs. What a beauty! The whole experience was worth it just to see that gorgeous old stud moving through my 'scope.

So J.T. says, "Get on the last cow in line. I'll try to stop her and you drill her - she's at 320 yards." And that's what we did. I settled on her, said, "OK, now." J.T. hooted, she stopped and I squeezed the trigger. She humped up, jumped, did a couple of horse-buck kicks and then ran off with the herd. A hit, but how good was it?

J.T. had me run back to the truck with Bruce and Melody and take a ranch road around the back of the property to try to head them off while he went down to the spot of the shot to begin tracking. He found a small splat of blood there and followed the tracks to the first fence they jumped. Another splatter of blood at the fence and then nothing. So we put on our packs and started hoofing it after the herd. That many animals was easy to track, but that many animals running together in one pack also made it difficult to find blood.

We fanned out and started walking straight up hill. J.T. is a 25 year old rancher and athlete so this old man was huffing it, let me tell you. :help: Maybe a mile into the tracking, Bruce found about a 10' length of tracks with a few drops of blood in the snow next to them, so we kept going. About that time we heard 3 quick shots just up ahead of us. We went on maybe another mile or so into an alpine bowl where the tracks simply scattered in every direction. We split up even more and walked the bowl but could not find any blood. At that point the tracks, like I said, were going in every direction of the compass and we weren't seeing any blood near any of them. We figured that the herd ran into some other hunters who took the shots we heard and then really took off for the next county. So at that point we quit and hoofed it back to the truck.

I was/am bitterly disappointed in myself for wounding an animal and not recovering it. I know it happens, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow.

So that's my '09 elk story. With a sad ending.

Oh, and by the way - if any of you guys ever get to come out and hunt with Bruce, you will have the time of your life, but be forewarned: you better get lots of practice running straight up sheer cliffs for miles and miles with no air what-so-ever. ;)
Elk: it's what's for dinner!

#2 Phil


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Posted 05 November 2009 - 06:44 PM

Sorry you lost the cow Larry but glad you got to hunt with a good friend like Bruce. I sure pray that time & circumstance will allow Seth & I to be able to head to CO next fall.
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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:01 PM

Yes that is a bitter pill. I hit a whitetail doe last year and not much blood. Trailed her till lunch time and decided to eat. When we got back Phil found a big gut pile about 50 yds from where we had left off. If that cow went as far as you followed her she likely will do fine.
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#4 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:17 PM

Too bad in not retrieving your animal and not topping up the freezer, but it happens. Hey, if I only viewed my hunts as successful whenever I killed something, then in the eyes of some, I've had one ton of a lot of unsuccessful hunts. I however, like to think everytime I am ABLE TO GO hunting, then I'm one lucky SOB irregardless if all that I come home with are great memories and experiences, which happens more than I'd like to tell my wife about.

From your story, it sounds like a great time was had by one and all with good friends in tow. Sounds like a successful hunt to me.

As for the wounded cow, I learned a long time ago that not every shot results in a retrieved animal. Will it go to waste? Never. Mother nature has a way of finding a use for everything wild, alive or dead. If in fact the cow expires, then it is sure to nourish a lot of smaller critters which could use the nourishment to prepare for the coming winter.

The only question you have to answer to, "is did you make an honest and concerted effort to retrieve the animal?". I would say from your story, that answer is most assuredly "yes".

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#5 silvertip-co


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Posted 14 November 2009 - 08:42 AM

Joy, not in my vocab. Better luck next yr Larry. Personally. I give up. Posted Image


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