I was on a tractor seat, driving down a row of grapes as my dad drove the harvester in the next row and filled my gondola with fruit. As I watched the fruit fill the stainless steel bin my mind was on Colorado. In less than two weeks we would be packing our bags and hitting the road for our annual hunting trip and I couldn’t wait! My dad and I have hunted Colorado for a few years together and it was the perfect father daughter trip. Knowing how many more grapes had to be picked I was starting to worry we weren’t going to be done in time for our Colorado hunt. Harvest usually wraps up by Halloween, but that wasn’t the case this year. My dad had remained hopeful we were going to be able to go this year, but as we crept closer to the end of the month my dad told me it didn’t look like he could leave the ranch. It was then that I made the decision to go to Colorado without him. Our freezers were running low on elk meat and I wanted to make sure they got restocked. I had an over the counter elk tag and I was determined to fill it.
Colorado greeted us with an abundance of snow. We don’t get much snow where I live so its always a treat to see it. The elk herds were smaller this year in Colorado, but I didn’t realize that until a few days into the trip. I made the mistake of passing on an elk the first day. For me it is hard on Day 1 to tag out especially when you have a whole week of hunting left. I soon realized I should have pulled the trigger that first day. It wasn’t until the end of the trip that Chris, Devon and I glassed some elk that were bedded amongst the sage brush at the bottom of this hill. We decided to put a stalk on them. The three of us belly crawled over the hill and down part way on the other side, staying quiet as we crept so that the elk herd was not disturbed. The elk were tucked up under the hill, only about 100 yards from us but the angle made it difficult to get set up on them. We caught our breathe and let our nerves calm for a minute. I think the elk could smell us and some of them started to stand up. I handed Chris my shooting stick, he had the first shot. Chris was shaking and I know all of our hearts were racing. We were so close to this elk herd and we needed to get in position to make a shot. Chris pulled the trigger! Elk down! Now it was my turn. The herd started moving after the shot so by the time I got in position they were out at about 350 yards. I picked out a bull in the group and waited for the herd to separate so I could have a clear shot. They slowed down as they started climbing up an embankment. Finally the bull separated from the group and I was able to shoot. Before I pulled the trigger I remembered thinking this was probably my last opportunity to shoot an elk while in Colorado this year. My family was counting on me to bring home meat. I needed to make a good shot, and thank goodness I did. Chris and I both filled our tags in such a short time of one another.
What a day! We quartered up the elk and packed them back to the truck. There is nothing quite like the accomplished feeling of a good pack out, especially when you have your friends there to assist. There were celebratory drinks to be had afterwards!
Now my family is enjoying elk burgers, elk tacos, elk spaghetti, elk sausage and all the other wonderful elk meals at home.
One of the big reasons I hunt is for the meat. Nothing beats wild game! I also make so many wonderful memories while hunting, there are always an abundance of jokes and story telling and laughing, good meals and quality time spent outside with nature and the beautiful scenery. I’m lucky I have such a good group of hunting buddies to share these memories with. Already looking forward to my next trip back to Colorado.
Here’s what was in my pack:
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