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  1. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by WildWill View Post
    Sucks about your binos.
    Yeah no kidding! I talk about how NR tags are expensive, then I lose a piece of equipment that cost more than the tag. FAIL! We still have hope it is just hiding in one of our gear bags.

    Up next is a Colorado Unit 10 first rifle cow elk hunt. FireTiger picked up this tag off the re-issue list a couple of weeks ago, so this is definitely seat-of-the-pants hunting. I've been putting in for the hybrid draw for the archery tag for this unit, so we're treating it like a scouting trip to learn parts of the unit. They only give out 65 cow elk tags for this hunt, and there is a TON of huntable land, so it should be pretty good. I'm planning on manning the digiscope and hoping to catch some of the big bulls the unit is famous for.

  2. #77

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    Most of the gear is packed and we'll be driving to New Castle, CO tonight to spend the night at my parents. I'll work from their house in the morning, and then we head to Rangely. I'll help FireTiger for the first two days, and if necessary she will drop me back off at my parents house (about 100 miles) on Sunday night, then return Monday for the remainder of the season. I'm going to really try to get some good photos and video of this hunt.

    We had a pile of friends over and made a nearly 8 pound elk roast last night.


  3. #78

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    Yum that looks tasty!

  4. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crumb View Post
    Yum that looks tasty!
    We were nervous, but it was pretty darn good. The inner most meat was like prime rib.

    ------------

    When we were in Wyoming, we hit a ...something... hidden in the "road" with a rear tire. I didn't think much of it at the time. Last night on I-70 someone flashed me, and I started to wonder. When another person honked at me and flash his lights, I pulled over. Sure enough, no taillights. Whatever we hit must have severed the wires just to those lights, as everything else is working fine and the other equipment on that fuse is still operational. Not sure we'll be able to solve this out here, so I'm prepping myself for a lot of flashers ticking for the rest of our night driving. :/

  5. #80

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    Ghetto? Maybe, but it totally worked.




  6. #81

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    We're home from the trip with no further incidents. FireTiger cannot seem to make a normal face when I take her photo. Trip report will follow after we get this place in order.


  7. #82

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    After picking up the red lights at Walmart in Rifle, we followed that with an uneventful drive to Rangely, fueled up, dodged a few dozen does in the road and hit some BLM for camping at around 11PM. The plan was to alternate driving and glassing with short hikes and glassing, since we didn't really have a clue where to hunt. FireTiger had marked some places on the map but we didn't really know. Approaching the second location, we glassed a lone elk making his way across the hills and disappeared into the terrain. We drove over there and glassed over a mile's hike, finding two spike bulls.



    With the terrain being fairly open, we decided that if there were herds of cows around, we probably would have seen one, and moved on. Heading north, we found some interesting country but nothing that got us super excited. Eventually we had to turn around.





    A freak snowstorm moved through as we continued our scouting.



    And just as quickly it was back to blue skies.



    I noted to FireTiger that we had only seen one other hunter the whole day. Its opening day and while there aren't that many tags, surely if we were in the right place we would have come across other hunters? Granted, it was nice to not be combat hunting, but 3 small bulls wasn't what we were looking for. Moving further west, we finally spotted a wall tent on one of the BLM roads, and then another. Hmm ... interesting. Are we finally in the right area?

    We drove in a ways and pulled out the glass.



    Hey now, this is what we're looking for! ( there were hundreds spread out across the ridge. )



    But you may notice something...



    That marker you see is the boundary to DNM. These elk aren't dumb.

    Still, it was fun to watch them, especially since some were VERY large bulls ( video later ).



    They appeared to be making their way down the ridge towards us, but being 1.5 miles away and only having 30 minutes of shooting light, we hatched a plan for the morning.
    Last edited by vanish; 10-17-2017 at 04:53 PM.

  8. #83

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    Sunday morning, we awoke early and hiked into position on a ridge top above the valley we had seen the elk move into the night before. Bulls were bugling down below. We just needed daylight.

    A critical error was made during our planning. We failed to check if there was any way for a vehicle to simply drive over to the valley. As the sky started to lighten, so did the two tracks. Vehicles moved in from all directions. We weren't the only ones who had seen this herd the day before. As trucks started parking on the skyline, the elk moved up the ridge quickly.

    Well, that was a big ole waste of time. As we walked out through the sage flushing dozens of sage grouse ( cool! ), we determined that while the old adage of "Don't leave elk to find elk" is a fine one, it didn't apply in this situation. It was time to get back to scouting other locations where there might be elk but less people. She'd save this spot for a last ditch effort, if it came to it.

    The second spot we decided to check out had a couple leaving just as we were entering. They graciously told us that while they had tags for later in the season, it was a good spot, but there were a "bunch" of camps up there. On our way up the 4WD road, we passed three more trucks leaving, as well as a CPW officer checking on them. Upon hitting the end of the road, there was only one camp left. Good, or bad?

    As we prepared some food and the rest of our gear for the hike in, the CPW officer caught up with us. The other trucks had all filled their tags on opening day. We were indeed headed in to a good area. He pointed out 4 or 5 spots on the map and let us know if he saw FireTiger later in the week he'd check back in.

    We were heading in at not the best time of day - around 11am, but I packed in like we were going to kill something with FireTiger's pack inside my own. We both had a good feeling about the area and wanted to cover country. After three or so miles through alternating sage, oak brush and aspens, we came to a heck of a glassing spot. FireTiger found us a good luck shed, which Hank later ate.





    We didn't find any elk while glassing, but FireTiger determined the aspen covered ridge shown in the first photo looked like an elky spot. It would be a two mile hike to get over there, but we didn't have anything else to do. We started making our way over there, and quickly bumped into a carcass from one of yesterday's hunters. On it were a bunch of ravens and magpies, but more interestingly 3 Golden Eagles and a Bald Eagle. I wish I could have gotten a photo of that, but as I dug in my pocket they all took to the skies.

    It was around 2PM when we decided to take a break and do some glassing. I promptly fell asleep. FireTiger decided this seemed like a reasonable idea and followed suit.



    When I awoke, I lifted my binos and instantly spotted elk on the ridge we were headed towards. They were milling around near the highest part of the ridge. We pulled out the spotter and watched them for 10 minutes as it was only 3PM. Rather than being cooperative, they fed over the ridge and out of sight.

    The hunt was on! I didn't get any photos but I did take some video which I'll post later. 45 minutes later we were approaching the knoll where we had last seen the elk feeding. I was getting nervous as the oak and aspens were pretty thick. We slowed down, but still bumped them. The herd jumped up and trotted off to our left. We instantly hopped on the cow calls and they halted. I thought for sure it was over, but they stood there for two minutes (literally, I have this on video) with the bull bugling back at me cow calling at 70 yards while FireTiger got to a shooting lane, kelt down, set up her bipod, picked a cow on the edge and dropped her with a single shot from her .270.





    It was just after 4PM when she shot, and we had her completely deboned and in our packs by 6:30PM. I'd be taking both hinds and she had both fronts, with the neck / ribs / tenderloins / backstraps / heart / liver split about 60/40 her over me. It was about 3 miles back to the truck, but we figured it was a cow so we should be able to do it in a single trip. After getting almost halfway, but with darkness upon us, out of water and in unfamiliar country, we had to bail on the single trip pack out.

    We made it back to the truck between 8:30-9:00, drank a bunch of water, ate some chili and rested. The temperature gauge read 14 degrees. Wow ... I hadn't even noticed it had gotten so cold during the pack out. She was supposed to drop me off at my parents house ( 100 miles away ) to work the next day, but we decided to come up with an alternate plan and pack the rest of the meat in the early morning.



    In the predawn light, we finished the pack out and drove to Rangely where I worked from Main Street Cafe. Great food and people! What an awesome experience, hunting in a place in Colorado we'd never even seen before, seeing the local sights and filling a tag.

  9. #84

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    Another fun hunt. Congrats again!

  10. #85

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    Last night, we invited our friends / local BHA members over to partake in the heart and tenderloin, process the elk, have some homebrews, tell some hunting stories and just have a good time! That really made the whole task of processing an elk much more enjoyable, not to mention about 1/4 of the time! Our freezers are looking a little tight, so everyone took some home. The only problem was, we ran out of cutting boards!




  11. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by publichunter1 View Post
    Another fun hunt. Congrats again!
    Thanks! I appreciate the comment and congrats. I will forward to FireTiger.

  12. #87

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    Man you two are having a fantastic season, hopefully you have a big freezer! I have to admit I’m a bit jealous!

  13. #88

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    Congratulations to firetiger. You two are having a great season I've really enjoyed following along. What's next on the agenda?

  14. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crumb View Post
    Man you two are having a fantastic season, hopefully you have a big freezer! I have to admit Iím a bit jealous!
    We didn't think we could top last year, but its feeling that way! The decision to move to Colorado appears to have been the right one. I've only taken 3.5 vacation days so far for all these hunts.

    We're actually starting to get concerned about freezer space for the first time, but few friends argue with taking home an elk roast or two.

    Quote Originally Posted by WildWill View Post
    Congratulations to firetiger. You two are having a great season I've really enjoyed following along. What's next on the agenda?
    Thanks!

    This weekend is a double header. FireTiger is heading southwest looking for a big mulie in the same spot she hunted last year. She took a pretty buck (her biggest for sure) on the second day last year, after having had a failed stare down on day one on a giant. She hasn't stopped talking about that giant buck since. After failing to draw a deer tag this year, when that tag showed up on the reissue list, she didn't hesitate to buy it. She'll be out for up to 4 days, and then possibly back for the closing weekend.

    I'll be headed to Middle Park with our friend B-Rad on his first ever hunt with a tag in his pocket. He has been with FireTiger on a couple of her hunts, but didn't complete his hunter's ed until last winter. This will be a "its brown, its down" hunt. I'll be tagging along to offer advice, another set of eyes and maybe have some fun, too. Unfortunately, I've only spent a grand total of one day hunting in this area and I know the hunting pressure can be extreme. We're not doing a backcountry hunt, so I'm about as concerned with what other hunters are going to be doing as I am with where I expect to find deer.
    Last edited by vanish; 10-19-2017 at 01:13 PM.

  15. #90

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    Come on snow! Come on snow!

    Predictions are for snow all night, but less than an inch of accumulation. One can hope.

    The rest of the forecast could look better with 20-30 mph winds.

  16. #91

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    I picked up B-Rad and we headed out on the two hour drive to his units. We had plans A and B, but I threw a curveball on the way to camp and suggested we hit Plan C. The wind was going to be wrong for Plan A and I was also concerned about the hunting pressure. B-Rad saw what I was saying and liked the look of the terrain at Plan C, and so it was. We found the camp spot and there was one large camp and a small one already there. Not too bad considering we saw the camping option at Plan A on the way in and it was a circus.

    Morning arrived and the forecast could not have been more wrong. We were in for a treat with 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. A bit late in getting started, we were still up the trail before the sun, but not first in line. I made a slight error not realizing there even was a trail here, but there was plenty of room for everyone. It would have been impossible to get to our glassing spot without it, due to the insane deadfall. We departed from the trail and the couple of other folks and made it to our perch. It was incredible glassing, but I wasn't sure how we would get to something from there. We'd figure that out when it happened.


  17. #92

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    Well, all we saw was other hunters. Our options were limited on where we could head, too, so we decided on heading about 1/2 to where we had seen another group of hunters, and then working a different direction from there. We sat down for second breakfast and I started looking at the map. There were some challenging to access pieces of public land in the distance that I had not been glassing from our previous location. Almost immediately, I spotted deer. At first it was two, and then six. As we put the spotter up, there were more like 15, with at least 4 bucks. While this was supposed to be a "brown its down" hunt, there was an obvious target.

    ( Sorry about the photo quality, its a screenshot from video )



    The fun part of this? They were almost 1.5 miles away, with a 1000 foot drop followed by a 600 foot climb. They were in a basin just over that ridge. As it was just after 10am and some of the deer were bedded, I didn't figure they'd be going anywhere. I apologize, but at this point, I only took video, and I just don't have time to edit it atm.

    I asked B-Rad what he wanted to do, and almost before he answered, was bombing down the hill. The hunt was on! We got to the bottom and found a beaver dam where we could cross a creek, and then started up the opposing face. I saw some deer tracks and warned that we wouldn't want to bust any, as they might go over and spook the bucks. Five minutes later we jumped three does, and B-Rad had a decision to make. Does he shoot the doe staring at us at 80 yards?

    With bucks just on the other side of the ridge, he barely thought about it. Its funny how antlers do that. We pushed up the ridge, stopping 30 yards from the top to collect ourselves at just after 11am. Have a breather, drink and eat something, drop packs, plan how to shoot, etc. When we were finally ready, we eased up, with the "basin" coming into view. Well crud, this was not what we were expecting. The deer are still right there, but they're 500 yards away, and there is a bottomless abyss in front of us. We didn't want to expose ourselves to the deer any more than necessary, and thus we literally could not see the bottom of the valley between us.

    There was a second problem. Looking at my ONX map, the deer were literally spread across the invisible boundary between public and private. We didn't have much we could do except slip around to try to get a better view, and wait. The bucks would occasionally spar, and seemed to be ever so slowly working in our direction. Just after noon, they had worked their way down hill enough that they were clearly on the public land, and leaving our unless we skylined for the does.

    We took this to mean it was time to make a move. There was a herd of cattle we'd have to not spook, but we looped to the south. As we neared the end of the ridge, it looked like we would drop off into nothingness. We also found something that put us off a bit - a "road" coming from the nearby ranch cutting right through the center of the valley between us and the deer. If a rancher drove down that road, it would surely be game over. The bucks couldn't be move than 50 yards from it at this point.

    We made it down to the bottom without incident. It was actually much less treacherous than we were imagining. We covered a bit of distance down the two track, then slipped uphill into the aspens on the bucks side of the valley. Opposite us was just wide open sage - there'd be no way to stalk from there. We hit the opposite side of the patch of aspens where the bucks were last seen on the edge of the sage. They couldn't be more than 200 yards away, but the terrain forced us to continue closing the distance. It would be tricky now, as it was pretty thick.

    Then our worst fears came true. A rancher puttered by "road-hunting" this otherwise vehicle inaccessible piece of public. He passed by and we waited for the truck to stop and the either busting of the deer or the shot. What freaking timing? But nothing happened, he just kept on driving. Regardless, there's no way the bucks would have stood there while he crept on by, right?

    It wasn't five more yards when two bucks busted out of a cut right in front of us. I felt like a total failure. This is the second time I've been within 50 yards of a target buck and blown it because I've lost confidence that the deer is still there. Not that it was MY tag, but I was just as excited and depressed for B-Rad. The deer had moved into the timber when the truck drove by. They hadn't gone far, but just far enough to be out of sight from the road. We both had underestimated just how close we were to them, and if we had more confidence and patience I'm sure we could have sealed the deal.

  18. #93

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    While bummed, we retreated back up to our perch and spotted new deer before we even got there. In fact, the whole rest of the day was filled with spotting deer within 1/2 mile. It was pretty awesome. There was also a little napping once the sun broke out as we took turns glassing.



    At one memorable point, I was watching a gully where I had seen a spike disappear, just outside the pubic boundary at about 600 yards. 15 minutes later, I saw an ear flicker. Then a doe stood up. Then a different ear flicker. Suddenly, there were six deer standing there, including forkhorn. They seemed to be a little on edge. B-Rad finally saw them and called out "looks like they've come to a consensus." The deer started trotting straight towards us. I reminded B-Rad that in order to shoot one, he'd need to have has rifle ready and loaded. It was tucked in his pack. I tried to get my digiscope on them but didn't have time to get a good shot.



    420 yards...

    355 yards...

    229 yards...

    B-Rad what on earth are you doing?

    113 yards...

    And they pass on by...

    B-Rad finally jacks a shell in and aims where the deer were 200 yards ago. I was like "dude, they're over there now."

    A total failure, but we were having fun and laughed it off. The deer moved up and joined the does from the group we had originally stalked ( which were still there, just over the invisible boundary ).

  19. #94

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    Half an hour after that fire drill, I spot the spike in the same gully, along with a few of his friends. This time, B-Rad says he wants to stalk in alone, why I keep watch from above. It takes a bit longer than I would have guessed to get over there, and the deer have moved uphill. He gets the signal, and refocuses. Unfortunately, tunnel vision kicked in and deer I could not see in the scope are much closer in the same gully. As B-Rad pushes into position, he busts the other deer, which catches the attention of the spike group, and blows another stalk.

    B-Rad got one more stalk in before we had to climb back out of there, but the deer never crossed into public. I took some photos of the climb out, but darkness was approaching and they didn't really come out. We didn't spot a dang thing on our way out, so there wasn't much point in sticking around. We decided to pack up camp, enter from a different point in the morning, and hunt the same general area. There deer seemed to be here and it would save us a couple miles of hiking at the very least.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Well, Sunday was a different day. I think it was warmer as we hiked in Sunday morning than it was ever on Saturday. The deer just weren't moving a whole lot. We finally got a group to come through that same gully at 10am. B-Rad put on the stalk but the deer just didn't cooperate. They had mosied into the gully straight towards us, but circled and continued exactly away from B-Rad.

    Feeling limited by the boundaries around us, we decided to check out some other places. B-Rad got in an awesome stalk on a couple of bedded does, getting to 60 yards but only ever having a head shot. Having never actually shot an animal before, he didn't want to take it. We waited for an hour for the does to stand up. They never gave up a shot when they did, starting immediately with a trot into some brush. We weren't winded, it just was one of those things.

    As evening fell, I spotted a LOT of deer on a windblown ridge. It was public, but the access to it was just not going to work with the time we had left. I marked that spot on my gps, but that was the end of the weekend.

  20. #95

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    Last night, we tried our hand at making venison only sausage for the first time using our friends stuffer. (I've made sausage before, but not stuffed it)

    http://www.gameandfishmag.com/deer-z...nison-sausage/

    We didn't eat any of the stuff yet, but had enough left over to make two patties. I cooked them up in butter and onions. For us, the recipe is a little over spiced, but it held together MUCH better than any recipe I've tried before, and did not dry out either.

    These are currently drying:


  21. #96

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    With this cold front coming in, I took off tomorrow. Heading SW tonight with FireTiger to be on the ridge in the morning. Her opening weekend story is not mine to tell, but obviously she still has a tag.

    Hopefully the deer will be moving as I expect, we find a big one and we can join up with B-Rad for the remainder of the season!

  22. #97

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    We hunted for a Friday and Saturday morning. There was no hunting pressure but the bucks were gone. With the events of opening weekend still on her mind (short story - dead on its feet buck crossed property line, landowner took it), FireTiger punched her tag and we headed two hours north to join B-Rad for the last day and a half. However, there was some sort of miscommunication as B-Rad was not where we interpreted he said he would be. There was no way to contact him.

    I had a doe tag for the unit so Saturday evening I checked where I had seen a bunch of deer the Sunday before, and even at 3 miles I could they were there. I had a feeling they would be as the spot is very non-obvious. I drove within a mile, then it was 800 or so vertical feet to the deer. I only made it about 600 of that before I spotted a bedded deer in a perfect position. There happened to be two more I did not see, and I was nearly busted, but I was ready.



    Sunday we processed her and made six different 5 pounds batches of sausage. One of them has got to be a winner.


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    Quote Originally Posted by vanish View Post
    We hunted for a Friday and Saturday morning. There was no hunting pressure but the bucks were gone. With the events of opening weekend still on her mind (short story - dead on its feet buck crossed property line, landowner took it), FireTiger punched her tag and we headed two hours north to join B-Rad for the last day and a half. However, there was some sort of miscommunication as B-Rad was not where we interpreted he said he would be. There was no way to contact him.

    I had a doe tag for the unit so Saturday evening I checked where I had seen a bunch of deer the Sunday before, and even at 3 miles I could they were there. I had a feeling they would be as the spot is very non-obvious. I drove within a mile, then it was 800 or so vertical feet to the deer. I only made it about 600 of that before I spotted a bedded deer in a perfect position. There happened to be two more I did not see, and I was nearly busted, but I was ready.



    Sunday we processed her and made six different 5 pounds batches of sausage. One of them has got to be a winner.


    Yum yum yum!!!! What time is dinner?
    Keep up the good work!

  24. #99

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    On Saturday, we're going to head East, sit in a blind, and hopefully shoot at these flying quacking things. Luckily we've got some friends that know what they're doing, but I have low expectations.

    Once the morning is over, its further East we go for the evening and Sunday. FireTiger will hunt doe whitetails while Hank and I do some exploring and scouting for my either sex, either species archery tag in the same area. November 8 is when that season opens, though I thing my first day of hunting will be November 11. I may also hang a treestand, depending on how the scouting turns out. There's a chance for both mulies and whitetails. I don't care which I find. I have a feeling the river bottom is going to be my best shot at a nice buck, so I'm expecting whitetails.

  25. #100

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    I forgot to mention. We ran into B-Rad on Halloween. He was up there where he said he'd be, but after seeing nothing on Saturday morning, he went to town for a pick-me-up. He came back and hunted the remainder of the weekend without us. We missed him by about half an hour on each end. He saw a few deer but no shot.

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