Just got back two days early from our annual elk hunt.
It's not getting any easier, but we scored two elk. Third tag held by a friend was not filled.
Spotted a herd of 20 first morning. 600 yds +. Glassed and decided to stalk them. We kept pines between us on the stalk, going up the mountain until we got within 200 yds.
I felt a slight breeze on the back of my neck, and a few seconds later, the elk smelled us and ran. Elk don't stop after a bit. They move a mile or so away. Buddy (much younger) decided to finish climbing over the top in an attempt to intercept them against my advice.
Well, I was wrong. As he was climbing up, I went around the side just in case he spooked some and they came my way. Heard a shot, and hustled as best as one could on around, seeing a herd moving up the opposite mountain. Got a good sitting position, picked out one standing there and shot. Dropped like a rock. Got time to get out the range finder. 440 yds. Getting to the elk, saw the shot right behind the eye
Actually, I was aiming for a high shoulder shot. Didn't compensate for the wind, and ended up a head shot. Being lucky pays off! Lol!
Buddy shot his at 336 yds
Both are laying on the other mountain.
Toughest recovery ever. Took three of us 4 hours to get them down to an area where we could field dress and get a 4 wheeler in to drag them out.
Totally exhausted afterward. Thinking, I'm getting too old for that type of exertion.
The next morning thinking about what I need to do to get in better shape for next year. It's a danged addiction!
Lowest number of elk we have ever seen in the area, but the most snow that contributed to the third tag not getting filled. The hunt was supposed to end Saturday, but it turned to white-out conditions with 50mph winds and zero visibility.
We made it out of camp after several hours of getting stuck in drifts and digging out, only to find the canyon pass closed to traffic with 70+ mph winds according to the New Mexico HP trooper blocking the road.
Found lodging in eagle nest for the night.
Got up to a foot of snow with 2-3' drifts. Took an hour of shoveling just to get out of their parking lot.
2 hours getting through Cimmaron canyon, a 8 mile drive. Rest of the way was snow pack but drive able.
The place we stayed was built in 1897. Hand hewn logs for walls, mud chinked.
The biggest upgrade was to a wood burning stove that is sill in place and used on this trip. Amazing it's still in good shape. We cooked on it daily.