Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Colorado Elk Hunt Day 3: The Sounds of Silence

A good night it was not! I slept hardly at all and was awake almost every hour, on the hour.  There was a a stiff breeze and it was blowing right into my tent! It was very cold outside! I had the urge to urinate at 12:30 AM and refused to go outside. Finally, when the alarm went off at 6:00 AM, I couldn't wait any longer. Outside my tent, the cold air hit me like a cold fish to the face. It was unpleasant! In less than thirty seconds my teeth were chattering! We dressed quickly and looked around. The ground was covered in a heavy frost, and after a mildly warm breakfast, we loaded up and hiked to our first spot to call.

Brett perched near a log by a clearing, and I about 75 yards behind him, uphill. I was sure to leave myself a few shooting lanes as well. The hour dragged by as we called. We moved along and called as we hiked. Nothing. Only the birds wanted to chat. The surroundings were beautiful and perfect for elk, but they were not to be found. It seemed like we were hiking and not hunting.

As the darkness of the forest opened into the light of the meadow, we found one of the outfitters campsites. As we continued on, we found the other sites and it looked like they had been hunting this side of the mountain quite heavily. It was a great spot. In fact, it was one of the spots we had marked on the map to check out. We were thinking right, but someone else had beaten us to the punch.

We hiked up and kept going...UP! Our lungs were screaming and we found a great place to call. Well, it was a great place for breakfast as we heard nothing for an hour, so we sat down and ate breakfast while we glassed the far meadows. It was beautiful, but discouraging. Nothing was moving. Even the squirrels seemed upset and didn't want to be in the sunshine. 

We hiked back to our lookout spot above camp and quickly spotted two bowhunters. They spotted us, too. They stopped to see what we were doing, so we sat down, glassed for a bit, and got a bit of sun. That was about all the excitement we could take. We decided to head back to camp and relax for a couple hours. The temperature was rising and the heat was awful. We figured we could rest a bit and filter some water. We should have remained in camp all afternoon because the evening hunt was as uneventful as the evenings prior. 

Over dinner, we contemplated the different areas to hunt the next day and tried to figure out what to do. It would be different if we were hearing bugles or seeing elk, but with nothing to go on it was just a matter of how much boot rubber to burn. We crashed a bit early, but getting any sleep was difficult at best. Never again will I eat Chicken Tortilla out of a bag for dinner. Between the grumbles in my belly and the rough ground, getting comfortable was not easy. I was optimistic for the following day and was hoping for cooler weather. We were only halfway through the week, so things had to get better. Right?

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