Me and a bud went up to Colorado for 3rd Rifle OTC, DIY public land hunt. We were both first timers and had been planning this trip for almost two years. We set up camp on Nov. 3rd and took off immediately after pitching the tent and getting a few things organized. Within an hour we were watching cows cross a clearing and listening to 2-3 bulls screaming their heads off. The next 5 days were relatively the same, although the cows always seem to be visible, the bulls never were.
Finally around tuesday, I seen a very large heard with several bulls but I could not close the distance. We planned on packing up camp on Friday, so my time was running out. At this point my buddy has had the same experience, plenty of elk but no shot opportunities.
Thursday rolls around and I stumbled on a herd of roughly 75-100 heading towards bed. I told myself from previous experiences in the week that I was going to be more aggressive. I tried heading the herd off but did not have any luck. About an hour later I bumped them out of their bedding area. It sounded like a herd of cattle crashing through the pines.
So long story short I ran when they ran and I stopped and listened when they stopped to regroup. I'm not sure how long this lasted but I did this until they ran into a clearing. This is when I got my first look at the bull I shot. He was just shy of 300 yds and was starting to get very nervous. Once a couple calves and cows cleared his vitals, I sent a 180gr Core Lokt to way. I knew it was a good hit because he immediately locked up. I had taken his front wheels out from under him. The herd seemed to freeze for a minute, then bolted. He tried to run with them and I sent 2 more rounds down range. He piled up about 50yds from the initial shot.
I damn near died of a heart attack from running/adrenaline and all of the excitement! My buddy shot a bull the following day in relatively the same area. So we both had a full two days of pack out. We left out Saturday afternoon with huge smiles and sore legs!!
On a side note, Friday as I was packing my last load of meat out, I spotted a heard and started videoing them on my phone. After a few minutes I heard 2 shots and the herd scattered. It just so happens my buddy was watching the same herd and got a good shot on a nice 4x5! God surely blessed us this past week and I will be forever grateful!
It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I averaged roughly 10-12 miles a day walking. The temps at night stayed in the mid teens. The peacefulness and solitude couldn't have been more amazing! I was hoping my buddy would do a write up because he has a good way of expressing himself. Maybe he will chime in on a different thread with his pictures and story.