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2015 Colorado Muzzleloader Elk Hunt

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Never Give Up

After he raked the tree for the 2nd time, the bull made his way closer.  Now he was 30 yards away and there still was some brush between me and him.  I knew you couldn't slip an arrow through it, but I was muzzleloader hunting and was confident I could put the slug where it needed to be.  As I raised my weapon, I was praying that the gun would work like it should.  I took aim, cocked the hammer, pulled the trigger, and all I heard was "click."...

I decided to try for a muzzleloader tag in 2015, usually I bow hunt.  With 1 point I was surprised I drew a tag.  I knew Colorado had different laws.  I had to change the powder I was using and also the type of bullet.  After a couple trips to the range I was confident I had everything dialed in.  Everything worked as it should.

We left MN early Friday morning for the 15+ hour drive.  There was still a glimmer of daylight when we finally reached the trailhead.  As we hiked up the mountain, the light gave way to darkness.  Finally at our location for camp, I slipped my backpack off.  Looking forward to getting my tent set up and going to sleep for the night.  As soon as I did that, a light came on in another tent.  Someone beat us to our preferred camping spot.  We put our packs back on, searching for a new spot to camp.  


Opening morning came and my buddy and I had a plan to hike down a trail and overlook a couple of meadows.  We never made it there because of the bugles we decided to chase before we made it to the overlook.  After a couple games of cat and mouse, we made our way toward the meadows again.  Only to be interrupted by another bull bugling.  We headed into the timber after it and were just about ready to setup for a calling sequence when we heard a couple of hikers on the trail.  The elk must of not liked them because they made their way to us.  Stopping 40 yards from us.  In the herd was a 5x5, a spike, and a bunch of cows.  The two bulls would run around the cows and every time the 5x5 stopped, he was behind trees.  Finally after the 3rd time he stopped, I had a clear shot.  I took aim with the muzzleloader and pulled the trigger.  "Click", was all I heard.  Just then a couple of cows winded us and the herd took off.  I didn't know what to think.  Every time I shot at the range, the gun performed flawlessly.  I couldn't believe I was that close to punching my tag on opening morning.  I was bummed but knew I had a week to hunt and was hopeful for another chance.


The third day of the hunt, I was again hunting with my buddy.  It was close to mid day and we set up for another calling sequence.  It was my turn to be the shooter.  My buddy started with some cow calls.  He wasn't calling for a minute when a cow elk came running to the sounds.  I had an either sex tag and just wanted elk meat in the freezer.  She stopped at 40 yards and was broadside.  I took aim, pulled the trigger and the only thing that went off was the primer.  She spooked a little but stopped 50 yards broadside.  I quick loaded up another primer, took aim and pulled the trigger.  Again, only the primer went off.  She went a little further but stopped at 75 yards.  I was getting upset at this point.  I put another primer in.  This time I rushed the shot, probably because I was not real happy with the way my equipment was working.  When I pulled the trigger the third time, the gun went off.  My aim was also off and the cow elk ran away.  At this point I wanted to throw my gun off the mountain.  I took it apart and did a thorough cleaning.  I didn't know if I would get a third chance at an elk but was still hopeful.  I had four more days yet to hunt.


Day 5 found me hunting with my buddy's brother.  We hunted hard all morning with no luck.  Around mid day we ate our lunch and decided to take a nap.  I woke up to him whispering my name.  I looked at him and he was pointing off to our side.  Wouldn't you know it.  A herd of elk were walking right up to us while we were napping.  The closest cow was at 20 yards and there wasn't anything we could do about it.  We gathered our gear and continued on the hunt.  It was late afternoon when we ripped off a bugle.  A response was heard down the mountain.  We dropped some elevation and bugle again.  A response is again heard, but it doesn't sound like he is coming any closer.  We close the distance and bugle again.  This time when the bull responds he is close.  We bugles again, the bull chuckles.  From this point on, every time we bugle, the bull only chuckles.  I can see the bulls legs and part of his antlers through the brush.  He is stuck at 50 yards in heavy brush and won't come any closer.  My hunting partner decides to rip a branch off a tree and rake it.  This gets the bull walking closer, but still doesn't offer me a shot.  After a couple more bugles from us and the bull always answering with a chuckle, he decides to rake the tree a second time.  Which brings us to the beginning of the story.  I pray that my gun will work, pull the trigger and hear "click."  I was thankful that if it didn't work, at least the primer didn't go off.  I quick cock the hammer again, take aim, pull the trigger...BOOM.  The bull hits the ground and regains his footing, crashing through the trees.  It wasn't long and we only hear what sounded like antler rubbing against a tree.  My hunting partner is quick to say, "That is the sound of a dead bull."  I couldn't believe it.  After my gun malfunctioning as many times as it did, could I actually have my biggest elk yet.  I didn't believe it until I saw the bull piled up into some trees.  I responded with a short happy dance.


After getting the meat in the carcass bags it was time for a long dark hike back to camp.  We finally made it back around 10:00pm.  When we got back to camp we learned that my buddy called in a nice 6x6 for his dad and we had harvested two elk that day.  The next day found us getting a couple of horses at a local rancher to pack the meat out.  I am not a big fan of horses.  But seeing them do the work they can do makes me appreciate them more than I ever thought I would.



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Awesome!!  Congrats on a successful trip.  I love the pictures!  A freezer full of meat and some great memories - it doesn't get any better than that.

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Congrats on the exciting and eventfull hunt!!  Love the stories of the hunt and thanks for taking the time to do the write up!!

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Great trip, great photos. Thanks for the write up.


Don't you hate it when it goes "click"?

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That is a lot of opportunities for one week of hunting elk!   I think you need a new gun though.  ;) 

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