Hey, enjoyed your post re: 1st rifle 2011. I hunted Pass Creek 2nd rifle this year. Dissapointed that I never had an animal in range. They seemed very spooky, and precious few. I saw LOTS of sign, especially in the dark timber, which I slow stalked for 4 days. When I finally decided to move over to Castle Creek on Thursday, the snow began (again), and I just decided to head out to the truck, rather than scout an unfamiliar area for a campsite in a foot of snow, late in the day. Kinda bummed. I guess there were lots of animals in my area 1st Rifle, as I saw the outfitter hauling out antlers and meat. Kind of curious about your location, and impressed with your story.
in 2011 I hunted 54 for the first time, wound up on "Flat-Top"....I saw 3 bulls in rifle range (had a cow tag) maybe I should have stayed up there a few more days, tried Rainbow lakes and never saw anything there, realized I needed to get back a few more miles in West Elk, so I re-loaded for 2012
I had planned to hunt 1st rifle, but I screwed it up by making preference points my first choice draw. I got an education there. I didn't know I wouldn't draw 1st season with it as a second choice.. so anyway, I found leftovers, and OTC tags for 54 second rifle. got skunked, again....
I took 2 rented horses up there, and struggled with them a little bit (not really a cowboy) but I learned how to pack, and was overall pleased with my hunt. Just seem to keep having the same issues with "no-elk scenarios." bl