The year of 2007 was a great year for me as far as harvested animals go. I shot a cow in January 2007 (which was part of my 2006 season). I also harvested a doe antelope in Wyoming.
So when rifle elk season approached here in Colorado I was not too worried about filling the freezer...just having a good time. I was really gonna try and get my dad his first elk in almost 15 years. So we headed to new area were elk were a plenty in hopes he would get a crack at one. I put him a good spot on the side of the mountain just below were once the elk get up they should come right down the mountain and end up right in his lap. We headed up the mountain way before dark and to get there and get settled in and then let me mountain settle back down and then just play the waiting game.
I made my way up the mountain just about 200 yards or so but headed to the east about a half mile and found me a real good spot where I could see and would be able to have a shot in just about any direction. As the sun was starting to come up for one it became very cold and I could start to hear some movement from above me. Not wanting to stir around too much by putting on my jacket I just sat there hoping the excitement of elk running around so close would warm me up. I was wrong the elk that starting running right at me from above would warm me up real quick. A herd of five cows were making their way down the hill and in a hurry as if something had spooked them from above. I was almost sure that there was no one above us but who knows when it comes to public land. These five cows came to within about 50 yards of me, but it was still too dark to shoot, even though I could tell they were all cows it was about 20 minuted too early too shoot. All I could think of I wish they had shown up a little later and that they would have made their way down near my Dad. They stood around me for about 30 seconds which felt like an hour. They then made their way to the west and I thought to myself again....maybe they will come back and I hope that is not all I see this week.
Once again I was wrong. About 30 minutes later (10 minutes after shooting time)...I look to the west of me and here come 5 cow elk following the same trail that the five did earlier. Was it the same herd or a different one..no one will ever know. All I know is that they were coming down the same trail I was sitting on now. So turned the gun in their direction wishing my dad was with me. They just kept coming down the trail not in a big hurry just a slow walk. I had the trusty .338 Win Mag cross hairs following the lead cow the whole way. When she got to 45 yards I clicked the safety off and I think they heard that because they all stopped on a dime. I settle the cross hairs right on her and let the bullet go. She was so close I never heard the famous thump of the bullet hitting it's mark. All five of them turned and ran down the same trail they just came from. I was watching the cow I shot and I could not believe she was running away from me. I told myself there is no way I could miss from that range. She stopped at about 100 yards and just as I was to let her have it again she started to stagger and down she went. I sat there for a bit to catch my breathe and to soak up the joy...10 minutes into a 12 day trip (I had a deer tag for second season) and it was all over.
As I made my way over to her she was pouring blood the whole way. Well the bullet had hit right were I was aiming right behind the shoulder and it got both lungs. I think she was so close that the bullet did not have a chance to expand and it went clean thru her and the exit hole was as big as the entrance wound. I then proceeded to call dad to inform him of my luck and he told me that after I shot he had 10 bulls run right past him at 30 yards, of course he had a cow tag. He told me that they were all 5x5 and 6x6's and he said it was just as much fun to see them that close as it would have been to have shot one. By the time my dad had made his way over to me I had her all dressed out and ready to be quartered.
Spent the rest of the day getting her off the mountain as the climb up and down that mountain was brutal, but worth every minute. I then spent the next 4 days (1st season) trying to find a cow for my Dad to take but everywhere we went all we came across were bulls, which for both of us was fine as it has been many years since we had seen so many. I really think my dad just wants to tag along with me and not pull the trigger just to spend the time together, thing he does not know is I feel the same way about pulling the trigger. We have always said that when the joy of hunting is the kill it will be time for a new hobby. I go for the experience not the kill, the kill is a bonus every time. I just I hope we have a lot more experiences together!!