I was fortunate to book a Colorado Elk hunt for the October 21-27 2000 elk season through Triple-O-Outfitters in Hamilton, Colorado. I am still not sure how Larry, Rita, and Troy Osborn, owners of the Triple-O-Outfitters, kept our names straight, you see my name is Jim Blaine and my hunting partner is Blaine Kerbyson.
This was my first Elk hunt; as well as, my first trip to Colorado. Blaine had hunted elk for around 20 years and had about 15 elk to his credit. So with Larry and Blaine's help I had high expectations to get my first elk. The day before opening season, I met Larry and Blaine and that evening we watched elk wander through the valley where we would be hunting over the next few days. Blaine had been there two days prior and had visited the area before and said they had seen quite a few elk.
Bright and early the first day, Blaine and I were looking into the valley. We saw a few cow and bull elk but nothing close enough for a shot. We watched as they wandered up the mountainside. For the rest of the afternoon, I wandered through the area the elk called home. The scenery was amazing.
Blaine and I had set up on the valley around 2pm. Blaine was at the back of the valley and I was at the front. Around 3pm, I started seeing the elk coming down from the mountainside. Some of the bulls were bugling. Around 3:30pm, I heard a bugle off to my left. This was the same area I had wandered through earlier in the day. I could not see anything, but I knew he was there. The next thing I saw was this beautiful bull run out into the valley in front of me and stopped at about 160 yards. I already had my scope on him and quickly started counting the points. Once I hit five on one side, I fired. Now before the hunt, Larry had told me "Jim, if you shoot and the elk is still standing keep shooting until he falls". Now I know why. The bull started walking as nothing had happened. He walked about 20 more yards and stopped again. I shot a second time. The bull looked around and knew something was up. He started running and I took two more shots, which hit air and dirt. The bull fell 20 yards later. The first two shots were right where I aimed. Thanks for the advice Larry.
I ran up to the bull and that is when I realize "ELK ARE BIG!" This is nothing like the whitetail we drag out and bring home.
Then I admired the antlers he was a 5x6. He had a point broken off, so he turned out to be a 5x5. Luckily, Blaine was a butcher and handled the initial field dressing. We contacted Larry to help us get him out. Larry said that they had just finished their son, Troy's, birthday party and would be down soon. We suggested they bring additional help. Sorry about that Troy.
Oh, by the way, the next day we found the broken tine where the elk fell. Looks like a 5x6 now.
Larry is a little worried that I think elk hunting is easy. Not so. A couple days later Blaine shot his elk, but that is another story.