One Quick Hunt

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

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 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!!


Deer Slayer's picture

Congratulations, that is a

Congratulations, that is a nice looking cow elk. I really enjoyed your story and pictures. Spending the moments and all the hunts with my dad are some of the best times of my life. My son will soon be at the age where we will be able to take him hunting and then I will get to see what my dad got to experience with me. I am looking forward to alot of years of hunting with my dad and my son. 

Rem2arms's picture

Great job and nice cow Elk.

Great job and nice cow Elk. Man these story's of Elk are killing me. I traveled to Idaho a few years ago for Elk, didn't get one but played with a cow and calf for about an hour. That was fun but still have Elk on the brain. I really gotta get one one of these days. All I want now is an Elk and Caribou. I have Whitetail, moose and bear. Congrats on a great hunt.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Great story, great pics, and

Great story, great pics, and congratulations on the cow elk.. Thanks for sharing the story. I never had a father figure in my life to experience hunting with but I have taken all of my children out hunting with me and I am working on getting my grandchildren started as well. My one son is definitely my lifetime hunting partner and my other two children only come out every now and then, but that is fine. We all get to spend time out in the wild together and that is what it is all about. 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Nice story.  Sometimes that's

Nice story.  Sometimes that's just the way it happens.

I shot my first deer one year, then spent the next year excited for the chance to get back into the woods again.  I made all the arrangements, flew home, and headed into the woods.  21 minutes later, I shot my deer.

All that waiting, planning, and I was in the woods for 21 minutes.

At least my mom was happy.  I got to spend the rest of the trip playing cards, sipping coffee, and not getting up at 4 AM... lol

jim boyd's picture

Marty, That is a wonderfully


That is a wonderfully told story and I loved every moment of it!

Sounds like you were dialed into the elk... and it also sounds like most hunter's dream - to see bull after bull!

Of course, if all you have is a cow tag, I am sure that can get downright frustrating!

I always enjoy these family based stories - unfortunately, other than my brother, I do not have them to share... by dad was a bird hunter but that was about it.

Yes, I am sure your father would be delighted to see you take the animals - and you have that same feeling - and in the end, as long as you hunt together I have the sneaking suspicion that you will both be happy.

You guys keep telling these elk stories and the momentum in my head just keeps growing.

I genuinely long for the day when I can see the vistas of the Rocky Mountains and have the absolute privilege to hunt there - regardless of whether I take an animal or not.

Great story Marty - well told - and great photos to go along with.

Super job!


Tndeerhunter's picture


It certainly sounds like you had both a great hunt along with a very fine harvest.  I continue to say that there is little (nothing??) better than hunting with family. Dad has always been my favorite partner, but at 80, it's been a while since we shared a hunt together.

I wish both you and your Dad many more years and hunts together, be sure to cherish each and every one!!

Again, a very fine story and hope you enjoy that wonderful harvest!!

GooseHunter Jr's picture

This one here was a good

This one here was a good size, but I have shot two cows one in 2006 and one in 2009 that when walking up to them you would swear they were bulls just without the horns.  Chasing elk is my favorite thing to do in all my hunting adventures.

groovy mike's picture

sounds like moose hunting


Eastern state moose hunting has bull only and cow only seasons and areas too.

It almost always seems like Murphy's law is in full force.  When you have a bull only tag, you see cows.  When you have an antlerless tag, you see bulls!  Isn't it always the way?  Well thankfully - not ALWAYS! 

But sometimes it seems like it.

I have never chased elk, let alone harvested them. But I confess that seeing the size of them in your photos - even a cow - has got me wondering if I should develop a desire for chasing elk!

In any case, thanks for sharing the story and the photos!


jaybe's picture

Nice Cow, Marty!

  Holy cow! I didn't realize that there were some times (and probably areas) where only cow elk could be harvested.

  I guess it makes good conservation sense when the population gets higher than they feel it ought to be.

  That is really ironic that your dad saw all those nice bulls, but couldn't shoot.

  In my experience hunting whitetails, it's usually the other way around. You watch does all day long and can only take a buck!

  Things really worked out well with the cows stopping at the sound of your safety releasing.

  I have been practicing making a grunt or bleat ("beyahh") when I watch hunting shows so that I'll do it automatically when I'm hunting to stop a walking deer.

  It only makes sense to shoot at a standing animal rather than at one that's moving if possible.

  Thanks for the story - that's a real nice cow and will make for some great eating.