Summit Treestands
Bowhunting Elk in Colorado - a LIVE Bowhunt from


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2010 CO Hunt 1
2009 CO Hunt
2008 OTC Hunt
2007 MT Hunt
2007 CO Hunt

With all the optimism in the world we started out glassing again this morning. The herd moved to the flats again but they were moving so slowly that Wes thought we could get ahead of them. We raced down the mountain and drove up to the back side of the flats. We jogged about a mile before we eased our way along the cliffs and got into position.

Pat follows Wes to the edge of the mountain just ahead of the herd

We were no more that 60 yards from 400 elk when they bedded down. We parked on them all morning and kept guessing where they would top out on the mountain. The elk will do a sun-position switch to the top of the hill by noon. Wes knows every move these elk make and once again he guessed right.


The herd continued to move toward us and we were in a really good position. The bottom bull was the herd bull - around 330"

This was the 5pt that we had a chance at

When the herd bedded, we moved into position above them

We missed it by 2 minutes! He got up and left with the herd just minutes before we could get into position for a shot. So close!

A really big 5pt moved up next to our position and bedded. We closed the distance to 32 yards and I nocked an arrow. The bull was clearly visible to me except that his vitals were blocked. Just like the mulie yesterday, he needed to take just 1 step to the right. Of course, he stepped left and joined the herd as they headed up the top of the Flats.

Wes and I raced to intercept them but they were faster. We got pinned down. They bedded down 80 yards in the open as we were caught out on a flat rock. Not wanting to bust hundreds of elk, we crawled on our backs - flat on the ground back to the cliff. It was brutal to stay lower than the mahogany bushes and our only cover. Wes took a high route and was now out of sight. I took a low route, and was doing fine until I had to slide through a cactus patch. My butt, elbows and right hip were screaming in pain but I was not going to spook that herd. We made it, but I had hundreds of cactus needles buried in my skin. It was just awful and I spent the afternoon pulling out hundreds of them.

We literally had to slither on our backs to keep from busting 400 elk!

The look on my face is due to the fact that I have 300 cactus needles in my ass

The afternoon hunt was a toss up. We had no morning options identified so we glassed the opposite mountain for an hour. About 90 minutes before sunset I spotted a bull in the trees. Wes pulled up his spotter but before we could see his horns he had vanished. We didn't want to head after a small elk (or cow) so we tried to get a visual. During the last hour of the day, the bull appeared again and Wes thought he was the 330 from yesterday. We raced down the mountain and after 30 minutes of running we spotted in a meadow just above us. Wes signaled for me to get into position and started calling. But the bull never responded. He just wasn't ready yet. The light failed and we had to sneak out of there to keep from spooking those bulls. Another terrific day of being into elk, I just wish they were calling. The rut appears to be far later than ever this year and the forecast calls for temps in the mid eighties for the next three days. That is not going to help.


Methodical vs. Aggressive hunting style

Certainly the steep mountainsides filled with dark timber and isolated meadows are what every elk hunter visualizes when thinking about an elk hunt. So it's not surprising that during our last hunt we received many excellent suggestions on how to hunt these elk here in Northern Colorado. I read the posts where people were telling us that we were too cautious and methodical in our approach - Perhaps even being a little too paranoid about the wind. There may be some truth to that in a few cases.

These elk are different. They require surgical precision. Running around bugling before they are ready is a sure-fire way to blow the herd out of this country and back to several sanctuaries. The key to this particular property centers on a few hundred acres of alfalfa surrounded by a series of small mountains to the West along with a flat plateau to the east. The herd moves as one giant unit of 400 elk. That herd creates a massive amount of energy in the area which attract monster bulls, satellite bulls, and dozens of raghorns from protected ground that surround this area. It is unlike any other area I have hunted elk and because of this, we hunt a little different here. There are also some real giants here. Wes and I have hunted together four times and it was always a mutual decision to hunt cautiously. We knew that by doing this, luck would eventually happen for us. It may take us 5 more years but it will be worth it. We hunt very well together.

The other thing you must realize is that I am very much a hunter that likes to pick the fruit only when ripe. In other words, I can't seem to kill an immature bull, especially when I have an honest chance of killing a true giant here. So while I have never killed an elk in 13 hunts, I have no real desire to kill just any elk. I am looking for a mature bull under the right situation. One day, that will happen. Maybe before this hunt is over.




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Next - Day 3

Atkinson Expeditions
Our elk hunt takes place in Northern Colorado with Atkinson Expeditions.


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