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#202736 - 10/19/19 04:44 PM Elk hunt recap
Randy M
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Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 1296
Loc: New Braunfels, TX

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Well, since I've talked about this hunt for a year now I figured I'd put some closure on how it went.

The short version...we got skunked.

I've said from the beginning and I hold to it...success would not be determined by an elk on the ground. Ultimately, we had one helluva time this past week!

I will say this - the Gila for five days was the most demanding hunt I've ever been on, both physically and mentally. It's brutal country. We both hunted all day, every day in search of the elusive Wapiti. However, there were several things working against us this week. First, very hot temperatures during the day. It was cold as heck at night, but hotter than Hades during the day. Second, was the full moon. Extremely bright conditions all night. Lastly I believe, was the dry summer/fall New Mexico has had/is having. We never found any significant water hole to hunt over - only a few bathtub sized pools, and apparently that wasn't enough to pull them in.

My hunting partner, Andy, did finally get his eyes on four elk on day four. He confirmed the last three were cows and thinks the lead elk was a bull but could not get close enough, quick enough, to get a better look and a shot.

Other than a cow elk that had been dead for several weeks, those were the only elk we saw all week. There were two other elk camps I ran across and they had the exact same experience as us.

We tried though. Boy did we give it the ole' college effort. I wish I knew how many miles we walked over the five days. It was the most physically and mentally tough hunt I've ever been on. Even more than the week I spent in Alaska some years ago. And we loved every stinking minute of it.

Already planning next years adventure too!

BTW...I met Andy online, here. He posted a thread awhile back looking for another handgunner to hunt out west with. We've been talking and texting for over a year about this. First time I ever met him face to face was 10 miles deep in the Gila. We instantly hit it off and I'm confident lifelong friends. His son Andrew tagged along for the week as well. He's recently back from deployment and an outstanding young man. The three of us had the time of our lives.

The only sour part of this entire adventure was our outfitter we hired for the drop camp. I won't go into details but let's just say he turned out to be a complete jack-wagon who WAY over sold what we were paying for. As in, I can't believe this guy is still in business. We hired him through recommendations of other New Mexico outfitters (perhaps part of the problem) so we felt good up front. Boy were we wrong. WE made the best of the situation though and as stated before, had a blast. And despite the outfitters crappy operation, he certainly isn't to blame for the elk not cooperating.


Edited by Randy M (10/21/19 01:16 PM)
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The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.

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#202737 - 10/19/19 04:50 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M]
Randy M
veteran


Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 1296
Loc: New Braunfels, TX

content Online


Andrew, Andy, and I, 10 miles deep in the Gila National Forest.
_________________________
The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.

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#202738 - 10/19/19 04:58 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M]
Willicd76
member


Registered: 11/17/18
Posts: 127
Loc: Tx panhandle

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Sometimes the very best memories have nothing to do with the animals we are hunting. A new lifelong friend and hunting partner sounds better than any elk no matter the size!


Edited by Willicd76 (10/19/19 04:58 PM)

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#202739 - 10/19/19 05:00 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M]
Andyhunter
member


Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 175
Loc: Chicago, IL

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We had a blast like Randy said. I will say that Randy is a great guy and looking forward to our next hunt. Once I get my pictures uploaded, I'll some too.

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#202743 - 10/19/19 08:29 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Andyhunter]
KRal
Shootist


Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 6785
Loc: MS

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Congrats to all on a great hunt! I?ve been in many great hunts where a trigger was never pulled. It?s about the experience.
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It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.

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#202744 - 10/19/19 08:52 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: KRal]
Franchise
Distinguished Expert


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 4547
Loc: Castalia, NC

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Randy, you are one of the only true gentlemen left! Sounds like a great experience, although grueling...can't wait to hunt with you one day brother
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#202745 - 10/19/19 09:11 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Franchise]
short30
member


Registered: 11/17/15
Posts: 139
Loc: North Alabama

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Please recap the hardware and load choices as well as any other details and as always post what was good, what you would change next time, etc. Congrats on the hunt
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First Handgun Deer: ~1982 8" S&W .38Spl
SW 686 4" with Matchdot II
SBHH 44Mag & .45LC 7.5"
T/C Contender G2 12" .35-30/30 (Bellm)

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#202746 - 10/19/19 10:09 PM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: short30]
sixshot
old hand


Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 789

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Elk are always tough & when it's hot that makes it even tougher. You don't say if there are any sheepherders in the area, if there are try talking with them, or showing them photo's of what you are looking for & ask about water holes.

If not, ask the local ranchers or high school kids, some of them will talk, you need to find the water & the dark timber on the north facing & the east facing slopes. Elk don't like direct sunlight so they are going to be in heavy timber & only come out in shady meadows very early & very late.

Not always but most times, bugling is a waste of time on public land, they are too educated, but cow calling will work, just don't get carried away do it.

If you can't find water you won't find elk, it will be in shady areas where they can sneak in & drink or wallow, many times you will smell them, now you've found a honey hole. Set up so you have the wind in your favor if you can be below the water if possible, elk like to come in fast when them come in. They will run in fast & noisy using their eyesight to bale them out. Of course they are using their noses but mostly they are relying on that old lead cow to make sure it's safe. The bull or bulls will come in last, be patient. Very seldom will a bull ever come in first. Good luck!

Dick

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#202747 - 10/20/19 08:30 AM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: sixshot]
racksmasher1
veteran


Registered: 05/22/13
Posts: 1529
Loc: New York

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Glad you had a great time Randy!

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#202751 - 10/20/19 09:40 AM Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: short30]
Randy M
veteran


Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 1296
Loc: New Braunfels, TX

content Online
 Originally Posted By: short30
Please recap the hardware and load choices as well as any other details and as always post what was good, what you would change next time, etc. Congrats on the hunt


I was hunting with a PC 460. Load was a 250 grain XPB pushed by a case full of 110. Zero'd at 100 and confident to 200.

The only thing that I'd change is the outfitter used.
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The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.

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