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)
The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.