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Elk hunt recap #202736 10/19/2019 8:44 PM
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Randy M Offline OP
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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.

Last edited by Randy M; 10/21/2019 5:16 PM.

The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202737 10/19/2019 8:50 PM
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Randy M Offline OP
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Andrew, Andy, and I, 10 miles deep in the Gila National Forest.


The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202738 10/19/2019 8:58 PM
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Willicd76 Offline
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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!

Last edited by Willicd76; 10/19/2019 8:58 PM.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202739 10/19/2019 9:00 PM
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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.

Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Andyhunter] #202743 10/20/2019 12:29 AM
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KRal Offline
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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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Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: KRal] #202744 10/20/2019 12:52 AM
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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


The Eyes are Useless, When The Mind Is Blind
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Franchise] #202745 10/20/2019 1:11 AM
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short30 Offline
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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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Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: short30] #202746 10/20/2019 2:09 AM
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sixshot Offline
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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

Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: sixshot] #202747 10/20/2019 12:30 PM
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racksmasher1 Offline
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Glad you had a great time Randy!

Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: short30] #202751 10/20/2019 1:40 PM
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Randy M Offline OP
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 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.


The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202752 10/20/2019 1:41 PM
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Randy M Offline OP
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David, Kim, Jim, Willicd, thank you much!

Last edited by Randy M; 10/20/2019 1:42 PM.

The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202757 10/20/2019 2:47 PM
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JDK Offline
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Randy, condolences on the lack of elk but congratulations on a hunt well done and enjoyed none the less. It looks like you took the most important piece of equipment with you on this hunt, a great attitude! Thanks for the recap!


John

But for the grace of God, there, I go.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: JDK] #202766 10/20/2019 6:08 PM
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junebug Offline
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Well done guys. You learn a lot about people over a week in the back country,more so in an unsuccessful week. Attitudes can make or break a hunt and to still have a positive attitude says a lot about character. Well done guys!


junebug
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: junebug] #202794 10/21/2019 2:12 PM
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Randy M Offline OP
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John/June - thank you both!


The meat won't fry if the lead don't fly.
Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Randy M] #202796 10/21/2019 2:32 PM
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Whitworth Offline
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Sorry you got skunked, Randy, but it sounds like it was a great experience and adventure nonetheless.


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Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: Whitworth] #202799 10/21/2019 5:11 PM
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jamesfromjersey Offline
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It really sucks when you get a shi-t outfitter. You work hard enough for your money and then to not get what you pay for... especially in the wilds of New Mexico...


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Re: Elk hunt recap [Re: jamesfromjersey] #202808 10/21/2019 9:24 PM
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Bigbrowndog Offline
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I too was skunked on my Mule deer/pronghorn hi tthis last week. We also attributed the lack of game sighted to moon and dry/warm weather conditions.
I head out for elk at the end of the month,.....hopefully with better luck than you guys.
The area is under fire restrictions due to dry conditions but at least its not truly hot.
Proper attitude makes for a much better camp, I applaud you guys for sticking to it, and making new friends.

Trapr


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