The climb down was going to take longer than expected. The tangled mess of downed timber and rocks was even worse than I remembered from last year. I thought about taking the easy way back to camp, but I wanted to scout this area anyway. I rested for a moment then started down off the ridge. Part way down I slipped on some wet moss and fell. Although I had bumped my knee and scraped a little hide off of my elbow, I was ok. I gathered up my bow and arrows, checked for damage and continued down through the timber. Some two hours later I was out of the blow down area and only about a mile or so from camp.
When I arrived in camp, I cleaned the camo paint off of my face and hands, got a cool soda and sat down for a well-deserved rest (Elk hunting is hard work, don’t you know). While resting, I thought about all the things I did wrong today. Things like, I didn’t get started as early as I should have, I made entirely too much noise today, I had “buck fever” over a small 4X3 bull still in velvet, what else? ...... Then it hit me, the biggest mistake of all was no one, and I mean no one on this planet knew what area I was hunting in! What if I had broken my leg when I fell, and couldn’t get back to camp? My hunting buddies wouldn’t be back in camp for a few more days, and even then they wouldn’t know where to look for me.
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to start leaving a note every day, explaining where I would hunt and what time I planned on being back in camp. I also decided to keep track of where and when I saw game and note their movements. This might help the rest of our group when they got into camp.
I didn’t have any writing paper with me, but I had brought some bagged sand to camp to build horseshoe pits with. The paper from the bags of sand would do just fine.
Before I continue, let me explain some things about our hunting camp.
This is not a guided hunt on private land, it’s just a bunch of well-organized guys that love to bow hunt. We hunt on public land, in North West Colorado.
We all come from different walks of life, and from all over the United States it seems. Two are from Texas, five are from Colorado, and I live in New Mexico.
Each year we start planning our hunt as early as January or February, and by the first of July, each man has sent in a small deposit, his date of arrival and his length of stay. Each year someone volunteers to do the organizing and will make up a schedule and send it to all those that plan on being in camp that year. This schedule includes arrival dates, departure dates and a cooking schedule. The deposit is used to buy breakfast and lunch food, and any other camp supplies that are needed that year.
On your day to cook, it is your responsibility to get up and get breakfast going, wake up everyone that plan to hunt and have breakfast ready for them. You also supply and prepare the evening meal for the entire camp, wash the camp dishes and set up for the next morning. Everyone is on their own for lunch, but as mentioned above, the camp supplies the lunch fixin’s.
We have a 10’ X 12’ wall tent devoted as the cooking tent as well as our personal tents for sleeping. We have two stoves in the cook tent, one is a wood burning cook stove, the other is an old gas range that we took the top off of, changed out the gas jets and rigged it up to burn propane. We call the cook tent “The White House.”
Now that you maybe understand a little about our camp, the following is the day-by-day “notes” (that some how ended up as a journal) of the 1989 Colorado bow season for Deer and Elk.
I took off work a little early, and was on the road by 3:30 PM. Arrived in Denver about 9:00 PM. Stayed over night with John. Didn’t sleep much. (Tomorrow is opening day of bow season)
Up at 5:30 AM, loaded up the camp stoves, filled water jugs, stopped by the store and picked up the last minute stuff, picked up the sand for the horseshoe pits, and was on the road by 10:00 am. Stopped in the last civilized place on the way to camp and bought a combination archery license to hunt Deer and Elk, got a hamburger, locked the hubs and started up the mountain. Arrived at our campsite at 2:00 PM. Set up my tent and unloaded the camp supplies that I had brought. Paul and Sherm, showed up with more camp supplies at 4:00 PM. I helped them set up their tent and unload the supplies they had brought. Paul wanted to hunt for a while, so he took off. While Paul was out hunting, Sherm and I fixed supper. Paul was back in about 7:30 PM and had only seen one small deer. After supper, we sat around and talked over our strategy for tomorrow. Turned in about 9:00 PM.
Up at 4:20 AM. Running late! Fixed coffee, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Left camp at 5:30 am, and headed for my favorite place to hunt (“The Point”). Got to “The Point” a little before daylight. Sat and waited for it to get light enough to see, then started glassing “the hole” and the “dark ridge.” Spotted three fairly large bulls at the lower end of the “third park,” just above the beaver ponds. Too far away and they were moving up the ridge pretty steady. Hunted over to the “upper sawmill,” saw a lone cow Elk, but she soon winded me and slipped into the dark timber. Hunted over to, and up through “stump park,” back to the “upper sawmill,” then behind the sawmill to the fire break. Nothing! Hunted back to “the point”. I had been sitting on “the point” for about 30 minutes, when a very nice but small racked 6x7 bull came up out of the aspens below. The trail he was on was only about five yards from where I was standing. I slipped back a step or two into the brush and waited for him to come by. He never did. Apparently he went back into the timber to the west of me. I knew I might still have a chance if he crossed the firebreak behind me, so I started a sneak toward the firebreak. I hadn’t gone very far when I heard him crash off through the timber. He had either heard, saw or smelled me. I give up on him. Started hunting my way back to camp.
I run across four guys from Montana, one of which had taken a small four-point bull earlier this morning. Helped them get the bull to a logging road and loaded in their pick up. After arriving in camp, I cleaned up, and fixed myself a late lunch. Paul and Sherm came into camp mid afternoon. Paul said he had shot all of his arrows at deer and had to come back to camp at 7:30 AM to get more arrows, the sad thing was, he had not touched a hair on anything.
Paul fixed Antelope stew for supper.
In the sleeping bag at 10:00 PM.
Up at 4:00 am. I fixed coffee and cold cereal for breakfast. Left camp at 5:30 AM with Paul and Sherm to hunt the “first lake” area. We saw six deer but no one could get a shot at any of them. Hunted till about noon. Didn’t see any Elk. Started hunting my way back to camp and when I got there, I helped Paul and Sherm set up the cook tent and move their tent to a better location.
Paul and Sherm had to go back to work on Monday, so they left for home late afternoon. After they left I took a “sun shower”, fixed a steak and some potatoes for supper. Fell asleep reading a book.
Up at 4:00 am. Fixed coffee, no breakfast. Left camp at 5:30 AM to hunt around the “first lake” area again. Saw a small three point buck deer but he slipped into the timber before it got light enough to try a shot, and I let him go. Started hunting the area between the “first lake” and the “first park”. I sat down on a big log in the middle of a small meadow to rest a while and do a little glassing. I was about to get up and start out again, when two bull elk came into view. One was a spike and the other was a 4x3 still in velvet. The spike went about 150 yards below me into the firebreak where Paul had taken his bull last year. The 4x3 came straight toward me. He grazed his way toward me until he was about, what I thought was 40 yards from me, then turned broadside and stopped to munch on some grass. I waited until he had his head down, came to a full draw, put my 40 yard pin in the middle of his chest and let the arrow fly. A clean miss, high. I had misjudged the distance. He had been only about 25 yards from me. He jumped and run about ten yards to my left, turned broadside and looked around. He still hadn’t seen me so I knocked another arrow and let it fly. This time the bottom limb of my bow hit the log I was sitting on, causing my arrow to only go about 15 yards before hitting the dirt in front of the bull. This time the bull ran into the timber. I waited about 10 minutes to see what would happen. Then the 4x3 came back into the same clearing about 5 yards or so and stood looking down hill at the spike. Again I misjudged the distance and shot low. By this time he was getting real nervous and took off down the hill toward the spike. They moved off into some dark timber, and I let them go. I had “buck fever” so bad I had to wait about 30 minutes to get my heart back to normal. I got up and found two of my three arrows I had shot. Started hunting my way toward the “dark ridge” then back toward camp. On the way back to camp, is when I took my little fall I mentioned earlier.
Fixed beef stew for supper and started this “journal”.
In the sleeping bag at 10:00 PM.
Up at 4:00 AM. Fixed coffee, no breakfast. Will hunt “the point” today, plan on staying there until about noon.
I left camp at 5:30 AM, and got to “the point” at 6:20 am. Sat there until 11:00 AM. Did not see anything except birds and chipmunks. Heard a bull bugle twice and right after each bugle the coyotes would really start to howl. I was back in camp a little after noon. Cleaned up, took a nap, fixed up the horse-shoe pits, chopped a few days supply of fire wood, and made myself a meal of fried potatoes, onions, and hamburger meat for supper.
In the bag at 9:00 PM.
Up at 4:00 AM. Fixed coffee, no breakfast. I will hunt the point again, but will wear more clothes today (like to have froze to death yesterday). I left camp at 5:30 AM. I arrived at the point at 6:15 AM. Guess what? I saw two bull Elk were working their way across the open area below the point. They were moving from my right to my left, as they munched on grass and aspen tree leaves. The lead bull was the largest (6x6), and was about 50 yards away and getting further away with each step. The other bull was a respectable 6x5 and about 40 or so yards away and getting closer with each step. I waited on the smaller bull. It seemed like time was standing still. I could feel “the fever” coming on again. I tried to calm myself down, but to no avail. I was starting to shake like a leaf.
When the 6x5 was about 20 yards away and broadside to me, he lowered his head to munch more grass. I slowly came to full draw and let the arrow fly. I watched the arrow hit him in the shoulder. It appeared to bounce off of him. He jumped and ran about 15 yards to my right, turned broadside and looked at the lead bull. What happened? Had the broad head come off the arrow? I quickly checked the rest of my arrows in the quiver. All had broad heads on them. I knocked another arrow and shot again. This time the arrow appeared to hit the bull in the rump. The bull took off down through the aspens and was out of site in a flash. I glanced at the lead bull to see what he was doing, he was standing still, watching the 6x5 going through the aspens, he did not know what was wrong but he wasn’t sticking around to find out and decided to get the heck out of there. In a matter of seconds both bulls were nowhere to be seen.
At this point, words cannot explain the emotions and the feelings I had. I was so shook up that I had to sit down for fear of falling down, my legs felt like they were made out of soft rubber. I looked at my watch, and what had seemed like a lifetime had only taken approximately 10 minutes, it was 6:25 AM.
I took off all my extra clothes and hid them in the brush, sat back down to give this bull plenty of time. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I couldn’t sit still for very long, so I went to find my first arrow. Being careful not to disturb any sign, I found my first arrow, and it shocked me because the arrow was covered from tip to tip with blood and the broad head was still on the arrow. That didn’t make sense because it appeared that it had bounced off his shoulder. Now I’m very confused. What in the world happened?
At 7:15 AM, I couldn’t wait any longer and started after him. Tracking was pretty hard because he wasn’t bleeding much and it was pretty dry. I lost his trail after about 50 or 60 yards, and couldn’t find it again. There was a fence about 150 yards or so to the East of me, and I knew that there was a major game trail that crossed the fence. I decided to mark the last spot of blood, and go to the fence to see if maybe he had crossed it. His trail was leading in that direction anyway. When I got to the fence, I looked for any hair on the fence or any fresh tracks on either side. Nothing! I decided to go back to the last sign I had found and start over again. On my way back, I just happened to look through the aspens into a big grass meadow, and there he was. He was lying in a ravine, at the edge of the meadow. He had only went about 120 yards from where I had last seen him.
I think most hunters have this feeling from time to time, so I will admit that I had a lump in my throat, partly out of relief of finding him, and partly because I had just killed one of God’s magnificent critters. You know, one of those joy / sorrow things.
Anyway, after getting my emotions under control, I went about the task of cleaning, skinning, and quartering the meat. I didn’t have anyone to help me pack him out, and my pack frame was back in camp, so I covered the meat with grass and weeds to keep it cool, and took off for camp.
I was back in camp at 10:30 AM. Drank a lot of water, cleaned up, changed clothes, put my pack frame in the pick up and drove to the closest place I could get to him on the logging road that run south from camp.
Started packing the meat out about 11:45 AM. I finally had all the meat hanging on the meat pole in camp at 5:00 PM. What a chore! I took a “sun shower,” changed clothes again. I was so tired that I didn’t want to fix myself any supper, so I just snacked a little and went to bed at 7:30 PM. I will go to town tomorrow to call home and pick up any supplies we are short of.
Up at 5:00 AM. fixed coffee, no breakfast. I am worried about the meat, it didn’t get very cold last night. Put the edge back on my hunting knife, and cleaned up around camp. Checked the meat, it seemed cool enough. I left camp at 11:00 AM and went to town to call home, and to picked up some supplies.
I was back in camp at 1:00 PM, at 2:00 PM, I decided to refill the “sun shower”, so I drove to the closest stream to camp and was filling the sun shower when Big John drove up. He wanted to know if I had anything hanging on the meat pole, I told him that indeed I did. He then wanted to know where the rack was, but before I could tell him, he took off to camp to have a look see for himself. I finished filling the sun shower and went back to camp to help John unload his stuff. John was pretty excited about it all, and I have to admit that it finally had sunk in and I was pretty happy myself. I helped John unload his gear and the rest of the camp equipment. We cut a flagpole for the camp, and hung the American flag and a POW flag on the flagpole. At about 4:00 PM, Paul and Charlie K. showed up in camp and I told them the story. John and I helped them unload and get set up. Charlie fixed venison stroganoff and a fruit salad for supper. In bed at about 11:00 PM. Tomorrow is my day to cook for the camp.
Up three times during the night because of an upset stomach (probably because of the many toasts to my success I had partook of yesterday afternoon and last night). I got up at 4:00 AM to fix breakfast for the guys, and started coffee but was too sick to do breakfast. Woke up Paul and ask him to do breakfast for me, he said ok. I went back to my tent, and crawled back into the sleeping bag. Paul and Charlie K. took off hunting after breakfast. I got up at around 8:00 AM, but wasn’t worth killing, I was still sick to my stomach. I will never do that again!!
Am a little worried about Ken and Charlie L. (we have two Charlie’s), they were supposed to be in camp last night, and they still aren’t here.
John reminded me that it was my turn to cook the evening meal, so I started cooking beans to make Chili with.
12:00 noon. Ken and Charlie still haven’t made it to camp yet. Hope nothing is wrong.
Starting to feel a little better, felt even better when Ken and Charlie arrived in camp about 2:00 PM. I hadn’t seen them since last year, and was glad to see them. They didn’t know about my bull yet as we had hid the rack in their tent, and hadn’t told them about it. When they started to unload their gear they found the rack. Ken let out a war whoop that could be heard for twenty miles and came out of the tent and shook my hand and hugged me. He told me that he just had one of those feelings and knew that I would have one down before he could get into camp this year.
Paul and Charlie K. were back in camp around 5:00 PM. Paul said he had a shot at a cow elk but had missed (again). He thinks he knows what he is doing wrong.
Had Chili and beans ready at 6:00 PM. We all had supper, I cleaned up the camp dishes and got things ready for breakfast in the morning. Went to bed around 10:00 PM.
Up at 3:30 AM. Because I didn’t do breakfast yesterday, it was my turn today. Got breakfast going, woke everyone at 4:00 AM. Paul and Charlie K. had breakfast and took off hunting. Ken and Charlie L. had elected to get up a little later. I cleaned up the breakfast mess and woke Ken and Charlie L. at 6:00 AM. They had a quick bite to eat and took off to the point. Woke John at 8:00 AM. John and I sat around taking it easy and enjoying the day. I caught up on this “log of important events.” Ken and Charlie L were back in camp by 10:30 AM. They had not seen anything but had heard a bull toot a time or two. Charlie K. came into camp around noon and said he had a bull coming in but he never showed. He also said he came to full draw on a small doe, but wasn’t sure he wanted to take such a small deer, while trying to make up his mind another larger doe stepped out into the open. By now he was shaking from holding the string at full draw for so long, then the arrow fell off of the rest, and both deer took off. We all got a kick out of that. Ken and both Charlies’ laid down and took a nap. I washed my camos, cleaned up around camp then took a nap myself. While I was taking my nap Sherm showed up in camp. I got up and read this journal to him, and showed him the rack. Paul came in about 6:00 PM., said that he had not seen anything all day. We all played a game of horseshoes. Sherm fixed a seafood gumbo for supper.
In bed by 10:00 PM.
I will hunt the lower sawmill area in the morning.
Big John woke everyone at 4:00 AM. Had coffee, eggs and bacon for breakfast. At 5:00 AM, Ken, Paul and both Charlie’s took off to hunt The Point and beyond. I left to hunt the lower sawmill area. I got to the place I wanted to be at first light, but there were about a gazillion “moo cows” all around. I decided to try working the timber between the lower sawmill and the lower end of Stump Park. Heard a bull bugle, and he was close! Although I had already filled my elk tag, I decided to have a look-see anyway. Slowly I worked toward him, and hadn’t gone far when I came to the edge of a small clearing. By this time I knew where the elk were! All around me! Bulls were bugling all around me and sounded like there was a fight brewing. As I was watching the meadow and listening to all the commotion, I saw movement and just like that, two bulls went to fighting at the far edge of the meadow. What a site! It didn’t last long; the larger bull had the smaller one on the run in a few seconds. Then the winner went back to his harem of cows and started to push them back into the timber. Too bad some of the other hunters weren’t here to try their luck. I know that if someone would have had an elk call, they could have had a shot.
Just watching this seldom seen event had my heart thumping pretty hard. I just stayed right there till the old ticker got back to normal (didn’t want to spook the game plumb out of the state). After a while, I got up and started hunting my way to the east end of Stump Park, then over to the upper sawmill. Didn’t see any deer or any fresh sign. I wasn’t too far from the point and I kind of wanted to see if I could find a missing piece of the arrow that took my bull. About an hour later I was below the point and as close as I wanted to be to the gut pile. Backed tracked from the gut pile to the point, didn’t find the missing half of my arrow. Climbed up on the point and just sat there and was watching the world go by, when out of the corner of my eye I caught movement. A young cow elk was coming up through the aspens toward me. Not moving, I watched her. I was setting out in the open and she saw me, she didn’t know what I was but she wasn’t taking any chances, and turned around and went back into the trees (where are the guys with unfilled elk tags?). Later I hunted my way back to camp. On my way back to camp some “dude” came through the timber on a trail bike, I guess he was a modern hunter?
Back in camp a little after 2:00 PM.
Some of the guys were back in camp too. Charlie L. had a shot at a nice buck deer, but had missed. Ken hadn’t seen anything to shoot at but Charlie K. had been into the elk at the bottom end of stump park, but wasn’t able to get a shot at any of them.
I cleaned the camo paint off of my face and hands then cut the horns off of the elk head (the head was starting to get a little ripe). Played a game of horse shoes with Ken, John and Charlie L. and I lost 6 bucks out of that deal. Paul came in later and hadn’t seen any game all day. Sherm had hunted the three lakes area and hadn’t seen anything either. John fixed sauerkraut and pork ribs for supper. After supper we all sat around the campfire and told lies. We drifted off to bed about 9:30 PM. I caught up on this journal. I’ll hunt the point again tomorrow.
Ken’s day to cook. He got us up at 4:15AM. Had coffee, scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. Charlie K. and I headed out to the point at 5:10AM. At the point at 5:55AM. I sat on the point and Charlie K. worked the timber to the northeast. He was back at the point by 9:15AM. He hadn’t seen anything. I hadn’t either. Charlie K. watched the west end of the point and I watched the east end for a while. I got a little sleepy, took a nap in the sun. Woke up with all kind of ants and bugs crawling all over me, but no worse for the ware. Charlie K. left for camp at 11:20AM. I stayed until about 2:00 PM. and didn’t see anything. When I got back to camp all the other hunters were in camp too. Paul hadn’t seen any game, Ken and Charlie L. had been into the elk at bottom end of the second park, but didn’t get a shot at any of them. Ken was smoking a big old turkey for supper while the rest of us played a game or two of “shoes”. It looked like it might rain, so we gathered some more firewood for the cook tent. Ken had his turkey, gravy and sweet potatoes ready by 6:00PM. After supper the storm blew over without raining. We all sat around in the cook tent telling stories, Charlie K. had some very good ideas about income tax reform. Maybe he should go into politics? Charlie L. is from Texas and had been freezing every night, so I loaned him an extra blanket.
In the sleeping bag by 10:00 PM. Everyone will hunt the dark ridge tomorrow, and maybe John might try to go out with us. I’ll help Charlie L. with breakfast in the morning.
Up at 4:15 AM. Charlie L. didn’t need help with breakfast, as he had coffee, French toast, and bacon ready when he got us up.
Paul and I left camp to hunt above the firebreak that runs between the first and second parks, just west of the dark ridge at 5:10 AM. A little before shooting light, we were at the edge of a small meadow and spotted three bucks about three to four hundred yards off to the south of us. We pulled a good sneak on them. I happened to be the one that had the best chance for a shot, however as I was working into position, the smallest of the three (a fork horn), saw me. I was only twelve yards from him, but couldn’t get a shot, especially while he was looking right me! Paul was behind me and a little to my left, but he couldn’t shoot because I was in his line of fire. I fell for the oldest trick in the book. The fork horn lowered his head as if to go back to eating, I started to draw the string, the buck jerked his head up and saw me moving. He knew what was going on, but didn’t spook, just started to move off real nervous like. I knew it was a lost cause, but tried to shoot anyway. I barely missed, but missed nonetheless. Needless to say, the fork horn and his buddies were gone in a flash! I watched them run then turned around to see what Paul was doing. Paul had a big smile on his face. I could tell that he had enjoyed the moment as much as I had, maybe even more. We stood and watched to see what else might happen for a while then started on to the firebreak. I found a good place to sit and watch while Paul worked his way into the timber to the south. After about 15 minuets I saw Charlie L. come into view on the firebreak below me. Soon after, I heard what sounded like elk crash through the timber below Charlie L., and then it sounded like they turned to my left, away from all of us. I waited for a little while, and then got up and started in the direction I had last heard the elk. Found where they went around us, and I could tell by their tracks that they were moving pretty fast as if they had been spooked petty good. Went back to where I had been sitting. Sat there till about 9:00AM. and was about ready to leave when I spotted Ken. He motioned to me so I waited for him to get to me. I told him what had been happening for the last hour or so. Eat a candy bar, said so long and we went in different directions. I dropped down to the fire break, then hunted over to the dark ridge, found a good place to watch for a hour or so, then started to still hunt back to camp. Back in camp a little after noon, and so was every one else. I cleaned up, fixed a sandwich, and rested for a while, then played a game or two of “shoes” this time I won my $6.00 back. Although we don’t normally hunt in the late afternoon, Paul, Sherm, and both Charlie’s decided to go out for a short hunt about 4:00 PM. Later Paul came in and told us about having a ten-yard shot at a deer but didn’t shoot because it was just a fawn (good for you, Paul). Charlie K. came in and told of taking a shot at a big doe, but had missed. Sherm and Charlie L. came in and hadn’t seen anything.
Sherm and Charlie L. fixed a seafood gumbo for supper (what a meal!). After supper, everyone wanted me to read this journal of priceless memories to them because the Texans (Ken and Charlie L.) are going home tomorrow afternoon. Everyone likes the idea of keeping a journal and I think I’ll make a scrapbook out of it, including photos and give it to everyone for Christmas. At 9:30PM. everyone but John and I had drifted off to bed. John and I sat around and shot the breeze for a while, then John got the bright idea of setting the rack up by the fire and take some timed exposure pictures. After that we sat around just enjoying the memories of past hunts till about 1:00 AM.
Don’t think I’ll hunt tomorrow.
Up at 4:30 AM. Sherm fixed coffee, eggs and sausage for breakfast. Everyone but John and I took off hunting. While John slept in, I sat in the cook tent and drank coffee while watching the world wake up and thinking about the last two weeks. When the sun came up, I put up the flags, cleaned up the cook tent, straightened up in my tent and caught up on this journal. With a sad heart, I’ll be heading home come early Saturday morning. Sure hate the thought of leaving and having to get back to making a living.
Ken had (for sentimental reasons) decided to hunt the point one last time before going home, but was back in camp by 9:15 AM. When he got in he was mad as a wet hen, he told of hearing something in the meadow just north of the point so he went to see what it was. He found a camp not 150 yards from the point! It made him pretty mad so he started back to camp, then looked back toward that camp and saw a really nice 5x5 buck and a doe standing between him and the idiots camp. He wouldn’t even try a shot because he was afraid that if he missed, he could hit the tent and maybe hurt someone that might be still in the tent. The rest of the guys were back in camp a little before noon, and hadn’t had any luck. While Ken and Charlie L. were packing to go home, I cut some steaks off of the meat on the meat pole and started to fix them as it would be our last meal that we all would have together till next year. We all eat then said our good-byes to Ken and Charlie L. I cleaned up the lunch mess, and took a nap. Later, Paul and Charlie K. went out for a short afternoon hunt but didn’t see anything. Sherm fixed chicken for supper. Everyone was down for the night by 9:30. I don’t think anyone is getting up early in the morning... I’m not.
Up at 7:30 AM., and was the first one up, so I started a fire in the cook stove, and got coffee going. When everyone got up, I fixed eggs, bacon and French toast for breakfast. Paul decided to go hunting and left at 8:15 AM. Sherm and I decided to try our luck at fishing, so we hiked up to the second lake. Didn’t get a bite all day and was back in camp at 2:30 PM. John said he new where we could catch a fish so he and I took off to see if he was right, he wasn’t. We didn’t get a bite there either. Paul came in and as it was his day to fix supper, he fixed Antelope stew for us.
In the sleeping bag at 9:30 PM. I think I’ll hunt the point one last time in the morning.
Up at 4:15 AM. Sherm fixed coffee, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. The weather had turned bad during the night, but looked like it might stop raining by daylight. At 5:00 AM. it was still pretty windy but Charlie K. and I headed to the point anyway. By the time we got there the weather had gotten worse and was trying to rain again. I toughed it out for an hour or so but the weather was getting worse not better, so I decided to start working back toward camp. When I got to the big stand of aspens east of camp, I decided to find a good place to stay out of the wind and rain and watch a meadow. I watched the meadow for an hour but didn’t see anything, so I went on into camp. It wasn’t long before everyone was back in camp because it had started to snow too. Sherm hadn’t seen anything but Paul had. He saw two nice bucks, but while trying to get close enough to get a shot, some cattle came down the trail he was on and spooked the deer. Charlie K. had also got into some deer and even took a shot at a buck in the same meadow where the idiots had set up their camp (the idiots had moved their camp yesterday), but had missed. We all stayed in camp for the rest of the day because of the weather. I took a short nap then got up and started to pack, as I’ll be heading home in the morning. Sherm fixed a left over stew or something that looked like stew anyway. After supper we all gathered in the cook tent and we all swapped phone numbers and addresses, and talked over our plans for next years hunt. It quit snowing about 8:00 PM. and cleared off. It will be cold tomorrow. Maybe someone will stick one in the morning.
In the sleeping bag at 10:00 PM.
Woke up at 4:00 AM. Got up and helped Charlie K. fix coffee, and French toast for breakfast. Said my good-byes to the guys before they went out hunting. John helped me finish loading my gear in the pick-up, and I headed down the mountain toward home at 8:30 AM. Didn’t stop for anything except gas, and was home at 3:30 PM.
Last entry for the 1989 Archery Elk Hunt Journal.
I’m home now, I have all my gear unpacked and put up till next year. I am going to make copies of this journal and make scrapbooks with a few pictures I took, and sent them to everyone for Christmas.
Thinking back, words can’t describe the feelings and emotions I have right now. I guess the only way is to simply say the memories will be with me for the rest of my life.
You can bet your hunting boots, I’ll be back next year.
As time goes on, things change. This journal was the first of some six or seven more years of hunting with these guys. The guys in this hunting camp had been hunting together for some 20 years before I started hunting with them. Over the years, there would be someone that would stop hunting and a new guy would start hunting with us, but for the most part this hunting camp stayed together.
In 1995, my friend John was diagnosed with Prostrate cancer and was no longer able to make it to hunting camp. For the next six years John bravely fought for his life. In June of 2001, John lost that battle. During those last six years, John, Charlie L., my Dad and I would go fishing together during the Colorado Archery season. Also, during those last six years, the hunting camp just slowly fell apart. Although most of us keep in touch, we no longer hunt together.
I still hunt, but no longer travel out of state to do so. I just cannot afford the price of a non-resident tag. New Mexico has a “Draw” system for all public Elk hunts, and when I am lucky enough to draw a tag, I still (out of habit) keep a daily journal.