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Our SW Desert cow elk hunt started on Saturday. Our group has 6 tags this year. Me and my daughter each have one. My brother has his youngest daughter (19), another older daughter and her husband, and another son-in-law with tags.

Saturday morning was brutal. Cold and wet with blowing snow. But we put 3 cows down in that mess. The two son-in-laws + the youngest daughter of my brother -- they ran into a group of 4, and took 3 of them.

I was hoping to get my daughter an opportunity before I ever pull the trigger -- we got on a group, but we just couldn't get a safe shot. Those cows were just always "stacked" on top of each other - or turned the wrong way (no texas heart shots!). She finally had an OK shot, but missed. Oh well. We had a ball.

Then came Sunday. Brrrrr..... -7 to start the morning! We decided to just drive the truck vs. the side-by-side. Good choice!

After watching 7 mature bulls (BIG!) we ran into another group of cows. This was the "ghost" group. We started hiking to get ahead of them while they fed. We kept our eye on them, and made sure not to spook them. One minute they were there feeding, the next minute -- gone! Poof!

We hiked all over trying to find them, or cut their tracks. Nothing. They simply vanished. Over the ridge, we went. Then the next. And the next. Nothing. So we circled back down, and started heading back to the truck. My daughter then twisted her ankle, went down and hit the opposite knee on a rock, and tumbled down to the ground. The gun bounced a couple times on some rocks. Ouch. Her knee was bleeding, and the scope had a couple new scratches and ding. Uh-oh. Time to head back to the truck.

Half way back, I glass up the ridge where we had just hiked. The elk were there feeding!! Right where we had just hiked! (When we got up on those cows, they were literally right on top of our previous footprints!) Ugh! My daughter said "let's go after them!". Atta kid! We made the 1000 yard stalk, and got inside 200. She lined up a cow, pulled the trigger.....and missed. Crap. We better go take a shot at a target and see what's up. Sure enough, the scope was off. Dang! What a day!

So, we headed back for home. She was a bit bummed -- but said "well, we saw 8 big bulls, lots of cows, and a bunch of wild horses. That was a pretty good day!".

Yep. It was.

The good news: we get to go do it again. :cool:

 

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The only thing missing from your picture is fresh elk steak roasting on an open fire......
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The only thing missing from your picture is fresh elk steak roasting on an open fire......
I think that actually happened!

for the two son-in-laws, this is still pretty new territory - so cutting a bit of meat off and putting it on a stick then roasting it over the flames is quit novel.

Me? well....while they were doing that I glassed up a group of elk bedded on the hill side, and told my daughter "follow me..."
 

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Sounds like a blast! Glad you can get your daughter out to experience it. I can't get my daughter 10 feet from a gun let along -7 in the morning!
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Dang.


We went back out again on the 26th. Those sneaky buggers -- they just never came down out of the trees. We spotted a group right off the bat, but they were already heading into the trees. We parked the ATV, and went for hike. Next thing you know, we've got two bulls bugling leading us right to them. The bad part is that hiking through pinyon / juniper doesn't provide a lot of view -- and we ended up right on top of them! That was OK, because they went down into the draw, and gave us a sight on the opposite side. My daughter had three pretty good shots: #1 was high. #2 was high. #3 awfully dang close! But it missed....****. She was pretty bummed out. But she wanted to go again the next day.

So, we got up at 4am again, and went back. Like the day before, they stuck to the trees and just wouldn't come out. We saw them go in, and went for a little hike, but never found them again. We did have one group, in the thickest section of PJ we could find, that busted across the road in front of us -- but with only 5-6 elk, there just wasn't a chance to get a shot. Then they disappeared, like they do.


I don't think we'll get another chance to go out again before the hunt ends. I wish she could have put one down - but I guess sometimes you just don't. It just didn't work out for her this hunt.

Our group ended up filling 4/6 tags on this hunt. I also had a tag, but I never even carried a gun, or attempted to take a shot. I really wanted my daughter to get it done. Oh well. She got to see a lot of elk, and numerous bulls. She even said "we need to start hunting this unit more often". I guess we chalk this one up to good experience. :)
 

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My dad used to tell me. It's not about the harvest, it's all about the experience. Harvesting an animal is just icing on the cake. Congrats to you guys on having a great experience together. I love nothing more than hunting with my kids.
 

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Sounds and looks like fun, I love the SW desert unit. 4 out 6 isn't bad, I am glad you left me two for next year.
 
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