By the time this posts, we’ll be a couple days deep into our Colorado adventure. Who knows – maybe we’ll already have fulfilled our goals and expectations.
My goals are perhaps a little different than his. My bull standards are similar – basically any bull that I’m judging to be past his full set of raghorn antlers. In other words, 240-250″ 5×5 = dead. That being said, I’ll also shoot a cow if she’s A) a slam dunk and B) relatively close to the truck. I know what we’re calling close to the truck is different than most other people’s opinion, but if I get an opportunity on a legal elk with nothing but downhill packing and 3-5 miles to the truck. Look out. I suppose my love of elk meat makes me a little bloodthirsty (as Pete would say).
Here’s the deal. We’ve got half manpower as compared to 2012, but we are tackling quite a bigger loop hike than before. We’re eager to reach some extremely remote and rugged hanging basins by accessing through some trail-less drainages and humping up and over some brutally steep mountain peak saddles. There are spots where shooting anything less than a really big OTC bull would be foolish. Might kill the elk, but it would also effectively kill 2-3 days of the hunt. When all we have is 9 days of hunting, dropping the string on an elk had better be well thought through and justified.
I have to be honest. I’m nearly chuckling to myself thinking about a potential moment of truth and whether I’ll have the self discipline to talk myself out of a hellish pack-out for a marginal bull. Eessshh, it’s going to be tough.
Lastly – from a physical and mental standpoint. I’m expecting a more difficult time this go-round. I didn’t have near the time and means (or self discipline) to get in the mountain shape that I was in back in 2012. I’m expecting to take a good butt-kicking from the mountain and a physical grind always culminates in a mental grind. Keeping my mind sharp and staying ever-prepared for that one opportunity that will likely present itself – that’s the toughest part. Time to test oneself – it’s off to the high country!