Here’s a little story from our fourth week of the rifle elk hunting season with us at Upper Canyon Outfitters. Watch the video, then read up on how their adventure ended!
Follow up on the hunt:
After seeing the elk on the mountain from the UCO office window, Jill and her guide Miranda eagerly started their pursuit after the elk. I stayed in the office with a half hearted attempt to complete a few job, but with the lure of the elk, I found myself staring out the window with my spotting scope and binoculars. As I was trying to gaze into the trees for movement, I see the elk leaving the area that Jill and Miranda are climbing. My heart falls as I think they won’t know the elk have left, however I should never underestimate Miranda. She soon sees by the tracks that they need to change their plan and location.
As they are scurrying down the mountain, Miranda slips and wrenches her knee on the slippery snow. As she hobbles back to the ranch trying not to let Jill know what happened, they check in at the office for an update. Once Jill leaves the office, Miranda unhappily comes to the office and informs me about her knee. One of our guides, Jimmy “All Season”, is in the office and offers to help with the hunt. With discontent and regret, Miranda knew she had to stay back in order make this a successful hunt for Jill. This is Jill’s second week of hunting. Miranda has guided Jill to a very nice mule deer buck, a couple of other stalks on elk, along with instructing her on how to hunt in the mountains and keep safe. Over this course of time together in the mountains, Jill and Miranda have become good friends. One can understand the sadness Miranda felt as she had to pass the guide torch to Jimmy.
Jimmy and Jill relocate the elk in the timber on the other side of the mountain and make a plan with Miranda. They check the wind and decide to slip in through the timber and try to get within shooting distance when the elk come out to feed in the late afternoon. Miranda gives Jill a pep talk and reviews what she has taught Jill the last eight days. After spending that time with Miranda, Jill was able to use those skills to creep through the timber, crawl over rocks, slip around trees. For four hours they worked and then manage to sneak within 75 years of a bull elk. Only one problem, (and unknown to Jimmy and Jill), other hunters had also spotted the elk and where climbing straight up the mountain after them.
Jimmy and Jill climb to a rock outcropping to get a vantage point to watch the elk. They spot a bull, hearts pounding with excitement; they want to make sure this is a good ethical shot. Jimmy tells Jill to get comfortable and ready to shoot. Jill knows she needs a better rest and Jimmy slips off his backpack for her to lay her rifle across. The elk steps out 75 yards away. Jill is about to take aim, and boom the other hunter shoots the bull elk. This does not stop Jimmy and Jill. They see a second bull and head after it. They climb up a rock cliff and back over the mountain; they are right behind the elk but just can’t seal the deal before darkness sets in.
This would have upset many hunters to have an elk shot right out from under them. Jill came home exhausted and somewhat disheartened but had a wonderful attitude and said, “Sometimes that happens when you are hunting. Tomorrow we go after the other bull, and I think it may be the larger of the two.” What a fabulous approach. It shows that Jill is a true sportswomen and an ethical hunter. This morning she was up and ready to go. We are all back at the ranch cheering for Jill; she has the support of the whole camp. Even fellow hunters at the camp stopped their hunts this morning to come back and report seeing elk; they wanted to know where and how they could help get Jill into the herd.
This event has shown me the kindness in others, team work, perseverance, a love for hunting by clients and staff. I am extremely proud of my staff and clients here at Upper Canyon Outfitters as everyone has worked together to help each other out. True camaraderie and lifelong friendship have been established here in hunting camp this week. To me, that is the true meaning of a hunt.