This week marks the beginning of the Big Game seasons in Colorado and there is already a buzz in the air over the influx of hunters to the area. These hunters -- whether local or out-of-state -- bring in much needed revenue to the San Luis Valley. Although the first bow season opens this Friday, last week saw hunters arriving in preparation for their hunts.Read More
Had the opportunity to travel about 50 miles of back roads yesterday and talked to lots of hunters both bow and muzzle loaders. NO ONE is seeing anything and people are starting to go home. I have been in the mountains in this area for many years and never have I seen such low numbers. Long time locals cannot seem to find the elk and there is concern about the long term prospects of seasons and being able to attract hunters and the money they spend while here.
I went out this morning and did find really fresh elk sign but people had been in there driving ATV's off road against the law and of course, will ruin that area. People don't care anymore and just do what they want regardless of anyone else.
The rain drove me out of there today again. Its rained ever since the fire in June and has not quit since. Heavy rains too, not the intermittent mountain showers we are used to. Of course the lakes and rivers are over full and ash run off from the fire is a real issue. The river has about 5 more feet to where it will be of major concern but the way its raining today, that could come in one rain honestly.
This past week has found me out and about hunting elk and bear with a crossbow. This is my first season in a long time to be able to bow hunt of some fashion due to being injured and not able to pull my regular bow. So, I opted this year to try a crossbow to get me out in the woods maybe more in a warm time of the year and in closer proximity to the animals I hunt.
I have tried rifle season and found it to be a mad rush with all the hunters pounding the nooks and crannies in search of elusive game and I just cannot keep up with that anymore. And its just not fun when an area is overwhelmed with hunters , its cold and a chance of snow on the ground.
I do long for those old days when I could get out and do it but have to scale back and find a way to enjoy the seasons regardless of my abilities. One thing that is good about bow season is you can usually find places to hunt that are not jammed with people and that is the case this year. The weekend warriors are out and about and I never do mind their hunting in areas I am in as they only have so much time to do so. I also try and pass on sightings, tips and what I have seen otherwise to them when I talk to them.
I do not know where the rut is. Last year on August 25th, the elk were already bugling and it was easy to find them at least. This year, its so quiet you can hear a pin drop up there. I have seen some nice bulls taken on water holes but those too are not producing like they should due to all the rains we have had and all the wallows are now full.
Bear hunting remains the same as always. Elusive. They are very nocturnal by nature so hunting a bear here without the use of dogs or bait is very hard. If you can find an old carcass of a dead elk or cow you can sometimes find them keying in on that. I have a carcass spotted and a trail camera on it now for about 5 days but no bears yet. All I have is the shot below of the MOO cow looking at the camera. hah.
I walked across the RV park last night with a tiny, dull light and talked to my girlfriend Paula. When I turned around, there was a bear. Poor thing already has two tags in his ears which means if he gets in trouble one more time they will shoot him. That's part of the three strikes and you're out rule here in Colorado. He was just a yearling but the fur was gorgeous. Lots of trash calories and bird seed makes city bears fur so thick.
I have had quite a few ppl emailing me with questions and I am able to get back with you on those pretty quickly. I love sharing what I know and will tell you what I don't know too if applicable.
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It's warm here in South Fork, Colorado and the elk are hiding in the black timber. They are not bugling yet so it's a real search for single animals and family pairs. Bear sign is everywhere you look. Should be a great season for a black bruin. I heard of a 3x4 and a great 6x6 shot all up high on opening day. These bulls are hard to find and most of the early success will be guided hunts or locals with horses. The rut will change that soon.