This past weekend saw the conclusion of the archery deer and elk season.
I have heard both good and bad reports so far but it appears that hunters who were willing to hike back in several miles scored more consistently than others who did not go as far. The elk found places to hide in response to the pressure from both bow and muzzleloader hunting.
So they retreated farther from the roads in some pretty severe terrain. I talked to two hunters that scored on a huge bull elk in unit 76 and they said it took them four days to pack it out. That is hard work in anyone's book and with the warmer days we have had it’s hard to keep meat from spoiling.
There were four nice bull elk shot up on Park Creek that some local guys from Del Norte scored on. From conversations with their neighbors these guys worked very hard but were rewarded with fine trophies and a winter supply of great lean meat.
Most of the muzzleloader hunters I got a chance to visit with did poorly but again that varied area by area depending on the day and weather. It is interesting to note that year by year some areas can be very good or poor. Weather and hunting pressure are factors that affect where the elk are and how good they respond to calling techniques.
The deer hunters I talked to in the mountains reported poor hunting as the bucks just seemed to disappear about the time the seasons opened. I find it interesting that they seem to know when opening day is and find hiding places where they cannot be found.
There were some bears shot in this general area and anyone that has ever hunted them knows they can be fickle about where they show up. As of this writing I still have not connected on a bear but have hopes of maybe calling one in with a wounded rabbit call over the next several days. As you can imagine that can get a little dicey as they tend to sneak in and it’s as much of a surprise to the hunter as the bear when they suddenly appear close by.
I have been up on the area streams some this week and can report huge numbers of fish seen in the water when looking in the pools. The water is extremely clear at this time of year and it takes a careful approach to catch them now. Small flies in size 20 and 22 are best now. The fishing is very good early and late as the fish cannot see you approach as well at those times. Recent rains raised the Rio Grande again and so it’s a tad murky but my son caught two nice trout in about 20 minutes so it’s still fish-able.
Lakes are also producing fish as they are trying to pack on the weight before winter sets in and the lakes ice over. Trolling is working best but I saw some nice pan size fish caught at Big Meadows off the shore on pink Power Bait. One guy in the RV park did pull in two 19” Rainbows out of Road Canyon on bubble-fly setup casting a size 14 Renegade. He reportedly was fishing just off the boat ramp.
The fall colors add to any outdoor experience that you might want to engage in. The aspens are in their glory now and the colors this year are stunning. It won't last long so get out and take a drive up near the mountains and see the fall changes taking place. The nights are crisp and the days gloriously warm and sunny and are not to be missed if you can help it.