I had hoped to have a personal hunting success story for the readers this week but so far have struck out on both bear and elk. Those 4 a.m. alarms are starting to wear thin and I am just trying to hang on for now.
There have been some success stories of course but the results are too scattered to really try and pattern a hunt. The warm temperatures have sent the elk into hiding and hunters report poor conditions overall. I was able to stop and visit many camps this past week and everyone was reporting the same dismal results. Many of the hunters simply gave up and went home which is troubling for our reputation as a prime hunting destination.
With the start of the black powder season last week I anticipated seeing some good results but there was not that many harvested. While bow hunting, I didn't hear a shot all week in the area I am concentrating my efforts in. This would seem to indicate that not many elk are being seen.
At the time of writing this (Sept. 18), I have not yet heard a bull elk bugled in my area. There are reports of some near Poage Lake, though. This loud shrill sound is an indication that the breeding season has begun and it improves the hunter's success rate as the elk become less wary during this time. Sources tell me that in Northern Colorado the bugling is hot and heavy so maybe we will see them turn on here before the archery season ends.
My bear tag is still not filled as well. Bears are reclusive animals and often will travel in the dark to avoid human detection. As I mentioned before in this column, the meat of both elk and bear is very good and sought after by many people across the United States. So if you have a problem bear, contact a hunter to take care of that animal and get in on some great table fare.
At least in our area, if the hunting isn’t working, then there’s fishing. Trixie and her father, Shot, limited out on some fat rainbows and brook trout last week in less than an hour trolling on Big Meadows. He used worms and caught large rainbows; she used a brown trout needlefish and filled up on large brookies. They also reported a fish kill at Big Meadows with hundreds of fish (about stocking size) dead in the water.
Another fun activity is ATVing. Friends reported going over Stoney Pass to Silverton and that the town has now become ATV friendly letting people ride downtown with their machines. One store owner said they saw a 30 percent increase in business as many riders now come into town to eat, drink and buy gas. What a great positive move that appears to be for that town.
While I have been unsuccessful so far this season, hunting has given me an opportunity to be out in the area forests and see the rising sun casts its glory upon the yellowing aspens. This is the time of year when many people from both far and wide come to the Rockies to enjoy the fall colors. They won't last long so plan a nice weekend drive up to see them and stop for a hamburger along the way which always completes a fun time. Memories are made from simple moments where we take the time to look around us at all that God has created.