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First Elk Hunt

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First Elk Hunt

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 12 27, 2022 •  [Post 1]

This was Jhg's thread concept (great idea mister). As you will see, the author for this particular thread is somebody who really needs no introduction. He has been with our humble hunting forum from the beginning (originally titled The Elknut Forum) and through the years on WapitiTalk. From the start, I personally want to thank Saddlesore for agreeing to share some of his "Tales from the Past" with us. Here we go ;)

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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 27, 2022 •  [Post 2]

MY First Elk Hunt, Episode 1 of 7

Probably these tales will come in installments. Parts of my body don't work 100% now and this typing is a chore. I am not as clever as Indian Summer. I have not figured out how to talk to my computer and have it record what I say. A lot of the tales will involve packing with horses and mules as that is how I hunted most of my life.

My first tale will be of my first elk hunt.Time frame is 1966.I moved to New Mexico in 1964. 21 years old and the first two years I hunted deer.

A fellow worker, some what older than I, by the name of Marty Vigil convinced me he knew all there was about elk hunting and along with my boss at the time, Will Jones,who was older yet. They convinced me I should go elk hunting with them. Later years,I came to believe they only wanted some young naive kid to go along to do the hard work and knew a little about handling horses..
The logistics were that I would come up with two pack saddles and panniers and Marty knew an old Mexican sheep rancher up Questa NM way that he could rent two horses from.

I will take a minute here to explain that Marty was half Mexican and half Italian and spoke Spanish fluently .This in later years gave us a lot of hunting access to land that were usually closed to gringos as long as I kept my mouth shut when approaching the land owner. Nothing would shut them down like a Pennsylvania hill country accent. Whether Marty felt a kinship to me as I was Italian I don't know. I think it was more of wanting someone to do the camp chores .

Will Jones would do the grocery shopping . I was lucky enough to find two barely usable pack saddles and canvas pannier sets at a local a tack shop.. Although I knew nothing about what breed or size horses Marty had lined up.

I don't remember exact dates , except NM elk seasons were close to the close of rut. The Wednesday before the hunt that opened on a Saturday, we set off. Marty's El Camino was overloaded and I was driving 56 Chevy. Not exactly elk hunting rigs by today's standards. Arriving at the sheep herders place about noon, a little north of Questa, NM, Marty went to talk to the owner and we were told to wait for him. Soon, Marty comes out leading two of the biggest Percheron draft horses I had ever seen. Easily 17 hands and 1600, pounds. A mare with unkind eyes and her "Colt". The colt was 26 years old he said.. Unloading the pack saddles and pads, we threw them up on the horses and first problem was the cinches were about a foot too short and the saddles looked like postage stamps up there..

More to come
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Lefty » 12 27, 2022 •  [Post 3]

Keep them coming Saddle Sore.



Can you talk to your phone, then copy the text


SS I encourage you to keep your collection of stories. Your great grandkids and posterity will cherish those stories of old.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 27, 2022 •  [Post 4]

My First Elk Hunt, Episode 2 of 7

We solved the problem of the short cinchas with several strands of baling twine found in the old barn with the owner showing us how to fashion it. He seemed think it was no big deal and he did it everyday. It must have been about noon when we were close to heading out.I was assigned that unkind looking eyed mare. One last tightening of the cinchas and we were about to load up. Just as I was about ready to pull, WHAM, the horse turned her head and bit me on the shoulder. She held on long enough to lift me off the ground. I was jumping around yelling curses that would have made a sailor proud. As I was pulling back to give that witch a good fist in the side of the jaw, Marty grabbed my arm and told me if I hit the horse, we would not get them. Revenge would have to wait.

All loaded we headed out. Marty showed us a deep almost crevasse we would pass thru to get into the Latier Lakes region of the Sangre De Christo mountains,but on the west side of the divide, about 6-7 miles in. The adventure had started and despite my shoulder, I was pumped to say the least.We past thru high desert country filled with chollo cactus,then into green fields irrigated by streams coming out of the mountains.Then passing thru the foot hills brush with huckle berries, choke cherries, raspberries, and scrub oak trees laden with acorns. I mentioned to Will about the big piles of crap on the trail. Bears said Will. Check bears around. Not to worry as beside my Winchester Model 88 in .308 I was lugging a 4 pound Rugger Super Black Hawk in 44 mag on my belt. Lesson 1 .You do not need 4 pounds hanging on your belt while climbing up a mountain with 1600 pound witch from hell one step in back of you.

Speaking of the horse, we had just entered into the heavy timber on this narrow steep mountain trail when I noticed the cinchas had loosened. Another trick of this old gal had of holding her breath while the cincha was being tightened. I dropped the lead rope and stepped back beside her. As I reached for the latigo (and forgetting the shoulder bite) she turned and sunk her teeth into my tit, missing the pack strap. YEOOOOW . A bite on the shoulder has no comparison to bite on a tit and feeling like ribs are being pulled out of you body. Jumping around like an insane injun, I made up curses, unkown to mankind. I swear, once I looked over at Will and Marty and they had grins on their faces ,I thought I heard something about elk hunting being fun.

Regaining some senses, I picked up a good size limb and hit that that horse across the head as hard as I could. Revenge came at last. I didn't care. As far as I was concerned this great elk hunt could end right there. It was not meant to be.The horse reared,fell off the trail, and rolled down the mountain about 50 yards, with gear, food, tent scatted everywhere. Down I went after her, got her on her feet, and pulled back onto the tail. Then made quite few trips picking up the gear and and repacking. At least on the uphill side, I could reach her a bit better, but no help from my companions. Lession 2 .If you screw up your horse's pack you get to repack it yourself. A least that cured her biting, as she never attempted it again and kept an leery eye on me and me on her.

What seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 3 miles or so, we pulled off the trail into a little meadow with a running stream and grass for the horses.I was about to get Lesson 3. Marty speaks up and says we can't keep the horses up on the mountain over night. So someone has to take them back down and walk back to camp. Everyone agrees that a flip of a coin would be the best way to decide who goes. What a surprise, I loose. Were Will and Marty a little too fast on agreeing to flip the coins. Suckered again.

They said they would set up camp and have supper waiting when I got back. I filled my canteen and about set off. Oh, don't forget that 44 mag and a flashlight ,bears you know.

Off I go leading the horses, but I showed them. When I was out of sight, I threw my jacket up between the sawbuck on the colt and made stirrups out of rope. Found a big log and crawled aboard.I turned the mare loose and the colt followed. She didn't miss a turn took us right to the barn.

Next ,return to camp, bears oh my, dark ,hungry and sore. (Sawbucks are not meant for riding)
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Tigger » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 5]

Vince,

These are awesome! You need to keep a copy of all of these and memorialize them! They should be published in Outdoor Life!

I feel like I was right on that mountain with you, keeping a wary eye on that mare so she doesnt bite me.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Jhg » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 6]

Excellent. Just fantastic.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 7]

My First Elk Hunt, Episode 3 of 7

We made it back to the barn with no mishaps.The mare must have declared an uneasy truce. The sheep herder must have took pity on me as he helped unsaddle and brush of the horses. An almost cool cerveza from a cooler in my Chevy, helped him realize this gringo was not as bad a most of his encounters.

Fortified with a beer and two candy bars, I set off. It is amazing the amount if things you miss when you don't have your head down looking at the trail with a suspicious eye kept on a mean mouth horse 6 times your size behind you.

No chollo cactus jumping out and spearing you with a thousand spines. (they are actually called jumping cactus). Sweet cool mountain creek water to sip and soak your sore feet in. Wild sweet berries to pick and nibble on as you walk. Warm sun shining on your back. I was almost back to liking this elk hunting although I had not seen any any elk yet.

Ambling along eating berries, I was almost into the timber when I see something walking down the trail towards me. Fairly big brown blob that would stop and swipe at some berry bushes. Holy Crap, a bear. First one I have seen in the wild .It is about 25 yards from me , obviously thinking it has more right on the trail than I do. It has seen or smelled me because it stands up on it hind legs and moves it's head back and forth. My heart rate about tripled. Here I am alone, on foot, dusk is settling in,and I don't know if this bear wants to eat more berries or me.

About this time, I remember that 44 mag on my belt. No quick draw here. More of a fumbling with fingers not doing what they they should be doing. Mean while the bear drops down on all fours. I have the gun up and pointed, but the sights were dancing around so much that I could kill a lot of trees and ground before even coming close to the bear. The bear is stopped and looking at me. Like what the hell man get out of my way. I looked around and saw some clearing in the brush and slowly moved off the tail 10-15 feet, remembering a bear a can do 35 miles an hour and never run from one. The 44 is cocked and still shaking, the bear starts the down the trail and comes to the point where I left it. It swings it's head towards me and gives me a look that is close to what the horse gives me. Then it nonchalantly ambles down the trail to eat more berries I guess.

My heart rate must have been in the 200's by then. My senses return in about 15minutes and I realize in not too long, it will be full dark. How many bears are on this trail? I dug out my mini mag and took off. Luckily the trail is easy to follow and camp came a lot quicker than the first trip of the day. My only thoughts were a warm meal, soft bed, and watch for more bears.

I arrive at camp.The fire is barely a dull red glow of coals. A coffee pot sits on the side, and my warm meal looks like what is left of a can of Dinty More stew, congealed around the edges . I choke it down, gulp a cup of cold coffee and unzipped the tent door. I am still pumped and wanting to tell of my trip back. Only to be met with "Shut up and get to bed."

God! This elk hunting is fun. Tomorrow has to be better and I get to see some elk hopefully.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 8]

My First Elk Hunt, Episode 4 of 7

Thursday dawns and it is a typical New Mexico morning in the high country. Clear blue bird skies, frost on the ground, a bit nippy. The two guides are up around early, laughing, having a great time. I twisted and turned in my bed roll to see what body parts still worked without out too much pain My shoulder wasn't too too bad considering the teeth marks, but one side of my chest was puffy and black and blue.Figuring the coffee would be done, I get up and meet the day. No coffee yet and the first words even before good morning I hear are:
"Vince we need some firewood before we can cook breakfast and water for coffee"

I got that finished and was pleasantly surprise that Will offered to rustle up breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and bacon. He must of heard about my lacking of cooking talents. While the other two got camp into shape, I had the chore of collecting and cutting firewood to last a few days. Everyone has to pull their own weight in camp I was told. My weight seemed to be a lot heavier.

Marty decides the day should be spent getting higher and glassing some of the mountain above timber line.We fill our packs with water and snacks and head of. Another couple of miles, not rough country, but all up hill. We reached a good look out and began scanning. It isn't long before we started to pick out elk out in the open across the canyon. We made our plans for Friday. More like Marty and Will told me what we would scouting. Back to camp in the late afternoon I got to rest and take nap. Later listening of tales of old hunts from the two experts as we sat around the campfire. I was in awe of these two. It was like trying to get a drink out of a fire hose. I lay in my bedroll for hours that night with high expectations of what was to come.

The next thing I new, the alarm was chiming. It was still dark out, but Marty tells me we need to be around the back side of the mountain to see where the elk herd is and where they go into the timber after feeding. Off we go after a quick breakfast of oatmeal and last night's leftover coffee.

We get to the back side of the peak about 30 minutes after first light.I have no idea where we are. All I got to see was the back of Will's coat and was told no talking. On hands and knees, we crawled up to a rock shelter someone had built on the ridge.

Carefully peering over, we looked down into the meadow above timber line. Elk were everywhere. I could not count them all, but there must have been two hundred or so spread out over 50-60 acres. Bulls all around, a few herd bulls, lot of raghorns, spikes, and too many cows to count. We watched as the younger bulls would sneak in and breed a cow while the big bulls were running off other bulls. Bulls were bugling all around. I was experiencing what Jack O'Conner wrote years ago. My addiction to elk hunting probably took hold that day.

Returning to camp mid day, even the two so called guides were giddy with excitement. Rifles were checked, ammo was counted, and packs were filled with knives saws,axes, game bags ,jerky and snacks.

The last bit of conversation was who got first shot since we would all be together. I should have known the answer. Will was shooting a 30-06 with open sights. He would get the first shot since the elk would be closer. Marty was shooting a .270 scoped Remington pump. I forget why he had 2nd shot, but I came up last. Probably they learned my lack of shooting ability along with discussion of my cooking. I was shooting a Model 88 Winchester lever gun in .308 with a Bushnell Banner $18 scope.The cross hairs were off in the top left quadrant as Bushnell had not discovered self centering cross hairs yet. My hand loads were Remington 180 gr Bronze Points and IMR 4064 powder my notes states.

Let the hunt begin.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby wawhitey » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 9]

Keep going, very entertaining read.

Ive got 2 of those old model 88 .308s. One of them accounted for several bucks and a few bears. One of these days ill take it out for another spin.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Swede » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 10]

I had a model 88 308W. The safety came off too easily to suit me. I had to carry it with no round in the chamber or keep checking it all of the time. Anyway, I am enjoying the story. The next installment can't come too soon.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Jhg » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 11]

I have the semi-auto version of that rifle and yeah the safety was not very "safe". I had to keep my finger on it all the time.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 12]

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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Billy Goat » 12 28, 2022 •  [Post 13]

sweet Jesus, Vince.

and I dont even think we're halfway thru the first of Vinces Lamentations.

how have I not heard this before?

Vince, I dont know how to tell you this, but you're not an elk hunter. you're a storyteller with an elk hunting habit. My dad was much the same, but with far less elk history than you.

this is gold.

bring it!
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 30, 2022 •  [Post 14]

My First Elk Hunt, Episode 5 of 7.
First a few photos. Not the best quality as I photographed the photos in an album and then had to resize them. I can't remember the camera I had, but of course it was pre digital and it took those cartridges in them that had the roll of film enclosed.

This was our camp.It was one of the old umbrella tents with a side room. Cooking was an open fire. Your's truly hold the 44 mag.

Me and camp.jpg
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Here is me and the witch mare. She is standing in a small gully and I am up on a mound so seeing the size of her is not very clear.

The witch mare.jpg
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Now on to the hunt.

I was in a deep sleep from carrying my load in camp. I heard the ringing of the alarm clock.. It couldn't possibly be, because I just got to sleep. Marty's voice filled the tent. "Everyone up, time to get going" . I roll oven and checked my watch. 1:30. A little loud as I wasn't quite ready to get up, I shouted "Good God Marty your alarm clock is off". Actually it was little stronger than that, but this a mixed audience. Marty fired back ." First rule of elk hunting, you be where you want to hunt before anyone else and we have a ways to go", "light the lantern Vince".

I was the elected fire starter, but we only needed coffee and hot water for oatmeal. No time to make up bedroll. Pull on old style cotton long johns, pants,shirt,sweatshirt, boots..I wish the head lamps and poly long johns were available back them, but we were probably on the trail within the hour. Water dumped on small fire, flashlights checked. Scope checked to make sure it hadn't fogged. Marty encouraging everyone ( that is putting it mildly) to get their butt in gear.

Once on the trail we set a fast pace. First mile and a half was on the trail. The next mile or two was bush wacky up the side of the mountain on the route we took Friday. We arrived on the ridge with out incident, although my cotton long johns and cotton socks were soaked. We got to the rock wall a good half hour before that faint line of dawn even appeared. The wind right on the ridge was enough to make one shiver, but we hunkered down to wait. No doubt some of the shivering was from anticipation. Down in the valley we had left, we saw flashlights moving steadily upwards. Marty whispered, "That is why we left so early".

I carefully levered a round in my .308. Will and Marty doing the same with their bolt and pump rifles. We checked each other's safety to make sure they were on.

Dawn finally arrived enough to see thru my scope and we bellied crawled out to the edge of ridge so as not to be silhouetted on the skyline.We peered over the lip.
No big herd of elk in sight. Where the heck did they go. Marty nudge me and Will to look closer down the hill. There grazing, were three bulls. Not giants, but they were bulls, and no cows in sight at all. Probably 175-200 yards down hill. Where we were laying was still flat enough to shoot prone and I watched as Will lined up his shot. POW, then that " SPLAT" when a bullet hits meat. One bull dropped. POW again, Marty's .270 connected on the second bull and it dropped., I am on the third bull,
but it scooted off to the left and around the bend in the hill. No worries about spooking elk now. I jumped up and cut across the edge of the ridge. By that time the bulls was across a ravine and had dropped down another 100 yards and heading away. Luckily not in that ground eating trot eating have, but he sure wasn't walking.

He is at too steep an angle and the hill is too steep to do anything but a sideways contorted kneel. I remember thinking that my only chance was to drop one down into his spine,so I aligned the crosshairs as best as I could at the base of his antlers and pulled the trigger. No splat, no indication of a hit, but the bull stopped. He stood still for a few seconds and then he lowered his head so I knew he was hit. I was watching him when Marty and Will showed up. "Shoot him again" Marty said.
By this time shakes had really set in and I could not get into any type of shooting position on the steep slope. I emptied the remaining three rounds in my rifle, pulled out a spare clip and shoved it in. Another five misses, but the elk had not moved.

Having one more loaded clip, I decided to drop down and get closer. He was a still a good 200 yards away when I got situated. At that time I saw another hunter coming out of a groove of trees below the bull. I shouted that I had a bull down and don't come any closer as I was going to shoot in that direction.The other hunter prompted me to close the distance. I had gone about 50 yards and the bull toppled over. I could not believe it until I laid hands on the antlers. Later post mortem showed the bullet traveled down thru his liver, thru one lung, and lodged in his lower leg.The Remington Bronze Point had not expanded, still had all the rifling marks on it and had only slightly deformed the tip.

Talk about an adrenaline rush, less than ten minutes into the season, we had three bulls down.

I tagged the bull and was halfway able to gut the bull myself. Finishing that, I worked my way up and over to where the other two bulls were down. One was already gutted and they were working on the second one . Will had gone up and retrieved the three packs and we set to skinning them out .

In those days, I learned, we split the spine using two hand axes. Skinning three elk , splitting the spine, quartering and bagging is no small chore. It took most of the day and that oatmeal was long gone half way thru it. A few snacks held us over during the many rest we had to take.

It was dark by the time that we left the carcasses and headed back to camp with the heads and antlers. We made camp about 10:30 that night. One long day and three tired, bloody, but happy hunters to be sure.

Next is getting the meat off the mountain . Another coin toss and I am suckered again.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 12 30, 2022 •  [Post 15]

My First Elk Hunt, Before Episode 6, here are a few photos of that eventful day.

My first bull.

my first bull.jpg
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Will and Marty with one of their bulls.

Will and Marty with bull.jpg
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Antlers and open space. Looking up towards the top.

antlers.jpg
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby >>>---WW----> » 12 30, 2022 •  [Post 16]

Great story Vince. Can't wait to hear more
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Swede » 12 31, 2022 •  [Post 17]

Will and Marty sound like skilled hunters, but I don't think I would care to hunt with them. Still, they were able to help you learn and become proficient on your own. I have had first morning elk kills, but no ten-minute hunts.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby wawhitey » 12 31, 2022 •  [Post 18]

All other hardships aside (wet cotton long johns and socks sounds pretty miserable) cutting and packing 3 elk at once sounds like a real pain. Better you than me.

Ive seen a lot of old pictures of guys out hunting in the snow in blue jeans etc. Man thats rough. But seems to be sop back in the old days. I was born late enough and got hunting late enough in life that ive always had the princess stuff to keep me comfortable in the weather. No cotton long johns and denim for me. I look at the retro pics of guys making it work though, and dont know that i could hack it. Thats what i call "old school hard".
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 01 01, 2023 •  [Post 19]

My First elk Hunt, Episode 6 of 7

I opened my eyes and there was light inside the tent.I was able to sleep past day break . Looking over,Will and Marty were still sound asleep. It was Sunday morning. Youth had won out over age and wisdom. I laid there a few moments thinking about the hard day of work that would follow.

The weather was still holding. I got dressed and stepped outside the tent .The sun was full up and starting to warm as I got the fire going. From the little stream I filled the coffee pot and set it to boil. About half hour past as I sat and recalled the events of the previous day, thinking of how lucky I was to experience such a hunt. Aside from the few flashlights on the trail below us, we had seen but that one hunter.

A few groans and grunts brought me back as Will Marty awakened. It took them a lot longer to get going than it did me, but they finally staggered out of the tent. The overly strong coffee was well received and my offer to cook breakfast was readily accepted. Double helpings of home fries with onions, scrambled eggs, extra crisp bacon filled us up and we used up two pots of coffee. No one was in a hurry to tackle the problem of getting the elk back to camp.

We took a few photos and discussed the strategy. First problem was that the two horses were back down at the ranch and someone had to go get them.I don't know why I even went thru the drill of the coin toss.I had pretty good idea of the turn out, so off I went.

1st hunt me and bull.jpg
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Marty and bulls.jpg
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It didn't take long for the down hill trek and the sheep herder was happy with the news of our success. He readily offered to help clean up the two horses up and saddle them. I let him saddle the mare as I still didn't trust her. I think he had warmed up to me as he also surprisingly agreed that we could keep the horses up on the mountain over night and told me told me to ride the mare. He even offered up a half sack of oats to take with. This news really surprised Marty when I arrived back at camp. With a little more extra padding than I had coming down last Wednesday. I rode off with the colt following.

No problems with the ride in. The mare still seemed to respect the truce. Marty and Will were a little wide eyed as they saw me riding into camp. With no time to waste, we loaded up with what we would need to pack the meat and made our way to the kill sight. Not having to bush whack along the back side of the mountain, we made the trip quickly.

With quite a bit of effort loading the quarters, we were able to pack all three elk back to camp on those two big horses in two trips.The only incident was as we were side lining along the face of the mountain, we had to cross a good bit of a sandy /shale scree. On the 2nd trip, the horses being sweaty, the pack on the colt started to slip a bit off center on the down hill side . Marty was leading the mare in front. Will had the colt and I was behind watching the packs. I moved on the up hill side of the colt as quickly as I could. There was no place to stop and adjust the pack, but I was able to jump high enough to grab a bit of the top of the sawbuck. With my feet no longer touching the ground, and my weight counter balancing the load, it kept it from slipping further. I was in this position for 10-15 yards.Will yelled at Marty to hold up. Marty looked around. His first comment was that I was too tired or lazy to walk, but we made it to the end of the scree and a flatter place where we had to unload and repack the colt.They had no idea how close we were to a disastrous wreck.

It was close to dark by the time we arrived at camp, unloaded, cooled the horses down, and later fed and water them. A quick supper and we hit the sack. No one had much energy to sit around a campfire and talk.

Monday morning was a repeat of breakfast. Still tired, conversation was lacking, but we loaded up for the first trip down to the ranch. Pretty much uneventful, but on the return trip to camp, Marty decided it wasn't a bad idea of riding the horses back.Will decided his butt didn't fit between a saw buck, so he walked..

Marty and the colt.jpg
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Back at camp, we ate bit of lunch, packed the 2nd load and off again we went. We thought we would go into Questa, get a room,hot shower, and soft bed that night. We would return and pack the cam pout the next day. It was not meant to be.

About half way down the trail was a huge V between two large granite boulders. Ar least 15 feet high with just enough room the horses to make it thru. On the entrance was a dead tree close to one side. One horse made it thru, but the second horse hit the tree with it's pack. Hard enough that it broke the tree off. It bounced against the rock and then rebounded back, coming down and hitting the horse on the rump. The horse spooked and bolted forward, knocking Marty down. All I could see from the rear was Marty rolling under and between it's feet. How the horse avoided trampling Marty I will never know.The horse stopped along side the first one, but Marty was laying at the end of the V, semi conscious.

Checking him over, we saw no broken bones and only scrapes with a little blood but unresponsive. Things looked bad. After about 15minutes or so Marty showed a little response and gradually came full awake.Will and I were undecided, go for help, or take care of Marty.The decision was made to stay there. It took about an hour to get Marty on his feet, but he felt he was good enough to walk out the mile and a half or so. Hobble was more like it.

We made the ranch with a little daylight left and unloaded .The sheep rancher said he would take care of the horses. We loaded the meat in Marty's El Camino, some in my Chevy's trunk, and some in the back seat. ( My wife, at the time, really liked that idea-NOT).

Leaving a hind quarter with the sheep rancher, we headed for Albuquerque. Will was driving Marty's El Camino, getting to Albuquerque about 10:00PM. We put all the meat in Will's garage, got Marty home. Will and I agreed to return the following weekend to pack the camp out. The meat went to processor that week. None of us were feeling like butchering three elk.

After five long days of the hardest work I had ever done, I was not sure elk hunting was the game me for me. It didn't do it much better when the following weekend, Will and I returned to camp. It had snowed about a foot. Someone had moved into our camp. The used our bedrolls, stole what gear they could carry off, and left all the cooking wares scattered about the fire ring in the snow. Marty took a few weeks to recover. I don't think Will ever hunted elk again. Although Marty and I hunted other game and fished, we never hunted elk together again. Later years,I heard the forest service cut a new road in from Latier lakes right into the valley we hunted, ruining it forever. Marty and Will have since past on.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 01 01, 2023 •  [Post 20]

My First Elk hunt , Episode 7 of 7

The end.
I still have those antlers hanging on my wall although a tine got broken in a move, it reminds me often of that hunt. It is the one all the way on the right. Not the biggest bull, but in all my years of elk hunting, the hardest one to put there.

Hope all enjoyed this an learned a little.


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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Jhg » 01 02, 2023 •  [Post 21]

Vince, this is exactly why we wanted you to share your elk history. What a wonderful adventure. I was right there on edge the whole time. And you look like you are not even old enough to shave in those photos!!.
Thank you for starting Tales from the Past.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Swede » 01 02, 2023 •  [Post 22]

Thanks for sharing, Vince. I especially appreciate the old hunts from years gone by. The hunts of this time are as great as those back then, but the old stories remind me of my youth and hunting with my dad and brother. in the prime of life.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby 7mmfan » 01 02, 2023 •  [Post 23]

The story is amazing. I love these kinds of narratives. The addition of the photos really sets the stage and brings us right to the spot there with you. Thank you so much for bringing us all along with you, I hope there is lots more to share.
I hunt therefore I am. I fish therefore I lie.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 01 02, 2023 •  [Post 24]

Swede wrote:Thanks for sharing, Vince. I especially appreciate the old hunts from years gone by. The hunts of this time are as great as those back then, but the old stories remind me of my youth and hunting with my dad and brother. in the prime of life.


I will have one hunt with me and my brother in the future .We hunted together for about 15 years .He passed away about 3 weeks ago.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Swede » 01 02, 2023 •  [Post 25]

My brother still goes to camp with me. I enjoy sharing hunting camp with him and even though he does not hunt anymore our time is precious together. I do not know what the Lord has in store for either of us, but there is not much this side of heaven that exceeds the pleasure of a good hunting camp.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Tigger » 01 03, 2023 •  [Post 26]

Fantastic story Vince! How could you possibly remember that you fried the bacon extra crispy! Those types of details that we remember from long ago just amaze me. I bet if you tried, you could still remember how that bacon tasted!

I am not real happy with Will and Marty for making you do all the work.
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 01 03, 2023 •  [Post 27]

Tigger wrote:Fantastic story Vince! How could you possibly remember that you fried the bacon extra crispy! Those types of details that we remember from long ago just amaze me. I bet if you tried, you could still remember how that bacon tasted!.


The older I get the more small details I remember, it is the day to day things that slip my mind
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Billy Goat » 01 05, 2023 •  [Post 28]

best thread ever on WT?
"First teach a child to love God,
teach them second to love their family
and third, teach them to hunt and fish,
and by the time they reach their teens, no dope peddler under the sun will ever teach them anything".

-Cotton Cordell
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby saddlesore » 01 06, 2023 •  [Post 29]

Deleted
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Re: Tales from the Past

Postby Old school » 01 19, 2023 •  [Post 30]

Great story Vince. Wish we would’ve been able to go on that Colorado elk hunt a couple years ago. Would’ve been an adventure for sure.

We are all waiting for story #2. :-)
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Re: First Elk Hunt

Postby Lefty » 04 23, 2023 •  [Post 31]

A ngreat read,

took me a while to read the your takes from the past ,,, but some were read 3 times :lol:
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Re: First Elk Hunt

Postby VT Sasquatch » 08 25, 2023 •  [Post 32]

This is great. I posted a couple years ago that I wished SaddleSore was my uncle so I could hear all of his stories. This is the next best thing.
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