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First Elk
December 8, 2013
9:21 am
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I thought I’d posted this here before but could not find it, so here’s a story. Back in the mid-1970s I was living in Carbondale, CO. I’ve always loved Winchester lever guns but could never afford what I wanted. I was just a young teen. I used a Remington 700. One day I broke down and bought a cheep, post 64 Winchester 30-30 at a pawn shop. I think I paid about $100.00 for it. The fore end was held on with duct tape and it looked like it had been abused. But again, it was cheap. And, importantly to me, it *looked* like a Winchester.

I’d hunted deer before but I always thought elk were for rich people. When headed up to Basalt Mountain for deer, my sister told me to get an elk tag. I had my doubts but she paid for the license, so . . .

I went up in a two wheel drive 1967 Ford Falcon station wagon and passed many a four wheel drive, trying to get myself as high and away from others as I could. People thought I was nuts getting up on some of those roads, often using speed where traction would not work.

Anyway, I parked and hiked about twenty yards up a draw on the side of the mountain just as the sun started to tinge the sky. World War III broke out in a meadow about a klick below me. It was depressing to hear that, and to glass all the little orange dots all over the mountains for miles as the sun started to light things up. On the other hand, it was nice to be above all that.

I sat down to plan a course of action in my search for deer. Well, I started to hear breaking brush and lots of noise coming up the mountain toward me. Just then a five point, rag horn bull topped the edge of my little draw and then walked into the bottom, just standing there, broad side, 30 feet away. I shot him through the spine between his shoulders and head and he dropped immediately.

I started to gut, skin and quarter him and noticed some blood near his haunch. He’d been hit that morning and I found the round. It was a non-lethal wound in the meat of his upper hind-quarter and the bullet was .22 caliber. Must have been a 22-250 or some such.

I was still working on the bull about an hour later when some men showed up and claimed the bull. I told them it was my bull and showed them the bullet I had found and shamed whoever shot it. They didn’t want to take credit for that and slunk off into the woods.

I was so happy that I tore down off that mountain to get some help from my sister’s friends and ended up ripping the bottom out of that station wagon early on, coasting most of the way into the town of Basalt. It was totaled but gravity got me down to town.

When I got back I had a cub bear on the gut pile. As I approached him with a piece of meat, he climbed a small tree about seven feet up. I handed him the meat and he couldn’t both hold on to the tree and take the meat so he tumbled to the ground having opted for the meat. He spent the rest of the time chowing down as I worked on the elk and kept an eye out for mom.

I still have the hide (hair on) and the rack, but I’ve lost the Winchester somewhere along the way.

Anyway, after that, I always hunted muzzle loader and stick bow just to avoid the people; though I do shoot wounded deer on the highway by my place with my 1886 45-70 all the time. I’ve probably shot twenty deer with that.

Here’s the Winchester bull, followed by another that was killed with a .54 Cal. cap and ball Great Plains rifle.

winchester.jpgImage Enlarger

08-04-05003.jpgImage Enlarger

December 8, 2013
11:37 am
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Enjoyed the account and the photos. That is a beautiful mounted head on your wall.

December 8, 2013
10:54 pm
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Kid, That hats to Big LOL

great story

December 9, 2013
7:23 am
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All hat and no cattle back then. Laugh

Thanks Win38-55. That was 27 yards with a round ball over 110 grains with that Lyman Great Plains rifle below him. Took nine days to pack him all out on my back, Comanche Peaks Wilderness. Luckily the weather was cool.

December 9, 2013
9:26 am
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Nine days! At least you wouldn’t have to hang the meat when you finally got out.

December 9, 2013
1:10 pm
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That’s a great story and a great picture to have…big hat, no cattle and all!

Brad

Regards

Brad Dunbar

http://1895book.com/

December 9, 2013
3:33 pm
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great story. Too bad the gun is gone…hope you still have the elk rack….and the hat.

July 4, 2014
8:02 am
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Really like that story. Congratulations on both. DT

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