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After 6 months of planning, my friend and packed up and left upstate NY for a 7 day, 6 night backcountry elk hunt in Colorado. We planned (and executed) on spending the entire time, self-supported with only what we could carry on our backs. We debated on taking his Subaru outback due better fuel mileage, ride quality, and cargo space. After considering the terrain and limits of the p-metric tires, we decided on taking the xterra and accepting the hit of the mpg. Overall, this ended up being the correct choice. the 12 miles of "trail" into the basecamp/trailhead was steep, full of sharp, shale rock, and featured many switchbacks with dangerous drop-offs. on the route in, i even aired down to 20 psi

Prep included an oil change, rotating tires and a general inspection once on a lift. Overall, the xterra achieved its career high at 16.6 mpg for the trip and didn't skip a beat. This was accomplished despite high speed highway driving, mountain passes, 4-Low, and some areas at 10,000 ft+ elevation

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
s $70. The shackles were sold to me missing most of the hardware and sleeves, so I tracked down a metal supply warehouse and replaced it all with custom sleeves and grade 8 hardware. Everything fits like a glove now.
I've never been elk hunting before but I really don't think that rod is going to work.

J/K looks like a blast! Nice pictures!
When all else fails after getting stormed out for two days, we learned every little stream is full of brookies.
Where are the pics of the elk?
No pictures equals skunked 🤣🤣🤣 Hopefully you did get something and even better memories.
We hunted Colorado's 10 day muzzleloader season that is smack day in the middle of archery season (and supposedly the rut). Colorado requires the muzzleoaders to utilize open sights (no optics) and no pelleted powder.
It was hard hunting (in a good way). Both our first time elk hunting, let alone backcountry/backpack hunting for a week straight. We learned alot and had a ton of success (aside from the actual harvest unfortunately). We hunted, camped, and overall lived in the heat (75), cold (25 at night), and wet (uncharacteristically received 2" of rain). The hot days kept the rut from starting and the elk from moving at all during light. we hiked several peaks to 11,000 ft, learned how to glass, successfully spotted/located a bull and got a "conversation" going with him, learned to work wind and thermals, setting up bear bag lines, stalks on animals, etc. If it was mule deer season, we would have left the woods, packed out with meat, on day 2. There was so few elk around that we began "practicing" stalks on mule deer to do some skill building. We covered some serious miles. We went high (11,000ft), we went low (8,500ft). Overall we covered some serious miles on foot over terrain MUCH steeper and rugged with thick, dark timber and more deadfall than we could have imagined. The satellite images and topo lines did not do it justice for how physically difficult it would be. overall, we saw over two dozen mule deer, all shoot-able. We saw four elk. one bull we glassed from almost 2 miles away and laid a stalk on the next day. we successfully called him within a couple hundred yards but he wouldn't come across the valley face from us for a shot. The wind direction kept us from going in directly after him. He was never to be seen from or heard from again.
On the second to last day we bumped three cows that were bedded in a heavy spruce thicket. they jumped up and trotted off. We never had a clear, ethical shot and they didn't every fully expose a shot that wasn't through heavy timber. It was very close at 20 yards and we could have taken a shot but overall, we were more happy that we didn't.

It's all about the journey! You can fill the freezer with meat from the store.
I have multiple deer seasons in NY to hunt and fill. Last year I completely substituted venison for my previous beef purchases.
Awesome
Colorado is the place for variety.
I am a fridge lover now, back in my cooler days I would freeze a gallon jug or 2. Even now I freeze them to have the fridge have an easier time.
I bought my iceco during the prime day sale. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the rear 12v socket can fully run the fridge and it keeps cool overnight with fridge off. Huge winner.
 

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When all else fails after getting stormed out for two days, we learned every little stream is full of brookies.


We hunted Colorado's 10 day muzzleloader season that is smack day in the middle of archery season (and supposedly the rut). Colorado requires the muzzleoaders to utilize open sights (no optics) and no pelleted powder.
It was hard hunting (in a good way). Both our first time elk hunting, let alone backcountry/backpack hunting for a week straight. We learned alot and had a ton of success (aside from the actual harvest unfortunately). We hunted, camped, and overall lived in the heat (75), cold (25 at night), and wet (uncharacteristically received 2" of rain). The hot days kept the rut from starting and the elk from moving at all during light. we hiked several peaks to 11,000 ft, learned how to glass, successfully spotted/located a bull and got a "conversation" going with him, learned to work wind and thermals, setting up bear bag lines, stalks on animals, etc. If it was mule deer season, we would have left the woods, packed out with meat, on day 2. There was so few elk around that we began "practicing" stalks on mule deer to do some skill building. We covered some serious miles. We went high (11,000ft), we went low (8,500ft). Overall we covered some serious miles on foot over terrain MUCH steeper and rugged with thick, dark timber and more deadfall than we could have imagined. The satellite images and topo lines did not do it justice for how physically difficult it would be. overall, we saw over two dozen mule deer, all shoot-able. We saw four elk. one bull we glassed from almost 2 miles away and laid a stalk on the next day. we successfully called him within a couple hundred yards but he wouldn't come across the valley face from us for a shot. The wind direction kept us from going in directly after him. He was never to be seen from or heard from again.
On the second to last day we bumped three cows that were bedded in a heavy spruce thicket. they jumped up and trotted off. We never had a clear, ethical shot and they didn't every fully expose a shot that wasn't through heavy timber. It was very close at 20 yards and we could have taken a shot but overall, we were more happy that we didn't.


I have multiple deer seasons in NY to hunt and fill. Last year I completely substituted venison for my previous beef purchases.

I bought my iceco during the prime day sale. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the rear 12v socket can fully run the fridge and it keeps cool overnight with fridge off. Huge winner.
Elk hunting in Colorado can be a bitch. I've had 5 day hunts where there were 5 days of seeing absolutely nothing, then seeing a herd of 100+ the day after the season ends while driving home. Big game animals seem to have a calendar and definitely know when they are being pressured. Other seasons I've come across herds of 30+ at 8 am on opening day.

There are so many variables with elk, that's what makes it fun. My first year ever hunting I got 1 pronghorn, 1 buck muley, 3 whitetails and split a cow elk with my hunting buddy. The next 3 years - skunked. The 4th year, we got 3 elk within an hour of daybreak on opening day.

But, every year is a blast and one of the things I look forward to more than anything. The year we got 3 elk at daybreak, we buried the side-by-side in a snow drift about 5 miles from camp, just after field dressing and quartering all 3 elk. We had elk quarters hanging off every corner of that side-by-side. Took us about 10 hours of digging, pushing and winching before we finally got back to camp at around 1 am. It was miserable, but one of our favorite hunting stories of all time - by far.

Sometimes those moments that absolutely suck the most, make for the best memories.

Hope to see you back next year...
 

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There are so many variables with elk, that's what makes it fun. My first year ever hunting I got 1 pronghorn, 1 buck muley, 3 whitetails and split a cow elk with my hunting buddy. The next 3 years - skunked. The 4th year, we got 3 elk within an hour of daybreak on opening day.
Heck of a first year! How many deer tags can one get in Colorado?
 

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Typically one, sometimes 2 if you can get an A and a B tag. I got my pronghorn, buck and the elk in Colorado, the whitetails were actually in Oklahoma where you get 3 tags (two does and a buck).
That makes sense, I assumed all the deer were in Colorado.
Still surprising that you get 3 tags for Oklahoma. Are they small and overpopulated there?
 

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That makes sense, I assumed all the deer were in Colorado.
Still surprising that you get 3 tags for Oklahoma. Are they small and overpopulated there?
Yes they have so many they will only give you a buck tag along with 2 does. Took us both 1 day to fill all 6 tags, lol. Takes the sport out of it but it fills the freezer.
 
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