In Colorado, you can purchase over the counter tags for areas that aren't limited license units. So, if you don't draw for a specific unit there are usually other available areas to hunt. Thank goodness! I would have serious hunting withdrawals if we couldn't hunt elk at all. It is interesting that none of the people I know drew their areas this fall. I guess it is just the way things go sometimes.
Since we were unsuccessful in our normal limited draw unit for elk this year, it was more important then ever to head to the mountains to do a little scouting, get our minds prepared for the upcoming hunt, and discover what the elk are up to, e.g., are they bugling yet? So last weekend, we hiked up to 12,000 vertical feet and found some good sign (elk tracks, freshly raked pines, and the evidence of velvet scraped off an itching bull's antler just days prior to us standing there). The hike was a bit tough, but oh so rewarding. Upon cresting the top of the "hill", the mountain scene before my eyes made me want to burst forth in song - and I don't sing. It was absolutely breathtaking. I had left my camera at camp this day, but we will be back soon. I'll be sure to not make that mistake again and take multiple pictures from the top.
We also discovered that the aspen are already beginning to turn just slightly, so it may be an indication of an early fall which may just cause the elk to bugle a little earlier than usual. We shall see. I'm ready to make some noise up in the mountains talking with the elk.
It was a great weekend of getting familiar with our "new" area. The camper is cleaned. Hunting clothes are being rewashed. Tomorrow night, the camper will be packed up. Come Saturday morning, we will be ready. I've got my mountain goat legs ready for the adventures awaiting us.
Al spotted this Horny Toad. Good job, Al. Now spot some elk!