Preparing for and Enjoying High Mountain Hunts

Make the Most of Your Hunting Trips

When you’re hunting, you look at the outdoors differently than when you’re not. Your senses become keener; Your eyes see things that you wouldn’t notice every day; You pick up sounds you’d not ordinarily hear; You smell scents that would otherwise mean nothing. Tuning into nature is an amazing part of the hunt where we find connections to ourselves and the outdoors.

Get In Shape for High-Mountain Hunts

This season, our cousin came to Colorado for his second time to try his hand at bagging an elk. As with all hunters, we let him know that he needed to start by getting in shape for the hunt and that he needed to sight in his rifle.

Get in shape — You will be hiking in steep terrain, up and down over obstacles.

Arrive Early to Acclimate

When you plan to hunt out west, and you’re from lower elevations, it’s helpful to arrive a couple of days early to allow yourself time to acclimate. Our cousin did that but still had trouble with the altitude (we live at 7,000′ and hunted up to 9,000′). He experienced shortness of breath, tightness in his chest, and an all-around difficulty traversing short distances at the cabin.

We decided we’d have to use the horses for transporting our cousin to various hunting locations — spot-and-stalk hunting would be nixed, thus decreasing the odds for his success. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. — Always have determination.

Our stout, black horse, Larry carried the cousin to our fist hunting proximity. We’d tie the horses up, then mosey over a knoll to a meadow where the cousin would keep an eye out for elk in one direction. I’d hike to another draw to look for a mule deer buck.

Alas, the cousin’s legs weren’t doing their part. He couldn’t make the hike up the hill. He decided to sit, overlooking an aspen grove, in hopes that a bull elk would happen along. Although the aspens are gorgeous this time of year, hunting like this in our area is no way to bag a bull. We needed a better plan for the next day as no hiking would be happening. We also needed a safe, healthy, happy hunter.

Enjoy the Majestic Beauty of the Mountains

I hoped that the cousin would be able to enjoy himself, notice the gorgeous mountains, ogle the golden aspen leaves, explore the nearby area, and get his animal too. We planned the simplest of hunting locations that would have the best chance of producing elk, without stalking or hiking. However, it did require a 20-minute horseback ride and some long, cold sits.


Be Safe!

Getting in shape is imperative for a high country hunt in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Altitude sickness is a real thing. Acclimating to the thin air is a must. Having the appropriate gear is essential. Being ill-prepared when you’re hunting in the mountains can be a matter of life and death. Be safe out there!

In between managing the health, happiness, and safety of the cousin, I managed to squeeze in a few expeditions, looking for a mule deer buck.

Know When to Throw In the Towel

I enjoyed every minute of the second rifle season in Colorado. I love being outdoors, discovering, spying, tracking, and exploring. In the end, for his safety, the cousin left a bit early. I regrouped and took a shot at a last-chance hunt, ultimately tagging a buck on the last day.

Count Your Blessings

My husband jokes that I like to wait until the last hour of the last day to fill my hunting tags. In a way, he may be right. I savor my time in the outdoors, especially when I’m hunting.

I am blessed to live this life and relish every moment in the outdoors because others cannot. Thank you, Lord, for my health, family, freedoms, and the life you allow me to live.

Get in shape, get outdoors, get healthy!

Preparation, patience, persistence will get the job done.

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