What A Trooper

One of my favorite things is how excited a hunting client gets when he puts meat in the freezer. Here is a story from a few years ago that is one of my favorites!

We took my friend’s 83 year old grandfather hunting for his private land cow elk. Each year we think that it may be his last hunt because of his age and of course his health. This year was no different.

The thermometer read -18 degrees when we headed out to search for an elk for grandpa.  We spotted a small herd over a ridge.  After a very short uphill hike and a whole lot of huffing and puffing and stops to catch his breath grandpa got into position for a shot.  Unfortunately, his shot missed its mark.  The hike was a lot for him.  He just was not able to catch his breath to get steadied enough. He was pretty upset about his miss and quietly walked back down the hill to the pick-up.  We headed home for dinner and put him under the electric blanket to rest.

The second morning it was -23 on the thermometer. We were up early and grandpa was ready to hunt again. Grandpa was sore from the previous day and he told us he was worn out. He didn’t think he could do another hike like the previous day so we took him to a location that had easier access. Today the girls just were not co-operating. They were on the wrong side of the fence. We could not set grandpa out to wait for them to come to the property. It was simply too cold. We headed home for the day. 

On our third and last day we got up early and took grandpa for his “last chance” cow elk hunt. That morning the temperature warmed up a little for us.  It was -12 when we left the house! We headed to the same piece of property and the same herd was still on the wrong side of the fence. Grandpa was getting very discouraged. He wanted to fill his freezer. the cold temperatures were very hard for him. He was beating himself up for missing the first morning and for not being able to hike around as good as he once could.  Fortunately we received a call and it was a land owner who said he had spotted a herd of cows. 

There was a potential problem with this property. All the meadows were a long way from the house with rolling hills in between.  We stopped and hooked up the snowmobile trailer on the way.  When we arrived we loaded a bundled up grandpa on back of the snowmobile and headed up the deep snow-covered valley. We stopped over a hill hoping we had not scared the animals away and then walked to the top to peer over.

Sure enough, there was a small heard of cow elk!  

Excitement began. We unloaded grandpa and he slowly hiked across the meadow and up a hill. He breathed and sighted in on a cow. I saw some hesitation in his eye.  He was worried about another miss. Then he took a deep breath. There was a shot and hit!!! Grandpa stood there, trembling with excitement. It was the GREATEST thing to see the smile on that man’s face! Hunts like grandpa’s are a lot of work but definitely rewarding. Not only to him but also to his guide! 

Many of us take it for granted a lot of the hiking, hunting and climbing we do. If we want to stalk an animal, we just do it. 83 years old, successful and happy as can be! Always remember to be thankful for everything you have, health, happiness and the ability to hunt!



The smile says it all! Grandpa is proud to put meat in the freezer!

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From a mountain top I am connected to all things

Colorado Big Horn Sheep

Time to catch up. I’ve been up on top of the world for quite a few days. It’s a place I love. If you’ve been “On top of the world” you know what it feels like to be so close to the Heaven’s.

Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell
There is something very spiritual about the mountain top experience … and it’s not less oxygen!

Looking out over the wide vistas, and climbing above the clouds, forces us to consider the bigger questions. It strips away the cares and concerns of the little people in the mundane world below and helps us contemplate the bigger picture. There can be an exaltation, like that of being strongly moved by certain passages of music, in such places. Sometimes there is a closeness to those who have gone before, which can be very emotional, but the magnitude and beauty tends to drive out sorrow with reassurance. It speaks a language we can’t articulate, using symbols to communicate with the higher consciousness – and this expansion of consciousness is something we need to hang on to when we return to the daily routine. When starved of spirituality in the material world, if we can recall that mountain-top experience, we have a life-line to the Divine.

“Prayer is the uplifting of the soul to God” – Saint Nilus the Elder (d.430), On Prayer.

It is my goal to share with others. Now, I am happy to share some of the awesomeness of the outdoors. Enjoy….

Get outside. Explore, learn, hunt, fish, shoot, connect with nature. ~Mia

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Surreal Defined – An Elk Hunt Adventure

Tomorrow is the deadline to submit for the big game hunt draw in Colorado. Have you applied yet?

I have not had the mind to write fresh adventures lately so I wanted to share another story from years past. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you have, or someday have, an amazing elk story of your own.

We came to a small clearing and tried to get through quickly so we could stay out of sight. Suddenly a cow jumped through directly in front of us.  I froze.  She was followed by a nice 5×5 bull that was obviously pushing that cow.  

I whispered to Hank, “Should I?  Should I?”  He said to wait. That is when I saw movement directly to my right. Something was coming. I spun around to see.

He charged in from the side of the meadow. We turned, and there he was. I was standing in the middle of the clearing with no cover. Hank whispered “don’t move!”  I stood there, 20 feet from him trembling. I was so excited, nervous and scared! We looked each other in the eye, him glaring fiercely at me. I could see his nostrils flaring as he took deep breaths and cleared his nostrils trying to smell me and figure out what I was.

My gun was up and ready but my scope was turned up from the day before. I stood there staring at him. Hank whispered “SHOOT HIM!” I tried to talk & couldn’t. Then I whispered back, “I CAN’T SEE!” All in one motion, Hank reached over, dialed my scope all the way down and jumped to the side, ready to run before that angry bull ran him over. I stood there holding my rifle up, and my arms shook. I tried to brace myself, and steadied my arms. Then my legs shook!  The voice inside my head, “Steady, steady!!!”  I looked through my scope and then down the barrel. I finally found the spot.

Then… a deep breath and a shot!  

All that, in a matter of moments!  

Once we knew I was safe, I manage to unfreeze, and look at my harvest. He was a fighter. He broke off on his right side, just above his G3.  He also had broken eye guards. He even has a hole in his skull where he had been… gored by another bull?! WOW!  Bet he got that battle wound when he broke his that right side.  What a tough one, and to think, I stood there, just 20 feet in front of him, staring him down.  Surreal!!!Women bull elk hunt


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Hunting – Colorado Elk Hunting Success | Mia’s Motivations

Wolf Creek Outfitters, Inc. Elk hunt, bear hunt, mule deer hunt, turkey hunt, ColoradoThe big game application deadline is drawing near for Colorado. If you plan to hunt this fall and have not already, you need to get your hunt codes together and submit your application. If you need assistance with hunt codes, contact us immediately. ~Mia Anstine, Wolf Creek Outfitters, Inc.

A story of success: Successful Elk Hunt

The first Saturday of the hunt we only saw three or four cow elk where we hunted.  We never saw or heard a bull elk. We decided to go to a different area the next day.  We rode horses for about 12 hours that day. We rode through the brush, the creeks and up the steepest mountains.  We finally heard a bull!  We dismounted quickly and quietly and weren’t even 25 feet from the horses when not one but two bulls jumped us!  It was completely unexpected by them and us.  The second I saw them I raised my rifle but they were gone in a flash. I didn’t get a shot. We continued on that day and saw three more bulls but nothing I could get a shot on. They were all in the thick, thick timber and hard to spot. We sat and listened as the bulls bugled and chuckled until dark. No elk were answering to calls and none seemed to even be moving. The ground was hard, leaves crunchy and stalking would be difficult. That first weekend gave me nothing, but I was still pumped for the next weekend to come.

The next weekend we woke up at 2:30 in the morning. We ate a light breakfast, drank our coffee and saddled the horses. We headed up to the trail head in the dark. I knew it would be cold. As we rode, I took note that I had three layers and was still chilled. We rode for three hours to an area where we had seen elk the weekend before. We stopped and waited at the edge of a meadow for daylight to come.

I stood there and shivered. My toes were cold in my 1000 gram Thinsulate boots and my fingers were frozen in my gloves.  We remained quiet and watched and listened as full light came.  We saw nothing. We heard nothing.

As the sun rose, we warmed up a little.  We began our hike in search of elk. We jumped about five cows and then tried to quietly look for a bull. The snow was frozen and crunchy. We crossed fresh elk tracks, coyote tracks and bear tracks but never did see a bull.  We made a large loop and finally came back around to our horses. We mounted and hunted our way out.   We found game trails in the snow from large elk herds on our way out. We were pumped! We studied the area and made a plan for tomorrow’s hunt.

We arrived back at the truck at 3:30 in the afternoon to see the temperature was barely 39 degrees. Back to base we headed to warm up from the day, relax and get a good night sleep. Tomorrow would be the last day and another early one.

Last day of season, and I hadn’t even gotten to see a bull through my scope yet.

We woke up at three in the morning, saddled and headed to the trail head. Today I had on an additional layer of everything. I knew it would be a long day. I was going to get something today, or at least stay out until shooting light was gone trying. The extra layers did the trick. It was still cold, but I wasn’t shivering!

We headed to the area we knew the large herd of elk had been.  We were set up before light and were ready.  We saw four cows, and then later we saw six cows, crossing through the thick timber. Never saw a bull and never heard a sound.  The elk still weren’t talking. We waited there as long as we could and then started our hike, looking for a bull. We found plenty of fresh sign, but in this snow, we could not stalk quiet enough. Today we were at least warm from the hike, but I knew it was frigid out because of the icicles that had formed on my eyelashes. We pushed on and found another good spot. We sat to wait.

We could hear the elk walking over the ridges and up the hills. We stalked; moving in very short spurts, stopping and standing, moving again. We crossed our tracks from the day before, and right across those tracks were the fresh tracks of a mountain lion.

Fresh mountain lion track.

Obviously we weren’t the only ones hunting today. These elk were getting a lot of pressure. We headed to a meadow we knew of to have lunch and make a plan for the rest of the day. At the bottom of the meadow, we came across a fresh elk rub.  There were pine needles and elk urine everywhere. This bull was mad. Still, there was never a bugle or cow call the whole morning.

We stopped to eat lunch and I consulted with my guide.  He asked my opinion and we debated on what to do.  He gave me two choices of meadows to set and wait until dark. The snow just wasn’t going to let us spot and stalk anything. We were going to have to play the odds and go with LUCK.

We decided on another area. We packed it up, hiked for a couple hours back to the horses and rode out of there.

Despite the cold (it was 38 degrees today when we got to the truck) we were soaking wet from hiking and riding by the time we got back to the truck. We decided to stop at base and change into dry gear. We didn’t want to get chilled waiting until dark in wet clothes.

After that, we rode up the trail to go get me my bull!

Sure enough we saw a bull. We stalked up through the trees.

He was in the middle of the clearing waiting for me. My guide verified he was legal, suggested the spot and BAM! There he was. The last minutes of the last day! After hiking, riding, freezing and waking up before the roosters, we found him. It was hard work, but it paid off! There is nothing more rewarding than an elk hunt!Colorado Elk Hunt

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