How To Find And Harvest Elk In Todays Woods
By Aram von Benedikt
I sat at the edge of one of my favorite high-country elk meadows, watching the rising sun of opening day touch the aspen and fir trees with golden light. It was a beautiful morning, in a spectacular place, but my day turned bitter in a hurry. I’d hunted this meadow for years and found my share of elk there, but this opening day all I found were other hunters. In an hour I watched no less than ten hunters stumble, bumble, or sneak their way through my meadow.
Kayla Schoppmann finds victory in a big bull!
BY KAYLA SCHOPPMANN
The day I received the news for elk hunting in Indian Peaks was such a great experience. I remember it clearly; I had received an envelope and email telling me that I was successful for the hunt. I couldn’t believe that I was going to have the chance to FINALLY go elk hunting, and out of all the places, Indian Peaks. That night I went to dinner with my parents and surprised my dad with the big news. He was so surprised to hear the news and couldn’t believe what I was telling him. He honestly thought I was joking around, until I showed him the proof. We were all so excited by this news that we started planning our hunt right away. September couldn’t come soon enough.
We had done some scouting beforehand to make sure we knew what we were in for, and also to be prepared to find that HUGE elk we wanted to get. My dad had talked to some local guys who knew the area well, and had asked for their opinions and help on how to go about this hunt. This information helped us out greatly. I had also done a lot of practice shooting beforehand to make sure I would be able to take this massive animal down. My dad had showed me where I needed to aim on the elk and to be able to be prepared for what was to come. I had practiced shooting a lot, from 100-300 yard distances. This was getting me even more excited for my hunt. As September approached, we all were so excited for this journey and opportunity—to hunt in one of the best areas for elk.
I started packing the day before we had to leave and it started to really sink in. I was getting a bit anxious and very excited for what was to come. I was still in shock that I was going elk hunting and able to have this amazing opportunity in my lap. My younger sister, Bailee, had told me she was coming along with us, and that made me more excited. I was so happy that she was coming and sharing this journey along with me. It’s always great to have your family there supporting you. I think both my dad and I didn’t get much sleep the night before!
We had our trailer and bags packed; we left early the next day—ready to get this hunt started. Luckily the drive wasn’t too long and were able to get everything set up before dark. My sister and my dad’s friend met us out there shortly after. We had a pow-wow that night planning the hunt for the next day, and how to go about it. We knew we had to be up bright and early, so we headed to bed early that night.
I love elk, elk hunting and anything there is to do with elk. I am an elk junkie through and through. There is nothing quite like hunting these four-legged, massively racked creatures. When the taste, smell, and sounds of autumn hit the high mountains, I know it is elk season. Mud flying, nostrils flaring, bugles roaring, horns racking, cows chirping, and antlers locking mean only one thing...get your gun.
Over the term of my guiding career, my hunters and I have been very fortunate to be a part of some giant bulls hitting the dirt. Team Mossback has put close to 100 – over 400” bulls on the wall. One of those is the world record “Spider Bull” taken by Denny Austed in central Utah in 2008. The bull scored an inch shy of 500”, which still is mind-boggling to me. With my obsession of the wapiti over the years I have learned a few things that help me and my team be successful.