Scattered Success: Good news from elk camp comes in brief messages

Good news from elk camp comes in brief messages

Bridgette Chadd of Grand Junction poses with the big 5x5 elk she harvested on Saturday, opening morning of the five-day limited elk season. Chadd said she’s been hunting the area for 17 years and this year saw more elk than ever.

Marc Solari of Crested Butte packs out the trophy after a successful elk hunt near Crested Butte. Early season say hunters enjoyed scattered success in the opening days of the five-day limited elk season, which ends today.

With early elk hunters confronting generally mild weather, a full moon and fewer licenses available as elk herds near desired levels, the best news came in short messages.

Bridgette Chadd of Grand Junction said she harvested a 5x5 bull Saturday morning, completing a family grand slam after husband Keith and son Kolton each harvested a mule deer buck during archery season.

“We saw about 150 elk on this ranch on Friday but on opening morning they weren’t anywhere around,” said Bridgette Chadd, whose family has hunted the same area near Lake City for 17 years. “We saw more elk this year than I’ve seen up there, but this was the first one I had a shot at.”

Experience told her that passing up a sure shot might not lead to getting another chance.

“I think some people think they’ll wait until they see the really big one, but you don’t get chances like this all the time, so I took it,” she said. “We saw a really big bull the day before but couldn’t find him on Saturday. But this one is pretty nice. I’m really happy.”

And from Crested Butte, Mindy Sturm wrote that her friend Marc Solari continued his streak of archery-season elk.

“Marc got an elk during the archery season and then we helped him and a friend pack out another during the muzzleloader season,” Sturm wrote.

Photos shows Solari and friends packing out his 6x6 bull from the snow-free high country north of Gunnison, a reminder that the work really starts after the trigger is pulled.

Reports coming from Colorado Park and Wildlife officers around the Western Slope note overall hunter success was scattered, with some areas doing well and others a bit down from previous years.

Officers reported average to above average success in the upper Roaring Fork Valley with less success farther down valley.

“Harvest very low, however, in isolated spots hunters were getting elk,” said the terse report Monday from the Parks and Wildlife Area 8 office in Glenwood Springs.

Weather, meaning snow for tracking and to dampen the sound of footsteps in leaves crisp as potato chips, makes all the difference in success rates.

But snow and hunters are a tricky pairing, with some hunters happy and prepared to see the weather change and others ready to go home when the forecast turns to winter.

“The wet weather and threat of additional wet weather chased some hunters out of the woods early,” said a report from the area around Steamboat Springs, where you almost count on snow interrupting an October elk hunt.

Several higher areas received snow last weekend, which should help hunters in the first combined deer and elk season beginning Saturday and running through Oct. 30.


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