Archery Elk Hunt Trip Highlights

This is for anybody that missed my trip highlights as I recapped my Colorado elk hunt over social media. This trip was a milestone for me as a hunter and I definitely came out a better person when it was all said and done. The picture captions explain why. Enjoy!

  Trip Highlight #1  - Hunting at the highest elevation to date. Very rarely below 9k feet and often at 10-11k+ feet. Super cool except for the first few days with a burning chest! I’m a bit obsessed with being up high, from mountains to airplanes to skydiving - I like to be on top. The other extreme scares me to death...open water and caves are the opposite of fun to me. I’ll stick to this scene!

Trip Highlight #1 - Hunting at the highest elevation to date. Very rarely below 9k feet and often at 10-11k+ feet. Super cool except for the first few days with a burning chest! I’m a bit obsessed with being up high, from mountains to airplanes to skydiving - I like to be on top. The other extreme scares me to death...open water and caves are the opposite of fun to me. I’ll stick to this scene!

  Trip Highlight #2:  Complete disconnect from social world and most of the rest of the world. I didn’t even hear my husband’s voice for 3 weeks. That in particular isn’t a highlight, but I found clarity in jumbled thoughts and emotions. I was able to write 4 blogs with ease. I stripped away the excess and took it back to the basics of what hunting means to me...before social media. I needed to fill my tank again because it’s so easily drained by trivial things. I needed to light that fire again and not hear the opinions of others. I needed rest, if you can even call 3:30am wakeup calls rest ☺️ I needed it all, and I got it all. Thank you God.

Trip Highlight #2: Complete disconnect from social world and most of the rest of the world. I didn’t even hear my husband’s voice for 3 weeks. That in particular isn’t a highlight, but I found clarity in jumbled thoughts and emotions. I was able to write 4 blogs with ease. I stripped away the excess and took it back to the basics of what hunting means to me...before social media. I needed to fill my tank again because it’s so easily drained by trivial things. I needed to light that fire again and not hear the opinions of others. I needed rest, if you can even call 3:30am wakeup calls rest ☺️ I needed it all, and I got it all. Thank you God.

  Trip Highlight #3 : A fresh face with nobody to impress. Just a clean face and focused mind. This hunt coverage is probably the roughest y’all will ever see me. Makeup means ounces, ounces turn to pounds, and pounds turn to pain so I left it behind. How freeing!!

Trip Highlight #3: A fresh face with nobody to impress. Just a clean face and focused mind. This hunt coverage is probably the roughest y’all will ever see me. Makeup means ounces, ounces turn to pounds, and pounds turn to pain so I left it behind. How freeing!!

  Trip Highlight #4 : a 2+ hour stalk closing the gap to 85 yards on this 5x6. He started bugling and chuckling around 1:30pm & I went for it. I wish I would’ve got the video but every time he’d stop and bugle I’d drop my phone and get ready. He pushed a couple spikes toward me but would turn back around. I would’ve shot the spikes if they were legal - I had a 50-60 yard shot on both for awhile. This is as good as it got with him though because it was wide open between us. His cows ended up moving uphill and winded me. I’m super proud of this stalk given the number of eyes on me and the terrain. I heard him chuckle 1-2 times several other mornings but couldn’t pattern him well enough to make a move. Still learning a lot about these majestic animals.

Trip Highlight #4: a 2+ hour stalk closing the gap to 85 yards on this 5x6. He started bugling and chuckling around 1:30pm & I went for it.
I wish I would’ve got the video but every time he’d stop and bugle I’d drop my phone and get ready. He pushed a couple spikes toward me but would turn back around. I would’ve shot the spikes if they were legal - I had a 50-60 yard shot on both for awhile. This is as good as it got with him though because it was wide open between us. His cows ended up moving uphill and winded me.
I’m super proud of this stalk given the number of eyes on me and the terrain. I heard him chuckle 1-2 times several other mornings but couldn’t pattern him well enough to make a move. Still learning a lot about these majestic animals.

  Trip Highlight #5:  Washing my hair in a mountain stream. Water is so cleansing. It only happened once but it was awesome!! I brought itty bitty bottles of  @southernracksproducts  with me thinking it'd happen a couple more times but I'm not going to lie - hygiene was totally on the back burner. I didn't shower or wear deodorant for 3 weeks. So the real question...who wants to come hunt with me now? #Followherstank

Trip Highlight #5: Washing my hair in a mountain stream. Water is so cleansing. It only happened once but it was awesome!! I brought itty bitty bottles of @southernracksproducts with me thinking it'd happen a couple more times but I'm not going to lie - hygiene was totally on the back burner. I didn't shower or wear deodorant for 3 weeks. So the real question...who wants to come hunt with me now? #Followherstank

  Trip Highlight #6:  Seeing mule deer literally everywhere. I can’t recall seeing a mature mule deer in the past, and on this trip I saw two GIANTS (not referring to this guy) that I couldn’t get on film. They were absolutely incredible.

Trip Highlight #6: Seeing mule deer literally everywhere. I can’t recall seeing a mature mule deer in the past, and on this trip I saw two GIANTS (not referring to this guy) that I couldn’t get on film. They were absolutely incredible.

  Trip Highlight #7 : Witnessing the cycle of life, the cold hard truth about nature - something most of the world is very numb to. We saw a handful of dead mule deer fawns on our trip, including a mom that wouldn’t leave her baby’s side and another that was mostly gone after being drug under (& possibly up) a tree. Both will be posted to my IG story. Not going to lie, it sucks seeing it, but it doesn’t shock me anymore. I guess I’m a little numb to it too, but numb in the right ways.  So why is this a highlight? Because I am absolutely fascinated by predators. They’re incredible hunters and there should be a balance of everything. I have no desire to wipe out mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, wolves, etc - only manage them.  I’m also fully aware that the death I witnessed wasn’t 100% due to predators. With that being said, I’m thankful that even when they didn’t cause the death, they’re part of the reason that nothing is ever wasted. Long story short: there’s death with or without bowhunters around, and you’ve got to respect a human that chooses to hunt the same thing a predator does, for they are far more skilled than us.

Trip Highlight #7: Witnessing the cycle of life, the cold hard truth about nature - something most of the world is very numb to. We saw a handful of dead mule deer fawns on our trip, including a mom that wouldn’t leave her baby’s side and another that was mostly gone after being drug under (& possibly up) a tree. Both will be posted to my IG story. Not going to lie, it sucks seeing it, but it doesn’t shock me anymore. I guess I’m a little numb to it too, but numb in the right ways.

So why is this a highlight? Because I am absolutely fascinated by predators. They’re incredible hunters and there should be a balance of everything. I have no desire to wipe out mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, wolves, etc - only manage them.

I’m also fully aware that the death I witnessed wasn’t 100% due to predators. With that being said, I’m thankful that even when they didn’t cause the death, they’re part of the reason that nothing is ever wasted. Long story short: there’s death with or without bowhunters around, and you’ve got to respect a human that chooses to hunt the same thing a predator does, for they are far more skilled than us.

  Trip Highlight #8 : Mountain naps. Can I get an "Amentttt?" If you haven't experienced that deep sleep on top of a mountain, are you even living? Ha, just kidding, Kind of. I typically don't sleep well during the night, but afternoon naps (when I wasn't chasing bugles) was a must. Partly because 3:30am wakeup calls came quick and partly because I just don't get this back home. . Also, small unnecessary detail: I always try to find fresh elk pee, a bedding area, a scrape or something that wreaks of elk when I take a nap so that I'm killing two birds with one stone. Seems like I'm dreaming of that smell all year until September - all you elk hunters know what I'm talking about! Gotta soak it up - literally and figuratively. Just for clarification, I don't lay in the pee but I'll lay in their bed all day!

Trip Highlight #8: Mountain naps. Can I get an "Amentttt?" If you haven't experienced that deep sleep on top of a mountain, are you even living? Ha, just kidding, Kind of. I typically don't sleep well during the night, but afternoon naps (when I wasn't chasing bugles) was a must. Partly because 3:30am wakeup calls came quick and partly because I just don't get this back home.
.
Also, small unnecessary detail: I always try to find fresh elk pee, a bedding area, a scrape or something that wreaks of elk when I take a nap so that I'm killing two birds with one stone. Seems like I'm dreaming of that smell all year until September - all you elk hunters know what I'm talking about! Gotta soak it up - literally and figuratively. Just for clarification, I don't lay in the pee but I'll lay in their bed all day!

  Trip Highlight #9 : Simple comforts. Many things will humble you, but the mountains seem to humble me the most. Pair that with elk hunting and I’m really being tested. The highs and the lows are always fighting for attention, and I’m thankful to end long days like this - soaked head to toe with my supermarket feet by the fire. It’ll make you feel alive!

Trip Highlight #9: Simple comforts. Many things will humble you, but the mountains seem to humble me the most. Pair that with elk hunting and I’m really being tested. The highs and the lows are always fighting for attention, and I’m thankful to end long days like this - soaked head to toe with my supermarket feet by the fire. It’ll make you feel alive!

  Trip Highlight #10 : First grouse and LH harvest under my belt. I dang near chopped the head off! After the beating I gave my equipment on the mountain it was nice to know my setup was still dead on.  #TheAfflictorEffect  //  @afflictor

Trip Highlight #10: First grouse and LH harvest under my belt. I dang near chopped the head off! After the beating I gave my equipment on the mountain it was nice to know my setup was still dead on. #TheAfflictorEffect // @afflictor

  Trip Highlight #11 : Cooking over an open flame. Such a gratifying moment for all hunters, especially when it’s within hours of going grocery shopping. I was happy with jet boil meals for 3 weeks and I really mean that - I’m not a picky eater at all. But this was a nice break from processed foods. The meat practically melted in my mouth. No seasoning, just fresh tender meat. My mouth waters thinking about it!

Trip Highlight #11: Cooking over an open flame. Such a gratifying moment for all hunters, especially when it’s within hours of going grocery shopping. I was happy with jet boil meals for 3 weeks and I really mean that - I’m not a picky eater at all. But this was a nice break from processed foods. The meat practically melted in my mouth. No seasoning, just fresh tender meat. My mouth waters thinking about it!

  Trip Highlight #12 : Meeting followers. This is Anthony from California and he had such an excited attitude about being way back in the wilderness and crossing paths with us. People with good energy deserve recognition and this is one of them. I met several others on the trail and they were always friendly and positive, even when many didn’t see a single elk on their trip. There’s a common denominator between us all - a love for the outdoors. Never forget that!

Trip Highlight #12: Meeting followers. This is Anthony from California and he had such an excited attitude about being way back in the wilderness and crossing paths with us. People with good energy deserve recognition and this is one of them. I met several others on the trail and they were always friendly and positive, even when many didn’t see a single elk on their trip. There’s a common denominator between us all - a love for the outdoors. Never forget that!

  Trip Highlight #13 : Calling in my first bull. A couple months ago I put a diaphragm in my mouth and started practicing every day. I never expected to actually use it on the hunt for fear of screwing up. Then I kept noticing this pattern, how fear was keeping me from moving forward which is really dumb but something we all deal with. With the hunt coming to an end and so many prior blown opportunities, I figured I had nothing to lose. I bugled back and forth with this bull for almost 10 minutes and got him to commit, but he came in quiet. My mistake was setting up in thick stuff instead of getting in front and keeping my shooting lanes open, which happened to be a meadow that I saw him pushing cows through earlier. When I stepped out from behind the trees, he had me pegged. He was beautiful with dreamy eye guards and a wide frame. Lesson learned.  This was a really big moment for me and he happened to be the biggest bull I’d seen until this point. So cool. I will never forget this feeling, especially after a morning of frustrations (see IG story for today’s episode of “Jessica is discouraged”). The day quickly turned around which is where this moment came in. PSA: Bowhunting will make you feel bipolar and emotionally unstable because of how quickly things can change!  Also, can anybody guess how many times I said “freaking” in this video? I’m cracking up. I was so pumped!!! And sorry for the dried snot again

Trip Highlight #13: Calling in my first bull. A couple months ago I put a diaphragm in my mouth and started practicing every day. I never expected to actually use it on the hunt for fear of screwing up. Then I kept noticing this pattern, how fear was keeping me from moving forward which is really dumb but something we all deal with. With the hunt coming to an end and so many prior blown opportunities, I figured I had nothing to lose. I bugled back and forth with this bull for almost 10 minutes and got him to commit, but he came in quiet. My mistake was setting up in thick stuff instead of getting in front and keeping my shooting lanes open, which happened to be a meadow that I saw him pushing cows through earlier. When I stepped out from behind the trees, he had me pegged. He was beautiful with dreamy eye guards and a wide frame. Lesson learned.

This was a really big moment for me and he happened to be the biggest bull I’d seen until this point. So cool. I will never forget this feeling, especially after a morning of frustrations (see IG story for today’s episode of “Jessica is discouraged”). The day quickly turned around which is where this moment came in. PSA: Bowhunting will make you feel bipolar and emotionally unstable because of how quickly things can change!

Also, can anybody guess how many times I said “freaking” in this video? I’m cracking up. I was so pumped!!! And sorry for the dried snot again

  Trip Highlight #14:  finding joy in what would be considered inconvenient back home. We were clearing paths for horses, gathering wood every night, filtering water, trying to keep moisture out of our shelter, building fires, grazing horses, etc. I have a completely different appreciation for my life back home. I feel as if I’ve been excessive for so long, surrounded by materialistic things & overlooking the beauty in day-to-day chores. Does that mean I won’t cringe the next time I have to do laundry and wash a sink (what is that anyway?) of dishes...ha, not at all. Or that I won’t occasionally splurge on some shoes and go on an expensive sushi date? Let’s be real, I’m probably doing that before anything else. I’m just glad to be knocked down a few notches and reminded of how good I have it. Also, this hatchet is equivalent to 10 minutes with a punching bag. I seriously dig it 🤘🏻 #Followherarrow

Trip Highlight #14: finding joy in what would be considered inconvenient back home. We were clearing paths for horses, gathering wood every night, filtering water, trying to keep moisture out of our shelter, building fires, grazing horses, etc. I have a completely different appreciation for my life back home. I feel as if I’ve been excessive for so long, surrounded by materialistic things & overlooking the beauty in day-to-day chores. Does that mean I won’t cringe the next time I have to do laundry and wash a sink (what is that anyway?) of dishes...ha, not at all. Or that I won’t occasionally splurge on some shoes and go on an expensive sushi date? Let’s be real, I’m probably doing that before anything else. I’m just glad to be knocked down a few notches and reminded of how good I have it. Also, this hatchet is equivalent to 10 minutes with a punching bag. I seriously dig it 🤘🏻 #Followherarrow