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Thread: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Let me preface this post by saying that I just got to make up for some much missed time in the field with Linefinder. Many years of poor prairie dog numbers kept us from sharing some trigger time, but we at least managed to get together for this past weekend when he accompanied on what we hoped would be a productive antelope hunt. We hoped to also get together with JerryBoBCo, but his recent move back to Texas didn't make that part possible.

    Unfortunately, the "productive" part of this weekend didn't materialize. I put in for a Colorado buck tag this season knowing that antelope numbers have been down in eastern Colorado since about 2012 when a pretty significant drought hit the area. Colorado supposedly wanted to reduce the herd by 1/3 around that time (read: sell more tags) and made the questionable decision to increase tag allotments on top of the drought conditions. The end result was a disastrous drop in herd numbers from which the area has never really recovered. Enter this past weekend...

    After accruing 4 antelope points over as many years, I put in for and successfully drew this tag. Jerry and Linefinder have been watching the herd numbers for years, waiting for a time when they would rebound for me to put in for a tag. The landowner of the place we were to hunt said that antelope numbers were finally up a little bit on his place. What he didn't tell us - and this turned out to be critical information - was that the number of people asking for and being granted permission on his property to hunt said antelope was also all way, way up.

    We showed up on opening day to a beautiful buck running for its life on a neighboring property, but headed right for the place we had permission to hunt. We followed the buck in the truck hoping he would tire as he entered the place, but he never slowed down and rambled onto a different section that we could not hunt. As it turns out, that we be the best look I got at a buck all weekend. Seems it's one of the few places in the unit holding any at all.

    There were at least other 15 hunters on the place and it was nowhere near big enough to take that kind of pressure for as few goats were on it. We MAY have seen 30 antelope the entire opening day, and virtually all of them were fleeing from someone at any given moment. The handful that were successfully stalked to within shooting distance over the whole weekend, including one group to which we closed within 50 yards, had no bucks with them. Other groups we managed to begin stalking only to have someone drive within a mile of us and trigger the herd to flee. To say it was a 180-degree experience from my quick and easy Nevada antelope hunt would be putting it mildly. I never took a shot at an antelope this entire CO hunt. It was a whole lot of work for endless frustration, similar to last year's failed Colorado elk hunt, but we at least we saw animals this time.

    The only consolation prize for the trip started when we flushed a coyote within 50 yards of us. The coyote took off, but was not full throttle on the way out. He turned relatively close into some grass, and I had a sneaking suspicion that he was just hunkered down there waiting for us to leave. On the way out of the area, I kept an eye on the area where he ran looking for him. Sure enough, I spotted what looked like a coyote head sticking out of the grass. A quick look through the binos confirmed it, and I set up for a shot. I wasted no time ranging him since I was fairly sure he was inside of 200 yards. I put the reticle on the center of his muzzle, right between the eyes and fired.

    The Tikka T3 .243 Win sent the the 100 gr. Sierra Pro-Hunter bullet exactly where I was aiming, dropping the 'yote stone cold dead where he once stood. After ranging back to the spot of the shot, I realized that at 147 yards on a small target, it was undoubtedly the most well-placed - if not outright best - shot that I have ever made on a coyote.





    So, for the modest cost of $386 (cost of a non-res hunting license + antelope tag in CO), I bagged exactly one coyote. Not exactly a good return on investment, but it was something, I guess.

    ...and with that I am about done with big game hunting in Colorado. It's the only western state where I have managed to eat even a single a tag, let alone two in a row. I still have 4 deer points in the state, but unless something changes dramaitcally, I'm going to go ahead and let them expire and cut my losses. I've already made a small mortgage payment worth of bad hunts there to keep pumping money into a flawed management plan. The reasons for the poor quality hunts is pretty clear and that's severe over-allocation of tags for areas that cannot support anywhere near the pressure such tag allocations bring. To put it in perspective, the unit in Nevada where I bagged a beautiful antelope had tons of them, took only 3 points to draw, only allocated for 23 buck tags for the whole unit, and allowed me to tag out within 20 minutes of legal daylight on opening day. Overall, it had a ~95% success rate.

    In contrast, this unit in Colorado took 4 points to draw, had only a handful of antelope and allocated several hundred tags. By the end, I was willing to shoot any legal buck, but even that opportunity never materialized. It's the same reason why despite being the state with the largest elk herd in the country, statewide hunter success only hovers around 20% while other states with fewer elk have much higher success rates. As long as the almighty dollar rules, that situation won't change.

    Regardless, I want to thank Jerry and Linefinder for doing their best to help me out and get me a place to hunt. I knew full well how the antelope situation in the state has been lately and that the odds against me were pretty steep, but a big part of me wanted to just hurry up and use these points to avoid letting CO hold a large chunk of money every year in order to accrue more. I'd be waiting for over a decade to even sniff a decent hunt there and I am just not willing to do that. I also want to give Linefinder some extra thanks for suffering and sweating right along side me the entire time. It was a lot of work for no payoff, and he never complained once about the conditions. If there was any good sign out there on the plains, it's that prairie dog numbers are rebounding. We'll get back out there again soon, my friend!
    Last edited by Six-Gun; 10-12-2017 at 07:03 PM.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Hunting Colorado.

    Well, THERE is your problem!!!

    :-)
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

  3. #3
    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    That was a very good shot. I once owned a rifle so chambered and the performance is no surprise.

    It's unfortunate how things have gone here. It was crowded this year for me as well. I do enjoy visiting and talking with the other hunters, but some of their activities are irksome. My last season could come at any time.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.

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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post
    Hunting Colorado.

    Well, THERE is your problem!!!

    :-)
    When compared to the rest of the west, no question!

    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    That was a very good shot. I once owned a rifle so chambered and the performance is no surprise.

    It's unfortunate how things have gone here. It was crowded this year for me as well. I do enjoy visiting and talking with the other hunters, but some of their activities are irksome. My last season could come at any time.
    Thanks, early.

    Yeah, it really is sad how fast things have gone downhill. With Colorado Parks & Wildlife bearing the dead weight associated with having to fund all of the hiking trails, cross-country ski trails, etc. used by the non-paying masses, it's no mystery why they are making reckless tag allocation decisions on behalf of the wildlife. They are effectively mortgaging the herds in order to keep up with the surging population in the state and its associated costs. Until the mountain bikers et al start paying into the pot, you can continue to expect insanely crowded hunts and poor hunt quality.

    In the meantime, I'll just go back to Montana and fill a few tags in as many days. The best of that hunt is seeing pretty much nobody outside of my hunting party for a week. THAT is what gets me going above all else.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    I hate that I ever left Montana.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post
    I hate that I ever left Montana.
    One hunt or mere visit there, and anyone would know exactly what you mean. It's one of the best places I've ever seen in this great country of ours and the outdoor action is amazing.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    At least Tennessee gives a nonresident hunter a little better bang for his buck- - - - -they still sting him a little, but compared to Colorado, it's not "bend over the barrel, and we're not using any Vaseline!" I'm hoping the Tennessee elk herd gets to the point we can do a little hunting before I get too feeble to pull a trigger!
    Jerry
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    Senior Member JerryBobCo's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Luis, I'm really disheartened to hear this. We already exchanged PMs, and I did the same with Mike, so I already knew your story.

    I don't know what to tell you. When I first started hunting that property and the adjoining property about 20 years ago, it held a lot of antelope, and there weren't a lot of hunters. The first time I took Mike out there just to tag along I had a nice buck on the ground seconds after legal shooting time, and we must have seen close to 200 of them just that morning. We have had a number of very good and very successful hunts there since.

    The last time that Mike and I went out there it was like you described. I don't recall there being that many hunters, but the goats were spooky and very difficult to approach. There weren't as many as there had been in the past, either. I guess when hunters quit paying the ever increasing non-resident fees for low quality hunts, the CDOW will rethink their position. It's just a shame what has happened.

    I'll probably never make another Colorado hunt, but you never know. I would still like to take a really nice Mule deer, so I may continue to amass points until I can get on a good GMU.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.

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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryBobCo View Post
    Luis, I'm really disheartened to hear this. We already exchanged PMs, and I did the same with Mike, so I already knew your story.

    I don't know what to tell you. When I first started hunting that property and the adjoining property about 20 years ago, it held a lot of antelope, and there weren't a lot of hunters. The first time I took Mike out there just to tag along I had a nice buck on the ground seconds after legal shooting time, and we must have seen close to 200 of them just that morning. We have had a number of very good and very successful hunts there since.

    The last time that Mike and I went out there it was like you described. I don't recall there being that many hunters, but the goats were spooky and very difficult to approach. There weren't as many as there had been in the past, either. I guess when hunters quit paying the ever increasing non-resident fees for low quality hunts, the CDOW will rethink their position. It's just a shame what has happened.

    I'll probably never make another Colorado hunt, but you never know. I would still like to take a really nice Mule deer, so I may continue to amass points until I can get on a good GMU.
    I believe you completely on that, Jerry. The pics of the successful hunts that both you and Mike had from this area are still fresh in my head. I kept telling Mike that it didn't make sense how such good-looking antelope country could be so empty. Unfortunately, we know exact causes for the downturn in herd numbers, both natural and manmade. Mike informed me that CPW made its motivation crystal clear when they decreased the number of relatively cheap resident tags available and upped the number of much more expensive non-resident tags respectively. No better way to show your hand than a move like that.

    It will take a few years for non-resident hunters to realize how they are getting shaken down before they stop applying in Colorado, but I do believe its going to happen if they don't find a better way to stay funded and decrease tag allocation. This is especially true as folks branch off into to other states and realize that Western hunts don't have to be so difficult and fruitless. In my opinion, CPW needs to start charging bikers and hikers for a general use permits, or they're going to be in serious trouble as hunters drop out. I just don't know that they will be able to dodge the political fallout from the elected officials managing them, who will certainly get hell at the ballot box from the granola gang if they try to charge them a red cent for previously "free" services.
    Last edited by Six-Gun; 10-12-2017 at 07:12 PM.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

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    Senior Member CHIRO1989's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Sorry to hear you did not get on the antelope, I look forward to hunting CO again, seeing MHS is a bonus, got to meet Jerry, JBOhio and his FIL, and Mossybuck too . Hunting with MHS's cousins a couple years ago, it was obvious they were hunting hard and frustrated too.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11

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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    At least Tennessee gives a nonresident hunter a little better bang for his buck- - - - -they still sting him a little, but compared to Colorado, it's not "bend over the barrel, and we're not using any Vaseline!" I'm hoping the Tennessee elk herd gets to the point we can do a little hunting before I get too feeble to pull a trigger!
    Jerry
    That would be amazing to see those elk return well enough to hunt. Pennsylvania has finally been able to support a decent hunt opportunity after many years of sound management. Hopefully, Tennessee will be in the same shape soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHIRO1989 View Post
    Sorry to hear you did not get on the antelope, I look forward to hunting CO again, seeing MHS is a bonus, got to meet Jerry, JBOhio and his FIL, and Mossybuck too . Hunting with MHS's cousins a couple years ago, it was obvious they were hunting hard and frustrated too.
    I can’t imagine being a resident and watching this transformation take place. Hell, it’s even crazy to me. I got married in the Denver metro area and loved visiting for many years, but obviously, I’ve soured as the state has been overrun. Nothing anyone can do to stop the flow of people, but the state needs to adapt quickly.
    Last edited by Six-Gun; 10-11-2017 at 06:53 PM.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    SixGun said it more eloquently than I could have, but I 100% mirror his remarks.

    Without rehashing the whole thing, I wasn't surprised at the results. I was a bit surprised to see 30 critters (last time I was there Jerry and I saw 7.. The time before that, I saw 7). But, the number of hunters really surprised me. There were quite a few years ago, too, when the goat numbers were high. That actually worked to our advantage, much like a hot dove field. The more the merrier, it kept the goats up and moving.

    But, when you have close to twenty hunters and thirty goats, the dynamic changes drastically. SixGun forgot to mention that there were 3 ATVs running the ranch. I'm sure that didn't help.

    Anyway, though some of my best hunting memories have occurred on this exact piece of ground, chances are high I'll never set foot on it again.

    But...Luis, post that pic for me...I have a little more to say


    Mike
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    Senior Member JerryBobCo's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    At least Tennessee gives a nonresident hunter a little better bang for his buck- - - - -they still sting him a little, but compared to Colorado, it's not "bend over the barrel, and we're not using any Vaseline!" I'm hoping the Tennessee elk herd gets to the point we can do a little hunting before I get too feeble to pull a trigger!
    Jerry
    Bring along some big, strong friends. The only thing worse than not getting an elk is getting one.
    Jerry

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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryBobCo View Post
    Bring along some big, strong friends. The only thing worse than not getting an elk is getting one.
    WTH? Where was your "big, strong friend" when we needed him?

    "One-Two-Three......One-Two-Three".... (Inside joke, friends, but that's how we got hunks of a big bull off the mountain to the truck a couple miles away. It took a few trips and 11 hours. I've not hunted elk since. Costco sells lamb which is a pretty good substitute.



    Mike
    Last edited by Linefinder; 10-11-2017 at 11:10 PM.
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    Senior Member JerryBobCo's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Linefinder View Post
    WTH? Where was your "big, strong friend" when we needed him?

    "One-Two-Three......One-Two-Three".... (Inside joke, friends, but that's how we got hunks of a big bull off the mountain to the truck a couple miles away. It took a few trips and 11 hours. I've not hunted elk since. Costco sells lamb which is a pretty good substitute.



    Mike
    You were my big, strong friend.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.

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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryBobCo View Post
    You were my big, strong friend.
    I'm glad you remember it that way. LOL.

    Mike
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    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Linefinder View Post
    SixGun said it more eloquently than I could have, but I 100% mirror his remarks.

    Without rehashing the whole thing, I wasn't surprised at the results. I was a bit surprised to see 30 critters (last time I was there Jerry and I saw 7.. The time before that, I saw 7). But, the number of hunters really surprised me. There were quite a few years ago, too, when the goat numbers were high. That actually worked to our advantage, much like a hot dove field. The more the merrier, it kept the goats up and moving.

    But, when you have close to twenty hunters and thirty goats, the dynamic changes drastically. SixGun forgot to mention that there were 3 ATVs running the ranch. I'm sure that didn't help.

    Anyway, though some of my best hunting memories have occurred on this exact piece of ground, chances are high I'll never set foot on it again.

    But...Luis, post that pic for me...I have a little more to say


    Mike
    Oh, yeah. I almost forget. If I ever want to feel inadequate about my own shooting, I just break out one of your benchrest targets.

    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Damn.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

  19. #19
    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Gun View Post
    Oh, yeah. I almost forget. If I ever want to feel inadequate about my own shooting, I just break out one of your benchrest targets.

    Luis,

    That's a pretty good target, but your yote shot far surpasses that shot.

    That target was shot with a purpose built benchrest rifle. Topped with a 36X Leupold wit 1/8MOA Dot reticle. With a mechanical front rest, rabbit ear rear bag, and rock solid bench accompanied with the appropriate height seat. At 100 yards. With all the time in the world to set up then squeeze the trigger. I may have had a dollar riding on the shot, and I'd bet you $100 right now that it wasn't my first shot of the day.

    Your yote, though, was with a bone stock factory rifle, sporter weight, hunting magnification scope, under less than ideal field conditions at an unknown range, which turned out to be 147 yards. Oh....I remember you didn't have a whole lot of time.

    I also recall you telling me where you'd intended the bullet to land...this, before we were sure we'd even find your victim in the dense scrub. Turned out, it landed exactly as you'd called it.

    I've seen my share of spectacular shots in the field over the years. Some farther, some closer, some more dramatic. But, given the totality of the circumstances, I've never seen one pulled off so "eloquently".

    We may not have bagged a goat, but trust me...over the years you'll remember this shot more than you'd remember center-punching a 9" buck in nowhere Colorado.

    Btw...I have a drawer full of targets just like that. Believe it or not....half the time a target like that looses the match. A shot like yours, though....is always going to be a winner.

    Mike
    Last edited by Linefinder; 10-12-2017 at 10:54 PM.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Six-Gun's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Damn, Mike. That’s seriously the highest praise I could possibly get for a shot from a person truly worthy of giving it. You were as much a part of that Experticity as the gun and the ammo. I am truly glad that after all these years out of the field, you were there when it went down.

    Seriously, when those dog towns grow in a year or two more, we need to get back into our old habits.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

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    Moderator Linefinder's Avatar
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    Re: Back-to-back CO hunt strikeout and the $386 coyote

    Quote Originally Posted by Six-Gun View Post

    Seriously, when those dog towns grow in a year or two more, we need to get back into our old habits.
    Dirty Deeds Done DirtCheap.

    I'm cool with that


    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
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