Category Archives: Hunter Testimonials

A Family Affair – DIY Colorado Archery Elk Hunt

Elk Hunter, Angela
Angela Huitt

September in Colorado brings cooler mornings, the color change of Aspen leaves in the mountains, the fascination with pumpkin spice everything and most importantly, archery season. This year I got my first elk tag for a draw unit. In years prior, I hunted with an over the counter tag. The excitement of this hunt dwindled some as the summer passed due to the dozens of wildfires and severe drought. Hunting, in general, would be more difficult; I was going to have to work for it if I wanted a chance at harvesting a bull.

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2017 Hunter Testimonials

With the 2018 big-game season in our sights, it’s a great time to take a look back to some of the hunter testimonials that were recently submitted by proud hunters. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this collection of testimonial tells an impressive story about successful wildlife conservation that is supported by your hunting and angling fees. Please enjoy the following hunter testimonials, which celebrate another great year in the Colorado outdoors!


Chet Blue Sky and Wayne Gardner with bull elk.

Hunter: Chet Blue Sky
Chet Blue Sky with bull elk and good friend Wayne Gardner.  Both cashed in 15 preference points in the “Ranching For Wildlife” program on the Three Forks Ranch in GMU 5. Read more

Turkey Hunter Testimonials


Alexa with her first turkey. Photo by Derek Vaughan

Hunter: Alexa Vaughan

The night before my first turkey hunt I was nervous and excited. That day I had just completed my hunter safety course and went and got my turkey license. I was eleven years old and it was my first hunt ever. I had practiced shooting a few days before and felt confident with my gun, a single-shot, 20-gauge shotgun. My Dad and I went out opening morning April 8th outside Durango in GMU 75. We settled into our blind. My dad was calling in the turkeys and I was holding my gun. We had only been waiting 20 minutes when a lone tom came strutting in. I slowly raised my gun. My hands were shaking so bad that I bumped the barrel on the blind opening. The sudden sound scared the Tom and he began to turn away. I took a deep breath and placed my sight on his head. An ear-splitting boom filled the morning air. We collected the turkey and marked my tag. It was a good day and the meat he provided we ate on Easter.

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2016 Hunter Testimonials


Chris Pangburn and his 2016 bull. Photo by Dale Rush.

Hunter: Chris Pangburn

I began planning my moose hunt 10 years ago. I didn’t know anything about moose, but a friend told me it was hard to draw a tag, so I thought I better get started applying.For the next five years I applied for preference points thinking someday I would apply for an actual moose tag. About then I met Dale Rush and he told me that he had harvested a moose in 2008 and that I needed to apply for an actual tag because it’s hard to get drawn. Well 2016 was my year.

Dale joined me on my hunt in early October. We hunted tree lines along willow-heavy meadows the first day and saw nothing. The second morning we spotted a cow moose alone in a meadow just before the weather turned and the snow came. We hunkered down out of the fierce wind and snow until late afternoon and spotted a small bull playing near a creek like he was the only one for a hundred miles around. The wind was so brutal that at sunset we nearly ran back to camp. On day three we hiked the tree line around other meadows until we began seeing tracks in the snow. After a couple of hours we saw this 44-inch bull following a cow into the middle of an open meadow. Just like that, I took a single quartering shot at 150-yards with my 300 Weatherby Mag. It was a great hunt with a good friend that I’ll never forget.

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Hunter Testimonials: ‘My First Elk’


Ava Nelson, 16, is all smiles after harvesting her first elk near Aspen. 

Hunter: Ava Nelson

My day began at 3 a.m. when I thought, “What did I get myself into?” This was my second day of hunting for a bull elk with a muzzleloader. My dad and I figured we would try another spot that he knew since we were unsuccessful the first day.  I promptly got out of bed and took a shower and got dressed in camo. My lunch was already packed so we were ready to rock and roll.

It was pitch dark outside on Sept. 11, 2016 for our 60-minute commute to the trailhead. My dad and I arrived at 4:30 a.m. and began hiking on a trail that started out easy but gradually got more difficult.  We were about half way to the spot when it got daylight. We circled around to the spot where my dad thought there would be elk. This required some cliff scaling and some balancing skills. When we finally got there, the wind was not in our favor. My dad called a few times and a bull elk bugled back. Unfortunately, the bull did not sound like he was too interested and eventually stopped answering us. Read more

OTC Bull Elk (Colorado Hunter Testimonials)

Hunter: John Mehall
Photo by: Brandon KilstadAfter my father had unexpected surgery, I worked to put together an elk hunt for my dad and my son. The draw deadline had passed, so I focused on over-the-counter (OTC) units with public land, choosing one in the San Juan Mountains. Summer scouting revealed one bull that stood out among the others. My Dad took a 5X5 on opening morning then it began to snow so I hunted close to camp. During a break in the clouds, I spotted a herd and the big bull several valleys away. I headed out well before daylight and hiked about 8 miles at 12,000 feet. Nearing the basin, a few cows came over the ridge and pinned me down above tree line. While I lay there, the storm worsened with howling wind and lightening. When the cows fed off, I bolted for the trees to get out of the wind. Then I spotted the rest of the herd coming over the ridge, including the big bull. I crawled out from behind the trees and went prone with my rifle steadied on the bipod. I struggled to see through the snow with the scope, and scooped snow out of the scope repeatedly. As he was entering a drainage, I was able to see well enough to pick out the big bull against the snow.  One shot at 425 yards with my .338 Ultra Mag put him down at 12,167 feet. We all returned the next day with a camera and horses to pack him out.

Colorado Hunter Testimonials: 2016 Archery Bull


Kevin Brookes with his public-land bull elk.

Hunter: Kevin Brookes

The morning started off slower than what I had anticipated. By 9 a.m. I had made my way up to about 10,800 feet and had yet to hear a bugle. It was a discouraging start to the morning. The previous day I had bulls bugling at first light. My initial thought was I had pushed them out of the area. I decided to swing back into the valley below me, where I had heard a few bulls the previous morning.

I made a couple cow calls, followed by a bugle call, and the ridge erupted with three different bulls bugling. It didn’t take long for me to realize they where going to hold tight on this ridge. They must have had a couple of cows bedded near them and they where not going to leave their side. So I decided to swing around the mountain and come down from the top with the wind in my face. This area was thick with trees and you could smell the elk.

Once I got close to where I thought I heard the last bugle, I gave a couple cow calls followed by a bugle. Almost immediately, I had a bull bugle to my left and he was right on top of me. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him walking. A shot in this area was going to be close. I was lucky to see 30 yards in some spots. After about five minutes I couldn’t hear him anymore and he stopped bugling. I gave another cow and bugle call sequence, with no response. Figuring I had blown my chance, I started to slowly move my way down the ridge. As I was making my way through the timber, to my right I saw a bull coming right at me. I knocked an arrow quickly and drew back.

The bull cut to my left. I had a beautiful shooting lane that I anticipated he was going to walk right into at 15 yards, but he stopped about 5 yards from the opening. He stood broadside at 17 yards, and looked nervous. I could tell pretty quickly that he wasn’t going stick around for long. I had a small opening between two trees and took the shot. The arrow found its mark and the bull expired after only going 40 yards.

Thank you Colorado for another fantastic public land experience!

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Colorado Hunter Testimonials (Public-Land Bull Elk and First Cow)

Colorado hunters continue to experience great success in 2015. Check out the latest testimonials here on Colorado Outdoors Online, and don’t forget that over-the-counter bull elk tags are still available for the 2015 seasons.


Left to right: Stephanie Purcell, Russell Purcell and Karleigh Purcell. Purcell shot this 6×6 while hunting public land in Freemont County. Photo by Aaron Seng.

Hunter: Karleigh Purcell

Every year as a family we pack up and head out to the mountains. This is my 5th year hunting elk and my first ever harvest. We climbed up a vertical mountain on all fours, where the track and sign was thick and we waited…calling a little here and there. This Imperial beast came crashing through the oak brush and presented himself to me with a broadside shot in a clearing. Three trips and 9 hours later, we finally got him back to camp in the dark. Hard work finally paid off!

Phil Rosty harvested this fat cow elk near Nucla.

Phil and Chelsea Rosty with a fat cow elk near Nucla.

Hunter: Phil Rosty

We were in the middle of our annual 2015 elk hunt in Unit 61 east of Nucla. The weather turned and we spent the week battling rain and very muddy conditions. We didn’t let that slow us down, and I shot my first cow elk about 140 yards away as she walked past a ridge at the top of Tumble Creek. She walked about 10 yards before falling. The weather, mixed with the fall mountain colors, made for great scenery.
Do you have an amazing Colorado hunting story you’d like to share? Send your submission and photos to: 

Hunter Testimonials: Muzzleloader Pronghorn and Bighorn Ram


Charles Jenkins celebrates after taking this awesome pronghorn buck.

Hunter: Charles Jenkins
After saving up my preference points and waiting 18 years to draw in unit 201, I was able to get this beautiful buck with my muzzleloader on opening morning.


Matthew Ward with his once-in-a-lifetime bighorn ram.

Hunter: Matthew Ward

In 2015, after waiting 17 years, I drew the tag of a lifetime—a bighorn ram. I scouted for six weekends and hunted for nine days before taking this very nice, 10-year-old ram in unit S11. My dad never drew a Colorado bighorn ram tag in 30 years of trying, so this one was for him. Having a guide for sheep hunting is a worthwhile investment for a once-in-a-lifetime tag, so I hired Horn Fork Guides, primarily to help with scouting and locating the rams. I’ve never hunted with a better guide than Joe Boucher.

Do you have an amazing Colorado hunting story you’d like to share? Send your submission and photos to: 

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