Unit 45 Elk- first rifle

eastmont

Member
Feb 28, 2014
103
16
Well NM draw came up empty handed for me this year but my wife drew first rifle elk for unit 45. We live up in the east mountains so logistically this one wont be to bad. We also have two pack burros, so we are able to pack in.

I haven't spent much time up there except for a backpack trip up jacks creek to pecos baldy one summer two years ago. Does anyone have any info they would like to share? I imagine the corrals at the end of the road near cowles are a zoo, everyone with stock I would guess focuses on this access point. Is that correct?

The big burn up there- is that area with some focus? Should I expect bulls to be with cows during that hunt? This is my first time being on a NMelk rifle hunt.
 

eastmont

Member
Feb 28, 2014
103
16
Sorry I didn't see the first two replies!

Day 1:
We packed in from the Jacks Creek area up into the large burn . About 6 miles from the trailhead. We saw one backpacker coming out from Pecos Baldy Lakes. He said it was about 6 degrees that night up there. Setup camp in a epic little meadow with tall grass and a creek. Then that evening headed up the hill to glass the burn. Didn't see anything. Camp was about 9,500ft.

Day 2-hunt:
Full moon that night and windy. We did about 5 miles and turned up one really nice muley buck. Lots of elk sign from september but nothing fresh. Bugled a few times with no answer. In the evening we hiked down the ridge towards the trail head and saw one fresh elk track.

Day 3:
Hiked well through the burn and found some fresh sign at one far corner at about 10,500ft. Bugled and got a response from up one canyon. Tried to slip in by we got busted by about 20 mulies when the wind switched and blew everything out. Small three point buck with the group. Climbed to about 11,000ft in unburned timber where the bull had been. Did about 8 miles and 2k of climbing.

Day 4:
Went straight through the burn to some dark timber and found a great summering/rutting wallow area. -and a wad of someones toliet paper. Heard a bugle but he swung about 200 yards down wind into a area where we couldn't get to intime and then shut up/took off. Didn't see him. High winds kicked up again. About 5 miles that day plus a evening sit on a lower meadow.

Day 5: Short hike to verify that this area was not suberb and the wife decided to pull the plug and save a vacation day.

It was a full moon, warm (60s in the day) and there was quite a bit of people sign from the bowhunt. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses, but I just believed I picked a poor area and backed our selves into a corner with the area I picked. I only really had a plan A and B, and not really and good options to move camp too.

Maybe one other hunter in the Jacks Creek parking lot. Didn't see any other hunters while we were hunting. Pressure from other hunters was non-existant, and so were most the elk.

I would love to pick someone's brain about the hunt to see what I did wrong. I figured with packing 6 miles in then reaching out 2-4 miles from there that we would see more elk sign but I was wrong. Incredible vistas though. Gold aspens and nice hiking weather. Plenty of water and feed around.
 

eastmont

Member
Feb 28, 2014
103
16
DANG! It looks like your burying a body! lol
Since they are donkeys I get a ton of questions on the trail from other users. Everyone asks what they are carrying. If the crowd is right, I usually say hookers and blow. Gets a few laughs.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
1,857
228
Sounds like something I would say regaurdless of the crowd...lol

I once had an awkward moment just to see how it felt.