Jack Brittingham's World of Hunting Adventure

What Hunting Dreams Are Made Of

Rancho Lobo Elk Hunt

Day 1

Our hunt began with the opening of the first New Mexico rifle season on October 4th.

I was hunting with my good friends Richie Bland & Dennis Spence. It had been many years since the three of us got together for a little elk hunting at Rancho Lobo, near Chama.

Although the weather was a little wet, the first morning’s hunt was action packed with many bulls bugling across the ranch. The sounds of fall were complimented by some of the most spectacular fall colors I had seen in several years. I have noticed over the years, that peak rut for the elk often coincides with the peak of the fall colors. It seemed we had timed both perfectly.

Click to enlargeAs Cade, my ranch manager/cameraman, made our way down a ridge on the west side of the ranch, we could hear a herd bull ahead of us several hundred yards. Not only was he being very vocal, but so were his cow, making it easy to follow their progress as they fed among ahead of us. Cade felt he knew which bull this was but before we could catch up with him, he and his cows had made their way to the neighboring properly, so we made a new plan. Changing directions we began to hunt our way east, up another ridge of mixed conifer and aspen. It wasn’t long until we were back in elk, hearing three different bulls sounding off. With a few cow calls we had two young bulls trotting towards us. These were classic satellite bulls, too young to take over their own harems of cows, but plenty old enough to be very interested. One of the bulls came to within twelve yards in his search for the cows he had heard. It is always thrilling to me to be so close to an animal like this in the wild, with him having no idea we are there! This bull hung around for several minutes before wandering back the way he came.

After their departure, we continued on to the next group of bulls we could hear further up the ridge. After fifteen minutes of uphill climbing we began to catch up with them. It was a game of cat & mouse as we tried to parallel this herd of cows, calves, and bulls without the seeing or smelling up. By the sound of one of these bulls he was definitely worth checking out. When we finally caught up to him we were not disappointed! He as a 6x6 with well developed points and dark, heavy antlers. I felt he would score around 290 which is good for the Chama area, but not good enough to try for on the first morning. As we felt this bull was probably the best one in this herd we decided to back out so as not to spook them. Since it was now getting late in the morning, we began our return to camp.

Not long after making it back to camp, the rain hit hard, and carried through the afternoon. I decided the best choice was to stay in camp with my wife, Chris, and some of our other friends. Although my morning did not result in the taking of a bull, that was not the case with Dennis! His story can be read on the site as well.

Next: Rancho Lobo Elk Hunt - Day 2

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