Last week, my family and I spent a few days camping in the Routt/Medicine Bow National Forest in north central Colorado. The days were in the 60’s and the nights in the mid 20’s. A refreshing break from the heat on the Front Range.
Friday morning, I awoke as the light from the sun started to light up our tent. It was around 5:30 am. Both my wife and I had a few beers the night before after the kids went to bed and we both needed to wet the grass so to speak
As we walked back to the tent, my wife heard some sounds coming from about 300 yards away. As we looked, we can see a large dark object and some smaller white grey ones running frantically back and forth at the tree line.
As I wiped the goo out of my eye, I could now focus and saw that it was a cow elk and a pack of coyotes. The screams that we heard were coming from what sounded to be a calf elk in distress.
I ran into the tent and grab my pistol along with my iPhone.
I snuck along some trees and got to within 50 yards of the action. Now I could see clearly that mother cow elk was trying to run off the coyotes but as she would chase 2-3 of them, the other two would attack the baby calf elk.
At this time, I stepped out of the tree line and the coyotes saw me. They took off down the ridge. The mother elk turned around and looked at me huffing and puffing with her tongue hanging out. She was panting like I do after running a couple of miles. She was exhausted.
About 30 yards into the tree line, I could here the bull elk growl and bark at me. But it almost seemed like he was just trying to call the calf and cow over.
I started walking towards her and she headed towards the location where the coyotes went, almost knowing I was there to help her and her calf.
As I got closer, I could see the scared calf much better. It positioned itself in between some old logs along a logging trail. Amazing to see how it’s natural instincts found a place that would help protect it.
Now I am a foot away, talking to it like it was a baby. Yeah, I know, weird. But even though I’m a hunter, my fatherly instinct took over and I was in protection mode.
I asked if it was ok as I saw bite marks and blood on its neck. Yeah, more weirdness But it’s just what came out of me.
I found myself talking to myself saying that if that pack came back or if i had a shot earlier, I would have let my 10mm Glock roar.
Like I said, I’m a hunter at heart and love hunting animals. But I would rather shoot a mature elk during the hunting season and enjoy it’s meat with my family over the course of a year rather than have a pack of predator coyotes take its life in it’s first days on earth.
I know that the cycle of life has its own ways in the big woods and coyotes need to eat but today was not that day.
I hope that baby elk, which looked to have a nub on its head, grows into a majestic bull elk for someone to hunt one day. Maybe me.
I can’t wait to go back camping.
Hi, I'm Rudy and I'm Filming America's Whitetail Deer and Elk Bow Hunters, One at a time. You could be in our next documentary hunting film. Email me to learn more.