Three of us had driven out to Gunnison Colorado from Missouri. Jimmy the jet-setter (also from Missouri) avoided the tedium by flying in to the local airport. We hauled my 4 wheeler, Jimmy's Ranger, and a some boxes full of HoHo's and Bear Paws (known as jimmy food) out in a 24 foot enclosed trailer. On the 3rd day, Jimmy arrived at the airport, so we took a break from hunting and went to pick him up. He was lucky he flew in when he did. A storm blew in and we had 10 inches of snow up on Red Mountain. We had seen nothing up to this point, and were hopeful the snow would give us a clue. Jimmy drove us around to look for tracks, all the while poking at his cell phone and admiring his new sunglasses. (please note that the black things around Jimmy's bibs are "gators" for keeping snow out of his boots, not for making his calves look slimmer)
Even with Jimmy's help, we were unable to locate a single sign of any elk. After returning to the cabin, we decided to split up. Several of the hunters headed down toward the sage brush and I was going to make a loop around the top of the mountain. After a 3 mile loop I saw it, the only actual elk evidence we had seen in four days. Between 2 stretches of pines was a lone set of bull elk tracks. Three hunters pushed the timber while the rest set up in strategic spots to wait for the elk. An hour later, we all met up at the bottom of the wooded area, no elk! We soon found the tracks leading onto a neighbor's property. The bull had passed through during the night as we slept.
That was pretty much the story for the rest of the trip. Eat, sleep, freeze your butt off in that dang outhouse, and stomp around looking for some sign that elk were present. We never found another track. It grew quite monotonous over the next few days. We were lucky to have good folks on the trip. We talked about previous hunts, our jobs, lives, and that stupid leaning outhouse! It seems the previous party had threatened to burn the thing down. We ate lots of steak, taters, burgers with roostershire sauce, and plenty of Jimmy Snacks. Of course, that just meant more time in the outhouse!
By the seventh evening, we had thrown in the proverbial towel. The season would be over the next day, and we had exhausted all hope of finding an elk on this portion of Red Mountain. The next morning was familiar. We crumpled papers to light the wood stoves and lit the lanterns, but it felt a little surreal. We were not hunting this day, it was time for packing up. As I rolled up my sleeping bag, a commotion started in the back of the cabin. BOOM! "Shoot it again" someone yelled. BOOM, BOOM, we all headed to the rear of the cabin. When I arrived I saw Jimmy, pistol leveled and aiming at his target. I drew my Ruger 44 and assisted him in finishing off his trophy. This may sound a little un-sportsman-like, but we left it there at the top of that mountain. No time to pack it out. We high-fived each other and with our ATVs loaded, we headed down.
We reached the bottom of the mountain and said goodbye to our hosts. Pictures were taken, and a lot of apologies were directed at us about the lack of game. We kept our mouths shut and headed back East over the mountain passes towards Missouri. I don't know who is hunting 3rd season there, but if you are on private property 3 miles up Red Mountain in a cabin with one awesome view, you may find our trophy. About 30 yards behind the cabin is an outhouse. It will be easy to find. It has lots of splinters on the seat, and 12 bullet holes in the side of it.