FOR A FEE, Travis Reed and Miles Fedinec of Western Sky Outfitters will treat you to a week of misery in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. There are no showers and only restless tent sleep. You’ll burn so many calories each day that you’ll eat about anything when you get back to camp, which may be why the highest praise I’ve ever heard about the food there is that it’ll make a turd.
Their hunting camp is not for everyone. But in September, it sits in some of the finest elk country anywhere. It’s all public land but not pressured much, because you really need horses and mules to pack the 10 miles in. Still, it would be bad form to hunt the place, kill an elk, and then share GPS coordinates to it online.
I’ve had a rough go at elk. Several years ago, I drew a cow tag in my home state of Kentucky and spent a couple of weeks floundering around trying to fill it. I never came close. I didn’t get one in Idaho, where we rode a train of farting mules into the mountains each morning before daybreak, glassed empty hillsides all day, and then rode back down in the dark. In New Mexico, there were elk everywhere, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. On the last morning, before we left camp, I got to take a picture of all my friends smiling with their trophy elk racks. I was the perfect cameraman since I was the only person in camp who hadn’t shot a bull.
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LIVING THE DREAM
After the author arrives in Maine’s fabled North Woods with a moose tag in his pocket, an adventure he’s been wanting to take his entire hunting life, reality sets in, and he learns a valuable lesson: Be careful what you wish for
Get the Drift
How to make an accurate windage call under pressure
An icebreaker outing in a pristine spot produces the rut hunt of a lifetime
A Local Haunt
The author finds a sense of place in an overlooked creek, close to home
A Hop and a Pump
Jump-shooting rabbits with classic upland guns is about as good a time as you can have in the outdoors
Welcome TO camp
Is there any place better than a good hunting camp? It has everything: great food, games and pranks, and of course, hunting. Shoot, we don’t even mind going to camp for grueling work days in the summer. Here, our contributors share their favorite stories, traditions, and lessons learned from camps they’ve shared. So come on in and join us. The door’s open.
Before you even claim a bunk, you need to eyeball the hardware your buddies have brought. In the process, you’ll see that the guns at deer camp are changing. What was walnut and blued steel may now be Kevlar and carbon fiber. The 10 rifles featured here aren’t your father’s deer guns. They’re today’s new camp classics
THE JOURNEY TO PIKE'S PEAK
Last summer, the author and three friends ventured off the grid to a remote fish camp in Canada. They hoped for great fishing, but what they experienced was truly something else
When early-season whitetails vanish from open feeding areas, follow this woods-edge ambush plan
A pup’s first year, from preseason training to fall’s big show