Photo of Paul Lawver by Mike Herrera, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
When my brother-in-law informed me early in 2010 he would be getting married Sept. 25 in Telluride, the light came on in my mind: I needed to arrange an elk hunt the week before the wedding.
Luckily, I had met my brother-in-law’s friend, Chris Herrera, in 2009 and he offered to go elk hunting with me when I wanted. I took him up on his offer. After months of planning and physical training, the day had come.
Chris introduced me to his two cousins in camp, Mike and Leonard Herrera. The next day, Mike and I were teamed up. We walked more than 5 miles without any sign of elk. It was hot and Mike and I decided the next day we needed to hunt at a higher elevation, on a north-facing mountain.
Well, it paid off. At 10:30 a.m., and at 11,000 feet, we started bugling to a bull deep in the timber of unit 181. As if we had written a script, the bull worked his way from the bottom of the mountain to our high position. Mike changed from bugling to cow calling and that sealed the deal. This bull bugled his way up the mountain, stopped 20 yards behind a pine tree, bugled again and took three steps into a clearing — setting up a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards. A perfect double lung shot and, 150 yards later, the 5x5 bull laid to rest.
Thank you, Mike Herrera, for calling this bull in… And thank you, Colorado, for having a generous over-the-counter elk tag program.