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Lost Arra
08-18-2009, 08:18 PM
You have backpacked 4 miles into a wilderness area and set up your 7-day camp for September elk bow season. You have been planning this trip since the day you returned home last season. After setting up camp on day one you find a lot of sign but no elk.

You awaken on day two not to your alarm but an artillery-like show of lightning and thunder at 4am with rain coming down in buckets. You've got no Weather Channel so you don't know if this is ending in 30 minutes, later in the afternoon or tomorrow. Do you get up, get dressed and head uphill into the woods or roll over and wait it out?

There's lots of talk about the "typical" afternoon thunderstorm (monsoon) in the Colorado mountains which for me is easy to deal with once you are out there a couple of miles from camp but the pre-dawn thunderstorm is the tough one for me. It's easy to type an answer but tougher to do it when crawling out of a Supertarp (tipis have the edge when getting dressed in the pre-dawn hours). Is it even safe to be heading out in a thunderstorm? Is it different than being caught in one later in the afternoon?

RD Martin
08-18-2009, 09:04 PM
Breakfast indoors and see what happens. Usually my area is pretty dry though in Sept and just be a passing storm. I don't like to start out like a wet rat if I can help it. If its still raining close to first light I would plan to hunt close till I can see a little more sky.

CCH
08-18-2009, 09:06 PM
It really depends on what caliber of handgun you have... ;)

Seriously though, I'd be inclined to ride it out a bit. Although elk hunting in the rain is not necessarily bad and I've done it plenty of times, severe thunderstorms tend to have them in bed so I don't think I'd do any different than them. My inexpert guess is that if you wait until the thunderstorm has passed, you won't have missed out on any elk action and if it is REALLY bad, any elk action you might get is not worth the risk.

I ran into this situation but it was one of those afternoon thunderstorms you referenced and at the time, they were lasting days, not hours. Not something I've run into much in Colorado. Lots of thunder and lightning came in but we'd had a bull bugling up above us and were closing the gap. I think we got within about 150 yards of the bull but the lightning was getting so close, it was more nerve wracking than the bull fever. With the wind and the rain an archery shot would have been irresponsible any way. We pulled our ponchos tight and headed back to camp to ride it out in relative security.

Smokepole
08-19-2009, 06:01 AM
What RD said, unless it's the last day or two of the trip, then I might go out. I'd stay off the high points though.

wyoelk
08-19-2009, 08:45 PM
Bow season? I keep my rear in the tent because I do not shoot critters with a stick in the rain.

Rifle season? Go hunting.

Sawtooth
08-19-2009, 08:49 PM
Pretty much what wyoelk says. Haven't had this happen in recent years, it's been dry.

wyoelk
08-19-2009, 09:18 PM
I silently laughed at an old man who told me that once. Experience has taught me that he was correct. Never again...

Kmassaro
08-19-2009, 09:25 PM
Agreed. Hard to just wait, but a bowhunter needs a blood trail.

Sawtooth
08-19-2009, 09:29 PM
Kevin,

Last time I bowhunted in the rain was with you! ;)

wyoelk
08-19-2009, 09:58 PM
Boomers do not bother me, the odds of getting hit are slim and none. Wet? deal with it. Kevin said it, bowhunters need a bloodtrail.

I have seen lung shot elk cover hundreds of yards. Enough that you will not find them without blood.

Let me spare you the nights of staying awake knowing that you wounded or killed one of the most majestic animals on the planet and couldnt find it. Keep your butt in the tent.

Kmassaro
08-19-2009, 10:20 PM
Sawtooth, that was a sprinkle-dinkle, not the wrath of God stuff.

I was in Canon City today. Next time I head south, we should grab a beer or two. Next month, unless we settle some things.

Sawtooth
08-19-2009, 10:26 PM
Yeah, you should have called, I didn't have much going on. Just some "unofficial" prep work in my classroom which will be devoid of students until August 31st.

Let me know about September! We have a decent microbrewery here.

Herb
08-20-2009, 10:33 AM
MMMNmmmm, pancakes, bacon and a pot of coffee for breakfast. That's my rainy morning plan. I like to be out right after the heavy stuff, seems like the game are moving after riding out the storm. Also tends to be pretty cool, so the bulls may play the rest of the day, at least that's what happened the last two times we awoke to rain and thunder.

It's important to be patient. We wait all year long for these special few days and it's easy to go full tilt and think you have to make it happen, "NOW"!!! Get the conditons right, rest when you can, hunt hard when you can. It's almost here!!

CCH
08-20-2009, 11:13 AM
I should qualify my "hunting in the rain" comment per the blood trail issue. I mean the spitting type stuff we get here that doesn't last long, not heavy, ground cleansing rain. Totally concur that is not a responsible way to bowhunt.