I’ll start this out with a photo, because we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.
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The purpose of my trip to Carson NF, on the very same weekend many Texans took to the outdoors for the opening weekend of the general deer season, was to try and fill my antlerless elk tag for Unit 5B in New Mexico. My Dad and I set out a little later than we had planned, but drove straight from San Marcos, TX to Carson NF, NM. Considering the distance we made pretty good time, but that is pretty easy to do when you swap drivers every few hours and only stop to fill up with gas.
When we arrived, the scouting began. Being out in a national forest the day before your season opens does wonders to give a man energy. Armed with a map, binoculars, and a few other odds and ends, we set out in search of elk sign. Unfortunately, I didn’t see, hear, or smell any sign of elk at all. That could have been a result of fairly high temperatures, or I could have just been looking in the wrong places.
At any rate, we identified a watering hole at the end of a draw between two fingers with plenty of trees and figured that was as good a place as any to hunt. Morning on opening day came real early, and real cold. A solid hour and a half before the sun even thought to grace us with its presence, we were in an position to overwatch the watering hole and the surrounding areas. Several hours passed, and the only signs of life were a few pickup trucks heading to their hunting spots, waiting a while, giving up, and leaving. Hunger struck, and I called the hunt’s end. With such total isolation from normal noise, if anyone within several miles had taken a shot at anything, the sound would have made it our way. The only gunshot heard all day, was me shooting a leaking tank so it would vent, and I could safely transport it to a dumpster.
While I did not fill my elk tag, the trip was still fun. I hadn’t been outright camping with my Dad in well over a decade, and as father-son bonding goes, you really can’t beat a hunting trip to the mountains.