Mike Ogdahl, Paynesville, had been hunting for elk in New Mexico before but not with a muzzleloader.
He had read permit applications were being taken for public land hunting in New Mexico but didnít dream he had a chance of getting one. They were only allowing 17 resident and three nonresident hunters a permit. This hunting trip would be a first for Ogdahl, he had never used his muzzleloader on a elk hunting trip before.
About two weeks before leaving for Eagle Nest, N.M., he pulled his muzzle-loader out of storage and headed to the back yard. Ogdahl decided he had better do a little practicing and get the sights on the rifle in line.
Ogdahl drove the 1,200 miles to Eagle Nest, N.M., leaving Oct. 2. His permit was for only a one-day hunt, Oct. 4. Ogdahl and his guide, Andrew Gonzales of Angel Fire, N.M., rode horseback from Eagle Nest to the about 10,000 feet, then walked the rest of the way to the tree line in the Touch-Me-Not Mountains.
Ogdahl explained Eagle Nest is located at about 8,000 feet above sea level. They rode horseback to 10,000 feet and hunted at about 12,000 feet. ìThat was a long ways to walk,î he added.
ìMy goal was to shoot a 6 by 6 (or 12 pointer),î Ogdahl said. Gonzales had scouted out the area a week before the scheduled hunt. Ogdahl felt his chances of shooting an elk were good as the season was in the prime mating or bugle season. After that period, elk are hard to find.
On Friday night they headed up the mountain and slept in pup tents. ìIt was a little frosty,î Ogdahl said. Early Saturday morning, 5 a.m., they started listening for the elkís bugle call and followed the sounds. The hunters had a cowís call along and ìtalkedî back and forth with the bull elk. By 4:30 p.m., they found their bull elk. Ogdahl shot him in the chest five times with the muzzleloader. The elk weighed in at 850 pounds and is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years old.
Ogdahl said he was confident he would get his elk, as he brought along a freezer in the back of his pickup to haul the elk back to Paynesville for processing.
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