column By: Brad Fenson | May, 18
John Uhorchak and John Hordines were best friends that set out to book an elk hunting adventure in Colorado. They ventured to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they met Jordan Cook of Colorado Mountain Adventures. Both hunters were from Upstate New York and felt it would be best to use the service of a knowledgeable person with all the right gear for everything from accommodations to where to start looking for a bull elk.
When Jordan met John Hordines, the excited hunter was a big guy, weighing around 310 pounds. Jordan recalls the first thing that John told him, “You won’t have to worry about me looking like this come rifle season, as I plan to get in shape for the hunt.”
Jordan didn’t see either hunter for nearly two years after booking their hunt. When the men arrived in Colorado for their elk hunt, Jordan didn’t even recognize them. John Hordines had lost more than 100 pounds and looked like a different person. He had been conditioning and training for this hunt and was in the best shape of his life. John Uhorchak was already physically fit but lost an additional 20 pounds for the hunt. Both men are an inspiration for anyone wanting to fulfill a lifelong dream of an adventuresome hunt.
Eager to start their hunt, the crew headed out on horseback for the hunt of a lifetime. Upon arriving at camp and discussing the weight loss Hordines had accomplished, Jordan was also amazed by the story Uhorchak told about his journey of getting into shape for this hunt.
After losing 20 pounds, eating healthy and exercising for the hunt, he made an appointment with his doctor to see if he was able to get off his cholesterol medication. After blood tests, Uhorchak received difficult news – he had prostate cancer. It was in the early stages, so that was good news, and they were able to schedule surgery and get the cancer removed. After one year, Uhorchak is still cancer free.
Learning of the challenges and commitment of his hunters, Jordan knew the trip was much more than just taking two friends on an elk hunt. These two men changed their lives – indefinitely – for this elk hunt.
The crew hunted hard and scoured the rugged terrain for any sign of elk. After three days of covering ground and having a few encounters, Uhorchak found himself perched on a point overlooking an oak brush bottom. Seeing a group of cows move through, he was eager with anticipation, and looking down the trail spotted a nice 5x5 bull moving forward to catch up with its cows. When the bull presented a broadside shot, the hunter capitalized on the opportunity and shot his first-ever bull elk.
John Hordines hunted long, hard days, covered miles of territory, and it wasn’t until the last evening of the hunt that a 5x5 bull stepped out and offered an opportunity at 300 yards. Unfortunately, the shot didn’t hit its mark, and the bull slipped off into the thick brush just as the final light faded.
Not only was this a bucket-list hunt but it was also a first elk hunt for both men. Luck always plays a role in every hunt, but the mental determination and preparation played a heavy role in their success.
Tag Team Pronghorns
After two years of applying for draws in Wyoming, Henry Wilkerson and his son Kevin drew tags for mule deer and pronghorn. To ensure they drew both species, they built up priority points, knowing it would provide a double hunting opportunity the second year. They drove all the way from Memphis, Tennessee, to Wyoming without stopping to rest. They enjoyed a great mule deer hunt, both filling their tags in the first couple days of the season.
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