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Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt

 
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jethro12
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Oct-03-16, 
03:28 PM (MST)
"Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

This story starts many years ago when I was a boy. On a scouting trip for the upcoming deer hunt we came around the corner and I saw something I had never seen before. Standing knee deep in Big Lake on the north end of Monroe Mountain was a 6 point bull elk – it was love at first sight. Over the ensuing years as I grew up we began to see elk more regularly and I cherished moments listening to and seeing bulls bugle and gather cows from Davis Hollow up to Killian Springs. On the year I returned home from my mission both my dad and his brother drew bull tags on the Monroe and our family chased big elk for the very first time. A number of years later my brother drew a muzzleloader bull tag on the mountain and again we got to enjoy hunting elk on the mountain we had watched them grow our entire life. This year the odds (and bonus points) were finally in my favor and it was my turn to hunt the Monroe bulls with my muzzleloader. Many things had changed in my life since the day we saw that bull standing in Big Lake – chiefly I now have a beautiful wife and 6 great children.

The real hunt started with a scouting trip the weekend before the opener. I took 3 of my boys with me to set up camp and do a little looking around. With the hunt starting on a Monday and so many school time demands this would be my one chance to have them with me. After a snowy cold night we hit the road and listened on every point from Killian Springs down to Davis Hollow and we were rewarded with a bugle on nearly every one of them. It was a true joy to see my 6 year old hear the bulls bugle and smile. My oldest boy then chauffeured us down to the middle of the mountain where we met Grandma and Grandpa for lunch and a little more looking around. We put our eyes on a great bull that afternoon as he herded his harem of 12 cows down the backside of Indian Peak. It was a great day on the mountain with elk, yellow and red aspens, Grandma and Grandpa, and my boys.


Fast forward to early Monday morning when the hunt officially started. I was on the road early with a good friend and neighbor along with his horses. The goal was to hit an area just above hunter flat and work that country on down to Davis Hollow and see what we could turn up. Just before we got to hunters flat and about 10 minutes ahead of official shooting time we had a big bull and about 10 cows cross the road – change of plans follow that bull! A quick text to my dad asking him to park the truck and horse trailer better and we were off. We chased his bugle for several canyons but never did catch up to him. Tried to make a move on a couple other bugles and again no luck and now the morning hunt was over and we had been nowhere near the planned destination. After some lunch and a little rest we decided to give the abandoned morning plan a try for the evening. We were to saddle the horses and work northeast down the canyon through Killian Spring. As we unloaded and saddled we heard some bugles to the south and west so adaptive management won out again and we were off. Before long we had tied the horses and then ensued the most amazing evening of rut activity I have ever witnessed. We chased bugle after bugle and passed on bull after bull. I actually took a shot at one but made the rookie mistake of shooting a field goal right through his antlers because I just couldn’t take my eyes off them. The bugles continued as it got dark and we loaded the horses to head back to camp. A good friend from Richfield called and said there a couple good bulls down on Indian Peak as well as a couple good bucks the deer hunters would be after on Wednesday and suggested if I wanted to try that area Tuesday was going to be the best day. Since my parents were staying in a cabin near there and had to go home Tuesday night as well we decided to give that a try.

When we arose the next morning after a sleepless night because of all the bugling around the tent we found ourselves 2nd guessing the decision to move south, but we loaded up and did it anyway. We arrived just as it was getting light enough to see and immediately spotted a big 5 point on a far ridge and some cows crossing over to the back side of the peak. There were other bugles on the back side so we made a plan to go around the opposite side and see what we found. As we crested the ridge my phone started vibrating – it was my friend from Richfield and he was watching from across the canyon. He set us up a plan to go after what he thought was the biggest bull and as we followed it we quickly found ourselves 240 yards off from a good bull. He was bedded and there were several cows between us and him. The only approach was an open sagebrush flat and we tried to game plan the best crawl forward we could. While game planning something else spooked the herd and they were quickly on their feet headed out. My friend cow called and the bull stopped, it was now or never probably about 260 yards - I gave it a try but the reality was it was too far and we now had the herd on a dead run. We tracked them the rest of the morning but never got closer than to hear a couple of bugles across Koosharem Canyon that we were foolish enough to follow. We ended the morning hunt beat down and tired between the evening before and that morning I guessed we had covered 12 miles chasing bulls and bugles through some really steep country. We hit the cabin my parents were staying at and took a restless nap and some food. After a call home and hearing all was well, my spirits were up and we were ready to go chase again.

We decided to hit the lookout point early and watch and listen and gameplan based on what we saw and heard. While driving over there we spotted a medium size 6 with a few cows but passed on him. Not long after hitting the lookout point we spotted a lone cow and not long after that we watched a big 6 with a great top end move up through a clearing. I liked him so we game planned an interception point based on where we thought he was going and headed out. The plan was to watch and wait for him to move but as we sat at our chosen lookout point we started seeing other elk. First we saw a raghorn and he was soon joined by another bull that was completely black with mud from head to toe. Then a herd of 15 cows fed up from the bottom and finally their bull broke into the open. We quickly judged him to be a shooter too. They were clear down in the bottom and a choice to go after them meant knowing we would be coming out the steep canyon in the dark – but that was why we were there so we set off. Not long after heading down the ridge a bull bugled to our right, we returned with a cow call and before we knew it he was in a clearing at 300 yards – it was the first shooter bull with the big top end we had seen from the first lookout point. He kept bugling and coming in and we quickly decided if he came close enough and provided a shot that he would do. At the next clearing he was at 250, and then 175. The next one would have him at 130 and I prepared to shoot. He paused just before stepping out and then took 2 slow steps forward and I had it right on him and let go. All I could see was smoke and my buddy telling me to reload because he was still standing there. Re-loading a muzzleloader under pressure is quite an exercise and by the time I got it done he had disappeared. We watched carefully for him and finally saw him slowly moving through the aspen and I tried a tough shot through the trees and by the time I reloaded again we could not see him. My friend was confident I had hit him good with the first shot but I was now worried sick about potentially losing him. We navigated down the hillside and immediately found a giant pool of frothy lung blood and a paint streaked blood trail that was easy to follow. After following about 100 yards there he was – the dream come true that had started at big lake so many years ago. Was he the biggest bull on the mountain? No. Did I care? Absolutely not! I was thrilled to have participated in the greatest 2 hunting days of my life knowing I had the privilege and opportunity to finally hunt the beasts I had watched my entire life. They didn’t disappoint providing plenty of bugling and viewing opportunity – in fact after I shot my bull we looked around and realized we could see 3 different groups of elk from right where I shot.




From there my friends horses proved their worth and I enjoyed one of the easiest elk packouts I had ever been a part of. A big thanks to all my family and friends that helped or shared info – doing this together made this a blast!

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Monroe Muz...  fordtruck19...      Oct-03-16   1 
 RE: Monroe Muz...  Buccsboy55      Oct-03-16   2 
 RE: Monroe Muz...  SnowsNBlues      Oct-03-16   3 
 RE: Monroe Muz...  SlinginLead      Oct-03-16   4 
  RE: Monroe Muz...  goforbroke      Oct-04-16   5 
   RE: Monroe Muz...  Ringneks      Oct-04-16   6 
  RE: Monroe Muz...  jethro12      Oct-05-16   9 
 RE: Monroe Muz...  98caxj      Oct-04-16   7 
  RE: Monroe Muz...  PleaseDear      Oct-05-16   8 
   RE: Monroe Muz...  jethro12      Oct-05-16   10 
    RE: Monroe Muz...  Jagerdad      Oct-05-16   11 
     RE: Monroe Muz...  Shadow      Oct-05-16   12 
      RE: Monroe Muz...  cmbbulldog      Oct-05-16   13 
     RE: Monroe Muz...  jethro12      Oct-06-16   14 
      RE: Monroe Muz...  Camper_A1      Oct-06-16   15 

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  Messages in this topic  

fordtruck1996
(25 posts)
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Oct-03-16, 
03:49 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Fun Read!! Congrats on a great trophy!! Felt like I was there with ya, great story!

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Buccsboy55
(367 posts)
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Oct-03-16, 
03:50 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Congratulations thanks for sharing

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SnowsNBlues
(41 posts)
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Oct-03-16, 
07:53 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Great story and AWESOME bull!

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SlinginLead
(350 posts)
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Oct-03-16, 
07:56 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Great story and hunt! Someday I'll draw Monroe....21 points
and counting!

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goforbroke
(206 posts)
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Oct-04-16, 
07:11 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Thanks for the post. write ups like this are what make this forum great. Congrats on a great bull.

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Ringneks
(65 posts)
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Oct-04-16, 
08:09 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

I second the above. Great write up and congrats on a sweet bull. There's something magical about those big bull hunts.

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jethro12
(17 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
08:55 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

I hear you on the 21 points I had 19 and finally gave in and decided to do it with the muzzy - you are almost there it will be a ton of fun!

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98caxj
(54 posts)
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Oct-04-16, 
11:43 PM (MST)
7. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Well Done!
great hunt story and pics, thanx for sharing.

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PleaseDear
(8040 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
03:22 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Well done

Dandy bull

congrats

Robb

PS- like your camo--what brand is it?

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jethro12
(17 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
09:03 AM (MST)
10. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Thanks for the kind words all - I have followed this site for years and always wanted to have a real story to contribute, and with recent trends focused on politics, ethics and such I was hoping to just share a fun story of an average guy have some way above average fun. My friend that was with me just sent his pictures and there were a couple real fun ones so I thought I would share a couple more.

Camo is the first brand new camo I have ever bought, until now and likely in the future I have always made do with yard sale cast offs, but when Cabelas clearnaced this stuff for cheap I had to give it a try - I thought it looked too yellow when it arrived but up on the hill I was quite surprised how well it blended in both the sage and the aspen. It is Cabelas brand in Western Zonz pattern.




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Jagerdad
(779 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
02:44 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

The only things "I" missed in the wonderful story was/is the Kids. You started off with them in the story. That grabbed me....I'm a Family guy. So...when you arrived Home were there any statements from the kids and family...? I look forward to my kids eyes and statements when I come Home. It's a different kind of new reward.

Jagerdad

PS: Wonderful story.

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Shadow
(430 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
07:14 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Great write up to a great experience. I really believe you got more out of your adventure than most people do. When I read your story it felt like I was right there the whole time because I know all of the places you mentioned as well as I do my own back yard. I have a good friend that didn't know much about the unit draw the same tag a couple years ago and he asked me what kind of bull he could kill and I said the only thing I'd guarantee is that we'd have the time of our lives. That was an understatement. That is the coolest place on earth come the end of September.

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cmbbulldog
(1688 posts)
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Oct-05-16, 
08:38 PM (MST)
13. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Good job, congrats!

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jethro12
(17 posts)
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Oct-06-16, 
09:35 AM (MST)
14. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

LAST EDITED ON Oct-06-16 AT 09:39 AM (MST)

Oh the kids! Yes some great stuff there -

The 14 year old keeps asking when his hunts start since I brought it home. We got out for a brief moment monday night on the muzzy deer hunt but since then we've had scout responsibilities on Tuesday, Cross Country meet last night, and daddy-daughter date tonight so good thing he has a rifle deer tag and we can get after it more then. He also has a doe antelope tag starting Saturday he is pretty amped for.

The 13 year old is not so much into hunting but loves making it into food, he will be my partner the next couple of nights as we transform the beast into steaks, roasts, burger, and sausage. We have a great bratwurst mix we make with elk every year and he loves to help stuff the casings.

The 10 year old was thrilled to have daddy home and will be a hunter someday if only because she loves to spend time with dad. She was more into hugging and welcoming me home than checking out the elk, she was happy I got one but mostly because it meant I came home earlier than planned.

And the little ones (6,5, and 3) have been a ton of fun. The 3 year old kept running his hands up and down the tines one at a time all the way around and wanting to know what part we eat. He wants to go hunting everytime he sees me for the last week. My wife has really stressed about them getting hurt on the antlers as they have been using them as a jungle gym in the shed while she works on painting projects - good thing they got sent off to the beetle guy so that stress is gone. It has been fun because for those 3 I think the difference between an elk and deer really gelled this week.

And finally since we are covering the family aspect I must bring up the wife, she was a true gem through the entire hunt process. A perfect balance of giving me the freedom to pursue my dream while still reminding me the importance of being a dad and ensuring the kids got to be as involved as possible. In fact she was planning to load up all 6 and bring them over Wednesday if I hadn't already harvested so we could have some mid-week family time - She is the greatest!


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Camper_A1
(654 posts)
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Oct-06-16, 
03:52 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Monroe Muzzleloader Bull Hunt"

Congrats on a fun hunt. I do love spending time on Monroe.
We usually deer hunt down there and end up spending more time watching the elk.

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