Photobucket finally works! Here is the story of my 2016 Wasatch Late Bull.
After 13 years of applying I finally drew a limited entry bull tag for the Utah Wasatch late hunt. I had planned on diy and had offers of assistance from members of utahwildlife.net and monstermuleys. As the hunt neared I communicated with a guy on monstermuleys and he put me in touch with a good friend of his Jeff Mitchell of lazy bar t outfitters. After talking to Jeff I ended up booking a last minute 4 day hunt with him.
A few days and 1300 miles later I was at camp on Sheep Creek road west of Strawberry Reservoir. Day 1 we tried to locate a large bull Jeff had been watching. We dropped off a steep ridge in the pre dawn darkness. Once we hit the bottom we went up another ridge to our glassing spot. We couldn't locate the big bull but did spot 3 bulls at 900 yds. A small 6x6, a super wide 6x6 that had short tines and a really cool good sized 5x5 that had a right G2 that was about 2 feet long. I decided to pass on those bulls. That evening we didn't see any more bulls.
Day 2 was an even longer hike to an area Jeff thought the big bull might have gone. I sat watching a meadow while Jeff glassed a different area. A 5x5 and a 4x4 came out in the meadow at 300 yards and I put the crosshairs on the 5x5 but didn't flip the safety off. Once again that evening no bulls spotted.
Day 3 found me glassing a different basin while Jeff and Kerry checked out another spot. I saw a 5x5 about 1.5 miles out with my spotting scope while Jeff found another 5x5 and 4x4. We got a good look at them at 300 yards but they weren't the one I waited 13 years for.
Day 4, the last day with Jeff. I had a gut feeling about that morning so I made sure I had a full gatorade in my pack and traded the 6.5 SAUM I had been carrying for my 8mm Rem mag. We hiked about a mile down the top of a ridge and Jeff spotted 3 bulls almost a mile off and one of them looked pretty good. We dropped off the ridge and climbed a knob 900 yards from the bulls. As we glassed them I looked down below at the edge of the oak brush. Wow! 3 more bulls! 300 yards and about 200 feet below us. They turned out to be small so we focused on the bigger bulls. They fed in and out of the oak brush as we sized them up. A small 5x5 and a small six. As the third bull fed out I knew he was the bull I came to Utah for. His 4's and 5's were so tall!
After the small bulls below is fed out of sight we looped back around the ridge out of sight of the big bull and made our way to another knob within range of the bull. I have to admit that my heart was beating fast not just from the climbing but from anticipation of finally getting a shot at a big bull.
We eased out on the knob and I set up my Bog pod shooting sticks. I ranged the oak brush where the elk were feeding. The openings were 400 to 450 yards. I had been practicing out to 600 yds at home and had been hitting rocks at 500 and 600 yards a few miles from camp prior to the hunt so I knew I could make the shot. I dialed my turret and got as steady as I could. As the bulls fed back out we identified the big 6 and I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves.
"Here we go." I squeezed off the shot and lost the elk in the recoil of the 8mm mag. As I racked the bolt Jeff said "you hit him!" I got back on the bull as he was hunched up and heading for the oak brush. I fired a quick second shot just before he made the brush and Jeff said "he's down! He just dropped like a sack of ----!" That is when the shaking started.
20 minutes later we finally reached my bull. I can't describe the rush of feelings as I looked at him. I had killed a 5 pt bull in Colorado 7 years earlier and this bull dwarfed him in every way. He was incredible! We took some pictures and Jeff got on the phone to call some buddies to help. We gutted him and quartered him on the steep slope then Jeff went back to the truck for his frame pack. I was just finishing caping out my bull when Kerry arrived. We boned out the quarters and were cutting off the skull plate when Jeff and the others arrived. It was quite the fun pack out with the steep slope and the thick oak brush.
I shot my bull at 8:30 and we made it to the trucks just before dark. What an awesome day! I scored my bull at 320 with a 30" inside spread. He is everything I could hope for. All in all I saw 15 bulls and passed 350 yard or less shots at 8 different bulls. What a great hunt.
NRA Life Member
The critters have to win every time. I only have to win once.