LAST EDITED ON Sep-06-10 AT 05:21 PM (MST) by Founder (admin)
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It all started when I was lucky enough to draw a Limited Entry Utah Archery Elk Tag. Once I found out I drew the tag, I could hardly stand to wait to go out scouting.
My first scouting trip was in the middle of June. That trip left me a little discouraged, I did not see one elk. I saw a couple of deer but nothing to get to excited about. I also had an archery deer tag that had the same season dates as my Elk hunt. But I was more interested in finding a big bull.
A couple of weeks went by until I was able to get out again. This time I was able to have my son Matthew and my Dad with me. It was a great trip we sure had a lot of fun. First thing that morning we spotted some bulls. We videoed 3 awesome bulls and saw 2 other rag horns with them. The longer I watched the 3 big bulls the more excited I got. I was looking at these bulls and could not believe my eyes, they were huge! One of the bulls was a solid 6 x 6 that was perfectly symmetrical. One of the other bulls was a great 5 x 5, he had some of the longest tines I had ever seen on a bull, and he had the most beautiful whale tales. Then I looked over at the next bull and noticed that he had something a little different. He had a 5” cheater coming off of his 3rd on the left side. From the moment I saw him I knew that he was the one. I am the type of guy that likes things a little different, I liked the added character. He was perfect! I ended up naming him Tipsy that day and did not bother naming the other two bulls.
After that I went out every weekend to watch him. I wanted to get all the video I could of him and learn his patterns. I had his pattern down to a science. I knew when and where he would enter the trees, and where he would bed.
Well the hunt got here before I knew it. I was packing up my gear and getting ready to go get Tipsy opening morning. My cousin Aaron and I left town Friday afternoon so we could go get camp set up and check the trail cameras. Once we got to our hunting spot we were already seeing bulls. I knew that it was going to be a great weekend. We were able to get to the cameras and check them without being spotted. Unfortunately Tipsy was not on either camera. After we got back to the truck we drove around hoping to be lucky enough to spot Tipsy, but we didn't see him that night.
That night was one of the longest nights I have ever had. All I could think about was how I was going to get in position and wait for the majestic animal to step within shooting range. Finally 5:00 am arrived and we were on our way to park the truck and hike into position. We parked the truck, got all of our gear on and finalized our game plan. We finally got into position around 5:45 and were awaiting Tipsy’s arrival. It started to get light and there was no sign of Tipsy. I was starting to get a little worried and discouraged, and was wondering if all the traffic on the roads maybe pushed him out of the area. Just when I was thinking that I wouldn’t get to see him that morning I noticed some movement across the valley. I pulled up the binos and started glassing. I couldn’t believe my eyes, there he was! My heart started pounding, I could feel the rush of adrenaline going through my body. The only problem was that he and the other two bulls were headed in the opposite direction. Aaron and I decided that if we were going to go after him that morning, that we better go now. So we slowly crept our way halfway across the valley until we hit some tree stumps for cover. Once we got there we glassed the bulls again to try and figure out which direction they were headed. While we were doing that we heard something running, so we put the binos down and looked to see what was making all of that noise. To my surprise it was a very good 6 point bull. He wasn’t Tipsy but was definitely a bigger bull than him. I decided I would leave Tipsy alone and go stalk after this bull we had just seen. The bull ended up stopping just over the hill above us and started feeding again. Aaron hung back to video the stalk and hopefully the shot on this bull. So I started the stalk up the hill. I would go a little ways then the bull would put his head up. I thought he busted me numerous times but then he would go back to feeding. I got up to 80 yards away from him and had a great broadside shot, but decided not to take it. I knew I was accurate out to 60 yards, 80 was pushing it. I did not want to wound him, and it was opening morning, so I figured I would let him go and try to get Tipsy that night, but that night we didn't have much luck.
The next morning we got into position again at the same location as the morning before. We glassed the valley for a while and there was no sign of Tipsy or any animal for that matter. So we decided to go back to the truck and drive over to a place we thought might be good the night before. Once we got to the other location I noticed movement up on the hillside. I pulled the spotting scope out and started glassing. I spotted a small rag horn 5 point and another really nice bull. The more we got looking at the good bull the more excited I got, it was Tipsy! I decided I would try and stalk in on him. So I got out of the truck grabbed the PSE Nova and headed towards him. The closer I got the more my heart started pounding. I started thinking is this the day I will be able to get Tipsy? Well as I got closer and closer the brush got thicker. I ended up getting busted by the rag horn. So off they went over the hillside. I decided not to go after them in hopes that they would be in the same area that night. On my way back to the truck I noticed that the bulls had been watering at a trough just below the hill. When I got back to the truck and discussed what I had found with Aaron, we decided we would sit at the water that night. Well we sat at the water that night and all that ended up coming in were the ranchers cows. Once it got dark we headed for home.
It was hard to stay focused on work that week, all I could think about was getting back out there and chasing Tipsy all over the hillside. Finally it was the end of the work week and time to get ready to go back out. Aaron and I left Saturday morning at 4:00am and headed for our usual hunting spot. We figured we would try the same area that we had Tipsy patterned. We thought that maybe with not as much pressure during the week,that he would follow his usual pattern. But this time we decided not to hike in unless we saw him.
That morning as we were waiting for it to get light enough to see, we ran into a great guy by the name of Blaine who we had met the previous weekend. He told me to bring some raidios the weekend before so that if he saw anything he could let me know. So I did just that. After talking with Blaine for a few minutes we decided to go up the side road a way’s and see if we could spot anything. On our way up the road Blaine radio’d telling us there were a couple of bulls directly south of us. So I parked the truck and grabbed my gear. It was perfect, the wind was blowing in my favor so I didn’t have to worry avout them catching my scent. As I got closer I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my veins. I got to 100 yards away from the bulls before I could really see what they were. As I pulled up the binos I was hoping to see tipsy, but unfortunately he was not there. The two bulls ended up being 5 point rag horns. I decided I would try and get as close to them as I could. So I stalked in on them and got to within 20 yards of them. I had a perfect broadside shot. I held off taking a shot in hopes I would be able to connect with Tipsy. I stayed in position until they reached the tree line, once they entered the trees I headed back to Aaron and the truck.
On my way back to the truck I decided that I wanted to go back to where we had last seen Tipsy the following weekend. Once we arrived to the last place we had seen Tipsy we started glassing the hillsides. We did not see any sign of Tipsy. After sitting for a few minutes Aaron suggested that maybe we should walk down to the water trough. We parked the truck grabbed the gear and headed to the water trough, in hopes of catching Tipsy watering. As we got to the hill above the water I started to get excited again. Once we got above the water there was no sign of him. With no luck of finding him that morning I started wondering if maybe someone else was lucky enough to take him. While I had these thoughts going through my head, Aaron was thinking of where Tipsy might have gone. He suggested that maybe we walk around the backside of the hill that we had last seen Tipsy on and glass the valleys and hillsides behind it.
As we were walking I was looking for sign and tracks to see if anything was in the area recently. To my surprise I really didn’t see much. As we got to the other side of the hill we went through a little burn area, I like the burn and wanted to stop and glass the hillsides around it. Aaron wanted to keep going to a ridge line south of us and glass the other valleys. After Aaron left I glassed the hillsides numerous times with no results. I started to get bored but didn’t want to leave where I was at so that Aaron and I wouldn’t get lost from each other. While I was waiting for Aaron to get back I started playing around with the fence I was standing next to. I played with it for a few minutes, then started glassing again. I took my time glassing not wanting to miss anything on the hillside. I still had the same result no Elk. As I took the binos down I noticed something in the corner of my eye. My heart started pounding, it was a good 3 x 3 buck that was about 22” wide. I wasn’t planning on shooting a buck but did have the tag. So I watched him for a minute to see what he was going to do. While watching him another buck popped up. This buck was a monster, I had never been that close to or shot a buck of his caliber. I dropped down to my knees due to being out in the open with no cover. I was so glad that I was wearing my Kings Camo. I blended in so well to my surroundings that they didn’t even know I was there. As I was on my knees the first buck jumped the fence. He was only 30 yards away from me. I hurried and pulled out one of my Beman ICS Hunter Elete arrows with my Muzzy 90 grain 4 blade broadheads attached and knocked the arrow. Then the big 4 point came up to the fence, he stopped for a minute and looked around. Then he jumped the fence and landed in the same spot as the other buck. As he jumped the fence I hurried and pulled back the trusty PSE Nova and waited for him to stop. Once he stopped I hurried and placed my 30 yard pin right behind the left shoulder and let go. The arrow flew through the air and hit a branch that I did not see through the pins that was right in the kill zone. The arrow deflected off of the branch and hit him in the neck. After I shot I watched the buck run until I could not see him anymore. I couldn’t believe what had just happened! The excitement was flowing throughout my whole body. I couldn’t wait until Aaron came back so I could tell him what had just happened.
About five minutes later Aaron showed up, as he was walking towards me I had a big grin on my face and gave him a thumbs up. He came up to me and asked what that was all about? I told him I had just connected with a big buck. So we both went to where we found the first sign of blood and decided to give him 45 minutes before we would track him. 45 minutes finally passed and off we were on a good blood trail. The further we got the more blood we found. We eventually came to a fence and saw where he had stopped. He didn’t jump the fence but there was no more blood to be found. Then we noticed that he had circled a bush with doing that he made it very difficult to get back on blood. After a few minutes of looking we were on blood again. Aaron said “We are going to find him soon with how much blood he has lost.” So we followed the blood trail up over a little hill, on the other side there he was! We had found him. Aaron and I got even more excited once we got closer to him. He was a monster! He was a perfectly symmetrical 4 point with eye guards. We hurried and took our field photos then started to take care of him. Once we got him taken care of we started dragging him out. It was all we could do to drag him, his body was huge! He had one of the biggest body’s I had ever seen for a deer. We finally made it back to the truck but didn't have room for the deer and the four wheeler with everything else in the truck. So we headed over to Blaine’s camp to see if we could leave the four wheeler with him. Blaine ended up being camped with a guide service by the name of Mossback, his son Cody is one of the Mossback guides, Cody also had a archery bull tag.
I left the four wheeler at their camp and took off to the butcher and taxidermist. I had never caped an animal before and did not want to mess it up. So we took the buck to the taxidermist to have him cape the buck. Once we arrived to the taxidermist, he quickly caped and skinned the buck for me. I ran the meat over to the butcher then went back to the taxidermists place. I really wanted to know what my trophy scored. When I got back he scored him for me. The buck scored 166”. Man I couldn’t believe it, I was going to be able to be entered into Pope and Young's record book.
After we finished up with the taxidermist Aaron and I went and ate some lunch and filled the truck up with gas. We were on the road again, headed back to chase Tipsy. On our way back out to our hunting spot I jokingly told Aaron be ready to go back to the taxidermist tonight with Tipsy.
Once we got back to our hunting area we went and grabbed the four wheeler and moved it to where we would be camping. We then went and drove the truck up to where we would be hunting that night. We hiked to a spot where we could see the valley below us and the valley above us. While we were glassing the wind was blowing I would say 30 to 40 miles per hour, it was crazy! Aaron got to wondering if anything was even going to come out tonight with how bad the wind was blowing. We sat for about an hour and a half glassing the valleys hoping to see something. Aaron told me he was going to move to another spot to see if he could find anything over there.
About twenty minutes later I spotted a bull, I pulled up the binos and checked him out. It was the big 5 point that Tipsy had been running with throughout the summer. I started stalking in on him from about 500 yards away. I slowly made my way down the hill and started up towards him. I got to about 200 yards and glassed him to see which direction he was feeding. I happened to be the direction he was headed, so I stayed put watching him. After a few minutes went by I heard a bugle. It was the first bugle I had heard this season. I was able to locate where the sound came from and noticed another bull. So I pulled up the binos to take a look and couldn’t believe my eyes, it was Tipsy! At this point the adrenaline started flowing through my veins and I started to get very excited. I started thinking,"Is this really going to be the day I get Tipsy?"
While I have all of these things going through my head I continue to watch Tipsy. He finally jumped the fence and was headed my way. He joined the 5 point and started feeding towards me. I noticed that I did not have much light left and decided I needed to make a move. As I am making my way towards them they change their feeding pattern and head towards the left side of the hill. I quickly make my way to the other side of the hill and head to cut them off.
As I am heading towards them it is getting closer to dark and they are still 150 yards or more away from me. So I decided I had better head straight for them if I wanted to get a shot. I noticed a dead tree stump that was right where they were feeding to, that was my mark. If I could get there I would be able to get a good shot at Tipsy.
I finally made it to the stump and Tipsy is on my left and the 5 point is on my right. The 5 point is only about 15 yards away from me at this point and could bust me at any second. Tipsy was 30 yards away from me, so I waited for a good broadside shot. He finally presented me a good shot, so I pull the trusty PSE back and Tipsy decides to turn and feed towards me. I had my bow pulled back for what seemed like forever (approx. 5 minutes) I finally could not hold the bow back any longer, I had to give my arm a break. I slowly let the bow down, my arrow falls off of the rest and hit’s the side of my bow. It made a loud noise, I was busted. He couldn’t see me thanks to my Kings Camo. But he heard me. He started snorting and sniffing the air but could not smell me due to how hard the wind was blowing. He knew something wasn’t quite right so he whirled around and stopped giving me a perfect 30 yard broadside shot. I let the PSE go and my Beman ICS Hunter arrow flew threw the air and connected with him. He ran 30 yards and stopped giving me a great 60 yard shot as well. I pulled back again and let my arrow fly the 90 grain 4 blade Muzzy hit him good. He started bleeding heavy. He ran about 150 yards until he got to the fence. He did not want to jump the fence so he just stood there. I kept saying tip over tip over.
There ended up being another hunter about 100 yards away from him on the other side of the fence. The other hunter said he hit Tipsy high in the left shoulder and that there were no other arrows in him. I started to get upset thinking that these guys are going to try and take this majestic animal away from me.
Just when I thought things were going to get worse Blaine and team Mossback showed up. They saw the whole thing through the spotting scope 1,000 yards away. They started giving me high fives and hugs telling me how cool my stalk was on that big bull. After they showed up and verified that I was the one who shot Tipsy, the other hunter decided to let it go. I thank him for that and hoped he'd end up getting a great trophy as well. By the time we got all of that squared away it was dark, we started following the blood trail. We followed it until the blood started getting thin. Jessie with the Mossback team suggested we wait to find Tipsy until the next morning. So that’s what we decided to do.
On our way back to the truck Jessie asked Aaron and I where we were sleeping. I told him just in the bed of the truck. Jessie offered to let us come stay with him and Decker in his trailer for the night. Aaron and I took him up on the offer and met them at there camp after I called my wife to give her the exciting news that Tipsy was down.
Once we arrived at the Mossback camp Jessie insisted on feeding us dinner, so we ended up getting not only a great meal but a soft place to sleep. Thanks Jessie for the great accommodations! That night we talked for hours about hunting, sports, and everything in between. It was great! All I have ever heard about Mossback were horror stories, but after meeting them and getting to know them, that’s exactly what they were... made up stories. That night while everyone else was sleeping all I could do is play the events of that day through my head. I was lucky if I got an hour of sleep.
The next morning we all got up and got ready for what laid ahead. Aaron loves to track things and started before I was completely ready for the hike. I started following the blood trail and was on it for a little while, when next thing I knew Aaron radios me telling me that he found Tipsy. I was so relieved and excited, I could hardly wait to get to him.
I finally got to him and couldn’t believe how big he was. Not only his antlers but his body as well. We asked Blaine to take our field photos, and after the photo shoot the fun part began. I had 4 knifes with me thinking that would be enough to take care of him. Boy I was wrong. Luckily Blaine had a knife sharpener with him. Aaron and I started with the hind quarters while Blaine worked on capeing him. After a while we finally had Tipsy quartered out.
Thanks to team Mossback we had him packed out in no time. Before we loaded up Tipsy in the truck Jessie scored him for me, he was right at 350. Man I was excited, I ended up taking 2 Pope and Young record book animals in one day. I couldn’t believe it.
I want to give a special thanks to Blaine and team Mossback for there help and hospitality. It was appreciated probably more than you will ever know.
Below are pictures of my two trophy animals. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
Here is a pic with my hunting partner Aaron84