The Hunt…. Utah Archery…..
The night shifts leading up to the hunt were unbearable. Not so much as the 4 hour drive on no sleep to the bound destination of South-Eastern Utah. The Lasals are my home. In no time camp was spiked and I was off to bed.
I arrived at camp on August 25. After camp was set up I spent the rest of the day visiting old friends and catching up on the life and times of days past. What great times hunting camps produce much past the hunting part. August 26 was my daughter’s first birthday so the hunting didn’t start until the 27th and really there is nothing to report the first week. Hot temps and not much activity made for slow hunting. Lots of miles walked and no close calls nor even so much as an arrow knocked.
My family came up to camp for Labor Day weekend and I pretty much visited and spent time with them.
The little bit of time I did go hunting Momma would entertain Addy with a wheeler ride here and there, and even got a little creative with the car seat so they could both enjoy the ride a little better.
The family went home on Monday and it was time to get serious about the elk hunting. Oh yea, ididmanagetogetashotata3x3buckovertheweekendbutitdidn’tworkoutlikeIplanned. Just thought I would throw that in there real quick like.
Tuesday was nothing but rain. It rained pretty much all day and it rained hard. Even so, I couldn’t help but to keep trying. I didn’t have much intention of shooting anything in the rain and much to Gauges dismay; we pounded the ridges anyhow looking for a good starting point for the next days hunt.
Wednesday morning found Gauge and I in a sweet little hole at daylight. The walk in was wet and dark but the stars were bright and the crack a dawn found elk bugling all around. What a welcome treat. I worked close to the closest bull bugling and started hammering my cow call. An adolescent bugle way close by started the heart beating fast and warmed my cold wet legs. I got real excited when the social elk coming was a SPIKE!!! The shooting light was excellent but the sun was still a couple minutes from peaking the horizon. I ranged the spike and few spots close to him and when he worked broadside at 29 yards, I drew my bow and settled the 30 yard pin on the dark tuft that covered his heart. I released the arrow and a little oak limb I didn’t see in the excitement slapped my arrow to the ground like a lightning bolt thrown from Zeus himself. What a great morning regardless.
I continued to work the wind bound and determined to find more elk. About midday the wind shifted and it was time to work back to the truck. Not long after the wind shift I was slowly working the oak brush and noticed a dark brown ear flick in a pretty open clump of oaks. The Meopta binos revealed what I had suspected. A bedded cow! I knocked an arrow and ranged the gal. 41 yards was a great opportunity. I chirped softly and when the cow finally stood, I drew my bow. I had a small gap through the oaks I needed to squeeze the arrow through but in doing so the shot would be perfect in the kill zone. When things felt perfect I sent the goldtip on its way. The arrow looked good but the “THWACK” sound the arrow produced was a sure sign I didn’t make the shot. That oak tree stopped the arrow like it might as well have been stopped by Thor himself swinging his hammer.
At the end of the day I had to give thanks for good clean misses. However, I don’t feel I really missed either shot this day. I just hit stuff I wasn’t aiming at.
The best part of camping in my mind is the Dutch oven cooking. I LOVE to warm up the Dutch ovens. Not every meal has to be an epic. A simple burger and fries done on the camp chef after a long day is a meal fit for a king.
Of course the deserts done correctly are heavenly. Here is an upside down cake pie that is awesome. The biggest secret when doing deserts in Dutch ovens is lining the oven with freezer paper wax side up. Trim the paper to fit, pour in the cake mix, when the cake is close to done but not quite cut a hollow in the cake and pour in the fruit. Most only do a single fruit dish but I have always liked to do a multi-fruit mixture. This one was blueberry and apple with a yellow cake mix and it was awesome!
Anyhow, back to the hunting….
On the last day of elk season, September 9th, we (my buddy was with me) were working the aspen dead fall in search of elk. During mid-day however, we had one of those four season storms blow in and even though the day started out hot it ended in a rain, hail, snow storm. After the storm broke we decided it was a perfect time for some still hunting. That’s when we decided to hit the aspen dead fall.
Anyhow, while working the dead fall timber, I stepped up on a log and noticed movement to my right. All season I had a 3 point or better rule on the bucks. I ranged the deer at 40 yards before I looked to see if it was even a buck. The deer had its head stuffed in the thick undergrowth and I couldn’t see its head. I felt confident I could sneak a few yards closer and not only would it be a better shooting platform but I should be able to see this deer better and have a better shot angle. I slowly worked a few yards closer and raised my binos to inspect. I knocked an arrow quietly when the deer turned out to be a nice two year old three point. I drew my bow and sent yet another arrow….
It has always been awesome to me how a well-placed arrow can take the life of an animal so fast, clean and drama free. It was over for the buck within a few seconds and well within sight. What an awesome day and experience all around and while he is not a monster he is to me and will go a long way on the empty freezer part of the HAC.
It always sucks breaking camp. But its required for the next season to get here!
The elk won out on this journey but I have one more buck tag and two more elk tags in my pocket.
Up next, …. Colorado 2nd season cow.