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My INCREDIBULL Adventure!

 
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Forums 2014 Hunt Adventure Challenge
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Dr_Hunter
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Jun-30-14, 
09:59 AM (MST)
"My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-01-14 AT 10:02 AM (MST) by Founder (admin)

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After six long years of waiting I finally drew the tag of a lifetime: Limited Entry Any Bull!
First, a little bit about me. My name is John and I am a native of Utah. I come from many generations of family hunting adventures. My dad took me hunting as a child and taught me the skills of being a successful and ethical hunter. I grew up hunting deer with my dad along with ducks, geese, doves, pheasants and every other upland game. My number one passion was bird hunting and second was big game. That soon would change after I lost my best friend and hunting partner-Gunner, a chocolate lab.


And yes, that was my rig and technique back in the day. A Deseret Industries bike that I didn't worry about getting stolen that would help me get back into the more isolated and distant marshes.


After Gunner past away bird hunting just wasn’t the same, and it was a lot more work retrieving the birds.



I started venturing out more and chasing big game with a muzzleloader and then was influenced by some friends to pick up a bow. Bow hunting helped me to gain an even greater respect for wildlife, their keen senses and incredible intelligence.



For the past eight and a half years I have dedicated my time to school, work and family. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in science of nursing (yes I am a male nurse… just like Greg Focker), completed the critical care internship at the University of Utah and shortly thereafter went to graduate school to complete a Family Nurse Practitioner degree. During this time I worked as a Registered Nurse in the Neuro ICU along with all of the other ICUs at the University of Utah. Needless to say, time for hunting was inexistent, or very limited to only a few days a year. This year I graduated and finally have some time to go play in the hills again. So, for all of you that are battling the books and studying in school; don’t give up and keep at it! There is an end and life is much better after your hard work! My wife and children have been very supportive and are excited for me to finally have a chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of chasing big, stinky, bugling bulls.

I don't think there is any other quality
so essential to success of any kind as the
quality of perseverance. It overcomes
almost everything, even nature.
-John D. Rockefeller

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Jul-20-14   1 
  RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Jul-21-14   2 
   RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Jul-24-14   3 
    RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-03-14   4 
     RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-08-14   5 
      RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-10-14   6 
       RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-11-14   7 
        RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-20-14   8 
         RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-23-14   9 
          RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-24-14   10 
           RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-28-14   11 
            RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Aug-31-14   12 
             RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Sep-05-14   13 
              RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Sep-15-14   14 
               RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Sep-22-14   15 
                RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Oct-05-14   16 
                 RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Oct-21-14   17 
                  RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Nov-02-14   18 
                   RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Nov-04-14   19 
                    RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Nov-09-14   20 
                     RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Nov-23-14   21 
                      RE: My INCREDI...  Dr_Hunter      Dec-02-14   22 

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Jul-20-14, 
01:09 PM (MST)
1. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

LAST EDITED ON Jul-21-14 AT 02:19 PM (MST) by Founder (admin)

I remember as a young boy deer hunting with my dad and seeing a big bull for the first time. There were three big bulls walking through some quakies. One bull was a giant. The bull’s antlers were so big that it was a challenge for him to walk through the trees. I remember watching the big bull from 80 yards away as he swayed his head back and forth, maneuvering through the trees and actually getting stuck. To escape from the trees, he went back on his hind legs and lunged forward pushing down a tall dead aspen, so that he could continue on with his quest. When he got to the top of the ridge he tilted his head back and screamed out a bugle that shook the ground. Just like every other prepubescent boy, I screamed out a bugle in return mimicking him. The big bull looked back in our direction, and growled out another bugle that thundered through the canyon. At that moment, I knew I wanted to hunt big bulls.

Here is a bull that I videoed a few years ago. Every time I watch this video it reminds me of the experience I had as a boy. During the spike archery hunt I snuck up into this herd and was mesmerized by this nice bull to the point that I forgot I was hunting. At the end of the video I dropped the camera because no more than 20 yds away was a spike staring at me. Busted!


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Dr_Hunter
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Jul-21-14, 
07:59 AM (MST)
2. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I enjoy videoing and taking pictures during my hunts. Every year I will do a compilation of all of my hunts and put them into a DVD for my friends and me. It is my goal this year to have most of my elk hunt on video. The past few years I wasn’t able to do too much because of school; however, I was able to do one video because of the proximity of the location to my work. Some may have seen this already, but I thought I would share it again. I love seeing antler growth and the progression throughout the year. This video demonstrates growth progression to a “T” and on a weekly basis.

Graduate school was very demanding of my time and didn’t allow me to get out and exercise much. I knew that getting in shape would be the first priority for me. I started waking up at 5:00am every morning and running on a trail close to my home. I then transitioned over to trail runs and biweekly hikes on a favorite mountain of mine.

My wife enjoys running and working out too, which is great, but means that I have to share the morning time with her. The days that I am unable to go for a run outside, I stay home and do an Insanity workout. I hate Insanity and I can’t stand Shawn T. I do need to give him credit though because his workouts kick my butt, have strengthened my core significantly and have done well preparing me to be the “Ultimate Predator” as put by Cameron Hanes.

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Dr_Hunter
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Jul-24-14, 
01:20 PM (MST)
3. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I know that I look pretty stupid in the above pictures…. Compliments to my wife for making sure I include everything for this adventure.

My wife was kind enough to get me a membership to Stick Flippers Archery so that I could sharpen my skills and start creating different shot sequences.

Spring time is always an attractive time to see the lush green colors and newly flowered foliage.


The time finally arrived when I felt it was appropriate to set a few trail cameras. I ventured out to a few areas that I was hoping would hold summering bulls and set up my cameras.

After a few weeks I finally was able to make it out and check my cameras. Unfortunately, I only had a few cow elk and some cattle. The bulls are still high and haven’t come down to the lower areas yet. I’m not going to move my cameras yet because I know they will make their way down to these areas before my hunt.

I went out and glassed one evening and found this huge herd of cows, calves and a few raghorns. Unfortunately, I left my scope cam and only had my cell phone.


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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-03-14, 
09:38 AM (MST)
4. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I upgraded my bow to the Bowtech Insanity. I’m loving it, and it shoots straight!

Well... Most of the time.


Last year, I knew that I would have a good chance of drawing this tag so I placed my camera in a well scouted area to see what kind of bulls were hanging out. I also placed it because a friend of mine drew the rifle tag. Little did I know that there was a giant hanging out in the area with a few other potential toads in the years to come?

I quickly fell in love with the look of this bull and the picture soon found itself as the wallpaper on my phone and laptop. I forwarded the pictures to my friend, Spencer, who had a rifle tag. I was hoping Spencer would get a crack at him, but deep down I wouldn't have been upset if he survived the season. Spencer ended up shooting a dandy, monster bull and my trail-cam bull survived the hunts … that is, until the late rifle hunt. A hunter named Bridger was able to connect on this magnificent bull during the late hunt. It was bitter sweet news. Bridger found out that I had some trail cam pictures and Spencer had some video footage of him. After admiring this bull’s pictures on my phone for the last couple of months, I was eager to see him in person. Bridger, Spencer and I met up a few weeks later and took some pictures. Since then, we have become better friends. I told Bridger that I had his bull's picture set as my cellphone's background wallpaper since I got pictures of him. He laughed and said that his wallpaper has been his bull's pictures since he shot him! We both shared a good laugh.


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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-08-14, 
06:57 PM (MST)
5. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Some map action before the work day begins. You can never be too familiar with an area.


http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos2/8428photo_(2).jpg

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-10-14, 
05:43 PM (MST)
6. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Last year I was able to get pictures of three nice bulls on my camera. One was a toad and was shot. The other two have potential for this year and to my knowledge survived last year’s hunting seasons. This year I am hoping to find the two. So far, I haven’t found them, but that will change soon. Here are a few pictures:


Trail Camera Frustration

The time finally arrived that would allow me to get away and go check my trail cameras. It had been three weeks since I had set them up. I placed three cameras in well scouted areas; two were more rutting areas and the other was a summer area. I hiked into the first one and was very optimistic that I would have some pics of some good summering bulls. When I got to the area, I bumped a cow elk off of the mineral lick that I had left. I was eager to check my camera. I removed the card and to my surprise, only six pictures had been taken. I rechecked my settings on the camera and noticed that my batteries were dead. I had just replaced the batteries with new ones too. Unsure of what happened, I reviewed the pictures. Anytime I set my cameras up, I take a few practice picture of my ugly mug, just to ensure proper placement of the camera in its surroundings.

To my surprise, the pictures of me had been deleted! Only 6 pictures remained from a few days prior. BINGO! Thanks ya big Jerk! Someone found my camera and deleted the pictures. I was a little surprised that this had happened because the area was off the beaten path; however, it was placed in a popular ATV ridden area near a spring. Oh well… I should be happy it my camera wasn't stolen. At least I know there is something good in there that someone else hoped I didn’t see.

I ventured off to check my next camera and my luck didn’t seem to improver. As I approached my camera I was attacked by hundreds of blood thirsty mosquitos. I felt like a fresh pile of cow dung being devoured by flies. As I walked over to my camera, I noticed a newly blown over tree that was gesticulating within the camera’s view. “Crap!” I thought. I managed to escape the mosquitoes for a few seconds and check my card, only to find the flamboyant tree had managed to make my camera take 3,770 pictures over a three day period, two days after I had placed it! Argh! I guess I could have kept one of the pictures to show you all, but I wanted no recollection of the tree.

The last camera was placed in more of a rutting area. I was a little bummed about the two unsuccessful trips and my expectations weren’t that high with this camera. I woke up early and grabbed the youngest child and ventured up the mountain side. If anything it would be a good workout since it is 4 ˝ miles to get to the area with a good 1200’ elevation climb.



As expected, my luck didn't change much. I had 47 pictures of does and fawns over a three week period. I left my cameras in the same locations, with the exception of the one that the trail-cam eraser discovered.

After wasting an entire day and having nothing on my cameras, I felt sick inside and was having second thoughts of even placing them. Overall, it took me a day and a half to check my cameras. I’m somewhat frustrated because I do not feel much benefit much from it. I already know that big bulls hang out in the areas where I placed the cameras. Sure, it would be cool to get pictures of the bulls and be able to slap a name on a few before hunting them, but the intent is almost purely social. . . Oh well, I am excited to check them again. Ha! I guess I suffer somewhat from trail-cam addiction.


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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-11-14, 
03:39 PM (MST)
7. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Fish on!!

My good friend and I were lucky enough to experience some of the best Kokanee fishing the Berry has ever had to offer! We limited out in only a few hours after launching the boat.


Run, Run and Run!

With only a week left until opening-day, I have been trying to exercise on a daily basis for longer periods of time, 1.5-2hrs instead of 45 min-1hr.

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-20-14, 
10:21 AM (MST)
8. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

The Eve to Elk Hunt Eve
I was hoping to arrive at camp on Thursday night so that I would be able to scout Friday morning; unfortunately, I didn’t get off work as early as I hoped and I underestimated the amount of time it would take for me to pack and load up the Jeep. It was 11:00pm by the time I had finished. Camp is exactly three hours from my house. I decided to spend the night at home and get up early.

http://www.monstermuleys.info/photos/user_photos2/9896photo_(7).jpg

Elk Hunt Eve
The next morning found me driving to a place my uncle had recommended that I check out. I got there right a little after sunrise. I spent an hour glassing the mountainside, washes and grazing areas but only turned up some small bucks, cows and calves. I ventured off to check a few other areas and on my way I stopped and chatted with a few spike elk hunters. They offered me some good information as to where they had been seeing a few good bulls. We exchanged names and offered to keep in touch if we were to get into any good areas. I then hurried over to an area where I left my cameras. I wanted to check them again before the big day began.
As I got into the area where my camera was located I noticed tons of cattle crap and hoof prints. My 25lb mineral lick that I left 2 ˝ weeks ago was gone. Great… I thought. Here we go again. I opened up my camera and removed the SD card and inserted it into my camera. 2405 pictures! I started scanning through the pictures and to no surprise the cattle had been in here… Again! But then all of a sudden, BOOM! A nice bull showed up. If you look close, he has the double second on his left side. I’m pretty confident this is the same bull as the 7pt from last year. Check out how much growth he put on. He just made the top of my hit list.

Out of the 2405 pictures, approximately 2000 of them were of cattle. The others were of this 7pt bull and a bunch of raghorns. I think I am going to call this bull the "Hooker 7." I like how his 6th pt on the left hooks forward and he is a 7pt.

Afterwards, I rushed back to camp to meet up with family and a good friend named Reggie that would be hunting with me on the opener. We all met up and had dinner. Reggie and I then left to go scout out one more area.
As we were driving to the area we spotted a lot of 4pt bucks. We pulled over for a few minutes and I snapped a few pictures:

We drove as far as we were able to before being swallowed up in a huge mud hole that we barely escaped. In addition, a few large trees that were too big to move, had fallen and had blocked the road. We knew it was time to turn around.
We decided to pull over and glass for a few minutes and let a few arrows fly at the target with some broadheads. As we were doing such, we heard a faint bugle. Reggie and I looked at each other, and thought that it must have been a coyote. Again, we heard another bugle but this time accompanied by multiple cow calls; then, another bugle but from another direction. “No way,” we thought. We sat and listened as the herd got closer and closer to us. The bugles that we heard were full-fledged bugles, from start to finish. It was perplexing to think that two mature bulls could be herding up the cows this early. We didn’t want to disturb the herd so we left and planned on returning in the morning. Perhaps, they were raghorns resembling big bulls with their bugles. Either way, it got our blood boiling!
On our way out of the distant remote area, a truck with a 12’ atv trailer carrying only a small carry-on suitcase passed us, along with a 4 atvs and two other trucks loaded down with gear. Our hot spot had turned into everyone else’s favorite spot. I had scouted out two other areas that we were considering. The trail cam bull was also on my mind. As we were leaving, we stopped one more time and spoke with two other guys in a UTV that were deer hunters. They told us that they had just watched a monster bull with 5 other big bulls about two hours earlier. They showed us the area where the bulls had been hanging out which was an area that I was familiar with. They told us the bull would score 350+.
For the past two months I have prepared and stressed over opening day to the point of exhaustion. I think this helped me have a good night’s sleep.

Opening Day

Wahoo! Reggie and I decided to go after the big bull that the two hunters had spotted the prior night. As the sun raised, and it became lighter, we quickly started seeing elk. We spotted numerous raghorns, cows and calves and eventually the big bulls! We counted over 50 elk, and over 20 bulls with 4 being shooters. The biggest being just over 350” and brown antlered, two being velvet covered 300-310” bulls and the fourth being a freshly rubbed, white-horned bull around 320”. We watched the big bulls and waited for them to bed down. The bulls met up with a few other bulls-a total of nine- and they made their way into some pines and bedded down. Reggie and I developed a plan and made our trek up the mountain towards the bulls.
On our way, we heard a loud crashing noise approaching us. We turned around and watched a young spike bull the size of a great dane prancing in our direction. He stopped at 15’ and stared at us. He must have thought we were a herd of elk. I tried to remove my camera from my belt case, but as I was doing such he caught my movement and ran out of there like a bowling ball crashing through the pins. Reggie looked at me and said, “You just passed your first LE bull elk!” Ha ha I thought! Not exactly what I had in mind as a LE bull, but I guess he was correct.

We finally arrived to the ridge we had planned which would position us just above the where we saw the bulls enter. The wind was cooperating perfectly. We slowly started making our way down the ridge toward the group of bulls, stopping frequently and glassing through the pines. Just then I caught a glimpse of what I thought was the white horned bull. Maybe, the reason his horns were white was because he had ghost-like disappearing features. We sat and watched for him to make another pass through the pines and while we waited we spotted two other bulls bedded down. We snuck within 60yds of the two bedded bulls. We could tell they were bulls but couldn’t determine how large they were. Finally after two hours, one stood and started feeding but he was only a 2pt. Shortly thereafter, the second stood and showed off the rest of his head gear. We knew he wasn’t one of the big four but were unsure of exactly his size. He ended up being a small five. We watched them at 50-60yds feed for another 30 minutes hoping the ghost-bull would return. Just then we got a glimpse of some velvet antlers in the short quakies mixed with pines. We patiently waited for the bull to approach us only to be disappointed that it was another unimpressive 5x5.

The bulls slowly fed down the ridge and the wind continued to cooperate. We spent the majority of the afternoon hanging out with the bulls to never see the ghost bull or his trusty side kicks that evening. Reggie pointed out to me that I had just passed on a few more LE bulls!
The day had ended and before we knew it the stars were out and the moon was rising. Opening day had come to an end. Overall, it was a fantastic day. We had seen big bulls and were within 50 yards of bulls for over three hours. It was a great day.

I have some video that I will post soon.

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-23-14, 
02:07 PM (MST)
9. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I think the reason this is called the "Hunt Adventure 'Challenge'" is because of how hard it is to keep up with updating this thread.

I have been out a few more times and almost let an arrow fly on the biggest bull I've ever seen on the hoof! Lot's of pics and video to come.

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-24-14, 
03:16 PM (MST)
10. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

It was a little too chili for Reggie in the morning.

We watched the bulls feed for a while before they finally bedded down. I apologize for the poor quality. The pics were taken from video.


Here is the picture when we finally hiked up to where they bedded down. This is what we spotted after the Ghost bull walked by:


We couldn't tell how big he was intially.

We moved within 60 yds and from another angle, then we could tell he was a small five. He then stood and started to feed with his spike buddy.

It was a great opening day full of action. Unfortunately, with family time, work and my hunt, I don't have much time to edit and throw in the video. I will do an entire video at the end.

----------

The next day was Sunday. I do not hunt on Sundays and I decided to drive back and spend the day with my family.

In fact, here is a great scripture exemplifying one of the many reasons I choose not to hunt on Sunday, for those that enjoy the good word:
“For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;. . . . . Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

17 Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.”

-------------

Day 2

. I hiked into an area to check my camera. This is an area that I'm expecting to improve once the rut picks up. The area is scattered throughout with elk rutting signs. Unfortunately, I didn't even get one picture of an elk on my camera; only the same doe and fawn from before. I hiked into the surrounding areas to investigate further elk sign. In one canyon I spotted a lone calf elk making all sorts of noise, like a lost little puppy, but sounded more like a kitten getting stepped on. I thought maybe she was slowly being devoured by a lion but to my surprise, she was just zig-zagging up and down through the pines. This continued for about 45 minutes and then she bedded down. She must have found her binky?

I hiked a total of 12 miles that morning. I was a little fatigued, so I decided to drive to a new area. On the way, I met a good guy named Mark P. from Lehi. He gave me some very good information about a big bull that he had seen only a few days ago and pointed me in the right direction. I quickly drove up there in search of this big beast! On the way, I met some deer hunters who also told me about a big bull they had seen including a few that had almost run them over on their 4-wheelers. This was all very reassuring news about the area.

It started raining and when I got there, nothing was out feeding. I sat and glassed and the deer hunters came back down to look for deer as well. It started to get dark, so I thought that I would hurry and hike out of there so I could get more sleep and wake up earlier the next morning. On my way out, I noticed that I had cell-phone service. Wow, I thought. Maybe I should check in with my wife. I stopped and gave her a call only to be interrupted a few minutes later by the deer hunters. They asked me if I saw the elk just below me. Apparently, from my angle I wasn't able to see the elk; it must have been in my blind spot. They told me that they couldn’t tell if it was a bull or cow because it was too dark already.

I laid in my sleeping bag that night and listened to the owls hooting. I was puzzled with the decision I had to make for the following morning. Should I take Mark’s word along with the deer hunters and go back in there and look for the big bull? Or should I go look for Hooker-7? Tomorrow would be my last day before I would have to return to work the next day.

To be continued...
--------

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-28-14, 
08:53 PM (MST)
11. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

--------------

Day 3

I decided to go back into the area that was recommended to me by Mark and where the deer hunters also saw an elk. I drove into the area and started my long lengthy hike into the area that I thought Mark had described to me. I found out later that I was incorrect on my understanding of his directions. As I was hiking, I couldn't help but absorb the quiet peacefulness the mountain was sharing with me. There is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than breathing the cool, fresh, crisp mountain air while listening to babbling brooks, the rustle of a canyon breeze through the aspen leaves, the smell of pine trees in the fresh mountain air and gazing into the morning sky which was lit up by millions of bright stars.

Suddenly, my oasis of serenity was rudely interrupted by a loud squawking noise that came from below me. What in the world was that, I thought? The squawking noise soon returned and the all too familiar sound of a moo-cow was recognized. I don’t understand why, but it always seems like they are uncomfortable when they go on those loud mooing sprees of about 10 escalated moos in a row, almost as if they were defecating bricks or something. Furthermore, there sure are a lot of cattle on this hunting unit. Numerous times I have stepped in fresh cow dung, or even slipped and lost my footing because of a fresh cow-pie, waiting for me to implant my off balanced foot into it and nearly putting me on my back. Good thing I spent a little extra time treating my boots to keep the cow turd juices from seeping through to my socks.

I finally arrived to my destination and immediately started glassing. I set up my scope and removed my binos from their case. No more than ten minutes later I found an elk feeding near the bottom of a wash. I could tell it was a good bull. I looked through my scope and confirmed that he met the criteria of being a shooter but was not the same bull that Mark had described and shown me video. I watched him for a few more minutes and snapped a few pictures and recorded some video of him. The longer I observed him the more I noticed that this bull just wasn’t a shooter but he was “Book Worthy.”

I quickly developed a plan and located a few landmarks to hike to since I was by myself and wouldn’t have anyone to help guide me into where he was feeding. I packed up my gear and ventured off to my first location point. I then started my descent into a deep nasty canyon. It took me about 60 minutes to approach my final destination. I reached a small cliff and sly fully looked into the direction of where I thought the bull would be, only to find out that I underestimated how far South I would need to go. The bull was about 200 yds away from me but still feeding. I quickly headed back up the canyon and started to descend towards a dead tree that I had marked in his vicinity. I arrived to a small overlook where I could see him. The bull was somewhat ledged and I figured his only way out would be to ascend the mountain which would require him to walk right past me which was anywhere between 20 and70 yds. I ranged him and with the angle compensation he was at 63yds. Check mate buddy! Those were the words going through my mind. I only had a butt shot so I quietly removed my backpack and set it down. As I looked up I saw the bull’s butt go right over the edge of a 30’ cliff and disappear from my field of view. No way!! I thought. How in the world did this bull just walk off the edge of a steep cliff? Does he have mt. goat super powers? He then appeared in the bottom which put him now at 128 yds which was beyond out of range. He drank from the creek for a minute and then casually walked up the other side of the canyon and faded away into the pines.

I sat there at the ledge and watched the swaying pines, as the canyon winds blew them side to side with hopes of a second chance at this behemoth of a bull. Unfortunately, I had to be back that night so that I could return to work the next day. A few hours had passed and I realized that I would have to leave the bull with hopes that he would remain in the area until I returned five days later. My stomach felt like I had just swallowed concrete or even better, a defecated brick from the cow this morning. Maybe I would eventually start mooing like the one I heard earlier. I’m sure that many of you can relate to the same feeling I was experiencing. It is tough to watch a dream animal vanish right in front of you and not getting an immediate second chance.

That evening I packed up camp and stopped by a friend’s camp and told him what I had seen. I showed him the pictures and video of the bull and he told me not to worry and that he would keep tabs on the bull for me while I was away. This gave me peace of mind knowing that he was in good hands. Ha ha!

The next few nights I didn’t sleep too well.

Here is a short segment of some video of him Finally, it was time to return to camp and find the big bull.

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Dr_Hunter
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Aug-31-14, 
05:25 PM (MST)
12. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I'm not sure why the video didn't work. Here is another attempt:

-------------------------------------------------------------
Day 4

I finally was able to make it back to camp but this time not solo. I had some good friends who would join me, Spencer and Brad. Together, the three of us should be able to turn up the big bull or maybe even the larger bull that Mark had told me about.

In the morning, we set out to the area. It was a cold morning, 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Brad told me that he had watched a good 6-point bed down the night before but didn’t think it was the big bull. We split up and covered the area with glassing. I watched the area that I had last seen the big bull but without any luck of turning him up. Brad radioed me and said that he had located the bull he had bedded the night prior, but he was not as big as he had anticipated.

We passed on the smaller 6-point and decided to try another area. The three of us sat and glassed a mountainside with hopes of finding another giant bull. A few hours had passed and suddenly a monster bull stepped out in the opening of some mahoganies. I quickly told Brad and Spencer to look in the same direction. The bull only gave us 20 seconds to size him up but it was plenty to decide he was a shooter.
Brad and I scaled up the mountainside while Spencer stayed on point. While hiking up the mountainside. Thirty minutes into our hike, Spencer radioed and said that he had found another shooter bull with a huge back end that was feeding towards us with a smaller 6-pt. Immediately, we were filled with excitement and started moving into a better position. We collaborated with Spencer and came up with a plan.

We knew that if we could make it to the decided landmark then I would have a good chance at sticking the big bull. On our way, the smaller 6-pt had unexpectedly crested the ridge before we made it to our destination.

He may have caught some of our movement and stared in our
direction. The wind was perfect and we know that he couldn’t smell us. He stood there at 100yds and the long stare off began which seemed like eternity but really was only about 10 minutes.

He returned to feeding and luckily fed back down the ridge. We quickly made it to our destination which was a dead pine and started looking for the big bull which had bedded down.

Brad and I got to the crest of the ridge and started to look for the big bull. I looked up and could see the top half of the smaller 6-pt just 40yds away and knew that the bigger bull was right behind him. My arrow was knocked and ready to fly. Just then, the smaller 6-pt took off down the canyon ridge and the bigger bull got up from being bedded down and walked down the ridge as if he was in a hurry to get somewhere. "What just happened??" I said to Brad. Brad looked at me and said he didn't know and that the wind never changed. We rechecked the wind and it was still blowing in our faces. Something went bad and we couldn't figure it out. We were very quiet in our stalk; in fact the wind was blowing well enough that it would have muffled any sound that we may have made.

We started sneaking up the ridge with the wind in our faces and no more than two minutes later Brad annoying said, "Dude, look up there!! What is that! Are you kidding me!" I looked up the ridge 200 yds only to find a guy standing at the top with blue jeans on and a bugle hanging around his neck. We approached him and surprised to see us, he asked what we were hunting. We told him that we were hunting big bulls. We asked him what he was doing and proudly he said that he had a rifle bull tag and was out scouting. My blood started boiling but I kept my cool. I felt like an elementary school boy that had just been kicked in the zipper for the first time. I informed him of what had just occurred and he was very apologetic. He was a nice guy. Unfortunately, that is what happens with public land hunting. I'm a very optimistic person and am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Maybe there is a bigger bull I am supposed to shoot?

To all the LE rifle hunters, just stay on the roads when you are scouting. There is no need to hike into the backcountry. Bulls aren't going to stick around anyway. If you want to learn the country, then do it before the hunts begin.

That ended our night.

-------------------------------
Day 6

Spencer and I woke-up early and headed out to where I had last seen the monster bull from my prior trip. Spencer spotted a nice s6-pt and watched him bed down. We moved in closer and got some video and pictures. After a few minutes of looking him over we elected to pass on him. My heart was still set on a 340+ bull and with how many I had seen already, I felt it was possible. I still have the last two weeks of the hunt too. We continued glassing but were unable to turn up any more bulls.

Later that day, we went to another area. A storm rolled in and soaked us wet. We took cover and waited for the storm to pass. We then sat and glassed a mountainside and a couple of guys stopped by to chat with us. Lo and behold, it was a fellow MM member Buglinbilly, Bill Allard himself! I knew he had a tag because I ran into another MM member named Jeff that had informed me he would be hunting with him. We had a good conversation and shared some stories. What a genuine friendly guy. I will probable stop by his camp a few times to check in with him.

We spotted a good bull that was a 6x5 but had the "Wow-Factor" going for him. Unfortunately, it was too late to make a stalk and I would have to return home for work again and to give the wife a break.

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Dr_Hunter
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Sep-05-14, 
11:58 AM (MST)
13. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I've been hunting hard the past four days. I've definitely had my ups and downs. I've been fortunate to have some help from some good friends. Everyday, we've found good bulls. We also finally found the big bull. He had eluded us for almost two weeks. I found another bull bigger than him too. Total we've found four giants.

Right now I'm sitting at a wallow per Fellow MM, buglinbilly's recommendation ;) I'm learning that my patience lasts about 4-5 hours then I start to get bored. I have very minimal service here and may not be able to update until after the hunt.

Last night I had the big bull at 50yds. I could hear him breathing. It was an exhilarating feeling as I've never been that close to that caliber of bull. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a clean shot.

We're on him again this morning. Stay tuned...

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Dr_Hunter
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Sep-15-14, 
05:48 PM (MST)
14. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I have a lot of catching up to do. I just got back from an amazing hunt with great friends. Here is some footage that my friend Spencer through together of the beginning of my hunt. Enjoy:

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Dr_Hunter
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Sep-22-14, 
09:27 AM (MST)
15. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I have been so busy catching up at work and spending time with the family since my return home. I am going to try to conclude my hunt in Reader's Digest style. So here we go:

As you were able to see, at the conclusion of the video, I was within range of that nice 6x6. We called him the “Big White-Horned Bull.” He was one of the top 5 biggest bulls we were chasing and believe it or not, he was the smallest of the five.

I got within range of this nice bull and had him at fifty-three yards. I only was able to see bits and pieces of him through the dead fall and brush. Spencer was on the radio and had a beautiful view of him from about 600 yds away. The only angle I could approach him without making a lot of noise was through the nasty, thick dead fall. As I snuck closer, I was hoping to find an opening through the brush that I could slip an arrow through to stick him. For some odd reason, he figured something was wrong, and he ran closer to me. I held still and could see his face and his butt. He started to bark at me and I knew it was only a matter of minutes before he would blow out of there. My arrow was knocked and ready to fly. I held still and waited hoping that he would take another step so that I could see his vitals. My heart was pounding! He turned around and I drew back but only to see and hear him trot down the ridge.

I know big bulls are big for a reason. I swear they have a sixth-sense that lets them know something is up.

---------------------------------

The next morning found us watching a decent 6-pt. He fed out in a very killable location. He was a nice bull but my friends wouldn’t let me kill him. He was smaller than most bulls we had seen and had been chasing. I also still had a week and a half to hunt. We opted to pass on him. This would not be the first time we passed on this bull. He would give us four more opportunities. I really wanted to kill him one night but my friend kept saying, "You will never shoot trophy bulls if you are shooting decent bulls." Very true statement and I still had lots of time left. So we passed.

That evening found us chasing a popular bull in a popular location. I had to go home that night again to give my wife a break and to see my family. There was a lot of lightning earlier that day and so I had packed most of my gear up and was planning on heading home that afternoon. Suddenly, the weather changed and my friend Brad was able to go out that evening with me. We arrived to the location and chatted with a few other guys that were watching the big bull along with a Tines-Up guide named Travis who was helpful. I met a father and son that were heading up after the bull and GeorgeE! – a fellow MM member. This area had a couple of nice bulls. So it was ok that more than one of us was running up the same mountain. I got ready to head up and then realized that I had left my quiver in camp when I was packing up all of my gear. CRAP!! It was already 6:30pm too. I quickly headed back to camp, grabbed my quiver and returned at 6:50pm. This would only leave me an hour until sunset.

I kicked it in the butt and raced to the bugling bull. I got within 500yds and waited near an open meadow. Brad was on the radio telling me what was feeding out and letting me know more or less what was going on. The father and son showed up and we chatted for a few minutes. The big bull started making his way away from us and was moving up the mountain more. The father and son decided to head down the mountain since it was getting late. I decided to give it one last chance and quickly worked my way towards the bull. It was getting late and I had to act quickly. Suddenly, I the distant bugles were moving closer and closer to me. I stopped and cow called a few times. The bull responded and continued to work his way closer to me. I moved in closer and was finally able to see his head gear in some short standing quakies. It was raining now pretty hard which worked to my benefit as I was able to close the distance to 40 yds. He was ten yards into the quakies and now I could see his entire face. I wanted so badly to stick this bull. He wasn’t as big as our “Favorite Five” selection but he was a good bull. I continued to watch him and he slowly made his way deeper into the quakies. I worked my way around the patch and tried to cut him off before he went down into another canyon. I wasn’t cautious enough and I about stepped on a bedded cow. She blew out of there and scared me to death! The rain did a really good job keeping my scent and the noise to a minimum. Unfortunately, it got dark too fast…….

We called this bull, "Captain Fry." Here he is in the rain before I caught up to him


I went home for a few days and would return with 9 days to hunt.

-------------------------------------

It was finally time for me to return to camp for the Grand Finale of my hunt. I was filled with excitement and some anxiety about killing a bull. I was very confident that we could do it. The thought of passing on that nice bull was still haunting me. As I pulled in, I quickly went to an area where we had seen some good bulls. As I looked out into the meadow I could see a cow. I pulled out the spotting scope to take a closer look and as I was looking at the cow, the biggest bull I've ever seen in my life on the hoof walked out!

Suddenly, the haunting of passing up the smaller bull left me. My friend was right. I will never shoot a trophy by shooting smaller bulls and now I found my trophy!!

This bull had it all: Mass, length, width and MASS!! He was a pretty symmetrical 6x6 on steroids! He looked very similar to the bull that I have on here earlier but with a longer mainbeam and way heavier. Unfortunately, when I finally managed to unpack my camera and scope adapter it was getting dark. The video I am still messing around with and trying to figure out how to lighten it. I can watch it fine through my camera but when I pull it up on the PC it is too dark. If any of you have suggestions please pm me.

Here is a video image that I took and lightened it with photoshop. It still doesn't look great nor does it do him any justice but it gives you something to look at.

The next day I would chase this big boy....

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Oct-05-14, 
09:00 AM (MST)
16. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I met up with Brad and we looked over the video. We both determined that this bull was a toad and most likely the same bull that our friend Spencer had chased last year and named Mr. Big. Last year, Mr. Big’s sheds scored 371”. This year he looked bigger and heavier, so we knew he was a toad.

I am not 100% sure this is the same bull but I would dare see I am 90% sure. This is what he looked like last year from Spencer’s video:

Brad was also excited to show me a few big bulls that he had found. We had our hands full of good bulls to chase; although, it wasn’t hard at this point to decide which one to go after.

-----------------------------------------------

The morning finally arrived and we hiked into the area where I had last seen the big bull. Reggie had joined us that morning. We located the big bull and he was about ˝ mile from where I had seen him the night before, only this time he had about 40 cows with him. We noticed he was moving up the mountain with his cows. It was still very dark. He bugled a few times but mostly would growl. I headed up the mountain with hopes of cutting off the heard. I got within 100 yds of a spike that was about 100 yds from the herd. I was hoping that the rest of the herd would feed in the same direction of the spike but they didn’t. They went straight up the mountain. Reggie and Brad met up with me and we tracked the herd into a deep dark canyon. We decided to let them be and would come back that night.

My friend Dave would join me for the afternoon hunt. Brad, Reggie, Dave and I decided to split up, Dave and I would hunt an area and Brad and Reggie would go and glass another. We got on a few bulls that afternoon that were bugling like crazy. We got within 50 yds of this smaller 6 and passed. "You will never shoot a trophy bull if you are shooting small bulls."

The evening finally arrived and I decided to hike into the same meadow where I had seen Mr. Big the night before. We were all set up in different locations so that Big could not elude us if he were to show himself. Well…. He didn’t show up. Gees!.... I felt like a stood-up high school girl on prom night … but this was beyond that.
-----------------------------------------------

The next day, Spencer joined us and Reggie had to go home. We did the same thing and set-up for Big. We hiked further into the area and he would only growl, never showing himself. Big would soon earn the name, “Mr. Notorious BIG.” Notorious for standing up hunters, no showing, eluding hunters and making as little noise as possible. Believe it or not, he's also physically bigger than Christopher Wallace!

We watched a few other bulls that morning and spotted a few dandies. This was the first time we spotted GeorgE, fellow MM member’s bull. We made a plan to go after a few of these bulls and we knew there was a big one in the area. We hiked into the area and had a few bulls bugle but no luck getting any of them to move in or spot and stalk.

The next morning Brad would look and listen for Mr. Notorious BIG, while Dave, Spencer and I went out to another area. We glassed an area and found three big shooter bulls.

This is the only picture we were able to get of the three. We got some great video footage though. This bull was a toad as well. At first we thought he was the original monster that I got up on from Day 2, but we later determined he was a totally different big bull. We tried to make a move on the bull but did not have any luck. In fact, we didn’t even get close. Brad never heard Mr. BIG. The day ended...

Time was winding down. My hunt would soon come to an end. It was crunch time!

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Dr_Hunter
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Oct-21-14, 
09:21 AM (MST)
17. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

The next day I was in a killing mood. My hopes of killing a 340”+ bull were diminishing and now I had lowered my standards to >300”. Call me crazy, but I had seen so many nice bulls that I felt it was realistic to kill a nice 340” + bull and I had already within 60 yds of a few. It’s hard to settle for a smaller bull when you have seen a few under the 80yd mark with a bow.

Reggie and I hiked into an area where I knew the bulls would be rutting. Brad would stay and listen for Mr Big again. Reggie and I got into the area and within a few minutes we were on a bull. We cow called and he responded. This calling sequence continued for about 30 minutes. Finally, the bull hung up at 100yds in the pines. I tried to move in closer while Reggie stayed back but he didn’t want to move and I didn’t want to bump him. Finally, he decided to move up the mountain and we were unable to cut him off within range. We never saw the bull, but he sounded good.

We moved up the mountain and were unable to locate any other bulls that morning. We decided to explore the higher country and drop off the top of another known good area.

The sun finally started to set and bulls started bugling. We heard a bull that sounded impressive and wasn't too far, so we decided to make a move. Just then we heard a familiar growl below us. Is that Mr. Big!!??

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Nov-02-14, 
09:23 AM (MST)
18. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Time was quickly running out. The bull was about a mile below us so we wasted no time getting down there. As we were making our way down another bull bugled to the North of us. This bull was a lot closer. We had to make a quick decision because of the little time we had left, so we decided to go after the closer bull.

The sun was quickly falling and the night sky was arising. The bull was bugling about every two minutes which made it easier for us to locate him. We finally closed the gap to about 100yds. There was a large mahogany patch between us and the bull. He had about a dozen cows with him too. We tried moving around the patch to get closer but his cows would have busted us. We tried cow calling him to us but he would just sit and bugle. As a last resort, we tried an immature bull bugle. He quickly sprung out of his bed and ran towards. Oh boy!! I knocked an arrow and got ready. He crashed into the mahoganies in front of us and started tearing them to pieces at 20yds. The problem was that he was on the other side of the mahoganies. It was almost dark now but I could still see him my pins. We tried to make our way around the mahoganies to get a better shot. We watched the entire tree sway back and forth as this bull was teaching us who’s the boss and this is his house. The night sky set in and we decided to sneak out of the bull’s territory. It was an exciting night but no arrows flew.

--------------

The next day found us camping in a new location where we had seen some other nice bulls earlier. I decided that I would shoot the smaller six if presented the opportunity. It rained harder for the next two days than it ever had before during my hunt. The temperatures dropped considerably. It was cold and wet.

I was hopeful that the colder weather would get things moving more. We found a smaller bull bedded down with a cool twisted front that went straight up like a snake but decided to pass on him.

Later that night I snuck up on a nice bull at dusk but ran out of light… Again! I had him at 43 yards next to a tree waiting for him to turn broadside. Archery can be so frustrating.
----------------------------
We hunted hard the last few days. At one time Brad and I had two bulls come in to us from opposite directions with their herds. The one bull held up just behind a ridge while the other bull came in with all of his cows. It was an unbelievable experience to be completely surrounded by cows, but frustrating at the same time not being able to move any closer to the bull.

The final hours ticked away as my final evening hunt found me in a new spot trying for a nice 7pt that a friend had spotted the night before. I hiked down into a deep dark canyon that required me to traverse to other smaller canyons to get to where the elk would feed out. I crossed over and like clock-work the bull fed out with his cows. I cow called a few times hoping he would move down closer to me. As I was waiting, a smaller satellite bull came in. He was a smaller 5x6. I had 45 minutes left in my hunt. In the distance, I could see the big bull who was a robust, heavy horned 6x6 that would easily exceed the 350” mark. The smaller bull continued to walk towards me. . . 60yds, 50yds, 30yds and now 8 yds. I couldn’t believe it. Why couldn’t he have been a bigger bull? Oh well… I had to make a quick decision. Would I be happy with a smaller bull? Again, I passed. The bigger bull started making his way down towards me with his cows. The smaller bull turned around and started feeding away from me. I started making a move up towards the herd that was 150yds away from me. As I slowly decreased the distance to 120yds, the wind suddenly swirled and blew my scent to the herd. The cows raised their heads and in a split second the entire heard crashed down the mountain! Done.


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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Nov-04-14, 
01:00 PM (MST)
19. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

I had about ten minutes left of sunlight. I walked over to where the smaller bull once was and sat and watched a small open meadow for a few minutes and reflected on the last 14 days of hard work. I couldn’t believe that my hunt was now over. I spent 14 total days in the mountains and enjoyed every minute of it. There was a constant anxiety and stress that lingered throughout my hunt, but it was the good kind.

As I was hiking out, darkness quickly filled the canyon which required me to turn on my headlamp. As I was crossing through some dead timber, I got an eerie feeling that I was being watched. I looked over to my left and about thirty yards away, two yellow eyes reflected back at me. I froze and kept on staring at the eyes. They would disappear and then light up again as if the creature was blinking. Soon I was able to tell that the yellow-eyed creature had a black body about 3ft off of the ground. Then I remembered that black bears have yellow eyes! YIKES! I started yelling at the bear and hitting sticks with hopes of scaring him off. He just stood there and stared at me. Then I started to walk slowly away from him with my headlamp shining on him. I finally got about 75yds away and I started to walk somewhat away from him. The bear decided to walk with me and paralleled me for about another 100yds and then disappeared. I was about 3 miles away from my hunting partner and was able to make it out of there in record time!

We saw lots of bears sign during the hunt and a few bears too. Here is a mother and cub that I’m glad I didn’t encounter in the night at 30 yds.

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Nov-09-14, 
06:34 PM (MST)
20. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Here are a few more pictures of bulls that we had pursued or passed. I had a few other close encounters that I did not write about. On average, I had about two close encounters a day.

This is the bull that we almost had when the "buglin' blue jeaned rifle" hunter came in scouting early. I loved the look of this old bull even though he had a stubby third, for that reason we called him, "Stubby." Stubby never gave me another opportunity.

Another view of "Stubby"

I know a lot of these pictures are pixelated and poor quality. I didn't take a lot of pictures but I did capture a lot of video. I will post some my finished video hopefully by the end of the year. I Also, I would love to hear if anyone shot any of these bulls.

To finish off my hunt, I stopped by Bowery Haven and enjoyed a Bowery burger and a tasty Brownie Sundae. It was delicious! They do a great job over there with their main courses and desserts.

I'd just like to say thanks to some great friends that helped me during my hunt: Brad Nielson, Spencer Gledhill, David Garlick and Reggie Gillins. Also, an even greater thanks to my beautiful supportive wife and the wives of my friends for letting them come out and help. We had a great time with long-lasting memories.

I will add a "Post-Hunt Assessment/Evaluation" of my hunt including things that I would have done differently in a future post. For those who haven't figure out where I was hunting yet, my unit was the Fishlake-Plateau-Thousand Lake unit.

I will also add the final product of all of my video footage. Thanks for the supportive emails and Pms. It was an Incredibull Adventure!!

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Nov-23-14, 
09:07 PM (MST)
21. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

-------------------Post-Hunt Assessment------------------------------

Overall, I was very satisfied with the Fishlake-Plateau, Thousand Lake Unit. I saw plenty of bulls and was on 1-2 shooter bulls per day. The unit has numerous 320-340” bulls with a few exceptional 350+ bulls. The crazy thing is that I spoke with a few guys that hadn’t even seen a bull >300” or even a 6pt during the first half of their hunts. I did a lot of scouting and had some great help from friends which enabled me to cover a lot of ground and distant areas. In addition, I grew up spending a lot of time at Fishlake and was very familiar with a lot of the country; however, I learned more about the unit this year during my elk hunt then I had ever learned in the past 32 years of my life.

My greatest frustration with the unit was the limited amount of vantage points and thick cover. The fishlake unit is full of Pines and Quakie patches that hold tons of elk. The deadfall at fishlake is vast and spans the entire unit. Certain areas that you knew held elk were almost inaccessible because of the density of the forest. The unit is a lot different than other units such as the Dutton, Pahvant, Wasatch and Beaver that offer plenty of vantage points looking into various canyons. Initially, I felt like this would be a bonus and allow me to get in closer to the action; in some situations/circumstances this was true but in most others it was a hindrance or frustration. This tactic worked well when the bulls were bugling and responding to cow calls but that almost seemed inexistent in the areas where I was hunting.

The rut never seemed to pick-up for us. In some areas it was hot. The younger bulls were stirring up the cows and bugling before sunrise until about 9-10am, and then let out an occasional bugle or respond to a bugle throughout the day. This particular area, the rut started just before Labor Day and would wax and wane the rest of the season.

The rut never seemed to start in the areas that we saw and chased the most, big bulls. I think we may have heard one or two bugles and only saw a handful of cows the entire hunt in these areas. It was mostly spot and stalk and very frustrating at times. The rut just never seemed to start there during my hunt.

The unit has a lot of private property and CWMU units. A lot of hunters liked to hunt the perimeter of these areas. I spoke with two hunters that had success with this tactic. I was told by a DWR officer that 60% of the rutting elk will stay within these units. I’m not sure if that number is true or not, but I did see a lot of elk on the other sides of the fences. I mostly tried to stay away from people and other hunters during my hunt.

If I could go back and change anything about my hunt, I would have put more emphasis on hunting the earlier season. Most people talk about waiting for the rut to start or hunting the last 1-2 weeks of the hunt because that is when it is the best. That statement may be true to some, but I tend to somewhat disagree; although, I guess it depends on your hunting technique. In the early season, I had plenty of opportunities on solo bulls that we watched feed in the mornings and late afternoons. A solo bull is a lot easier to sneak up on then a bull with 5-20 cows. During the early season, I was more in scouting mode and not as aggressive. Reflecting back and knowing what I know now, I would have been more aggressive on those earlier opportunities. I anticipated the later season to pick-up and be awesome, but it never really did.

Finally, the last week of the hunt had more people. There were more archery hunters, rifle hunters, guides and outfitters. The archery hunting pressure wasn’t too bad but the roads were blanketed with rifle hunters, rifle hunter buddies that were out looking for a friend, friends of friends that drew a big bull tag, cousins, in-laws, grandmas and grandpas, neighbors, guides and outfitter crews. It was a little overwhelming at times but never really affected us with the exception of the blue jeaned dude and the oversized gentleman, with oversized binos riding his undersized horse, taking selfies of himself as he zig-zagged through the canyon we were hunting.

Overall, I had a blast on my hunt and enjoyed every minute of it. I will apply for this hunt again after my five year waiting period. I’ve considered switching back over to muzzleloader for my next LE elk hunt but my goal is to shoot a big bull with a bow. Who knows, maybe I will have done that on the extended archery elk hunt before I draw again! I wouldn’t recommend going into this hunt blindly. I would only apply for the fishlake unit if you have spent some time on a few elk hunts there. It is a challenging area to go into blindly. I’d recommend doing a few spike elk hunts prior to drawing your big bull tag. Hope this helps someone out. Good luck to you all.

----------------------Muzzy Hunt----------------------

I went on the Muzzy deer hunt and saw a few smaller bucks. Unfortunately, we never turned up the big boy. The early snowfall sure made it cold but easier to see the deer.


I purchased a Tote Gote and we loaded it up so that we could get to our spot. It was a lot of fun hunting like they did in the good old days; black powder and a Tote Gote. Tote Gote aren’t the smoothest or quietest ride either. During this hunt I learned why we no longer use Tote Gotes and now have four-wheelers. We had a good time on the hunt and my good friend Dave had a crack at a big ol’ buck but unfortunately wasn’t able to seal the deal. We pursued and hunted solely the big buck for a few days but couldn’t turn him up again at the end.



This isn't the big buck but it is one that we had seen a few times and passed on.

-------------------Extended Archery--------------------------------

The Extended Archery Deer hunt had finally arrived to it's optimal time to hunt the rut crazy muleys!! This is one of my favorite times of year and hunts.

Here is a teaser pic:

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Dr_Hunter
(900 posts)
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Dec-02-14, 
11:07 AM (MST)
22. "RE: My INCREDIBULL Adventure!"

Life has been very busy for the last few months. I only had two days to hunt the extended archery this year. Needless to say, the freezer was empty and I was in killing mode after my tag soup elk hunt and was ready to tag out on the first four-point that I saw.

A few days before we hunted, we watched some good bucks on the boundary line. Unfortunately, they didn’t hang out too long on the huntable side and crossed over out of bounds.



We finally had some pretty good snow storms and Reggie, Dave and I headed up the mountain with hopes of finding some good bucks. Immediately, we got into some rutting action.

We caught this guy below the snow line.




I chased a pretty good buck for the greater part of the day. He was a solid 180” 4-pt. He was hard to keep up with but finally slowed down when his does bedded. I snuck within 120yds and couldn’t get any closer. He finally got up and started following a doe that was coming my way. He stopped at 90yds broadside. I was hoping to get a closer shot so I waited, hoping that he would come closer. Well... He turned and walked away from me, then bolted towards a smaller buck that was approaching us and chased him off. He chased him for a while and went across the bowl. I pulled out the camera and got some video of him about 800yds away still pushing out the smaller buck.



I waited with hopes of him returning to his does. I sat there for an hour watching his bedded does and then all of a sudden I looked up and saw a buck heading towards me. I quickly ranged him at 84 yds and he was coming fast. I could tell he was a 4 on one side and about 23” wide. That was good enough for me. I quickly knocked an arrow and got ready. He slowed down and I was able to range him again at 57yds. I drew back and he was still on the move. I whistled and he stopped quartering away from me. I used my 60yd pin, released and “THWACK!!” The unmistakable sound of an arrow hitting a deer echoed in the air. I was stoked! I radioed my friends.

They asked me how big he was and I said, "I don't know?" It was pretty funny. They kept saying, "What do you mean you don't know?" I told them that it happened too quickly to really tell. I knew he was a four on his left side but didn't have enough time to tell if he was a four on the other. We shared a good laugh and I told them he wasn't that big but I'd be happy with him; however, while we were following his trail I kept saying, "I sure hope he's a 4x4."

We waited about 30 minutes and tracked him down the canyon. It was a good blood trail. After 10 minutes of tracking we found him piled up against a tree and he was a 4x4! Phew..


Definitely not the biggest buck but that’s ok. As my friend Spencer said, "This was Redemption at it's finest!"




Indeed, it was redemption at its finest. It sure felt good to let an arrow fly and even better was the sound of it hitting true to its mark! 2014 was a fantastic year and an INCREDIBLY INCREDIBULL ADVENTURE!! I’m signing off… Until next time.

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