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Finally Got Lucky!

 
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stillwaitin
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Jun-23-15, 
09:26 AM (MST)
"Finally Got Lucky!"

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Well, 2015 is going to be a good year.

The year started with me hoping to draw my LE Bull Elk tag in my home state of Utah. I had 13 points and had a decent shot of drawing the same unit my dad drew last year and my brother a few years before that. I was excited t finally have my turn. Well, plans changed...

I went down to the Hunt Expo this year expecting it to be like all the others I go down. I would go down donate $50 or so to the Expo and go in and look at the booths see what was new and enjoy looking at all the beautiful mounts and other animal other have been fortunate to take.

Come the week after the Expo, I checked the site on the 27th while at work and the results hadn't been posted yet. No big deal, I just look to see if I know anyone. Well after getting in bed that night I was just falling asleep when my phone went off. I thought it is awful late for this, it was 12:05. I decide to look just in case and it was from a friend I haven't talked to for a while. His exact message was "Dude, did you draw the expo tag for muzzleloader central mountain manti?" Instantly I am up and checking the site to see what is going on, I am sure it won't be me but there is a glimmer of hope. I scroll through the list and sure enough there is my name!

I barely slept a wink that night! I woke my wife up and kind of startled her in my excitement she thought the house was on fire or something. The problem with finding out that late is all of my buddies and family was asleep. My brother was out of town for work and was awake so he shared my excitement that night.


Thanks for reading I hope to post more soon about the prep and excitement that will lead up to this hunt.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Finally Go...  stillwaitin      Jul-08-15   1 
  RE: Finally Go...  stillwaitin      Jul-15-15   2 
   RE: Finally Go...  stillwaitin      Jul-21-15   3 
    RE: Finally Go...  stillwaitin      Jul-25-15   4 
     RE: Finally Go...  stillwaitin      Aug-04-15   5 
      Dad's Hunt Par...  stillwaitin      Aug-10-15   6 
       Lucky Year  stillwaitin      Aug-12-15   7 
        One Month Away!  stillwaitin      Aug-21-15   8 
         Dad's hunt, Th...  stillwaitin      Aug-28-15   9 
          Under 2 Weeks ...  stillwaitin      Sep-10-15   10 
           RE: Under 2 We...  stillwaitin      Sep-16-15   11 
            RE: Under 2 We...  stillwaitin      Sep-30-15   12 
             RE: Under 2 We...  stillwaitin      Oct-02-15   13 
              RE: Under 2 We...  stillwaitin      Oct-05-15   14 
               Getting R Done!  stillwaitin      Oct-08-15   15 
                3/3!!  stillwaitin      Nov-02-15   16 

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stillwaitin
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Jul-08-15, 
02:41 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Finally Got Lucky!"

After the initial excitement of seeing my name on the list set in, then came a little bit of doubt. I started wondering if it was really me or if there was another person with my name in the same city. I tried calling the office but they couldn't tell me anymore then my name and city and that it was probably me. So I waited and finally let out a big sigh of relief when this showed up:

Once that became a reality I knew it was go time.

The regular draw also came. As I wrote before I was hoping to get my LE elk tag this year, so I decided instead of risking pulling that tag the same year I had the LE tag I would just buy a point for LE Elk and Moose. I put in for general archery deer and had hoped to draw the same unit for deer as I had the elk tag for, so that I could make a few scouting/hunting trips for deer as well. That didn't work out as planned and I ended up just getting Box Elder Archery deer, which was my 5th choice but at least it is a tag and maybe this year I can try out the extended.

All in all it is still going to be a great year and I will post about my first couple scouting trips soon.

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stillwaitin
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Jul-15-15, 
10:15 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Finally Got Lucky!"

I have been able to make it down a couple times scouting so far and things are looking good. With the wet spring the Manti LaSals are very green and I have been happy with the amount of elk I have been seeing as well as some of the bulls we have seen had good growth and seemed to be healthy.


On 6/18/-6/22 we were on the North end of the unit and were able to see some country that I have never seen before. It was a very cool trip and we say probably close to 100 elk and a decent amount of bulls. Unfortunately I wasnít able to get any good pics of the bulls through the spotter. Overall I put 200 miles on the RZR searching for canyons and trails I had been told about. We saw less deer than I expected but we were able to see a couple bachelor groups of bucks that were growing really nice. The thing that gets me every time down there is the beauty of the area.


We went down again 7/2-7/3 just for a quick trip. This time we went to another part of the unit. We deer hunted with our bows down there last year and have been camping down there for years. I think this is where I will end up hunting as I know the area better and have some co-workers and close friends that have agreed to help show me around. While down on this trip we saw 200+head of elk, mostly cows and small bulls. Put another 150 miles on the RZR exploring and finding new areas. It got me excited and more anxious for the hunt to get here. We saw a bunch of deer on this trip, my brother in-law and his family have archery deer tags here and my dad and brother both have muzzy deer tags as well, so hopefully we can find them some bucks too. Priority 1 is the bull though.


Something else that has come from the scouting trips is that after looking over the steep country, canyons, and rough terrain I have realized I am in nowhere near the shape I should be in so that has given me the motivation to get my butt in gear and start exercising. This is what I weighed after the first scouting trip and I am down about 12 lbs. so far and want to get down at least another 10 before the hunt starts.



This time of year starts to drag on a little so my next post will be the story and pics from my dadís LE hunt from last year that I always meant to post but never got around to. Thanks for reading!

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stillwaitin
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Jul-21-15, 
08:42 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Finally Got Lucky!"

Passing the time between now and the hunt is the hardest part I think. My wife says it is just like having a baby, we found out in February that I drew the tag and then had to wait 9 months until the hunt. She says it is like we are getting ready to add another member to the family. I canít really disagree with her. I have been looking through old pictures on my phone and I found a couple pictures I took hunting deer down there that show the beauty of the Manti LaSals:


I am also going to share the write-up I did for my dadís hunt last year that I never posted. I will post it in sections as I can get pictures put together to show what I am writing about.

Dadís 2014 hunt:

Well it was a quick hunt but man was it fun.

It kind of all started a few years ago when my brother drew his LE tag for the same unit. It took us a few days to get his bull but we found some good spots and were able to bag him a dandy bull.

My brother's bull after getting mounted:


Since then we have been hoping my dad would draw and finally this was the year. I think I was more excited leading up to his hunt than he was. I spent a lot of time going over maps and Google Earth to make sure we didn't miss anything. We tried shooting as much as we could and made sure he had a good load to be sure that when the chance presented itself he could seal the deal.

After what seemed like years leading up to the hunt it was finally the time to head out. Unfortunately due to the distance from home and being a busy year we weren't able to make it out scouting prior to the week of the opener.

With the muzzy opening on a Wednesday we decided to take the whole week off to take some time to scout and become reacquainted with the unit. This proved to be very valuable. Sunday it had been storming, so driving in the mud was a bit slick but we made it to our camp spot and got set up just before dark on Sunday evening. We fell asleep that night listening to bugling bulls. It was a beautiful thing.

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stillwaitin
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Jul-25-15, 
11:36 AM (MST)
4. "RE: Finally Got Lucky!"

Well, headed down for another scouting trip and to place my first trail cam. I am going down with my brother in law, his dad, and nephew. I will be back Monday and will hopefully have some good pics and will also post more of my dad's hunt write up.

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stillwaitin
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Aug-04-15, 
09:52 PM (MST)
5. "RE: Finally Got Lucky!"

Sorry for the delayed report. We had a good scouting trip; we got a late start heading up so we didnít arrive to the dirt road until almost midnight. Being a holiday weekend every spot down low was full, so we had to pull the enclosed trailer almost all the way up to Skyline Drive. We also got delayed on the way up when a Jeep that was parked in the middle of the road went to move and ended up rolling into a ditch. But that is another long story for another day.

Anyways, after getting in bed around 2 or 2:30 am, it made for an early morning to wake up and look for elk. We ended up seeing probably close to 200 elk that morning; pretty much all cows, calves, and small bulls. It was nice to see that many elk and I am sure the big bulls will be around come September. We also took a nice hike to find a good spot to hang my trail cam. Hopefully it is in a good spot and doesnít fill the 32 GB card with weeds blowing in the wind.

That night we also saw more elk but the wind was blowing super hard and storming so we didnít get to looks as hard as we would have liked. We did see some nice bucks though, so that got us excited for their Archery tag and my dad and brotherís muzzy deer tags as well.

The next morning was more of the same, more cows and we actually heard a bull or two talking. Overall it was a great trip and I wonít complain about seeing nearly 300 head of elk in less than 2 days. I was able to take a couple pics while down there, would rather have pics of big bulls but I will take what I can get.

Here are a couple pics of part of one of the herds of elk that we saw:

Here is a little pond we hiked by that I thought was pretty cool:

This is a pics of the Trail Cam, and hoping for some good pics:

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stillwaitin
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Aug-10-15, 
08:23 AM (MST)
6. "Dad's Hunt Part 2"

Dadís hunt Part 2
Monday we woke up to more rain and it didn't stop until late morning, so we headed out around 10:30 or 11 to drive around and see if anything was out after the rain stopped. We didn't turn much up until we were headed back to camp about 2:30 we caught a herd making its way down a ridge slowly feeding away from us. There was a decent 5X6 in the group that I told them we would keep in our back pocket as a possible bull for my dad. My dad told me he wasn't going to be too picky and just wanted to make sure to go home with a bull and wasn't too proud to take one opening morning. I told him I wasn't either, as long as it was the right bull. Anyways, after seeing that herd on Monday night we decided it had dried up enough to trade the truck for the ATV's and head over to the ridge where my brother took his bull 3 years earlier. After a long ride we made it to our spot. As soon as we walked away from the trail to the vantage point we had planned to glass from we could already hear the bulls bugling and going crazy. Anyone who hasn't heard this is really missing out; to me there is no other sound/experience like it. I look to the opposing ridge and without even putting the glass up I can see the elk feeding/rutting and moving around. We got the glass up and spent the next hour or so watching many bulls while trying to find the shooters and weed out the smaller ones. We also took some pictures of bulls through the spotting scope (See pics below). It was a great night and really got the blood pumping prepping us for the opener that was now just a couple days away. On the way back to camp that night we had to stop in the middle of the road to let a nice 6 point move before passing. That was the perfect way to end the night.

Tuesday we woke early to get out and try to find a "back-up plan/area" in case it didn't work out on the ridge from the night before. We were able to spot a couple more bulls and herds but the elk didn't seem to be as active or as vocal as they were the night before in our newly termed "Honey Hole". Still though we had high hopes and continued our optimism for the following day. Later in the afternoon the rest of our party arrived and we proceeded to fill them in on our findings and plans. We decided to head back to the ridge to make sure the elk were still there and put together a game plan for opening morning. When we got there the elk had moved a little but were still hanging out, screaming, and doing the things elk do this time of year. The hunt could have ended here and it would have been a great hunt. We all fell asleep that night thinking of bulls and trying to get what sleep we could looking forward to the next morning.

Here are a few pictures:

Just a couple of camp

This is a bull we got some Skope Cam pics of, we really hoped he'd be around the next day

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stillwaitin
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Aug-12-15, 
08:42 AM (MST)
7. "Lucky Year"

Just a quick post today. Today I got a text from my dad saying he got a call from the DWR saying someone turned in their Expo tag for the South Cache Muzzy elk and he is next on the list. Needless to say we are excited, but then reality set in of the task of getting my bull in Manti and then trying to get another in the Cache unit all within 12 days. I advised him to not turn it in because other than the tag fee if he doesn't get it he isn't out anything and he can't ask for it again next year. So I think he is going to say yes and we can figure out the logistics as it gets closer. I have a friend whose dad has the rifle tag and has already said he would tell us everything they see and help out so I feel good about that but don't know that area really well but is close so we should be able to go up and look around a couple times before the hunt.

So if anyone wants to share any info or has some tips on the unit please let us know.

Also on the weight front, This morning I was down to 188. So I am on my way to meeting my goal. Originally I wanted to get down to 185, but I think I may push it to 180. I have been running, using an elliptical, and lift a bit along with normal push-ups and sit up type exercises. I honest feel a lot better and hope to continue to keep the weight of so it isn't such a task in the future.

I am headed down to scout this weekend so I hope to have some good trail cam pics and hopefully some good shots of some bulls through the scope. My bro-in-law has a deer tag so hopefully we can find him a nice buck as well.

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stillwaitin
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Aug-21-15, 
09:13 PM (MST)
8. "One Month Away!"

Got back from scouting on Monday, we had a good weekend. Saw more elk and a lot of deer. I was able to turn up a couple of nice bulls so I will have to check that area out more as the hunt approaches. I was able to check my trail cam, but unfortunately it was a bust. It just had pics of cows, moo cows, that is. So that was pretty disappointing. But oh well, that is how it goes. My friend was able to get a nice buck on Sunday evening so he was excited about that and we were happy for him. I couldnít believe the amount of people down there, I guess being the last weekend before school plus the archery opener really brought the swarms out. That might explain why I didnít see near the amount of elk that I have the last few trips.
I got a tip for another part of the unit from a friend so I think the next couple of scouting trips will be up in that part of the unit so we will see what we can turn up.
The hunt starts exactly a month from today, so it is getting down to crunch time. I have a lot to do to get ready in the next month so it is time to start hitting it hard. I got down to my target weight of 185, so I am going to keep pushing and get down below 180 before the hunt.
Thanks again for reading; I should be able to post the rest of my dadís hunt the first of next week.

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stillwaitin
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Aug-28-15, 
12:30 PM (MST)
9. "Dad's hunt, The big day!"

Wednesday found us up early to make sure we could make the long drive and get in position for opening morning. We started hiking in the dark with our headlamps on, picking our way through the pines, cedars, and buck brush until we got to where we wanted to be. The whole time the bulls were waking up letting their bugles out just going crazy up a head of us. As shooting light approached we were slowly making our way down the peak of the ridge. Before we had realized what happened we pushed a few cows ahead of us that we hadn't noticed bedded down. As they were trotting away my friend who was walking with us blew a couple cow calls to see if that would calm them down and they seemed to slow but still made their way into the trees; fortunately they didn't seem to be too spooked. As soon as they were out of sight we heard a bugle very close. So we get the shooting sticks up and sure enough a nice 6x6 walks in to about 30-40 yards wondering where the cow was making the calls. The bull sees us but can't make us out so we hold really still as he stands wondering where his morning fling had gone. We told my dad that this wasn't the bull as he was barely a 6 point; and while a nice bull he wasn't what we were looking for at this point. I could tell my dad wasn't so sure but he decided to listen and we watched the bull hang out for a few more minutes before he finally turned around and walked back into the trees. We continued down the ridge and up a head we saw a herd just getting out of their beds. In the herd there was a beautiful 6X6 that was a sure shooter. The only problem was they were just a hair under 300 yards away and too far for a comfortable shot with the old smoke pole. We decide to let out a few calls and see if we could get him any closer. As we called he responded, along with a few other bulls, but he didn't seem too interested and slowly made his way down into the canyon with his cows out of the rising sun. We did however call in a couple of satellite bulls but none that we were willing to give the shoot signal on. We continued down the ridge a little further but all of the bulls had moved their way down to the bottom of the canyon or up the other side into the pines. We made our way to the edge of the canyon to glass into the bottom and we spotted a few elk, one was a busted up bull that would have been a shooter but just had too much broken off. He was probably the most vocal elk I have ever heard, he was just going crazy. At this point it was later in the morning and some of the elk had started to go silent. They were still talking a bit though so we let out some more cow calls and bugles and ended up calling in a couple smaller bulls but still nothing we wanted to shoot. I could tell my dad was getting antsy and I told him we would find him a bigger bull. From the look on his face I could tell he was thinking, ďYou better!Ē We watched a herd with a very nice bull make its way up the opposing ridge about 175 yards from us. The bull held up in the pines though and we couldnít get him to come back out. He would respond to calls but seemed content with the cows he had so we decided to make our way further down the ridge to see if we could get eyes on a couple of the other elk that we could still talking.

As we got to where we could see to the bottom of the canyon the elk were still talking but we couldnít get eyes on any of them. The only one we could see was the broken bull as he screamed and circled his cows to make sure the other bulls werenít trying to steal any of them. Again, this was another neat thing to watch. About this time I was starting to think it was getting too late in the morning to call anything in and we would need to make our plan for the evening hunt. About this time though I thought to myself and told my dad, ďEven if we donít end up with a bull today this is probably the coolest morning of hunting I have ever had.Ē

After a few more minutes of glassing and wondering what the next step was we hear crashing on the hillside across from us. From where we are in the canyon it was at least 6-800 yards across but there was the distinct sound of antlers crashing. I wish we could have seen these elk fighting but they were in about the thickest pines on the hill. Even though we couldnít see them it was quite the show. We watched the canyon for a few more minutes when they started up again this time louder and more intense. It sounded like someone was driving a snow cat through the trees; it was crazy how loud that was. We never laid eyes on the bulls but man, they were ticked off at each other. As they were finishing up we look to the bottom of the canyon and walking up into the trees is a big bull. He was too far for a muzzy shot so we watched him walk into the trees to go inspect the damage of the fighting bulls. The light was just right and the tips of his antlers glowed in the sun, what stood out the most on this bull was his massive back-end, especially for the unit we were hunting. I thought this is the bull for dad, but still there wasnít really a good way to make it to him so we decided to stand pat and see if any of the other bulls would show themselves. After a few minutes that same bull walked back out of the trees and we watched him until he disappeared at the bottom of the canyon. We let a few calls out to see if he would respond and sure enough about where he disappeared we could hear a bull respond along with the broken bull and a couple of others further down the ridge. It wasnít sounding like anything was willing to commit though so we were debating on heading down the canyon to find the big bull or wait for the evening hunt. Just about this time we hear a bull bugle again but this time a bit closer. So we set my dad up in a shooting lane a let out a couple more calls and the bull is coming in hot. We hear him let a couple warning barks and is getting close enough we can hear him let out a few grunts and can hear his deep breathing. I am watching my dad as he says, ďThere he is.Ē Sure enough walking out of the trees about 15 yards away is the bull with the big backs walking out. I tell my dad this is the bull and my friend lets out a cow call to get the bull to stop. The next thing I hear is a ďboomĒ with a lot of white smoke. I move so that I can see where the bull runs and he only take a few hunched steps before I see hooves in the air and the bull slide down to his final resting place. As he is taking those steps I tell my dad to reload just in case; by this time he is shaking so bad I have to help him.

We never needed another shot; the big bull was down not 200 yards from where my brother took his bull three years earlier. By this time I can hear my brother and a few other friends whooping and hollering from the other side of the canyon where they had been able to watch the whole thing unfold.
We were all speechless and I gave my dad a bear hug and by this point am all but in tears from the joy and excitement of what had just happened. To be there with my dad and stand a mere few feet away as he took his fist bull, a bull of a lifetime; was an experience topped only by a few others in my life.

We decide to wait a few minutes before approaching the downed beast just to make sure he had plenty of time to expire as well as grab a snack to replenish from the adrenaline rush we had just gone through. When we finally approached the bull we let me dad get to it first, as he grabbed the antlers for the first time I asked what he thought and his words couldnít have been better as he said, ďI think Iím in love.Ē I think all of us were.
Part of me was almost sad that all of the anticipation and preparation was all over within a couple hours on the first day but there couldnít have been a better ending to a hunt. Our friend who had been right there with us said, ďMan Kent, you sure know how to ruin a good hunt.Ē While I agreed, I can think of no better way to ďruinĒ it.

I would like to thank my dad, Kent, for letting be a part of his hunt as well as my brother Kole, friends/family: Shawn, Kurt, Mike, and especially Jason for their help in making this an experience none of us will ever forget.

We have since been able to hang the trophy in my dadís living room and every time I look at it puts a smile on my face and bring back memories and sometimes my mom and wife just catch me staring.

Some of the final Pics:

A look of where the bull ran out (looking now, not very good pics) It was between the buck brush you see really close and the close pines.

This is the first look of the bull in his final resting spot (you can see tan through the trees):

The first look at the rack:

My dad with his Bull (Sorry for the tongue):

My dad and I:

My dad brother and myself:

The crew:

Getting the work started:

I have more pics that I will post next week.

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stillwaitin
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Sep-10-15, 
10:16 PM (MST)
10. "Under 2 Weeks To Go!"

Well, it is getting close. It is now less than two weeks before the hunt and 8 days till we make the trek down. We had a good weekend of scouting/camping over Labor Day. We were back on the North End of the unit. The wind was blowing like crazy, so that made spotting tough for the first few days. Finally the wind died back down on Sunday, so that night we hit it hard and were able to spot a few bulls. They were a long ways away but we could tell a few of them were good bulls. I was able to get a picture of this one; he was the only one close enough for a pic through the scope that would have been clear. I forgot the Phone Skope so this was as good as it got just holding the phone up to the eye piece. He isnít quite what I am hoping for in a couple weeks but after a couple of frustrating days of not seeing much, he was a welcome sight.

The next morning we also saw a few more bulls. One was a sure shooter and the others were close. There were a few bugles heard during the trip, so that is always exciting, probably frustrating for the bow guys though as it is still pretty warm still and the rut doesnít seem to really be going. Another thing, on Sunday night the bulls didnít start moving and coming out until right before dark.

I went into the weekend not sure where I was going to end up hunting. After the first few days of not seeing anything I was sure I was going to spend my timer in the south end of the unit. However, after we were finally able to find some bulls it has made the decision a bit tougher but I think that we will still end up down south as I know the area much better and I think that will really come into play when the hunt starts.
So now I am in preparation mode. It is time to start planning the food and logistics of everyone who is going to be able to come down. Unfortunately a couple of the guys who have been planning to help have had work obligations come up and will not be able to make it. I should still have enough help though, just might take a couple trips when we get a bull down to get it taken care of.

I also wanted to add a couple more pics from my dadís hunt. It was been fun reliving his hunt last year and I hope you all enjoyed reading about it.

After we made it back to the Ranger:

Made it back to Camp:

Relaxing for a minute after the long pack out:

Truck loaded up and ready to go:

We caped the head out and the same friend who helped on the hunt also helped on my brother's and did his shoulder mount is planning on doing my dad's. It is a side thing for him though so for the meantime we decided to Just do a Euro Mount, we did it ourselves and it isn't a fun task, but I think it turned out pretty good:


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stillwaitin
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Sep-16-15, 
08:22 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Under 2 Weeks To Go!"

Well, the time is almost here. I leave Friday to go down and start scouting before the hunt starts on Monday. It has been almost eight months since I found out I got the tag and it is finally crunch time.

I have got down to 178 for my weight so I hope that helps me get around the hills better. I figure it is like taking 30+ pounds out of my pack so it can only help. I am not in the shape I probably should be, but still much better than I was a year ago at this time.

As far as the hunt goes, this should be my first bull as well as my first LE tag. So the pressure has been building and I am trying to not let it get to me. I think it helps knowing that I should also be able to draw another tag next year, so this is basically house money I am playing with so I just need to enjoy the hunt and soak it all in. I donít have a set score I am looking for, just a mature bull that has the right look.

Something I have failed to mention to this point is that my 84 Year Old grandpa also drew the tag. It wasnít the tag we had been hoping he would get, but where I knew we would be down there for mine as well so we can hopefully get him a bull. He has never killed a bull either and he canít get around like he used to so we figured we shouldnít wait any longer. We arenít going to be picky at all for him, we hope to find a ATV trail that he can walk a couple hundred yards from and call in a raghorn or really any bull that he can drop the hammer on. I hesitated to post about his tag because I wasnít sure what his health would be like by the time the hunt came around. But he seems good and we had him come to shoot with us last night and he shot well so I think he is all in. It should be a good experience for all of us to be down there together and work together, just like old times, to find some animals. He wasnít able to make it to my dad and brotherís LE tags so we are excited that he will be down there with us to hear the Bugling bulls and hopefully fill the freezers!

This is probably my last post before the hunt so good luck to all the others who are out there right now or will be out chasing after their dream animals. If anyone is down in the Manti area and see us, feel free to stop and say ďHIĒ. We should be in a Dune Chaser toy-hauler somewhere up Manti Canyon. It is time to put all the scouting, internet scouting, working out, shooting, and other preparation to work. No excuses it is time to go!

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stillwaitin
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Sep-30-15, 
09:41 AM (MST)
12. "RE: Under 2 Weeks To Go!"

Well, we are back. We were very fortunate and had a great 10+ days on the mountain. We were all able to tag out and ended up going 3/3 so that was a huge win for us. I Haven't had time to do a write-up yet, I just wanted to give a quick update and hope to have a write-up posted soon. Thanks everyone for the advice, support, and tips leading up to these hunts it was a week I am not sure I will ever be able to top.

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stillwaitin
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Oct-02-15, 
01:41 PM (MST)
13. "RE: Under 2 Weeks To Go!"

Day 1, we left home just after 1 PM and stopped in Manti topped off the truck and ate at Millers Drive-In, if you are ever in town there you should give it a try. They have a good burger and good donuts. After that we left town and made it to camp, set up, and left camp about 6:30 to start looking for some elk.
We arrived and the overlook and started glassing. The first animals we saw were a bunch of sheep, then some sheep herders, and their camp (which seemed to be on almost every ridge down there). I thought the night was a bust then we heard a bugle and an decent 5 point came out of trees with 9 cows. They were running all over and the bull was really working hard to keep them together. After a while two other cows and calves came out but stayed away from rest of the herd herd. I figured we had a good first night.


Day 2 We got up early went up to a canyon I had scouted prior to the hunt, as soon as we were off of the Ranger we could hear a bull bugle and saw a decent 5*6 with cows. After watching them go into the trees, some other people came down to where we were looking. We ended up talking for a while; one of the guys had a Muzzy tag as well. So we told them what we had been seeing and went on our way. I hope they had a successful hunt. We decided to head back to camp but took an indirect route down another canyon to see if we could spot any deer for my dad and brother. We ended up seeing a lot of deer and even some bucks.
After breakfast and some rest we went on a long ride down past 12 mile to another area we were told to check out. It ended up being a really long ride and while we didn't see much we did see some beautiful country some being good spots to keep in mind if the week drug on. On our way back it was almost dark, but we decided to go to one more place and glass before dark. Glassing across a canyon right before dark I spotted a couple cows. They weren't moving just kind of feeding in a tiny clearing where I had spotted them. Nothing else seemed to be moving and right as I was putting the scope away a few more came out followed by a nice 6 point bull. He came out and was chasing the cows and trying to round them up. He ended up having 20 cows with him by the time they all made it out of the trees and I knew this was a bull I would like to keep an eye on. What a great way to end the day.


Day 3 we went back out to the spot from the previous morning but we got out a little late, only saw one lone bull, I think we was just a 2-point. At least it was an elk though. That afternoon went and found a trail to get to the big bull and had a nice little hike. The rest of our party arrived late afternoon. We ate dinner then headed back to see if we could spot the big bull from the night before. We were able to find him again a couple hundred yards from where we spotted him the previous night again, right before dark. It was a very calm night and we couldnít hear any elk talking anywhere. Which we found quite surprising. I was excited though that the bull was in the same area and I think we had a good game plan for getting out to him the next morning.

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stillwaitin
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Oct-05-15, 
11:22 AM (MST)
14. "RE: Under 2 Weeks To Go!"

Opening Day! We all headed out bright and early, after a night of little to no sleep, to try to get where we saw the big bull. The Rangers we off before light led by the dirt road and stars. We were there pretty early so we talked and waited. The whole time the anxiety and anticipation was about all I could handle. We finally headed out along the top of the ridge. We were all amazed at how quiet it was. When we made it out towards the end we let out a couple calls answered only by silence. We continued down towards where we had seen the bull the previous two nights. We would occasionally call without response other than some coyotes. About this time we hear howling and barking coming from the canyon below. After listening for a couple of minutes we could tell that it was a pack of hounds that must have been hot on the trail of a bear or something. Man can those animals make some noise. We didnít see much that morning, we heard one bugle and my brother-in-law got a glimpse of a couple cows but not exactly what we had expected. After we continued to search and call to no avail, we made our way back to the Ranger. My dad, brother, and grandpa were close to where we had Parked the Rangers so we sat with them for a few minutes. They had seen some elk but nothing close or that was anywhere my grandpa could hike to.

On the way back down to camp, a local old timer stopped us to see if we were hunting elk. We told him we were and hadnít seen much that morning. We told us to find the wallows cause with the heat, that is where the elk would be. At camp we had lunch and a quick rest. I was somewhat discouraged by the lack of action that morning and the silence of the elk. We headed out a little later that afternoon to go checkout some wallows my brother-in-law and his dad knew about. As we were leaving I was feeling better about our chances. I look at our group as we leave and say that I have a good feeling about tonight! We got to the road that leads to where we wanted to look. So we parked the Rangers and started walking down the seldom used 4-wheeler trail. After a short walk Shawn, my brother-in-law, let out a bugle and I cow called and we got a quick response from a bull with a mean sounding bugle. We keep calling and he kept answering but didn't seem to want to move. Suddenly we look up and there is a bull standing there just off of the road. After a couple of well-placed shots, one right through the lungs, my 84-Year-Old grandpa had his first bull elk. The bull is a nice little rag horn 4x5. We were all pretty excited and started taking pictures and admiring grandpaís bull.

As we are getting him taken care of the big bull from earlier is still responding to our calls. So I set up in front of Shawn and wait to see if we can get him to come in. As we are calling we look up and another elk is coming in to our calls. I see it is a bull as he is coming through the trees but can't tell how big. He ends up coming within 30 yards but is just a small rag, a bit smaller than the first one and broken off about half way up his right beam. I let him walk and then decide to hold off on the big one so that we can get grandpa's bull taken care of. That ends up taking the rest of the night. This was a great way to finish opening day.

My brother, Grandpa, Dad, and me with grandpa's bull. Not bad getting his first bull at 84-Years-Old!

Usually we quarter and pack-out but we were able to get the Ranger really close to the bull so we took him out whole.


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stillwaitin
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Oct-08-15, 
08:36 AM (MST)
15. "Getting R Done!"

Day 6: Well we got it done today. Going into the day I was feeling a lot of pressure. It was the last day that Shawn and Kurt could be there and I know me, Kole, and my dad could have got it done. However, I felt best if I could do it with them there. I was also thinking of my dadís hunt and making sure we had the time needed to get him a bull as well. Anyways, morning found us hiking up to "the knoll" above the wallows. We made it up to the top just as it was getting light. We hear a few bugles but nothing like the morning before. I wasn't sure what to do but I decide to go look off the other end that we couldn't see to check it out. Nothing was moving so I go back over to Kole and Shawn. After quietly talking about what to do for a minute or two, Kole says there's some elk. I look below and sure enough there were a few cows. We figured if there we cows there would be a bull too; so I sneak down to the next ledge to get a better look. After crouching and crawling to get to the edge, I look down to see the cows and I see I lighter colored elk so I figured this must be the bull. So I pull my binos up see he is a bull and thought he looked good enough, he was just staring at me so I knew I had to be quick. I pull my gun up and the scope covers are on. I get those off and he is still looking my way, quartering towards me so I take aim pull the hammer back and squeeze the trigger. Through the smoke I see elk running and disappear. Kole and Shawn couldn't see the bull so they were surprised when the shot rang out. They run down and wonder what just happened. As I tell them I'm trying to reload just in case it is needed. We look down and I tell them where the elk was standing. We see something tan right where I thought the bull was but it was just a rock so we decide to wait a few minutes before going to check it out. We finally make our way down there and we can't find any trace of blood or anything. I do a few circles to make sure and still nothing. In the process of this I thought I heard the groaning but didnít think much of it. So we continue looking and I think back in the shot. As I was getting into position Kole had said 150 so I had just put my cross-hairs right on him. After I ranged the spot it was actually 106 so I thought maybe I shot over him. Just as I was getting more and more upset about missing I hear wrestling in the brush, so I look and don't see anything so I figure it was s deer or something that I couldn't see. So we continue looking for any sign of blood or a hit. After a few minutes of that I hear the wrestling in the brush again and I look and can see a tan spot. Then I see it move and see the antlers. I tell the others that he is down and radio my dad and Kurt and tell them to get up here. The bull was still kicking and would try to put his head up. I wanted to put another in him to make sure he wouldn't suffer but could only see antler and rear quarter. So we gave him a couple more minutes and he finally expired. I made my way to him. As we approach my elk I can tell he isn't the caliber of bull I originally had set out to get but he was down and my bull!

Even though he wasnít my ďdreamĒ bull, it was still an awesome experience walking up and finally putting my hands on my first bull elk. I have put many miles on the ground and had some great experience helping family and friends get and haul out their elk so it was an experience I will never forget having it finally be for me. I wish I would have enjoyed it more and not worried so much about the size of the rack.

We waited for my dad and Kurt to make it up to the bull before we started the work and after taking pictures and rehearsing the story the work started. We made pretty good time getting the elk quartered and even boned out the hind quarters. It was crazy how much bigger the body was on this bull compared to my grandpas, especially considering the racks were similar sized. My brother had gone back to camp and brought my grandpa in to the kill spot because he wanted to be there. So that made the experience even sweeter.

We were able to make it back to the Rangers in one trip, so that was a plus. Once we made it back to camp we cook a late breakfast and helped Shawn, Kurt, and grandpa get packed up so they could be home before too late. I canít express my gratitude to them enough for the time they spent helping on this hunt. Shawn and Kurt spent almost as much time and as many mornings in the hills looking for elk as I did and they gave up a lot of time and to help me and are true friends and I canít wait to repay them when they finally get their tags as well. I was really glad I was able to tag out with them there with me, especially Shawn watching it. I am lucky to have two sisters that married great guys that I like to spend time with.


The fist good look at my bull:

Me and MY Bull!

Pardon the goofy looks on my face:

Telling Stories

My Dad and I:

Me, Kurt, and Shawn:

On the Way Out:

Celebratory Dew!

Mine and Grandpa's Bulls:


We stayed that night and the next morning to try and find my dad and brother a deer but unfortunately werenít able to make it happen after a couple of close calls. So we packed up to head home, clean up and head up to my dadís hunt.

The Smile on my Daughter's face is the best!

Family Pic, I want this on the Christmas Card but the wife isn't so sure:

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stillwaitin
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Nov-02-15, 
10:17 AM (MST)
16. "3/3!!"

Sorry this has taken so long, there have been a lot of changes at work and just life in general since getting home from my dad's hunt.

After about 24 hours at home we were loaded back up and driving to my dadís area for his Last minute expo tag.

We made the drive to my dadís area Friday afternoon. We havenít spent much time in this area but thanks to a friend we were able to find a decent place to park even though there were quite a few people up there for the deer hunt as well. It was kind of crazy though we went up Blacksmith Fork Canyon and in the time that past between us going up the canyon and getting parked a fire had started in the canyon and was filling the air with smoke. I guess a power line had fell and started the fire, we were glad we made it up before because it would have made for a much longer night.

We got camp set up and it was too late to really do any hunting, so we kind of just hung out for a little while. My friend that had offered to help ended up going out of town, but he set us up with his friend who also had extensive knowledge of the area to give us a hand. I had never met our new friend but had talked over text so we went down to try and get service so we could call and meet up to make a plan, unfortunately the canyon got shut down so we couldnít get down to get service and come to find out Mike, our new friend and guide, had to take the long way around to get in because of the fire as well. On our way down to get service we ended up seeing a herd of elk but they were on protected land that we could hunt but it was still cool to see them on the skyline as the sun was going down. I wish I had been able to get a picture. We ended up driving the other way that night and were finally able to get service to talk to Mike to set up our meeting time for the next morning.
Morning came fast and we were up and anxiously waiting for Mike to show us around and see what we could find. He showed up right on time and we all introduced ourselves and he told us what the plan was for the morning and we got on the four-wheelers and Rangers to head out. Keep in mind none of us had ever met Mike before but within minutes of talk to him, it was like we were hunting with an old friend and his knowledge of the area and elk hunting in general would prove invaluable to us on the hunt.
After a nice early morning ride we were in the spot Mike had told us about and were ready to hike. It was a quick hike to where we wanted to be the wind was howling but we could still hear a few bugles but they were on private ground and didnít seem interested in coming into any of our calls.

Coming into this weekend we knew Mike only had Saturday and Sunday to help us so we figured it would be best to put as many miles on as possible so that we could pick his brain as much as possible to try and learn as much as we could about the area in the two short days we had with him. So after we made it back to the machines we rode to an area that had a good lookout to glass and from there he could show us a lot of area to try and put things together. After glassing for a while and talking about different possibilities my friend Andrew who came up for the first day spotted an elk a long ways away. It was really an amazing spot considering how far away the elk was. After looking more closely through the scope we could see it was a bull and was worth trying to get closer to. After getting closer we could see the elk was still in the same general area. So we made a plan to close the distance. We decided that my dad, Mike, and my bother Kole would work in close to the elk and try to call him down and Andrew and I would spot from the next ridge to see if we could find the bull and see if he decided to play.

After they got into position and started calling, we finally found the bull and we was making his way down to the calls. He got within 150 yards or so but was in the trees and they couldnít see him. He appeared to be going right in, but never made it closer than that before we see him and about 8 cows bust out that we hadnít seen before they were running up over the ridge. We met back up and found out that right about the time the bull was getting close the wind had shifted and went right up into them. We were a little bummed but excited about the close call and being into elk that fast.

We decided to head back to camp and get ready to meet back up that afternoon to see more area and try to find more elk. We ended up having a good night, the howling winds didnít let up but we saw that bull again and made a play but unfortunately were not successful in trying to get him to come in. It was another great night though and my brother and Andrew who were on a different ridge hear some bugles as the sun went down so we decided to head back there in the morning to see what we could find.

The next morning it was just the four of us, as Andrew had to be home, headed to the same area as the night before. On the drive in that morning right off the side of the road was a beautiful six point bull elk the slowly walked in front of us and up the hill on the other side. He gave a bugle as we drove away wishing he had been on public land as opposed to the private area he was on.

As we arrived to the spot from the night before our hopes were high that we would be able to close the deal before Mike had to go later that day. There wasnít much action in that spot so we went a little further up the trail and were able to get a couple bulls to respond to our calls and we set up to see if they would come in. We ended up having at least 3 or 4 bulls respond but unfortunately we couldnít get any to come out of the trees and after while of calling and waiting we decide to try one more place that morning before just riding around to see a couple places to try in the coming days.

After parking the machines we decided to just hike down this little canyon a little ways to see if anything would respond. The canyon had a nice water hole just off the top and was kind of a little basin that made a natural funnel down to the canyon below. After a quick cow call we instantly had a response and knew this could be our chance. When we left our Ranger we basically took what we were wearing and my dadís gun so I ran back up to get our packs and my dadís shooting sticks. After making it down to my dad and Mike we worked our way down a little bit further and as Mike would call we could tell the bull was getting closer and closer each time he would bugle. We made it to an area that had a good enough clearing and decided to hold up there and let the bull come to us.

At this point after being gone from home for about 10 days and my dad having lived his hunting dream in killing a beautiful bull the year before I think he would have shot about any bull that would have shown itself, I told him it had to be at least bigger than mine, but he wasnít going to be too picky. My brotherís wife was about nine months pregnant and ready for us to be home as were my wife and two-year-old daughter. I think they were hoping and praying pretty hard that we would be home soon.

Anyways, this bull was coming in hot and had an aggressive bugle and as he got closer we could hear him glucking and making his way in. I was standing a bit higher than my dad so I saw the bull first and told my dad, ďThere he isĒ he took a couple more steps and then my dad and Mike saw him as well. He was facing us so I told my dad to wait until he turned before taking his shot. Finally he took a couple steps to his right and gave my dad a broadside shot. I told my dad as soon as he has a good shot to let him have it. Right then the hammer drops and smoke blocks our view but we watch the bull slowly walk away. Mike lets a few calls to try and stop the bull but he disappears out of view. We get reloaded and wait for Kole to come down, the whole time congratulating my dad and telling his it was a good bull. I knew it was a 6-point but because of the angle and the cover that was around the bull I couldnít tell how big. The whole time my dad was very nervous and since the bull didnít go right down we questioned the shot. We could hear crashing though so we tried to reassure him that he was going down and to not worry.
It was kind of funny, after my dad shot his bull the year before I had to reload because he was shaking so bad after the shot, this time however it was me and Mike that were shaking. I was in shock that it had worked out that well again and excited to get up and get a better look at the bull.

When Kole made it down to us with the pack frame we made our way down to where we last saw the bull. We knew the direction he headed and sure enough after following the trail a short ways, there laid the bull. The closer we got the bigger the bull got. I think all of us were in shock as we got to the bull and help it up. He was a 6X7 main frame but has a kicker off of his side with 6, so I guess technically he is a 7x7. We are all elated and blown away; never did we think this hunt would turn out like this. I told my dad how fortunate he is, not many people have killed bulls of this caliber in consecutive year without paying big bucks. He already knew this and is still in awe for the opportunities he has had the past two years.

The trigger was pulled just after nine a.m. and we had the bulled caped, quartered and back to the Ranger by around noon or so. That was a big elk; my Manti elk had what we thought was a big body but after taking care of my dadís we realized how big of a difference there is in an older mature bull.

After getting the bull loaded up in the Ranger we headed back to camp. On the way we stopped to show Mikeís family the bull and say thanks to them. He had a very nice family and we are still in debt to them for their generosity and willingness to treat a couple strangers like old friends and show us around. Mike had knowledge of that area that is nothing short of amazing, he seemed to know every canyon, rock, water hole, and knoll. He did say as we got to that canyon that he had never seen an elk in there and also said it only takes one and he would rather be lucky than good. His words rang true and everything seemed to work out better than if we had scripted it ourselves.

A look at the fire:

The Beast:

Dad and his Bull:

Me, Dad, and His Bull:

No One I would rather share time in the mountains with:

I have a lot more pictures of dad's hunt, I just don't have them all on this computer yet. So I apologize to Mike for not having any of him yet on here as we are still in debt to him and grateful for all he did to help on the hunt, we couldn't have done it without him.

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