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SilverEagle 2016 HAC
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"SilverEagle 2016 HAC"

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Greetings MM crowd. My 2016 Hunt Adventure Challenge begins with cutting an Public Land Anterless Elk Tag last January. On Mother’s day I managed to kill my first Turkey (Sorry Mom). I have a 2016 Utah Archery Deer tag and I’m bringing my brother out from California for the Muzzleloader Deer Hunt. Also, I am faced with the age-old June dilemma; Archery Elk in my deer unit OR Muzzleloader Spike Elk? But wait, my 2016 HAC doesn’t end with big game. I intend to fulfill the Utah Cutthroat Slam & the annual Upland Slam and eventually the Ultimate Upland Slam. I intend to tell these tales and have some catching up to do…

I'll begin with the Antlerless Elk. I had been wishing for snow as the last day to get it done quickly approached. Finally some snow and with just 3 days left I started seeing the Elk. It was getting late fast so with stiff winter legs I hustled up the mountain. At 500 yards below them and no concealment I set up for the easy shot. With a slow steady squeeze of the trigger I let one fly. I expected that cow, who was completely broadside to crumble but she didn’t. Not only that, but the herd, about 10, hardly even reacted. I freaking missed!! So rather than spook them with more shooting I decided to come back the next morning with my dad’s 40 year old Western Field 7mmRemMag because it hadn’t been in the field since it was sighted-in and I knew it is accurate and effective. Now all I had to do was get him to let me borrow it…
The next morning found me glassing for my elk, I was getting a sore neck peering through my spotting scope before I relocated them. They were lower in the draw and were feeding back towards where I saw them the night before. So, with trusty gun in hand and a sense of revenge I again hustled my stiff and now fatigued winter legs up the mountain. The elk seemed settled in with a few up feeding, but mostly laying down. Of those laying all I could see was their dark necks sticking up from the snow. At my perch 500 yards out I set up again. I picked a nice cow feeding broadside to the left. When the crosshairs of the VX3 settled on her shoulder I slowly squeezed the trigger like I had been taught as a recruit on Camp Pendleton. When the gun settled and I could see clearly through the scope I saw she was still standing, NOT AGAIN!! Before I could finish saying WHATTHAF… she dropped to her knees and tipped over. It was a sight to see all of the elk jump up when my cow tobogganed down the snow covered hillside. She never got up. The 139gr GMX entered in the center of the near shoulder and out a little higher on the offside shoulder. I field dressed her and filled her with snow knowing I was coming back the next day with friends.
The next morning it was colder and with low clouds. We hiked and found another foot of snow had fallen (knew I should of taken snowshoes). The low clouds made it really hard to find her and the fresh snow didn’t help. Finally as I got closer I saw magpies flush and that’s when I knew I was close. We boned her out and backtracked our trail. It was a done, we would be enjoying fresh elk tenderloin after all.

Check back for the exciting story of how I became addicted to turkey hunting.

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 RE: SilverEagl...  SilverEagle      Jul-13-16   1 

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07:53 AM (MST)
1. "RE: SilverEagle 2016 HAC"

A Turkey Tale; My first Turkey.
I’ve tried turkey hunting before but as you know, turkey are either on private land or headed towards private land. Unpressured Toms on public land are seldom unpressured for long.

May 1st. This was the day the Wasatch Front was battered by high winds. My power was out so we gathered up the family and were headed anywhere the wind wasn’t blowing. We grabbed some picnic grub and a spinnin’ rod. At the very least we’d explore some new camping areas and cast a little. Once the road dwindled to dirt we stopped. I made a few casts and landed a couple of the meanest Brookies around. Also a large “butter bar”. Fun but not part of the turkey tale. Evening was looming so we collected our stuff and headed out, but not before looking at the last few campsites in the area.
That’s when I saw him. He was a mature Tom with about an 8” inch beard. He wasn’t alone, a thin Hen was nearby. What a sight, the kids were thrilled. I butchered a gobble at him and he immediately stretched out his neck and answered. As if on cue, everybody in the vehicle began gobbling the best they could. It sounded ridiculous. I hadn’t intended to turkey hunt this year but that changed even before we saw another Tom further down the road. I hadn’t realized it but the “youth hunt only” was nearly over and nobody was there. That meant the statewide general season was opening the next day.

May 7th. What a long week! During the workweek I made plans for a camping trip with the hopes of harvesting a turkey. I purchased my Turkey tag and the 2015-2016 Upland Slam Card just in case it happened. We had some rain during the week and had to use 4wd to pull my trailer into camp. What a muddy mess. Anyhow, the creek was a torrent which was disappointing because one of my meal plans was a trout dinner.
The creek was loud. Turns out this was a good thing. On Saturday morning, with shotgun in hand, we, meaning my lady and the house dog, headed up out of the creek bottom in a half hearted turkey hunting expedition. We hadn’t gone 50 yards and heard a gobble. All I had was a year-old mouth call. I had to blow extra hard to get a sound out of it. Turns out it had a little tear in the edge. I did the best cutting I could and the roar of river required even more volume than I could manage. He never answered. Realizing that I need to be more serious we backed off and enjoyed a nice hike. I secretly made plans to hunt alone that evening.
Saturday evening. Camo’d up, I slipped out of camp, so I thought… short story; she saw me. After putting my foot down, I climbed up from the creek bottom so I could hear more than the roar and right away heard a gobble. This time I trucked it straight towards the bird. I used the sparse trees and waist deep brush to conceal my approach and get as close as I dared. I set up and did the best calling I could. He’d answer me most times. I was ready and he was coming to my call. But suddenly silence. Did he see me? But I didn’t even move. The next time I heard him he was farther away than when we started.
The ground game. I low-crawled through the wet grass, brushed against wild rose bushes and over slippery logs to close the distance and set up again. We talked back and forth for a few minutes. And then silence… Maybe he saw me this time? Eventually he answered from a distance. I dropped my daypack and low-crawled again. By now I was at the edge of the creek and caught my first glimpse of him. He was on the other side of the creek beyond shotgun range. Again I called to him. Now I could see him strutting, puffed up, fan spread wide and snood fully erect. It was a short visit because he quickly slipped further into the trees. Surely he saw me this time? I thought so anyway. I stood up disgusted and went for my daypack. Only one problem, its camouflage. I circled and circled for a few minutes looking for it as if it was a prized mule deer buck. Turns out it was right where I left it.
I still had some daylight left and wasn’t going to give up yet. I walked up the creek a few dozen yards looking for a crossing. I settled on a slippery tree top laying across the creek. Needless to say I should have walked across in the shallows because I might not have got so wet. I was wet, and so was the gun, but that’s what happens when you submerge it trying to catch yourself from falling. I tipped it a few times and snuck up the creek bank looking and listening for that Tom.
Once nicely situated with some shooting lanes I called. He answered. I called again. He answered even closer, only to my direct right which was a complete surprise. He might of snuck away undetected if not for that last gobble. Now I had him. I stood up, took a rest on a young and spindly quakie and waited for him to cross into the next shooting lane. As he entered it I stopped him with a crappy cluck. He stopped, stretched his neck straight and peered in my direction. I was ready and squeezed the trigger of the 870. I saw him react but immediately lost sight of him. With a wide smile I walked over to him but he wasn’t there. Turns out he was leaving on an old overgrown ranch road that disappeared over the next hill. This time it was me stretching my neck looking hard for feathers. He was a tough bird, he made it 100+ yards before dying in the new grass on that old ranch road.

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