2013 - Big Bulls, Big Bucks, and Sheep!



I'm already behind on getting this HAC story started so here we go! There are lots of amazing things going on for me this year including 3 LE elk hunts in Utah, several deer hunts, and my best friend drew his sheep tag that I had him put in for so I hope to keep you all updated on everything as we go.

First off, we will start back in January as we hunted for late season cow elk. My brother and friend both have January cow elk permits for the Nine Mile, Range Creek unit. I live in Price, Utah and this unit is right in my backyard. We also hunted this hunt in January 2011 and took 5 cows out of 6 tags. I was excited to be involved in hunting in January so I spent several days scouting the unit before they arrived to hunt. First thing was to dump out my packs from the fall hunts and re-pack the gear I would need for sub-zero, snowy, tough winter hunts.


On one of my trips I spotted these two bucks over on a hill. I got my spotting scope out to look at them and was treated to a nice little playful fight between the two bucks. Luckily I had my camera and took some photos and video of them having fun. At first I thought the bigger buck was a straight 4 point but after watching him, he looks like he is a 3 x 4 main frame and his fourth tine hooks out sideways and up like a big hook cheater. Pretty cool young buck.






A couple days into the new year, I had to take some time off as my wife was due with our first child. She was able to deliver our baby girl on the 8th of January.
Sage KayLee Pendleton




Back home with our new baby girl, I still had a few days to check out the country for elk before my brother heads down for hunt weekend 1. Elk seemed to be far and few between. I saw at least one elk every trip I made but there wasn't a lot of good prospects. The deer were really fun to see though. Here are a few more bucks that I saw out there.







I spotted an old friend from a week ago - the hook cheater buck.


I also found a promising little herd of elk. They were on private land a ways from the road but after watching them for two days, they looked like they were headed towards public land that we could hike into.


Well my brother arrived and we ended up seeing more deer than elk the first few days of the hunt.





It was mighty cold each day and the only thing we ended up shooting were a few rabbits that we fried up for dinner.



After a few brief encounters with elk, we decided to chase that herd of elk that I had been watching for three days. They were about a hundred yards from the public land the second night. We decided to get up there at first light and if they were on the public, we were going to make a go for them.


Well they were on the public ground at first light and getting deeper into the public so we decided it was worth the long hike in negative degree temperatures to go after them. After a 4 hour hike in knee deep snow, we were in shooting distance. My brother set up and missed. They all took off. We went up and made sure of the miss and then started tracking them. We made it to the ridge top and saw them going across the other side of the canyon. We picked out the last big cow that was lagging behind the herd with two calves and a spike. When Shawn got ready he started shooting. He finally hit her and she dropped in her tracks. It ended up being a longer shot than we thought so we feel lucky to have hit her in the neck and drop her in a one shot kill.

I didn't take many photos on the hike but I did get some good video of our journey to this elk. Feel free to watch my video to see how it all came together. It ended up taking us the rest of the night and part of the next day to get her out. She was a massive cow and in -17 degree temps, it was quite the workout. She tastes real good now though. It is always satisfying to reap the rewards of your hard work!


Video at


First big game animal for Devin

A week later my brother's friend showed up for his go on the Nine Mile January cow elk hunt. First thing we did was relocate the same herd my brother shot out of. There was only about half the amount of elk but they were still on the public so we decided to go after them. I stayed back to glass while my brother and Devin made an approach in the bottom of the canyon.



Well something spooked the elk and they ran up over the top into another canyon so we decided to try and locate some more elk. We drove up on top and started wandering along the roads. I spotted an elk out my window and looked at it but it was a stupid spike. Shawn looked and said there was a bunch of cows below it and they took off. We thought they were going to drop off the canyon rim but looped around on the back side of the mesa instead. We had to drive out a long ways before we could locate them again with optics and they had just bedded down on the face of the mesa.


We put a game plan together and decided the only way was to stalk in on them slowly and quietly in the cedars and hope for a shot. I stayed back again with the optics in case they lost the elk and Shawn and Devin started the stalk. They just followed the trail the elk made in the snow but the elk got up and started moving away from them slowly. It was a game of cat and mouse as they inched slowly closer. It was driving me crazy watching cause I could see how close they were to the elk and couldn't figure out why they wouldn't shoot but it was way too thick from their viewpoint. An hour or so into this stalk they worked their way around a draw and the elk finally started to get spooky. Shawn and Devin kept running into the spikes and they were getting nervous. They came around the draw and Shawn could see a cow elk up above them behind some brush. It was the only shot they had so Devin shot her and broke down her hind end. The elk scattered and Shawn and Devin got up above the cow. They found her again and after a couple quick shots in the cedars, she was down. Devin had his first big game animal!




Another great year on the Range Creek unit with 100% success. We really enjoy these hunts as they are a great late season challenge.

I had lots of video during Devin's hunt so I made a video and put it on youtube. I hope you take a chance to watch it!



RE: Long slow off season

After the January elk hunts were over, I had a long slow off season. I tried to catch up on work and other stuff. I decided not to draw my Utah bear tag this year even though I had the points to draw. I didn't get out until my birthday in April so my wife and daughter and I took a day trip to Fishlake to see how the snow pack was. I knew I was going to draw an elk tag for Fishlake this year so I decided to try and spend as much time down there as possible.





This is my go every machine. There isn't a place this truck hasn't taken me. I love it!


For my birthday, I also order a few taxidermy supplies. I have been wanting to try and do euro mounts and tanning for a while so I have also been playing with those two potential hobbies this spring.
Skinning a raccoon.


Yes, I skinned a skunk and didn't get sprayed!!


Here are the Euro Mounts I tried to do. There is a small raccoon, a porcupine that I shot last year with my bow, and the small skunk.


Here is the Porcupine and Skunk finished. I don't think that they turned out too bad.



Ok. Enough small talk, time to get on to the hunts for this year!


RE: First time out scouting

I was on my way home from a week long family trip to Disneyland in mid May when I checked my credit card and was floored by what I found. There was a $285 charge for a Limited Entry elk tag, there was two $80 charges that were for archery and muzzleloader deer tags, and then there was a charge for $513!! What in the world was the $513 for? I immediately thought it had to be a Once in a Lifetime tag and I got excited but this cost $100 more than those tags that we put in for. I started to go through the different tag prices and saw $513 for a Premium Elk tag. I almost started to cry with excitement. My dad had draw the premium elk tag that I put him in for!! What could be the $285 charge then? I thought it was my Limited Entry elk tag that we were all expecting me to draw but I had put that on a different card with my wife's hunts. It had to be either my sister or brother and their elk tag! Anticipation was through the roof. I couldn't be there to tell my dad about his tag but I got to see it all on video chat and he couldn't believe it. So we waited another 10 long days to get results and here are the tags that we got confirmed in emails:

LE Elk Tags:
- Premium Fishlake for dad
- Archery Fishlake for me
- Late Rifle Wasatch for my brother

Deer tags:
- 2 archery Fishlake tags for me and my brother
- 2 muzzleloader Fishlake tags for my dad and sister
- Dedicated hunter Fishlake for my wife
- 3 other family members drew rifle tags for Beaver


We were super excited! Well as if things couldn't get busier/better for the fall, my best friend called and told me he had drawn his Desert Sheep tag. After 17 years of waiting and being 72 years old, I gave him some statistical advice on where to put in for the sheep tag and even though it was still a long shot he drew it! Oh man, my fall hunting season just got booked solid from mid August to mid November!

Ok. Time to get scouting! First chance I got at the end of May, I headed down to Fishlake to do some hiking and some initial scouting. If you ever drive the highway down to Loa, you have to stop at the pass and take a look at this view out East over the desert towards the Henry Mountains.


I got a chance to try out some of my new gear and use some of my old gear on the trip. It always feels good to dust off your gear after the off season and put them back to use. I got my wife a Jetboil boiling system for Christmas. We got it for emergency situations and also to take and boil water when we are out camping or hunting for quick hot chocolate and dehydrated meals. It worked great. A couple minutes is all it took to get the water boiling and into my Mountain House for dinner.


My trusty optics go wherever I go.


The first night was short so I just did some glassing and camping down in the Tidwell slope area. Great country although we never really hunted it much last year. I have decided that there is enough elk sign and great country that I will spend more time exploring this wide open quaky paradise this year.



When it is just me, I tend to car camp and sleep in my truck a lot. It makes for quick camp take down as you just get up and go. I'm just a little bit too long for the back seat but I make it work for a night or two. I use a Marmot Helium light weight sleeping bag when I am out. It is super light weight so I can use it for backpacking but is also a sleeping bag I use all the time. If it is cold, it keeps me warm with just basketball shorts on and when it it warm outside, I just use it as a blanket so I can throw it on and off as I need to. A little bit expensive for a sleeping bag but has been worth every penny in my opinion.




I only had one day to spend on the trip so I drove around the unit a bunch just to see if there was animals moving and to check some old glassing spots from last year. I always seem to see a few deer up this road but the elk don't really appear for me until I drop over the other side.


Time for a lunch break.

Great view to enjoy while eating lunch.

Well after a long drive I finally got over to an area that I wanted to do some hiking in. I wasn't sure what I would find on the hike but that is the whole reason for hiking in new country.

I found a nice stream but is it runoff water or a full time spring fed stream. I'll have to check it later in the year and see.

There was some elk sign along the water so that is always a good sign. They could be resident elk or passing through so another reason to check out the area later this summer.

I found some light brown colored hair in the trail that the wind was blowing around. I think it is bear hair from a brown colored black bear but I can't be 100% sure.

Awe, fresh elk sign probably from last year. This is what I wanted to find on this exploratory hike!

I found more older elk rubs too which means the elk have been in here year after year.



I found some more openings and some water here and there but it is hard to know if the water is year round or runoff this time of the year.


This pond looks like it will probably be a decent water source for the year. There were some elk tracks around it in the mud too. There were a million mosquito larvae swimming around in it too which was kind of cool/disgusting.



I found a little clearing in the thick pines that looked to have a trail going through it and since I had packed around a trail camera for the last few hours, I decided I would place it on the trail and see if anything was using the trail.


Overall it was a good hike and we'll see if there are any animals in there that pass by my camera.


RE: First time out scouting

I have never been a guy that works out a lot. I always seem to lose weight in the fall when I'm active during hunting season and then gain it all back in the spring when I sit around waiting for good weather. When I found out about all the hunts I was going to participate in this year, I decided I needed to be a little more proactive and start losing weight early. While I don't lift weight or run, I do love to hike. That is the best way for me to enjoy my working out which encourages me to get out more.

Anyway, I had to make a trip to Salt Lake in early June to do some work and took advantage of being along the Wasatch Mountains for a couple days. I got out once and did a short uphill hike with about a 25 pound pack. I was able to find a nice looking bull elk in my glassing who should turn out to be a pretty good bull for the open bull unit. I've got some video of him through my scope that I will post later when I get a chance to put it together. He was a long ways away too (In center of photos).




I also saw a cow elk with a newborn calf and a cow moose with newborn twins. I was treated to a great sunset too.


So far I am down 10 pounds in the first month and a half of preparation. I know I have a lot further to go so hopefully I can get where I need to be before crunch time.


RE: New Camping Trailer

We added a new hunting trailer to our camp equipment a couple weeks ago. A friend was selling this older trailer of theirs so they could buy a new horse/traveling trailer. It looks to get plenty of use this fall. We took it out the next weekend on the neighborhood campout and everything seemed to work out just fine on the trailer. It was our little girl, Sage's, second camping trip of the year and she loved every minute of it.






It was miserably hot but we still got out and had some fun. Here is a herd of cow elk that I saw. The photos almost look like paintings. The heat waves were terrible and the elk were over a half mile away so that is just how they turned out this time.




Here is the moose and two calves video that I mentioned in my previous post.


RE: My families first scouting trip

It was the end of June and my dad and mom finally got a chance to head down for their first scouting trip with us. The whole idea of this trip was to show my dad the country that we would be hunting in, go on a few little hikes to start breaking in his boots, and hopefully see some elk and possibly a few bulls. My parents haven't been down in these parts of the state for probably over ten years and they really enjoyed the trip. Here are a few of the scenery photos I took as we went around the unit.







We were able to find some bulls on two different nights. Here are some of them. We saw mostly younger, smaller bulls in this location.








I've got video of those bulls too that I have posted on Facebook and Youtube. We also saw a couple bulls up in a small opening in the thick timber.




Overall it was a good trip and we did everything that I wanted to do. We ended up only doing two short hikes but next time I am sure we will get more in now that my dad kind of knows what the country looks like. My daughter and niece really enjoyed the camping trip and mountain drives too.



Here are a couple of the videos I have posted so far from this trip.
This is the bull with big front points but is a young bull because his backend is weak.

I also saw this nice 6 point one of the nights but he came out late and the video was a long ways away. The quality went down too when uploading to youtube but you can kinda get an idea of him.



RE: First Trail Camera Results

I got a chance to sneak away during the week and go check one of the trail cameras that I put up the first part of June. I placed it in a pretty random place on what looked like a trail through a little clearing so I was anxious to see if I had any photos on it. I did end up getting some decent photos on it so I left it up there to capture more photos hopefully. When I took the card out it had over 100 pictures on it but there turned out to be a lot of wind/shade pictures of the trees. There are elk in the area though.








I was pretty excited to find this guy on here. I hope he comes back and I get more pictures of him. I think he will be a hit list bull come season!




Now I have 4 cameras out so hopefully I get all kinds of good pictures next time around.


RE: Practice makes perfect

Well we finally got my wife's bow and she is excited about it. We worked with the guys down at Jakes Archery in Orem and they were great. She shot several bows over the couple months that we looked at them and the Hoyt Charger felt the best to her. She of course had to get the Vixcen package and pink arrows to go with it. It looks sweet.


I too took my bow in for adjustments and got a new string and cables so I will be ready to knock down my first big bull in a month from now. I upped my poundage and it shoots like a rocket. I love it.

I was out shooting my bow the other day and my wife comes out and says she got me something. I went in to the house to see this awesome metal cutout sign she had made for us. It is was cool and I owe my neighbor big time for helping her get this done.


We ended up doing the 4th of July in Salt Lake with my family and it was tons of fun. We had great meals, parties, and a good firework show that both my daughter and niece loved.



Of course I still had to get in some time in the mountains. I hiked up to a vantage point with a 45 pound pack on and it took me 15 minutes less than it took a month prior. I pushed myself and it burned but it felt good to have shed that time off the hike. I love sunrises in the mountains. I even saw a half dozen bucks during my glassing session.






It was a weird moment though when I went to pack up to leave. I reached down and propped up my pack to load it and it was crawling with potato bugs. I have never seen so many in my entire life. They were everywhere and then I picked up my camera case and they were all over it too. I'm not quite sure why they liked my stuff either. Was it warm or salty or was it just in the right spot at the wrong moment? Kinda crazy.





RE: Scouting and Hiking photos

Here are some of the other pictures I have taken in June and July off my other camera that I just loaded onto my computer.



I ran into this little group of elk by the boarder of a CWMU on the unit. There were 4 spikes and 3 cows here.


This wallow is almost dried up. I'm not sure the bulls are going to be able to use it this year.



I sure hope this wallow produces bulls like last year. I will probably have to sit on it a few days during my archery hunt and see what comes in.


I spooked a grouse sitting on her nest during one of my hikes last month. She let me get within two feet of her before she flew off and then she proceeded to coo and draw me away from her eggs.




I always look for water sources and follow the cattle guys black pipes. This trough had elk tracks by it so I set a trail cam and will hope it produces some good results for me.


Another water trough but no hoses to this one. Rain water only.




I found this heavily used trail and I hope that there are more animals using it than just the cattle. I put up a camera on it to see who is using it.




I found a few springs here and there.









There has been a bear go up this trail after I used it and he rolled this big rock onto the trail to eat the ants under it.


Since this post is getting long with pictures and such, I am going to start a second post to continue on from this point so it loads faster for those who read it. Make sure you find it and click on my 2nd post to see what I find from here on out. Thanks for reading!

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