2020 hunting season for the Larsen’s

deerkiller

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967
I’ll contribute again this year. I’ll start by saying me, my dad and brother were going to Africa this summer for a 10 day safari. Corona had other plans. So that has been postponed until July 2021 (hopefully).

we started January off pretty hot. My wife killed a cow elk on the last day of the duck hunt right at first light. We decided to try for a mixed bag hunt and spend the rest of the day hunting ducks

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we filled a few more fall turkey tags after that but I won’t bore you with those since they aren’t much more than a road hunt.

by the general spring hunt, we were ready to get out hunting again. I killed mine morning of day 2.
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my dad harvested his that next Saturday mid
Morning after we called in 4 Toms

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then cards for the Utah draw started getting hit Tuesday and something unexpected happened. Either me or my wife drew Nebo muzzleloader LE elk. Waiting for emails to see who it was. I had 3 points, she had 4. So we got really lucky. My brother also drew a pronghorn tag as well. So we already have that to look forward to. me, my wife and brother all have dedicated tags as well. Add in antlerless and some more OTC opportunities, and waterfowl when we get the time, it’ll be another busy fall for us
 

deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
So... anyone feel like this summer is taking for ever to end?? I’m going insane and can’t wait for the hunts to start! antlerless draw results didn’t pan out for any of us in my family. Kinda weird, we all had quite a few points for our applications, but it is what it is. My dad did pull a decent pronghorn tag in Wyoming. Me, my wife and brother all struck out there as well. Still waiting on the swan results, we “should” draw, but the way things have gone in the draws so far this year, I’m not holding my breath.

anyways, I got out all the cams in the areas I plan to focus on my elk for. I’ve only had a chance to check the closer one to home so far, but things are looking good there. There’s a pile of bulls in the area and several that I’d shoot opening day. They travel from this area the minute they strip and start looking for cows, but I have a pretty good general idea on where they will end up. I’ll plan on looking hard the last few days before my hunt starts and finalize my plans based on that. I have a certain bull in mind I’ve seen the past few years that I’m really wanting to target, but he usually doesn’t show up in the area until mid September. If he’s back, I’ll hunt him. If he’s a no-show, I have several other options and a few people to help me check several places at the same time, so I can cover more ground at once. Hopefully I can get one killed in the first 2 days and make it in time for the deer hunt opener on Wednesday. That’s in an ideal world. Usually it never works out for me like that, but we will see.

I got a new Muzzleloader for my hunt, the Remington ultimate. After shooting it a few times, I was kicking myself for not getting one sooner. Shoots great, and quickly found a load that it liked. I have shot it out to 650 (just for fun). Very pleased with the results. can’t wait to actually use it in a hunting situation. It’s a game changer.

my hunting plans are looking like I’ll chase deer the first weekend of the archery hunt, then spend the next few weekends helping my dad try and fill his archery elk tag on a spike or cow. I’ve got a treestand to hang in a new spot i Found last year. Judging by the pics I have from the entire 2019 archery season, I don’t think it will take us much longer than a couple days to fill his tag. Then after that we have 2 pronghorn hunts mid September, my elk hunt, muzzy deer, duck opener, rifle spike, rifle deer, muzzy spike and a bunch of fall turkey and waterfowl hunting to do! (Maybe some swan action if we are lucky)

here’s a couple pics of a few bulls I got on one of my cams

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deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
As I left work on Thursday, 7/30/20, to start my weekend, I was kinda bummed. Normally this weekend would begin my hunting season with either a private lands cow tag or an early antlerless tag that I had drawn. Due to the points policy change this year, I didn’t buy a private lands cow tag for me or my wife because we both have 3 points and I am holding out for a decent late tag for us. Little did I know, that I was gonna get to still go hunting. That night around 7:30, my got a call saying she was an alternate for 2 doe pronghorn tags. She didn’t even have to ask me, her answer was immediately ‘YES!’. Due to prior obligations on her end, we couldn’t make the opener on Saturday but made plans to head out early Sunday morning.

we decided to leave the little one home this time. All day in a truck isn’t his idea of fun yet. Looking back now, we should have taken him. Hind sight is always 20/20. We got to the hunt area right as it was starting to get light. Immediately we found a pile of pronghorn. Problem was, they were all bucks. After searching for about a half hour, I spotted a herd of about 20 does. We made a short stalk and got within 125 yards. We picked one out that we believed didn’t have a fawn and she took the shot. She was down in seconds.
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We got her field dressed and started looking for her 2nd doe. We drove around for about an hour looking at all the buck pronghorn, deer and other wildlife. We ran into a fish and game officer in another area we wanted to check out. He checked tags and visited with us for a minute. Super cool guy. Wish all of them were that nice and easy to get a long with. He suggested an area for us to go try that he has seen some does in the day before. We headed that way, and sure enough, there was a group of 10 does right where he said they’d be. We ranged them at 295, dialed her scope and she made another great shot, hitting her perfect, another one down within seconds of impact.
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It was a short hunt, but a great way to start the season for us. Grateful for the unexpected opportunity.
 

deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
2 years ago after my successful general rifle deer hunt I was contacted by Eastmans to do a little write up for their monthly magazine. I sent it in and forgot all about it. Then I received an email 2 weeks ago saying it was going to be in this months issue. Kinda cool I think. Maybe with a little luck I can kill another buck like this in 2020.
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I made it out today for one last scouting trip before the hunts starts. Me and my wife went and checked a cam I’ve had up since the end of May and put up a tree stand for my dad to use on the archery cow/spike hunt. Lots of cows packin calves this year, they look like they are in great shape. Seems to be a good amount of decent bulls as well. Here’s a few pics of the nice bulls on the cam I checked today. I’ll save the pics of the big ones for later 😉
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even got a nice surprise and got a pic of this buck. It’s been a long time since I’ve got pics of this caliber of buck on this unit below the 9200’ mark. My sd card Filled up shortly after this was taken, so I don’t know how he finished, but he looks good so far
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We are down to 6 days before it all officially starts again! Got the rest of my tags in the mail this week, finished sighting in my bow, started getting all my hunting crap together... even noticed the leaves are starting to turn today while we were out. Hope everyone has a great fall and an even better hunting season.
 
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deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
Archery season was a bit more challenging this year than normal. I spent opening morning chasing deer. That didn’t turn out too great between all the helpers in the area and a missed opportunity on my part. After that I focused on helping my dad try to get his elk. We hunted a spot that I knew would be a home run. Well turns out it’s a home run every year but this one! After opening day, they seem to have vanished from all the places I know in that area. What was once crawling with elk, was void of almost all wildlife. It was weird. I think the unusual dry streak we’ve been on combined with the hills crawling with neature hikers, bikers, animal lovers and new recruited bowhunters, the elk have pushed to the least accessible places on the unit. We sat 5 days over water between 2 different spots with nothing but deer and turkeys coming in. Today I decided to try another spot that I haven’t hunted this year and see what happened. We actually ended up bumping a few elk on our way in but they never barked or took off from the area like they normally would, so I was optimistic they would come back. a lone cow came in this morning around 9:30 shortly after I made a few soft cow calls in response to a wimpy bugle that was close by our blind mid morning. My dad made a great 32 yard heart shot, and she only ran another 40 yards before tipping over. I called my wife and brother to come help us get it out. Made things very easy only having to do one trip to get the whole thing packed out. Although he’s killed many elk over the years, at 72, this is only his 2nd elk with a bow. It was a great experience to share with my dad.
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deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
September. The 2nd best month of the year, October being #1! Me, my wife, little boy and dad all loaded in the truck Thursday after work and headed to Wyoming for my dads pronghorn tag. I’ve spent a lot of time in the unit, but never hunting goats. We stayed in a hotel that night and got up early and made it to the unit right at sun rise. Immediately we were in to goats. The recent snow made it a little more fun, I’ve never had the opportunity to hunt bucks in snow before. The roads and mud on the other hand were a nightmare. I didn’t know what to expect for size potential, so we decided to cover a good portion of the area before we got too excited about killing one. With this really being the only day we had to hunt, the plan was to look until noon for a giant, then settle for one that was slightly above average for what we were seeing. We passed on around 75 bucks that morning, all seemed to be very small or not much older than 2.5 years old. At 12:15, I glasses a group way off in the distance. I could tell the buck with them was ok, and needed a closer look. We got within 400 yards, and could see he was a little better than what we had been seeing and left it up to my dad on deciding if he was worth shooting. After looking him over and the fact that he had bedded literally right on the side of the 2 track road, he decided to take him. He was laying quartered to us, the shot instantly killed the buck, hitting him right in the neck. We took some pics and got him on ice within minutes of him being down. Great day with the family hunting one of my favorite hunting destinations.
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we got home that night and packed to leave early in the morning for my brothers LE utah pronghorn hunt on the bookcliffs. Never hunted goats there either, so we weren’t sure what to expect on that, but I remembered where I had seen some while driving through it on a bison hunt a couple years ago, and figured we would start there. We got there at light and were also seeing goats immediately. A few smaller bucks and does. About an hour into the hunt from a vantage point we were glassing from, I noticed a DWR officers truck driving slow on the road about a mile ahead of us. I glassed over to see what he was looking at and saw a few does with what looked like a decent buck. We drove by him and gave him a look. He was ok, but didn’t know how good he was for the area, then I decided I better go ask the guy who would know! We caught the officer a little further up the road who had pulled over, I assume to watch and see whoever was gonna shoot him, did it legally. We asked if he was decent for the area and he said he was “solid for the area, and about as good as we were going to find.” Good enough for us! He checked the tag real quick and told us to go get him. The buck was very occupied with his does that he didn’t even bother to care what was going on around him, allowing us to get within 300 yards of him. At which point he turned the does and pushed them right to us. When he got to 200 and stopped, I told my brother to take the shot. Dropping him instantly in his tracks. We got video of it all, I’ll try to add it in another post.
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Great weekend hunting pronghorn! One of my most favorite big game animals to hunt. Neither were giants, but these hunts weren’t about size. They were about having fun and making memories. Which he had plenty of both.

a week from today starts my LE elk hunt. I’m leaving Saturday afternoon to do some last minute scouting before it starts Monday. 3 of the 5 bigger bulls I had seen over the summer were harvested by an archery hunter and 2 rifle hunters. I figured the 2 would get killed given their location and visibility, the other disappeared mid archery hunt and was killed on the other end of the unit from what I’m told. Crazy how far they travel when they start looking for love. I decided when I found out that I drew the tag that I’m going to hunt for experiences instead of inches. Of course I’ll hold out for a decent bull, but I’m not looking for a minimum score requirement before I’ll think about shooting him. If he lets me play with him for a little bit and put on a show and the situation is right, that will be my trophy. My wife Will be with me the first few days of the hunt and she has never experienced “the rut” before, so it will be fun sharing those experiences with her. As soon as he hits the ground, I’ll be headed for deer country!

hope everyone is having a fun and successful fall!
 
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deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
It’s been an incredible week that will be hard to beat! First, I wanna start by saying huge thanks to my wife and friend Austin, who immediately offered all their time, effort and resources for this hunt. Without both of them, it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or successful. Secondly, I want to thank everyone who went out of their way to send me messages, DMs, PMs, texts and phone calls to tell me about bulls they had seen and give me the areas they were in. I was shocked at how many guys from not only here, but other forms of social media, were contacting me and trying to help any way they could. It was amazing and I truly appreciate it.

in 2011 I drew the same LE elk tag that I drew this year. I scouted a bunch for my hunt during the summer and found a lot of nice bulls but like elk do when they shed their velvet, they vanished. I didn’t know where they went to and had a hard time locating them again during the hunt. I killed a small 6 point on the last day of my hunt. although I cut a tag, it’s ate at me for 9 years on how it ended and I have wanted a do-over on that hunt, but knew it would be many years before that would be possible. In that time, I worked hard and understanding elk, the areas the summer, rut and winter in. I learned the unit well and figured out the better places elk like to be, away from most of the traffic. About 2017 I felt like I had the unit figured out. Then in 2018 it burned to the ground and i had to start over. Some things changed for the 2019 season because of it, but I adapted and found new places to hunt. Luck struck this year and I pulled a muzzy tag with only 3 points. When I drew, I felt very confident this time around.

I didn’t do much scouting this summer. Unlike my previous hunt in 2011, i understood most bulls I found in the summer would move before my hunt and all the info i learned would be useless. I did put up several trail cams in my “go-to” spots like I do every other year and checked them on occasion. I planned to scout hard the weekend before my hunt started. I had a few good bulls found right before the rifle hunt started, but knew the odds of them getting killed were very high, given their location and visibility. And as suspected, I was right.

The weekend before my hunt, I began my scouting, but not before I took a youth hunter out on the youth duck hunt and shot a quick limit of birds.
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That night I headed to a spot that I’ve spend a lot of time in the last 5 or so years. If history repeats itself, there should be a good bull in there with some cows. My friend austin headed up higher to glass some other spots. That night I found the bull I ended up killing and 2 other decent bulls that I’d be happy with as well. All 3 I have trail cam pics of during the summer. We checked a few other places Sunday morning and decided to go give this bull one last look and make sure he’s still in the area and as big as I suspected. We found him again in the same place as the night before and both Austin and I agreed he was the best we had found and was worth trying to get in on in the morning.

we were up on the mountain early the next morning waiting for the sun to rise. Elk were screaming in all directions. My wife, who absolutely loves elk, has hunted them a bunch with me, but never in the rut. this morning was one I’m sure she will never forget. We made our way down to the ridge the bull was on the night before, and just before we got to where we could see, we heard him bugle. He was close! We circled around the ridge to get a better angle in to where he was and immediately got eyes on him. we closed to distance to what I felt comfortable shooting and set up for the shot. The next few minutes were pretty intense and exciting. Unbeknownst to me, my windage turret had some last minute fine tune adjustments by who we suspect was my 2 year old, the weekend before while he was in the back seat with my rifle after we got done shooting it. Once we figured out what the problem was, I hit the bull twice, dropping him in his tracks on the last shot. *Lesson to be learned here is: always double check your 0 on BOTH turrets every time you go to shoot.* usually I check them, but I got so caught up in the moment that I didn’t look. Won’t make that mistake again. As I walked up on my bull, I had a feeling that I’ve never had before. My wife said “you were like a little kid on Christmas looking at all the presents under the tree.”
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He was everything we thought he was. Long beams, great mass, great tine length, wide. He had it all.
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upon further inspection, we discovered that this bull had an antler tine from another elk, broke off and stuck in the side of his face, just below his ear. It was scarred and healed over, indicating that had been in him for at least a year.
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the rest of the day consisted of getting everything packed out. It was quite the adventure. You always seem to forget how big these things are until you get another one on the ground, then you are quickly reminded of how much there really is to these animals. My brother came later that afternoon to help haul loads of meat out on his bike, back to the truck. It took us just a little over 12 hours from when he hit the dirt, to when we got back to the truck. When we got home we taped him out at 355. We figured he was a 350-360 bull. There was definitely no ground shrinkage when we got our hands on him. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it with my wife and good friend.

The next day was spent at home trying to rest and recover from the day before, and get ready for the deer hunt that starts in the morning....
 

deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
Opening morning of the muzzy hunt. Probably my most looked forward to hunt of the entire year. I absolutely love it! I got up early and headed to a spot that I’ve spend more time in than probably all my other hunting spots combined. I usually go out and glass the night before the hunt to know where I need to be a first light, but this year I went blind. I had a pretty good idea where some bucks would be, given previous experience. I don’t think I have ever seen so many spikes and 2 points. Which is a good thing, just not for me this year. I also saw a pile of does and fawns. That’s a good sign given the amount of deer I saw last year was pretty concerning. What I didn’t see much of was mature deer. In fact I couldn’t find hardly anything that was older than 2. I covered the entire area on the first day and only saw 4 bucks that i would say were 3+. I did pass a nice 170” 4x4 the first hour of the hunt, that looking back I should have killed. But it was too early to get on the trigger without seeing what else was around first. I glassed up 2 sheds, so I didn’t leave the mountain empty handed
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The next morning I was back up in the same area. More of the same kinda thing as the day prior. Lots of does and small bucks. I finally glassed a buck in his bed that looked to be decent. After watching him for a little bit I decided I was stupid trying to trophy hunt on a general tag in an area that gets absolutely hammered by rifle hunters. At 345 yards, I took a shot and he never got up from where he was laying. When I got up to him, he ended up being a little better than I had thought.
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It was a great week of hunting! I had a lot of fun. We might try to get my brother a deer this weekend, but not sure on his plans yet. Ducks are next weekend!
 

deerkiller

Active Member
Messages
967
October. The Month I look forward to the most. The first Saturday of the month is a day I have plans on for the rest of my life, the waterfowl opener. I went for the first time in 1996 with my dad. Haven’t missed one since. I always go to the night before and sleep out in the boat at “the spot” and the rest of the group will trickle in somewhere between sunset and shooting hours the following day. This year for various reasons we decided to keep our hunting group small to just family. I didn’t plan on having my 2 year old come with, but plans fell through last minute and we didn’t have someone else to watch him, so we gave it a try to see how it would go. I expected an epic fail and leaving earlier than normal, but the joke was on us cuz he absolutely loved it. By the end of it he was covered in mud from head to toe, but he was trooper. Most of the time he sat in his chair, ate snacks and watched the show. We were all pretty surprised on how well he handled everything. We figured he’s got to be one of the youngest hunters ever to attend the opener at Farmington in a boat. I’m sure there’s a few people who would call that child abuse by today’s standards
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the duck hunting was slower than a normal year, but we still got in plenty of shooting!

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even got in a quick family turkey hunt that weekend as well
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The following day, Sunday, we decided to elk hunting and see if we could get my wife her first spike bull. We didn’t see any legal spikes that morning but did see quite a few elk, even called in 2 different nice bulls throughout the morning. On our way back to the dirtbike, we found a participation trophy.
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This weekend we are going rifle deer hunting with my brother. My wife has a tag as well, but she’s decided to pass this year, 2nd year dedicated with 1 kill on record already. So it’ll just be him pulling the trigger. Should be a great time! Can’t believe it’s already that time again. Seems just like yesterday that it was opening weekend of the bowhunt.
 

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