Got it done

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
Got it done
Story to follow

32F543FD-F76B-4DC8-A539-3E8CB4011202.jpeg
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
Let me start off with a few things
1. This was his hunt and his tag. So all decisions were made by him.
2. Even though I did not get a tremendous amount of information from this site about this hunt. What I have gotten is a tremendous amount of motivation to get out and hunt. I don't expect people to put me on animals. But ever story posted gets me excited to make my own adventures. So a huge THANKS for that
3. The story below is based on true events but slightly changed to protect some hunting spots of people I have met along the way.

Back around April/May we found out my oldest son drew the Utah Youth Elk tag. He was pretty excited for a 13 year old. He has been on a few successful deer hunts but a huge bull elk got the blood pumping. Since this was the only out of state big game tag the family had we were going to put the right amount of time in. I am not going to lie I was a little nervous because I have never been to Utah and from reading some online post it made this tag out to be pretty difficult.
We started by planning a week long scouting trip at the end of July and got my dad lined up to help the week of the hunt. I started with the basics and looked at the success rates of each general zone and compared them to Bulls harvested and overall public land available. Everything pointed towards the North or South Slope. It was a huge area to plan for but we narrowed it down to 3 main areas that we needed to explore. We would put 2-3 days effort into each spot and hope for the best. July could not come soon enough for him but for me it was a little added pressure building up. Just part of my overall personality.
The next major under taking was deciding which bullet to shoot. The plan was to use a 127g LRX out of a 6.5 creed but I could never get them to group the way I wanted. Probably good enough for elk hunting but I like them stacking on top of each other. After a summer of shooting we had a 140g VLD printing less than a inch at 200y and felt like we were good up to 300yards.
The next big thing was to figure out how to arrange 8-9 days worth of camping gear and ice chests in the Tacoma. After some playing around, We have a pretty sweat set up for 3 guys and 8 days worth of gear.
As July approached I happened to be working out with a friend I thought what the heck and asked him if he wanted to spend a week scouting for elk. He is not a hunter but likes that out doors. He said it sounded great and off the 3 us were for 8 days. He was a great to have a long. Him and my son get a long great and having another adult along always is pleasure. The 1st area we scouted was mentioned by a friend. It was a good area with big bulls but a lot of private property and it boarded another zone we could not hunt. We found a handful of 300plus bulls but the area never set well with me. The huntable area was just not big enough and just was not excited about it. Now my son was on cloud 9 after seeing some huge bulls. We packed up and headed to spot 2 which was an area that Utah fish and game recommended. We were into elk right away and lots of them. Roughly 150 plus cows and lots of smallish bulls. But with the hunt being in the rut it looked promising. I liked the look of the mountain a lot better but was concerned with the amount of roads and the area again boarding a zone and property we could not hunt. I was pretty sure that after opening morning this area would be a pretty hard hunt once the elk moved just out of reach. But it would be worth a back up plan. The last few days of scouting found us in a prefect area in a few miles into the wilderness. This area was what I was looking for. I thought it was far enough in that we would not find to much pressure. Only concern was could my dad hang packing 3-4 miles in and then starting the hunt plus packing out an elk in 2-3 8-10 mile round trips. He is pretty tough but is getting a little older. But we were into elk at all 3 areas. Things were looking up. Maybe we were going to make this happen after all. 8 Days later we saw roughly 200-300 elk and 30 Plus bulls. Now to wait until Sept and see how much the bow season effected the areas we planned to hunt.
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
We had a long 14 hour drive home to plan the hunt. Like I started out this was his tag and I was only the driver. I would not be making any decisions on this hunt as far as where, when and what animal to take. I knew where I wanted to hunt but it wasnt going to be up to me. I wanted my son to be more than just a kid who got drug up a mountain to shoot an elk I pointed out for him. So after a lot of discussing my son decided he wanted to chase the big bulls from spot one. We agreed that this area held the greatest chance a really big bull and we could give it a few days effort before moving off. If area one did not produce we would head off to spot 3 and get into the wilderness.
Fast forward to Sept 10th. Truck is loaded and packed to the top. I was sure glad I got the 6 foot bed for the Tacoma or we would have had to come up with another plan for driving. a nice storm had hit the area Tuesday/Wednesday so we were pretty excited to see what the week held. We rolled into camp around 7am and there was a nice cold cloud cover than blanked the area. So like anyone we decided to get some sleep and set up camp in a few hours when the sun came out. 14hr drive through the night is always a rough one for me but once camp was set up it was time to cook a nice breakfast and get some glassing in. Remember this area never excited me but it was the area my son really wanted to hunt. Plan were made and opening morning could not get here soon enough. I was pretty much a nervous wreak. Its funny that when its my tag its just another hunt but for other people it really gets to me. 5:45am and we are up and getting ready. We wanted to be on the ridge at 1st light and before anyone else was there. As we parked the truck we gave one last head nod to each other and it was game time. We started to slowly sneak up the ridge making sure we did not push any animals out of the area as the light was starting to slowly crest the ridge line. We followed he fence line of the zone and got set up for the morning glassing. This was a small huntable area on foot but we could see for miles with the glass. The sun light started to light up the sage and we struggled to try and hear a bugle. Nothing!!!! Now I am one who can glass for hours on upon hours. I have to move and get set up to see the area from a different area. But I would let my son decide when we moved. Luckly for me his is pretty much like when it comes to hunting tactics. We worked our way from the fence line roughly 800 yards along the ridge and begin to glass this new area. We spotted a few deer and tons of cows but no elk. As I looked over my shoulder to the fence line I noticed a line of elk making there way out of the Aspens. Now it was time to get excited!!!! Elk and a big herd bull was in sight. Game on
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
After all the elk had made their way out of the Aspen will had a pretty good herd but on the wrong side of the zone boundary. The wind was wrong for us to try and set up and call them over. We need to just wait. We had elk and did not need to push them to hard. At some point they would make it over to our zone. We watched the herd for about 30 mins, it was the biggest bull any of us had seen. The bull started to move a little and it seemed that they might be coming to our side, right around that time a shot rang out and the bull was hit. The elk all came over to our zone but the big bull just stood there. It was a pretty wide open area and they shot had to be less than 200 yards from the bull. We just sat there confused why they were not following up the shot. There was an open season in that zone but nothing. After a few minutes the bull dropped but got back up and dropped again. He was hit hard but still had life in him. Well nothing we could do at that point. My son did not seem to disappointed. I asked him if he wanted to go after the spikes and cows that now were in our unit and he said nope. So we packed up and made our way over a different ridge. We left my dad to keep an eye on the bull and rest of the elk. After an hour we can came back and my dad said no one had made their way to the bull. Something funny was going on. Just weird to leave a trophy bull. We got back to the truck around 11 and looked back on the ridge and spotted the herd but this time a small 5 point had joined them. We grabbed the gun and started after them. We had about 800 yards to cover to get into range. As we weaved in and out of the sage the herd got a little nervous but we had finally cut the distance to 280y. We got the sticks set up and the rifle on them. There was a lot of action going on with so many cows and spikes but after a few minutes we had the 5 point in the scope. I slowly whispered to my son to take him if this was the one he wanted. After a min he backed away from the rifle and said he was not ready to shoot this bull. He had more time and felt there was bigger bulls in the area. Ok his tag his choice. At 13 I would have been sending some lead. Oh well. The herd worked their way out of range and for some reason something spooked them and they took off. Watching a herd of 50 elk take off across a sage flat is something. They ended up a few miles away and crossed on to many roads along the way and another youth hunter was able to take the small five point. After all that action the herd had left that area. We decided to go and meet the youth hunter and congratulate him. When we finally got to the bull and hunter my son said he had made the right decision not to shoot. We knew elk where in the area but also that they were pretty spooked. We hunted the next 2 days and did not turn up another elk. We never heard a bugle and if we stuck with the game plan Monday afternoon would be time to move camp if we did not get back on them. Monday morning hunt was unproductive and it was time to move on. Back to start of opening day. The big bull was shot and killed later that morning. It was a very strange situation to say the least. But we had given it a good go and hunted hard but it was time to move on. We would not waste anymore time hoping elk would move into the area. It was time to get into the wilderness and they area I had planned to be at anyways. As we broke down camp I got a call that I needed to handle something at work in the morning before we made it into the wilderness and out of cell service. With this new info we decided to move to area 2 from this summers scouting and do a quick hunt with cell service. After the call we would pack up and head into the wilderness Tuesday afternoon. This was the spot I had been looking forward to but also knew it was going to take a big effort to get in and out of the area. We were on the road and music was on the radio not much we could do for the next couple of hours but relax and enjoy the drive
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
We rolled into spot 2 around 2:00 and got camp set up pretty quick started lunch on the stove. This was not an area we planned to hunt but since work had to get done in the morning it would be a good rest of day for all us before the big hike in. We drove out for the evening hunt and set up the glass. My son starts spotting deer left and right. He is getting pretty good behind the glass and was spotting them before me. Dang kid. The only issue with this spot is the amount of roads crossing the area and that it bumps up to another zone we cant hunt. After awhile we get a truck coming up the road. Great group of old guys helping their granddaughter on her hunt. They had not spotted an elk in two days of hunting. They did let us know that a hunter had shot a nice 6 point in the area we planned to hunt and have driven the herd into the other unit. I had pretty much planned for that and this spot was really not an area we planned to see much at. But it was good to know. We backed off the mountain and head towards the other unit to see if we could get a location of the herd. We found them later that evening and based on where they were, there was a small chance they could cross over by the morning and give is a chance. We headed back to camp and played some cards and got everything ready for the morning. Hopefully we could be up and out before everyone else and if people knew we were in the area on foot they would respect that and not mess anything up with their ATVS. I am really someone who likes to get out on foot and mix it up. I know there is a time and place for ATVs but man its still hard seeing them crossing every road know to man. Lights out. Got my but handed to me in cards but maybe the morning will be good luck.
 

rmanwill

Long Time Member
Messages
5,075
Awesome. Keep him going and the thread updated.

What ever happened with the big herd bull. Was it recovered by the shooter?
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
The alarm clock was set a little earlier this morning to make sure we got to the turn off before anyone else. We sat in the truck until 6:40 and slowly made our way up the mountain and towards the other unit. We stayed on the dirt road to keep the noise to a minimum. around 7:00 we heard our 1st real bulge of the trip. It wasnt load but just over the ridge. We were close but did know exactly where the elk where. As we crested the small ridge in front of us we watched a huge herd with a couple bulls walking straight away from us. Luck was just not on our side. The water hole laid 20 yards inside the other unit. With as much pressure as the area had during bow and now youth hunting I wasnt sure if they would make it back over. No big deal we still had another area to hike into from this summer that I was sure that held elk. As we left the elk I glassed across the ridge and spotted a lone elk at the edge of an aspen grove. The wind was prefect and we needed to cover a little under a mile to get in range. I wasnt sure if it was bull or if other elk where near by. But the stalk was on. As we neared the aspen patch we slowed the stock to a crawl. I wasnt sure if we were going to be into some fast shooting and needed to be ready with the sticks. As we neared the edge my son spotted the elk on the hill side. She had no clue that we were there. We made to within 200 yards and the time was now to make a decision. He asked me if I thought we would get into elk in another area and I told him I wasnt sure. Hunting is hunting and it was up to him to decide what made him happy. He knew I did not care either way. After a few minutes he said he was going to take her and asked him again if he was sure and he said yes. He dialed the shooting sticks up and put his ears on. I told him to take his time but to keep shooting until I told him to stop. She was facing up hill when the 1st shot hit her in the sweet spot. She stop and looked around as the second shot found its mark. She spun to head down hill as the the 3rd shot went over her back. 4th shot hit her again in the sweet spot. As she entered the small patch of trees the 5th hit just low. I watched her go down and my son had a huge smile on him. Grandpa was just behind us and the congrats started. We were all proud of him. Was we glassed the cow we noticed that she still had her head up and a little life still in her some how. We gave her a couple of minutes hoping she would die quickly. That wasnt going to be the case so we adjusted the window and put one more in her at a 100y. I told him to stay off the shoulder and just put it in the sweet spot. At the hit she gathered herself enough to stand but quickly tipped over and was done. We made our way up to her and the work started. I planned on doing the gutless method and it worked like a charm. We had her broken down quickly and cleanly. Once we got her cleaned up we traced all 4 hits into the sweet spot which I could cover with my hand. None of the bullets made it to the other side. I am not sure exactly how she took 4 hits but she did. We did not have blood shot meat. But 140 VLDs just did not impress me as far as nock down power for an elk. I was pretty sure if he stayed off the shoulder and put it into the ribs she would have folded but it wasnt the case. We loaded up the front shoulders and back strap into my dads pack and a rear quarter and neck meat into mine and headed back to the truck. I would come and get the rest as they worked on the meat in camp. I was able to handle work as we hiked out of the area. Nothing like doing a business call we elk meat on your back. We stayed the rest of the day and planned to leave in the morning after the meat cold. Wednesday morning we were packed and head home. My son was happy. My dad was proud and I was stress free for the 1st time in a couple weeks. As we drove off the mountain the rest of the big game season and upland season plans were taking place. We decided next year Wyoming Antelope here we come. My son and dad will have tags in their pockets and I again will be the guide. Not sure how many times I will get to pull the trigger in the next ten years. With an aging dad and lots of young kids hitting hunting age I am sure that these next ten years will be some of the best memories I will have.,

Thanks Utah
 

Mooretitan

Active Member
Messages
118
iPhone 7 for the pic. He has a bunch on his camera. I noticed that I had my camera just hanging from my neck to much this summer and not taking pics so I gave it to him and man what a difference. The kid takes great pics and lots of them. He even learned to use the timer and get shots of all us and solos of him.
The big bull was recovered. Found the gut pile a couple days later. Something very strange was going on with that to say the least
The kid loves to hunt and can’t remember a time he has slowed me down. He actually decided not to play sports because it might cut into his hunting time
 

Uttaxi1

Active Member
Messages
108
Congrats to your son. What a great time and way to let it be his hunt. He will never forget this time spent together with you and your dad.
 

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