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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I took the wife up for Her first spike hunt to my usual spot. It is in a high pressure area so I don't have high expectations but I can usually get into a good herd or two for a few days before they move off.
On the drive up the canyon this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see very few vehicles or signs of people hunting, that is until I pulled into the parking lot. There were more trucks at my spot than I had ever seen, and even a few guys walking up the trail. We started out anyway because you never know where they are going to end up and as luck would have it they went to a different spot in the area. It was still dark on the trail but I noticed something different this year I could hear a crazy amount of bugling! Usually the action at this spot doesn't pick up until about 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning.
It wasn't until we got to the top and by the watering hole that I like to watch when I realized that the bugling wasn't coming from elk. The fact that there where three distinct calls all very near to each other didn't make sense and they weren't moving. Most of the times when a bull is making his rounds he will move pretty quickly through the forest. Last one of them sounded more like a trombone than an elk, it was a dead give away.
These guys were relentless with their calls nonstop all morning and they where using bull calls on a spike/cow hunt. Why would you want to sound like the biggest meanest bull for 20 miles if you are hunting spike? Anyway as annoying as it was I would hear a bull bugle back to them from time to time but they all kept their distance. The wind was in our favor and I thought maybe while they are making all of that racket something would sneak past them to get a drink. This continued for about another hour when it happened and why I call them Utards.
While sitting at the watering hole listening to a bull coming in from the other direction we hear "BANG" they took a shot. Then BANG again and again and again!! They unloaded more than a dozen shells one right after the other. Either they were making some hamburger or figured "what the hell there are no elk in here anyway so lets do some target practice." A few minutes after the guns shots I could here the herd crashing through the forest on a mad dash to get the F!#k out of there.
We followed the elk down and caught glimpse of them from time to time but they are in some really thick and nasty stuff now that is next to impossible to get a shot.
When we got back to the car there was no sign at all of the other hunters, they had left.
Basically they went up there and when they failed to call in an elk, for what should be obvious reasons, they decided to screw anybody else's chances in the area. It is just common decency, I hope to God they weren't actually shooting that many times at an animal but why wouldn't their trucks still be there? We may head back to the same spot tomorrow to see if anything is still in there, if not it is off to spot B. :(
Got other Utard moments feel free to vent.
 

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sorry to hear about your favorite spot. general rifle hunts have been hit and miss for me in the past as far as fun experiences. hope it picks up for you as the weekend hunters drift away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is what it is you never know what the other people are going to do. Anyway I am pretty much over it now I just needed to vent.
 

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Sorry to hear that, Greg. It wasn't supposed to go down that way. I'm glad to hear that at least the elk were there. If they aren't back tomorrow, they are probably already making their way to spot B.;-)
 

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Fudd, I was up Fairview canyon most of the day yesterday, surprisingly QUIET:!::!::!:

Lots of empty camp spots that normally are full for the general elk opener......

Kinda strange.Anyway,
I'm headed to Boulder right now for the rest of the week-----YEE HA...bye...8)
 

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No matter how much we all may want a given mountain to ourselves, empty camping spots that used to be full of hunters is not a good thing.
 

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Empty camps are a sign of piss poor managment!
Or they tried somewhere new.

Or the DWR lied about selling out of the permits.

I do not know if I would call it piss poor management. Utah is a trophy elk state, the spike tags are just another way to make money while providing opportunity. The cow tags are used to manage the population while giving hunters opportunity.

I have heard the other side of the discussion from hunters in opportunity states. 'Why can't we limited the tags to shoot bigger elk?'

No matter what the system is, as popular as elk are in the nation, it is likely you will be disappointed no matter how it is managed.
 

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Sounds like what I experienced at Avintaquin yesterday for cow and spike. Hiked through two canyons and ridges. No elk but lots of sign and the occasional gunshots through the morning told me people were finding them, so I remained hopeful. Found a heavily traveled game trail and followed it for quite a while. I marked a spot on the gps that I thought would be perfect to come back to at the end of the day, hoping to catch them traveling back through this spot. Just as it started heading steep uphill into the nasty thick stuff, I saw two cows dashing across about 60 yds above me. I didn't find them after spending 30 min. climbing as quite as I could up through the deadfall to get to where they were, hoping they had hunkered down, but found nothing. After I clawed my way out of the nasty, I caught a glimpse of 3 guys heading into that same area just above me. Then a few minutes later talked to another hunter who asked if I saw the others go by. Said he'd shot a cow earlier and thought it headed into this area I just came out of and he and his buddies were headed that way to find it. Reasonable enough. 15-20 minutes later I here boom!...boom!...and thought, reasonable enough, good for him, he found her and put her down, lucky guy! Then, over the next 15 minutes...boom!...boom!...boom!.....another 15 or more shots. Don't know if he was shooting with his eyes closed or the whole group was trying drop a cow each, either way that was an appalling number of shots for 4 guys to have to take in 30 minutes or less. Just shook my head, got in the truck and left. No point in going back to that spot in the afternoon.

How about a little practice before the hunt? Not on a bench.
 

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Empty camps are a sign of piss poor managment!
Not necessarily. It's a temptingly simple explanation but think about it--there are about a thousand different factors that can decrease the number of hunters on a mountain, both short and long term. Management is certainly one of them, but it's not the only one. It's probably not even the largest one.

You may or may not be right in this case, but it seems unlikely given that it's such a sharp decrease from one year to the next. It seems more like an anomaly.

For example, does LDS general conference weekend and the elk opener usually fall on the same weekend? (I don't know, but if not, that's almost certainly one of the factors in the decrease you observed.)
 

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For example, does LDS general conference weekend and the elk opener usually fall on the same weekend? (I don't know, but if not, that's almost certainly one of the factors in the decrease you observed.)
As far as I know, the general season rifle elk hunt opener is always the first Saturday in October, along with the opener for the waterfowl season. The fall edition of LDS General Conference is always on the first weekend in October as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We are off to spot B on Wednesday. We hiked up in there again yesterday and there was way less activity. We were able to get one bugler to come pretty close to us but he wouldn't come out to where we could see him. The wind changed direction and off he went, other than that there were no fresh signs of elk. Besides what happened on opening morning it is still nice to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
 
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