Utah Wildlife Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Over there is where the guys shot the big bull during muzzleloader season. Over in that valley, there have been a few cows shot, but it is a lot more work to get them out of there. A trough of water sits up there, but most times it is frozen by this time of year."

We were driving along through the mountains of southern Utah, looking to fill a couple of tags for cow elk. Dad was filling us in with stories of past elk that had been shot in the area. It seemed that around every corner there was a new story to go along with the new terrain. And although it was interesting, we had not seen anything since leaving camp and I was starting to "zone out".

I was driving, and that was interesting in some spots, due to the technical difficulty the trail sometimes presented. But we were just about out of daylight and soon we would need to head back to camp! Dad was filling us in with details about this next section of road, when in the same mono-toned voice he was using to tell the story, he said, "and there they are."

There was no diflection of his voice to indicate excitement. Nothing to indicate that this was anything other than part of a story from years past! It took my friend sitting behind me, yelling stop, to awaken me from my day dream. There were elk in the canyon beside the trail in real time. I stopped and the tag holders jumped out and we had elk down in the last few minutes of shooting light.



That was years ago during one of my first trips to Utah for elk. I was in my garage trying to organize gear for another trip to Utah when the memories wiggled their way forward. This year only my daughter had drawn a tag from our group. It is 1250 miles away, and when I am done packing the truck, there will not be much room for anything else.

Every cooler and "action packer" will have every space filled. Its like a giant real life game of "Tetris" to get it all to fit in the truck. And normally there is not a space left when I am done. But this year my son and his wife are expecting their first child and he will not be going. And that space he normally fills with his giant over-filled duffle bag is all that is left.

That empty space, serves to remind me how much I will miss his presence on this trip. He helps me drive and is a major help around camp when setting it up. And I will miss his loud laughter around the campfire. And I am sure his youthful 6'2'' brawny frame will be missed when the real work begins. Our other friend who normally goes, has run into work issues this year, so elk camp will be uncrowded.

The reason for these trips is really to see my father, and spend some time with him and good friends in the mountains near my fathers home. He is getting up there in age and it is harder and harder for him to be around elk camp in the cold. He does not move like I remember he did as a kid. For that matter, neither do I.

After 18 hours, with only a couple of 15 minute cat naps along the way, my daughter and I arrive at the dirt road that will wind its way up into the mountains to elk camp, where we will meet my father and a friend, "The Salesman". This is the part of the trip my daughter has been waiting for. She is 14 and in a couple of months will be getting her drivers permit, and I had let it slip that she might could drive on up to camp once the road turned to dirt.

We switched places, and for the most part, I did not have to yell out in fear too many times along the way. Rather I was curled up near the passengers door with a death grip on the door handle, ready to exit the truck if she missed a turn and and went off into a canyon. And in the next 30 miles she would have plenty of opourtunities to do so!



Soon across the valley floor we could see the truck and trailer that was carrying my father and the Salesman. We caught up with them as they stopped to look out over the valley, where in the morning we hoped to see some elk for us to pursue. My dad had just slammed his hand in the truck door and was bleeding quite badly so we had some doctor work to preform. That was the first blood of the trip.

A few minutes later we arrived in camp. After nearly 4 hours, the truck had been emptied and all the gear and tents and camp structure had been erected. It was late in the afternoon, and I had been awake for around 36 hours at that point. I was beat and wanted only to inspect the inside of my sleeping bag.

But it was not to be. This was elk camp, and there was time for a short little drive before it got dark. We wouldnt get anything but had to try. My daughter wanted to drive but I had used up all my endurance and fortitude on the drive to camp so I said no. Besides she held one of the two tags in camp and needed to be prepared to exit the vehicle with her gun if need be.

Up over the pass near camp we went. We stopped a couple of times to look for elk, but the wind was howling nearly 40mph, and the cold of the approaching storm made it hard to hold the glasses steady. The warmth of the trucks interior and the thoughts of sleep were foremost on my mind.

The salesman soon asked, "isnt this place coming up where you got a couple of elk a few years ago?" "No" I said. "Its..... "Dad there are elk or horses there behind the trees!" my daughter said. It was then that I realized that yes it was "And there they are" canyon, and I drove forward a bit expecting to see some wild horses. But no it was a small herd of elk!

How anyone was able to get a bullet to go where they wanted it to in the howling cross wind was amazing. Two elk were down in short order. It was late and soon it would be dark, and there was a major snow storm headed our way. We went into full on recovery mode, not wanting to be out in the storm any longer than we had to be. We did not even take time for a couple of pictures!

A couple of hours later, the elk were in the back of the truck. The beams of light from our headlamps and flashlights, shown across the landscape, looking for anything we may have left. Balls of bundled up "mule tape" used to get the elk back across a deep washed out creek bed were gathered and put into the truck.

Soon camp was seen in the light from the headlamps of the truck. We loaded the "Salesmans" elk in his truck and he decided to take it out of there that night. We could have also broke camp and headed to my dads house for the night but I had nothing left. It was around 48 hours since I had slept. I wanted nothing more than to get a fire going in the tent stove and eat something.

Soon the tent was sizzling hot like the hamburgers on the Bar B Que. The Salesman was gone and my dad and daughter and I sat inside the tent with ketchup and mustard dripping from our chins along with the juicy grease from the hamburgers and dill pickles. Did I mention we had not ate anything since early in the morning before getting to camp?

My daughters elk was out in a snow bank, propped so as to allow the maximum air flow around it. The wind was howling and only getting stronger. The snow had not yet begun to fall but we were sure it would be soon. It would be perhaps a couple of days before the storm would break and we could head for home.

I awoke with a start as the tent healed over in the wind. It was morning and there was still no snow. We decided to hurry and break camp before the snow came. As the last of the gear was stowed in the truck, the snow started falling. I am not sure how we made it all fit. Not only did we have my dads gear now, but a very large cow elk was in there too.

Not very far down the road we were in a blizzard with a 14 year old driver at the wheel. Somehow we survived it all and were able to spend a couple of days at the relitive safety of Dads house. And although it was not elk camp deep in the mountains of Utah, it still afforded a nice visit with the "Old Man".



What's a successful hunter ask for while driving in a blizzard? Of, a milkshake!




We did not have time for pictures after shooting the elk, so I had to settle for these of the elk hanging in my fathers garage. Amanda is a skilled skinner now. In fact on the way home she suggested she needed another knife. Somehow she found a nice little Scharde rhinestone folder while I was buying fuel.



We were able to make room in one of dads freezers for the elk and that allowed us to stay a couple of extra days at his house.

The problem with such quick sucess was that all the space I had planned to use for the butchered up elk was still taken by the un-eatten food and the other items that would have been used when spending a week in the mountains. I ran down to the local store and bought another cooler to put the elk in for the trip back home. The ones I had brought were still full of food.





Fuel cans were still full of diesel that would have been used in a weeks long trip, that instead was a few hour hunt. I found this nice turn out on the way home to pour the rest of the diesel in the truck.

The gear was packed so tightly, we just ate dads food for the most part and all that packed food still awaits our efforts to remove it from the truck as I type this.

Now this next set of pictures will get me in trouble! The wife expressly told us not to take my daughters Cheer Uniform with us. My daughter and I had wanted to take some pictures with her wearing the uniform and posing over the elk. Instead we settled for her posing in front of grandpas mulberry bush!





This last picture is of a rocking horse my father made in high school shop class, back when he was a sophomore. That makes it around 64 years old. He asked me to give it to my son for him to use for his first child.



The progression of time can clearly be seen in the pictures of hunts I have taken over the years. Family is the resounding theme and reason for me to go hunting. Family is a reason to smile, and I can not wait to take the picture of my sons daughter Olivia (Well at least the doctor says it will be a girl) happily rocking on her great grandpas rocking horse!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,059 Posts
Awesome post! I love cow elk hunting. I have yet to harvest a cow! Your daughter already beat me to that challenge. I really enjoy reading your southern Utah adventures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She has two cows to her credit now. This one could have had better shot placement but in a 40+ mph cross wind, hitting the cow was its own accomplishment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nambaster

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Winglish, was the rocking horse you grew up with also built by a relative?
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top