Well, I missed one of the biggest bulls I have ever seen in the Uintah's. I went out opening morning and didn't even hear any elk let alone see any. Well, my cousin and I saw this other hunter going into the canyon that we were going to go into so we walked out because I know what it is like to have someone else come in on you when you are hunting a certain area. We walked out, and then drove up the road. We went on top of this ridge where you could over look all of the different draws that I knew held elk. As we walked along the ridge we came across some elk droppings that were maybe an hour old and a ton of sign. So we decided that the next morning we would be sitting by that ridge and listening to see if we heard any elk bugling. So the next morning we drove up to where we had parked the next day, and I hadn't even gotten out of my truck yet and we hear an elk bugle. Now it is about 6:30 in the morning and it doesn't even start to get light until 7:15, and this bull is close. We get out very quietly and I told him to just sit tight because we didn't want to go into the trees when it was dark and spook him. Well he bugle's again and he starts growling and we can tell that he is a good bull. Well then another bull close by starts to bugle, and then another bull in a different draw starts to bugle, then my bull would start again, and they just started screaming. We started to cow call about 7:10, and before we knew it, we had a total of 7 different bulls screaming at us, all from different locations. Well, we of course wanted the one that we thought was a big one, so we were working him, and from the sounds of him, it sounded like he was moving away from us, not coming toward us. So I moved in about 300 yds, and then cow called again and he answered. I then started doing more of an estrus call instead of just the mew, and that really got him going. He was growling, grunting, and just screaming. He was letting all the other bulls know who was king of the mountain. But still, he would not come to us. By now it was just light enough that I could see the hillside that he was walking to and there were close to 40 cows going up that hillside. So that gives you an idea of how big he was if he has 40 cows with him. Well, then the cows started mewing back at us, and when I saw how many cows he had, I knew that he wasn't going to come to us, he didn't want to leave his cows. So I knew that if I wanted a chance at this bull I was going to have to move in on him, but I was already at the last pine tree because this was part of the burn area so I wouldn't have any cover. So I moved out from my tree and I could tell that he was still at the base of the hill. I moved slowly and watched the cows, and their eyes were on me, but they didn't seem to be bothered by me. I moved into the quakies and right when I got in there he was standing there looking at me at 80yds. But, he had two cows with him, and, it still was just dark enough that I couldn't see his horns and I wasn't sure if it was him. Then he moved with the two cows up toward the hill and they went behind a big juniper tree, and right when he got behind the tree, he bugled again so I knew that it was him looking at me but I didn't shoot. So I moved up to another juniper on the hillside again exposing myself to get up there, and again the cows did not spook. I got ready and watched the first two cows walk right past me, and I was waiting for the bull but he never came out. I went around the other side of the tree to see him, and he was walking away from me because there were a few straggling cows that he was heading to round up. I cow called and he turned his head back at me, and when he moved his head back to look at me I couldn't believe the size of his rack and I knew for sure that this was the bull. I pulled my gun up and peered through my sights and I couldn't see them because I had been breathing so hard going up that steep hillside that I had fogged up my contacts because of my mask. So I dropped my gun and rubbed my eyes to see, and he was walking away from me even further. I cow called him again and he stopped and looked back, and then another cow answered me and she was maybe 5 yards from me just on top of me.
She didn't know I was there, but now I was pinned down and I couldn't move or she would see me. I pulled my gun up, and waited for him, and finally he turned broadside. I still couldn't see through my sights very well but I just put my red dot down on my green sights and put it on him, I squeezed the trigger and my shot rang out. The cows ran up the hill, and the bull was looking at me. He then started to run up the hillside and it looked like he was struggling. I hurried and reloaded my muzzleloader, and watched him get to the top of the hill. He did a few circles and I thought he was going to go down. Some of the cows mewed back down at me, and then he and the cows walked off. I started to run up the hillside, and then I figured out why it looked like he was struggling to run, because that hill was so freakin steep. I got up on top and they had gone back into some really thick quakies. My cousin and I looked for about 2 hours for blood or anything, but nope, a clean miss. I don't know how I missed, but I missed him from 157yds away. I know it was open sight, and all that, but really there was no excuse why I missed that bull. I never should have missed him. So, I will try again to find him and see if I can get him. But at least it was fun, my cousin had never been into elk like that before so he had a blast calling all of those elk. I mean, while this was all going on, he had 8 cows and calfs and a small satellite bull walk by him at like 10 yds talking and bugling, so it was fun, but I was sick. I seriously just laid down and put my hat in my face because I couldn't believe I had missed one of the biggest bulls I had seen on public land. He probably would have scored around 340-350, which is really good bull on public land in a general area.
I saw him again this morning but I was a little late and couldn't get a shot on him before he walked over the same face where I shot at him. So I just walked out because he had so many cows with him I didn't want to spook them. So tomorrow morning I will be up on top of the ridge way before they get there, and hopefully it will all pan out. I'll keep you all posted on it.