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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I am at a point where I just want to hunt as much as possible. So, every year, I look for tags that I can pull with a limited number of points. I will let my sons build up their points and go on some pretty awesome hunts later on with them. Therefore, I went into this year with 0 points for antlerless elk. As everyone knows, there is very little you can pull with 0 points that have any kind of access. After doing a good amount of research on the units that were possibilities, I put in for the La Sal North unit and pulled it. The tag is good for late season (mid Nov-Jan 31). With other hunts planned between Sep-Nov, I thought this was really good. I took 2 different trips to the area (I had never stepped foot in the unit prior to these trips), but the latest trip I took was in September and there was no snow at the time. I knew that snow was going to be a major player in success on this trip, so made back up plans to try and get into the area if my main road was snowed in. I planned to set aside 5 days at the beginning of December to go hunt hoping that the snow wouldn't be too deep at this point.

Well, fast forward to mid November and my oldest son and I were in WY hunting deer. We were only 2 days in and had 1 doe in the coolers. We were looking for a doe for my son and a WT buck. We had permission on 2 different private properties and felt really good at our chances with the rut being in full swing. Unfortunately, driving down a road, there was open range and a cow stepped out in front of me. $11k in damages and another $2500 in towing charges to get the truck back home. I was not going to be going to elk hunt at the beginning of Dec as it was going to take at least a month to get my truck back.

I got the truck back from the body shop right before Christmas and made plans to try and get into my unit for this last weekend. Knowing that the road I normally go in on from the NW goes over 8500 ft before dropping down to lower elevations, I planned to circle all the way around to Gateway CO and come in from the east. Unfortunately, the access from that side wasn't great either and I got into snow that was too deep to pass by the time I hit about 6200 ft. So, after spending the night, I tried every road I could find that might get me through from the eastern side of the unit with no luck. I packed up and drove to Moab and decided I would go in and just see what the road would look like.

Surprisingly, it had been plowed all the way up and I was at the top where I needed to Y off and head back up to the NE to drop down to where I assumed the elk would be hanging out. Bad move. Although that road looked like it had been recently plowed, within 20 yds, I realized how wrong I was. It took 3 hours of shoveling to get out. I scoured my maps and just couldn't find any other access points to lower elevation. I now fully understand why the tag is pretty easy to get a hold of. On lighter snow years, you could probably get in there at the beginning of the season or early Dec, but by this time of year, without a snow machine, you aren't going in there. Oh well. We ended the season with 3 deer in our freezer. My son shot his first deer and I shot a mulie buck here in UT and a doe in WY. I can't complain too much about it, but I wish I had some elk meat in the freezer.:LOL:
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I feel ya. I had a late season cow tag that ended Jan. 1. I was planning on going the 30-31, but it was right in the middle of that massive storm, so I didn't even attempt it. Oh well. Next year, or maybe in 4 years with draw odds.

Congrats on the deer!
I hear you on the draw odds. It really is difficult to find the units you can draw with 1-2 points, and there's typically a reason that they only require that many.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I feel for you on the cow collision, ouch. That can go badly for occupants.

For being stuck: Hilift jack + lift-mate. Get out of so many things easily. Gotta have the lift-mate though. Lift directly on the tire, fill in hole, move to other side repeat. The way it rests against the tire, helps keep the base from slipping. You can use straps or whatever around the rim spokes, but the jack floats more and can slip easier.



-DallanC
Yeah. I was able to hit the brakes enough and swerve enough that the impact didn't end up setting off the airbags and neither myself or my son were injured at all. We felt very fortunate. It could have been so much worse.

I have been meaning to get a highlift jack for quite a while and just never have. This will be the catalyst to make that happen for sure. And thanks for the tip on the lift mate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry to hear about your luck. That's tough.

That's definitely big country over there. I've always been curious about hunting that general area, especially the Dolores Triangle. I've seen elk moving through that entire region Oct-Nov and then again in March. Just never spent time there in December and January. The logistics for the region are a legit challenge, even once you figure out initial road access.

Now you've got me thinking about that place again, though I'm a long way from being confident enough with my hunting skill to pull it off.
It's amazing country. Spending some time there in July and September was awesome. With the amount of deer I was seeing in there, I am beginning to think about what kind of points I will need to save to deer hunt in there. But, there are definitely a good number of elk and great habitat for them. The access can be tricky though late in the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is a tough area to access in a truck once the snow hits, and John Brown canyon might be at the top of my list of roads to avoid in Utah once there is snow on the ground. Sounds like you had a great season otherwise, and lessons learned for next time.
John Brown is the exact area I was trying to get into initially. That didn't happen. Snow was 18 in-2 ft at only 6000 ft. No way I was getting in there without a snow machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
A person needs some common sense, I know that it s a very rare trait nowadays.

If you are getting into more than a couple feet of snow that has been there for a while the odds of finding elk higher are very slim.
It wasn't a matter of finding elk higher. It was getting through that area so that I could drop down into lower country. The only ways in were going through canyons or over passes that went higher before dropping to lower country that was actually within the unit I could hunt. Obviously, the elk would not be higher if there is that amount of snow. I was simply trying to access my unit and drop into lower country. It's a small unit (more like a sub-unit of the larger La Sal Mtn unit) with limited roads going into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
If easy cow elk hunts are a thing you want then look at other states draws. They usually take just a few points to draw but high success easy hunts are there for the taking. Like WY and AZ have cow hunts where you are hunting the same bull units that take a lifetime of points to get antlers, but the cow tag can be had with a handful of points and good hunting dates. Something to think about if that's your goal. A guy could have a couple cows each year in the freezer if he only cares about meat and not antlers.
Yeah. I've got a contact in WY that has invited me for a cow in the future. It's not that I am specifically looking for an easy hunt. I'm willing to work for it. I'm just at a point in my life where I want to hunt as much and as often as my schedule and wallet allow. I got into the western hunting thing late in life. My first western hunt happened when I was 37. I'm now almost 40. Pretty late in the game to learn a whole new style of hunting compared to the Texas hunts I grew up doing. But, I want to build as much knowledge and experience as possible. My oldest son is hunting now and both of my boys will be going after turkeys this spring. I want to be able to know how to do all of this so that I can teach them and put them into the best situations. Experiences like this, even if it sucked, are learning experiences and I will know what NOT to do when I have them in tow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I smoked a cow with my truck once. Came out of nowhere at 2 in the morning while I was headed duck hunting. Happened so fast I thought I had hit a horse. I feel your pain, it sucks. You got yours back quick! I smashed mine mid November and I didn’t get it back until next may. 18k in damages. Should have totaled it out, but they didn’t.
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Well, at least you got vengeance on the cow that walked out in front of you. I hit the cow in the hind rump area. It literally fell down, jumped up and trotted off. The cattle owner came out and I talked to him a while and he went and checked and the [email protected] thing was just fine walking around and eating.
 
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