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After 15 years of waiting to hunt the Wasatch, Russ finally got it done on an awesome bull. He actually drew the tag last year, but after being diagnosed with cancer he had to postpone his long awaited hunt to this year. With cancer gone and friends and family on the hunt, Russ harvested this bull. It was an awesome hunt with many bulls seen and passed on before we found one that he liked. This bull has great length on the back end with both royals over 22 inches.

Here is the story as told by Brian, Russ's son........

After 14 years of applying, my dad finally drew the Wasatch any bull tag in 2011. A few months after the draw results were announced he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which would require a surgery that is notorious for taking all of your energy for 6 - 12 months. He had the surgery in July 2011 but held on to the hope that he would be able to hunt just 7 weeks later. The good news was that the surgery removed the cancer and they don't expect to see it return. His test results are still good to this day.

As the hunt drew closer he came to the realization that he just wasn't going to be able to hunt so he went to the DWR the week before the hunt to surrender his tag. The other good news was that the DWR informed him he could apply for a variance which, if approved, would reinstate his tag for the 2012 hunt. Later in the fall he received a letter in the mail informing him that his variance was approved and his tag would be re-issued for 2012.

We began sporadically scouting in July, taking a few trips up to the Wasatch looking for bulls and hanging trail cameras. We saw a few good bulls but no shooters. By the time August came around started going up every weekend until the hunt. Again we saw some nice bulls but never found one that was a hands-down shooter. Some of the bulls we saw may have been shooters but were a couple thousand yards away and we couldn't really tell. The trail cameras produced the same results.

Friday night before the hunt we went out to scour the area we planned on hunting for the opener. We found a real nice bull that my dad would shoot at opening light if the opportunity presented itself. It gave us the hope and direction we had been scouting for.

Opening morning produced some sightings of elk, but not the one we were looking for and nothing else that piqued our interest. It didn't help that horses and a bunch of hunters went right down the ridge we were hoping to get a shot on. We returned that evening just in time to hear shots in the canyon we had spotted him in the night before. We found out the next day that they happened across and shot the bull we were looking for.

We started out Monday morning in a new area that we had scouted several times. A couple of guys in our group found some cows far off and radioed to us about their discovery. A few minutes later they called again and told us there was a good bull. My dad was able to get a look at him but we were far from being in range to take a shot. We let them be as they went back in the trees to bed down for the day.

Monday evening we went to the same area but ran into a problem. The sun was setting behind the hill we were watching. This in itself wasn't the whole problem. Due to the smoke from a fire in Utah County which had smoked up the valley we were looking across we couldn't see the hill we wanted to very well.

We spotted a cow in the bottom of the canyon all by herself. I was watching her through my binoculars then scanned across the hillside to see if I could happen to pick anything out through the hazy sky. To my surprise, I barely noticed a few tan-colored figures one clearing below where we'd seen the herd that morning. I figured this had to be his cows and he would be right around them somewhere.

A few minutes later a bull came out in the clearing running some cows and it was him! My dad and I went as far down the hill as we could without going into the open. I ranged the distance and it was about 740 yards and we could still hardly see the elk through the smoke. We couldn't get any closer in that direction without busting the elk out of there and it would be a real long shot even if we could see better, so we decided to back out the ground we had just gained. We walked south a ways before crossing the canyon to the side the elk were on. We figured we could get right under the tree line and sneak to the corner of the clearing the elk were in. We had 3 spotters keeping their eyes on the elk from afar. As we worked down and across the canyon we saw a different bull come out of the trees and walk right down into a wallow. He laid down in the mud, thrashed around a little bit, then left and went back to the trees. We were asked on the radios what we thought and we said "Pass…we're going to go smoke that big one."

When we got closer to the elk, a couple of our spotters told us we better hurry since he was about to leave the clearing. We got to the corner we were trying to reach but the bull had already left where we could see. Our spotters were trying to tell us he was coming out in the next clearing up the hill, but we had turned our radios off to help keep our cover. Before turning them off though, we had heard the general direction the bull was heading in.

When we got set up, all we could see was one cow still in the clearing. She knew something was going on and had her eyes set in our direction. I was watching her to get a feel for how alert she was to our location and then scanned around to see what else I may be able to see and there he was! His head and neck were the only thing we could see in the next clearing up the hill from our vantage point. I ranged him at just under 240 yards. My dad asked if he should shoot him and I said "I think you probably should."

I had my scope set up on him and watched through it as my dad put his cheek on his gun to shoot. The bull also knew something was going on, but like the cow wasn't quite sure what it was. I knew he wouldn't come out in the clearing any further so I told my dad he was going to have to shoot him where he was. I watched for 10-15 seconds through my scope and nothing was going on so I pulled my head up to look at my dad. He was breathing real heavy and looked back at me and held up his finger giving me the "one-second" sign. I've never seen my dad get the fever like that before. He lowered his cheek once again. I didn't know if he was about to shoot or just taking another look. A few seconds later I lowered my head to my scope and just as I got my eye on it…BOOM!!!! I watched the bull's back end drop and his head slap back then forward as he fell in his tracks. I hollered "He's down!" I turned the radio back on and heard all of the spotters screaming the same words. They all watched him drop, then they heard the shot a few seconds later.

We got the bull about 7:15 and got up to him about 7:30 after collecting our packs and stuff that we had dumped during our stalk. Everyone eventually made their way to the elk and we took many pictures for memories of this amazing, long-awaited, almost didn't happen hunt. We made it back to camp at about 1 A.M. We were exhausted but couldn't fall asleep from the high we were all still riding.

Congratulations Dad and thanks for letting us be a part of your hunt!!! Special thanks to Russ, Trevor, Joel, Cort, Doug, Brian C., Abbie, and John for helping make this happen. Also a special thanks to our wives and kids for putting up with all the time we put into this hunt.

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Premium Member
8,501 Posts
AWESOME Bull! How great is that! Thanks for sharing. Cancer is jerk. I hate cancer.

SOOOO glad he had a great hunt! Way cool.
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