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I was thrilled and quite shocked to see the $285 charge on my credit card back in May. I had drawn the Wasatch LE Muzzleloader elk tag with only 2 points! I live in Northern Utah now, but I grew up in the St. George area and still hunt there primarily. I was relatively unfamiliar with the unit, so I had a lot to learn. Several good friends and friends of friends helped point me in the right direction. A few forum members here also gave me invaluable information that helped me learn the unit. Most of my summer scouting trips were spent familiarizing myself with the country and learning the many different possibilities. As the hunt neared, I narrowed down my list of areas to just a couple. Then, just a few days before the hunt I received an email from my good friend Larry. His friend had been helping a gentleman during the rifle hunt and they killed a nice bull. During their hunt their number one bull was this one, but they weren't able to get him.

uu-1-01 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

Larry's friend was gracious enough to share information with me about where the bull was located and the different canyons where they had spotted him. I loved the look of the bull, and was most grateful for the information.

My buddy Nick and I left home two days before the hunt to go do some final scouting. We spent a morning and evening in another promising area, but we couldn't find the elk. We did see one decent bull right at dark, but he was the only elk or bugle we saw or heard in that area. We made the decision at that point to focus on the area where Larry's friend had spotted the big bull. The evening before the opener we hiked out to a glassing point and were treated to bugles in every direction. Sleep came difficult that night to say the least!

Opening day found us back on the glassing point at first light. Bugles were still crazy and we picked out one bull in some thick timber that had the deepest and most aggressive sounding bugle. We dropped into the canyon and started heading in his direction. After an hour we closed the distance to about 150 yards in thick timber, but had not yet seen the bull. Suddenly, a shot rang out, and then two more. Someone killed the bull we were after right from under us. We were disappointed and I only hoped it wasn't the bull we were hoping to find. We made our way down the canyon and had a 300ish 6x7 come right by us at 60 yards on his way to the bedding area. Shortly after that we climbed up a ridge and spent some time watching a clearing that was near the areas the bull we wanted had been bedding the week prior. After 30 minutes, another shot rang out over the hill behind us. We climbed back over to find a young man and his family with the 6x7 we had just passed. We gave him our congrats and he was happy as he could be!

By this time, the day was getting warm and everything was quiet. We assessed our options and decided to spend the heat of the day a little further down the canyon near a waterhole.

The waterhole was out in a clearing without a lot of cover around it, but we decided it was our best plan for the middle of the day. We put ourselves at the tree line above the waterhole 135 yards away opposite the ridge we thought elk might come in from. We then sat, and napped, and napped some more. Nothing came in for 5 hours. I was hoping a big bull might slip in to water before chasing cows again in the evening. At 4:15 pm a young 6 point bull slipped out of the trees to water. He spent more than 10 minutes drinking and wallowing, all the while looking nervously up the ridge behind him. Suddenly, he bolted, and I spotted a big bull coming down the ridge towards the water.

I didn't know which bull it was at the time, but I saw he was a big bull with nice beams and great fronts. I told my friend I was going to kill that bull. He made his way down the ridge and when he was at 200 yards he started turning back towards the treeline, and I thought my chance might be over. I didn't want to take a 200 yard shot and risk wounding the bull. Thankfully, he turned back and came right down to the water. As he came down, my friend was all kinds of amped up and whispering instructions. Truthfully, I somehow remained calm and kept walking through the shot in my mind. He never offered a shot until he stepped right to the water to drink. As he took his first sip, I squeezed the trigger, and the Barnes 290 grain TMZ with 100 grains of BH 209 broke both his shoulders and destroyed the heart and other vitals. As he was hit, the bull hunched up on his back legs and because both front shoulders were broken he collapsed into the water where he died. The adrenaline had kicked in at this point, and I could not believe what had just happened. Luck had come our way.

As I made it down to the water, I didn't know what we were going to do to get him out. This is what we came up to.

20150921_163249-01 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

As I walked up, I immediately recognized the antlers on the bull. It was the big 6 point we were hoping to find!! I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the experience I had just lived and amazed we had actually killed the bull I had been dreaming about for several days.

If anyone would have been near the area, they would have witnessed two guys down the their underwear dragging the bull out of the water in knee deep mud. It took us a good 5 minutes to get him clear of the water and up where could process him. We deboned the elk with the gutless method and had him ready for the packout right at dark. We loaded our packs heavy and took all but the antlers and one game bag with a hind quarter and backstrap. Our packout was three hours straight up hill throw thick timber, a leg burner to say the least! Early the next morning we located a road that got us much closer to the bull, and we hiked in to bring out the last load. I am so grateful for the experience and for the help of friends and others who so willingly offered knowledge and assistance. This was my first bull elk, and I couldn't be happier. Sometimes the stars align, and this was one of those times for me.

For those interested, he taped out at 362". It was the experience of a lifetime!
20150921_165414-02 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

20150921_165333-02 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

20150922_094202-01 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

20150922_091457-01 by Jason Seegmiller, on Flickr

Despite his excitement, my friend Nick was able to capture the whole sequence on film. Enjoy!!

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