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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finally drew my first Limited Entry tag after 15 years of putting in.

Through the numerous scouting trips we made, we had seen a lot of elk but we were still waiting to find one that we wanted to key in on.

The last Saturday before the hunt I caught a glimpse of some elk a few ridges over and got my scope on them. There was a bull with 5 or 6 cows. My friend Joel and I watched him for about 10 minutes until he went into the trees. He was probably 2,000 yards away, but we knew he had 7 on one side and we thought he had a small 7 on the other side too, but it was hard to tell at that distance.
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Unbeknownst to the rest of us my dad took a load of stuff up to our camp Wednesday morning at about 5 AM. He parked the trailer and went out to look for elk. I get a call later that morning and he says "I found your bull again." I was still at work, but the hunt couldn't come soon enough.

I left early Thursday afternoon to go up and try to find him again. Just as it was getting dark, I saw some elk through the trees right on the top of a ridge. I watched them and eventually saw a bull herding them around. It was him again! I saw where they went as the sky went dark, so I moved over to that canyon first thing Friday morning. I could hear a bull bugling right across from me on the hillside I thought he would be on, but unfortunately there was so much fog I couldn't see much of anything. I moved down the hill a little to see if I could get below the clouds. It helped a little, but the only real chance I had to see anything was through breaks in the clouds every 20 minutes or so.

One break in the clouds revealed a cow on the hillside. I had my scope with a camera attached fixed on her position, then a bull stepped out into a small "clearing." I started counting points on him and realized it was him again, only his horns had gone dark since the Saturday before. I only saw him for about 1 minute before he was out of view, then the clouds rolled in again and he was gone by the time I could see the hillside again.
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It sounded like he went on the backside of the hill he was on, so I set up on the other side Friday evening. There were elk all over the hillside lounging around throughout the trees. We didn't see a bull though. All of the sudden they all busted out of there and tore off around the end of the hill. We don't know what scared them, but they didn't stick around, there was a sheep dog barking and causing ruckus up the canyon from them. We watched them wrap around the point to go up the next canyon over and for about 10 seconds we saw just his antlers beneath all the cows then he was gone again. Luckily my dad was set up in the canyon they were headed to and he was able to watch him run across a clearing. This was the last time we saw him before the opening of the hunt…
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Saturday morning: I went where we had last seen him. He'd done the same thing for two days now. Nothing…we heard bulls bugling, but everything was up in the trees and nothing was coming out. Saturday night, same story, only nothing really started bugling until right at dark. Sunday, same thing as Saturday. Monday I decided I was going in after them. I hiked down the ridge with my brother, Russ, and my friend, Joel, with spotters around the canyon. We didn't push anything or try to sneak, we just wanted to get closer to see if we could catch something moving around. We saw elk, just no shooters. Monday night, not much movement and no bugling until right at dark again.

We had seen another big six point in the same area as the 7. I would have shot whichever one I saw first, so we focused most of our efforts in there.

Tuesday we tried going into a new canyon just to stay out of there for a little bit and see if it changed anything. There were bulls bugling all day where we were. I know because we were in there almost all day after we got stuck pretty bad after it poured rain on us for a couple hours. I did get within 100 yards of three different bulls (one at less than 30) but not anything I wanted to shoot on the 4th day of the hunt.
Side story…we were pretty exhausted after hiking so hard in the morning that we just drove to a lookout point for Tuesday night. My dad calls me up and says we need to go back to camp so he can change his pants. I'm thinking he must have got wet from hiking through the brush, but then he tells me he had a cougar walk out literally 25 feet from him, look at him for a minute, then growl and run off. First cougar he's seen in the wild. No elk though.

Wednesday morning I hit the canyon hard with my younger brother, Trevor. We hiked our tails of chasing bugles. We walked up and down the same two ridges 4 total times as we would hear one bugle on one side, get close and not shoot, then chase one on the other side. About 11:00 they went quiet and we hiked out.

After the morning hike we were going to take it easier again Wednesday night again. My feet were soaked with sweat so I had my socks hanging out the window as we drove and my feet were on the dash vents trying to dry them out too. My dad pulls off on one lookout and tells me I didn't need to come out and he would just look. About a minute later he comes running up the hill doing something silly with his hands and arms above his head, then he settles down and gives me the "antlers" sign. He only had binoculars and didn't know what it was, just that it was a bull. I jump out of the car with my gun, throw a round in, run to the back of the car and grab my scope then set up on the hillside…barefooted. Moral of the story, don't hunt hard, just get lucky and find the one you have been looking for from an overlook not too far off the road.

As soon as I found him in the scope I thought he was a small six. As he moved a little, I realized I was looking at his 6-7, not 5-6. I said "Dad! That's him, that's the 7! Go get my shoes and socks." I was at 618 yards. I knew I could close some yards off so when my dad gets back to me I throw on my socks and shoes and tear off down the hill. I ranged him at 412 yards and that was as close as I could get before I would have been in trees. I set up and got a good rest, put my sights on him and shot. He dropped to the ground! My dad and I jump up and hugged it out for a good 5-10 seconds. Now the only problem was we didn't have any knives, radios, phones, nothing. My dad went straight up the hill to the car to get our gear and get help on the way and I went over to find my trophy that I had waited so long for. It was so cool to be able to find a bull while scouting, see him 5 times before the hunt, then finally get him on the 5th day of the hunt after having not seen him for five days. I'm glad I held out and passed on the other bulls I saw.
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Thank you to my dad (Russ), brothers (Russ & Trevor), Joel, Doug, Cort, Trevor M., Brian C., Heather (and boys), Stan (horses), Wayne (horses), Bill (horses), and also our families who put up with us spending all this time in the outdoors doing what we love.

My older brother should have a tag next year since he turned his in with 16 points this year so I would be the only one hunting (thank you!), so hopefully we'll have another great story to share after next year's hunt and make it three years in a row and 4 out of 5!

1,609 Posts
Stories like this make me smile so big, I love reading about hunters who take a nice bull without using an overpriced guide service, even better when it's with your dad and family.

297 Posts
I love the mass on the back end of your bull! It was a great hunt. Once again, another hunt that I will never forget. We've been lucky to hunt big bulls with my family and your family over the last several years. What's even better is that we have another elk hunt up there this fall and at least one and maybe two hunts next year. Gotta love the Wasatch. Our bull is awesome. I guess you can keep him at your house though. He will look great to go along with the other three!

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