Sitka Gear

2021 Muzzleloader elk/bear hunts

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
I have been having fun posting semi-live hunts the last few years. For me, this has been a very fun way to keep a running summary of the hunts. First year was father son elk hunt in Colorado, then a semi-live TX draw hunt for whitetail and last year was my son’s Utah youth draw elk hunt. While those were fun, I feel they missed some of the best parts. I am going to start early this year and try and document our hunts a bit better to show a bigger picture.

This year the draws have been very good to us. First, I drew a NM unit 15 muzzleloader bull tag for Nov hunt. This could turn out to be a very fun hunt and my son is going with me. However, my son (Christian) was also able to draw a Colorado unit 201 muzzleloader cow hunt and a unit 201 muzzleloader bear tag. Mama Bear has already agreed to let my son do both hunts so this is going to be a very fun year. He is a straight “A” student and has made the academic honor roll for the last two years.

During Christian’s Utah hunt, the elk were not supper vocal. He even asked about all my archery stories of calling elk in. He had grand visions of huge bulls running into our calls and quickly learned that is not always the way it works out, I did call a few elk into him…including a cow and calf to about 10 feet. However, he didn’t get to see great rutting action. I believe a rut hunt in 201 will be different and we will have a blast

Christian took his big game animal ever (a Florida whitetail) with a muzzleloader but we really need to get him ready for a muzzleloader elk hunt. He has grown about a foot since last year and all his swim training Is getting him stronger. I am sure most parents will agree that it is amazing just how quick they grow.

We have set up a training regimen for the muzzleloader and he is shooting his bow a lot more. His goal is to archery elk hunt but I have told him he can’t archery hunt until he can shoot comfortably to 50 yard and I really want him shooting 60lbs. He currently shooting 55 labs and can shoot to 30 yards really well. We are shooting every two weeks with the muzzleloader and twice a week with his bow.

A Muzzleloader range day…
108315B5-935D-45C1-B2D9-42B81A7DF400.jpeg 222DCD95-5586-44C1-920A-B75649CF4A1A.jpeg

Christian is almost 5’10” now and he is shooting 3inch groups at 50 yards now. He is going to be shooting a Knight Disk Extreme .50 caliber with 56 grn (by weight) BH209 and 460 grn No Excuse conicals.

For NM…new toy for me…
26F58A68-941F-44C4-8063-6DA33FC877F6.jpeg


I got a Knight Ultra-Lite .45 caliber in a Nitride finish. I have been working on load development and… D196AD2E-3A33-415C-BA9C-73BD1608F36F.jpeg


The bottom is a 3 shot hundred yard group shooting 300 grn Arrowhead XLD bullet over 82 grns (by weight) BlackHorn 209 with CCI Mag 209 primers. I am using a Leupold VX5 2-10 scope. The top group is after a quick scope adjustment and is a 9 shot 100 yard group.

I think that gets us caught up for the season so far…

Christian and I are having a blast getting ready for the season. He is really liking the range days and I think the time with him is awesome. He keeps trying to talk me into stops at Coldstone on the way home from the range and it works about once a month. I really feel the prep and excitement for the hunt is a huge part. Just want to try and capture the whole process.

More to come..
 

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
It like I am going to be limping to the finsih line this year. Somehow I pinched a nerve in my neck which has caused a “moderate impingement” on left side. Translation…a lot of pain and a week of worked missed so far. I have my second appointment with a orthopedic surgeon today. I am starting physical therapy and trying to push back potential surgery until Dec. Christian has reminded me several times that his elk hunt is only 6 weeks away. I think he is nervous that my injury will hurt his hunt.

He has had an amazing summer swim season and qualified for a few senior travel meets. He will be in great shape for the hunt.

So…for this update I decided to give customer service review to date.

We have all seen horrible stories about poor customer service from various stores/products. In an effort to be more positive, I thought it might be good to highlight a few outstanding instances of customer service I have had lately.

As I drew a unit 15 muzzleloader hunt in NM and I am in the process of getting ready for the hunt. This allowed me to buy a new Muzzleloader, scope (bought 2 years ago), rings and base, custom breech plug, bullets and CDS dial. All of these have been great experiences and thought I would give a shout out to the companies.

I got a new Knight Ultra-lite .45 caliber in the nitride finish. These were back-ordered and I planned on an extensive wait. Connie from Knight was great to work with and always responded to my emails quickly. The overall customer service was outstanding and I got my new muzzleloader much faster than I thought.

The scope was bought a couple years ago through schmalts. If anybody is even thinking of buying a new scope they should reach out to him. He has the best prices I have found and has been outstanding to work with. I will buy more scopes through him in the future.

I am using a simple Warne base and I lost one of the screws for the mount somewhere along the way. I emailed them and explained it was my fault. They sent me a new set of mounting screws immediately with no charge. I got them within 3 days. That was awesome of them.

The Leupold CDS dial order was amazingly fast. I think it took less than two weeks from the time I put in my order until I had the dial in hand. I have always had great luck with Leupold and they were extremely fast this time. The CDS dials have always worked well for me.

I tried several brands of muzzleloader bullets and I settled in the Arrowhead Rifle 300 grn XLD bullets. With these bullets I am shooting sub MOA. There company has shipped them extremely fast and they have responded really quickly to all emails for load data and suggestions.

I also went with a Bestill Creations custom breech plug for the Knight rifle. Jeff was great to work with and had an extremely fast turn around.

just wanted to post and update for the fall hunts and that he people that have been great to work with…
 
Last edited:

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Ok…we are making progress with my neck injury and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We are going to the range twice this week and both of us are trying to get into shape.

This is Christian at the all stars swim meet. He is swimming against older kids and still making the finals. He has grown a lot this year and is really getting excited for the hunts. 0415C2C7-DCBB-40C3-8AE1-91177FC02E2E.jpeg
 

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Another update…

First, we are always looking for adventure. Earlier this year, Christian and I went bow fishing. He had a blast and we both were able to take a Gar. I missed the VA state record by a couple ounces. Kind of cool to bow fish on the Potomac River!
A7ACD25B-A887-4C7A-AFCF-33ACBE4D18A0.jpeg ED4FBF14-E5E5-4795-ACC7-D6A8220ACE11.jpeg
I am a very lucky man and this is simply a bragging shot. My wife and son at Drifwood Beach on Jekyll Island in GA. My wife and son were able to tag along on a work trip… 3B4F301E-E6D4-4F63-8285-98CB32604A1B.jpeg
Now for the final hunt prep…

The final range day before the hunt.
DA9EC556-09B8-49B5-88C5-AE1334A95EDF.jpeg

This is his final target…open sights at 100 yards. Looks pretty good for a
13 year old.

DB4EF3D2-DCF2-4024-8346-E42D4238B13C.jpeg

We leave for Colorado Unit 201 next Wednesday. I have a quick business meeting in Denver on the 9th, (my 50th birthday) then onto the elk hunt. This is going to be about the best birthday present I could have asked for. We are trying to keep his shots to around 50 yards but he has shown that he can shoot farther. He has shot several three shot 5 inch groups at 100 yards off shooting sticks during the summer.
 

Sitkahoyt95

New member
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
20
I have been having fun posting semi-live hunts the last few years. For me, this has been a very fun way to keep a running summary of the hunts. First year was father son elk hunt in Colorado, then a semi-live TX draw hunt for whitetail and last year was my son’s Utah youth draw elk hunt. While those were fun, I feel they missed some of the best parts. I am going to start early this year and try and document our hunts a bit better to show a bigger picture.

This year the draws have been very good to us. First, I drew a NM unit 15 muzzleloader bull tag for Nov hunt. This could turn out to be a very fun hunt and my son is going with me. However, my son (Christian) was also able to draw a Colorado unit 201 muzzleloader cow hunt and a unit 201 muzzleloader bear tag. Mama Bear has already agreed to let my son do both hunts so this is going to be a very fun year. He is a straight “A” student and has made the academic honor roll for the last two years.

During Christian’s Utah hunt, the elk were not supper vocal. He even asked about all my archery stories of calling elk in. He had grand visions of huge bulls running into our calls and quickly learned that is not always the way it works out, I did call a few elk into him…including a cow and calf to about 10 feet. However, he didn’t get to see great rutting action. I believe a rut hunt in 201 will be different and we will have a blast

Christian took his big game animal ever (a Florida whitetail) with a muzzleloader but we really need to get him ready for a muzzleloader elk hunt. He has grown about a foot since last year and all his swim training Is getting him stronger. I am sure most parents will agree that it is amazing just how quick they grow.

We have set up a training regimen for the muzzleloader and he is shooting his bow a lot more. His goal is to archery elk hunt but I have told him he can’t archery hunt until he can shoot comfortably to 50 yard and I really want him shooting 60lbs. He currently shooting 55 labs and can shoot to 30 yards really well. We are shooting every two weeks with the muzzleloader and twice a week with his bow.

A Muzzleloader range day…
View attachment 187490 View attachment 187491

Christian is almost 5’10” now and he is shooting 3inch groups at 50 yards now. He is going to be shooting a Knight Disk Extreme .50 caliber with 56 grn (by weight) BH209 and 460 grn No Excuse conicals.

For NM…new toy for me…
View attachment 187492


I got a Knight Ultra-Lite .45 caliber in a Nitride finish. I have been working on load development and… View attachment 187493


The bottom is a 3 shot hundred yard group shooting 300 grn Arrowhead XLD bullet over 82 grns (by weight) BlackHorn 209 with CCI Mag 209 primers. I am using a Leupold VX5 2-10 scope. The top group is after a quick scope adjustment and is a 9 shot 100 yard group.

I think that gets us caught up for the season so far…

Christian and I are having a blast getting ready for the season. He is really liking the range days and I think the time with him is awesome. He keeps trying to talk me into stops at Coldstone on the way home from the range and it works about once a month. I really feel the prep and excitement for the hunt is a huge part. Just want to try and capture the whole process.

More to come..
Good luck!
 

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Second morning update…

We were in them from the start. We had a bull. All behind us and we tried to move in. There was a little confusion on how far we were from them. My buddy was convinced they were on the ridge and I was sure they were closer to them. Turns out I was right. Christian had a cow in front of him at 70 yards but no matter how hard I tried to tell him where to look he couldn’t see her. It was very thick. Then as she started to move he finally saw her. He was a little bummed but there were several herds still around.

We called a small 6x6 in…



92D6138C-ECB9-41AB-9720-54DE992F298D.jpeg
 

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
We ran into another herd just after the small 6x6. We had stopped to shed a few layers and were doing a few calls. I commented that the draw we were looked perfect for elk to use to move to a bedding area that was not to far. We had been sitting for about 10 min then started to move. We got about 5 yards and realized we had called in an entire herd. They started up the hill and a few cow calls stopped them.

Mae moved in and got to about 100 yards of them. Christian was just a few yards to my right and said he saw a cow and had a clear shot. He said he felt confident and took what looked like a gods shot…with open sight muzzleloader in the trees, 100 looks a lot like 150. Clear moss right under the cow because we miss judged the distance.

It was very hard to range. We were into three different herds this morning. Now back to camp for camp chores and more relaxing.
 

utah400elk

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
We are sitting in the truck waiting for rain to pass before starting our morning hunt. Last night was epic!

We got to our parking spot and made a solid plan for the afternoon hunt. We had hiked all of 100 yards and had a huge bugle that derailed our plan. We were able to see a herd with 30-40 cows moving through the trees. We ran forward and tried to set up at a near by wallow/water hole.

D9B4EE06-86AA-40DA-8AD5-E917139EF98A.jpeg We had a little 5x6 come in and the herd bull was screaming. Everything looked perfect.
E5616A60-6071-4E2D-B6DE-B249F42F20DB.jpeg The herd never came to the water. They moved up the hill a little and we followed. It was a game of cat and mouse for a while. We finally caught up and had cows filtering through shooting lanes at 90-110 yards. It was a lot like a three stooges movie except there were 4 of us. We were surrounded by elk and got a great show. The herd bull was running around like crazy trying to herd his cows and fighting off 4-5 satellite bulls. We got to watch the herd bull fight the biggest satellite for about three minutes.

We couldn’t get the shot to work and they moved up the hill. We followed and as we created the ridge a comedy of errors occurred. We had a cow at 80 yards broadside. I told Christian to shoot and he was worried that she was looking at us. He was on the rest and aimed at her. She was broadside but for some reason he was stuck on the fact that she was looking at us. Needles to say…she semi spooked and the herd ran about 200 yards. We cow called and the stopped and went back to feeding.

Then this happened:

B4533BD7-F99F-4D4B-94C2-BA6190DD33F9.jpeg

I have great video but can’t load it. We had this satellite 6x6 come into 10 yards bugling at us. Christian thought it was awesome.

We left the herd at dark and are ready to head out after them now.

On the drive out we saw a black bull elk. It looked like a moose but was an elk. It was a solid 340 class bull and was 40 yards away in the headlights. Not wallow mud but actually a black elk!
 

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