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2021 Muzzleloader elk/bear hunts

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Ok. A few updates. Monday morning we were right back into the same herd. We had a cow, calf and two spikes at 80 yards at first light. The main herd moved off and we chased them. They paused for a minute or two before going over a fence to private property. I have never seen an area with as many rubs. It is a crazy area. Numerous bugles and we did see the herd with 30-40 cows about 50 yards onto private.

Our hunting g party split mid day. My buddy and his son went off for their OTC Utah archery hunt. Christian and I ran into Rock Springs for supplies and got a late start.

Pics from trip back to RS

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The rest of the post will be just Christian and myself.

does anybody know if there is a way to add a video? 86C90BCD-A4C1-464C-99E7-B251E59FCBD4.jpeg F6A0A407-F0C7-40D1-992E-EF7F90E948D0.jpeg
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Monday night we got to the parking area and there were two quads parked. We went into the walk-in area where we had been seeing all the elk and immediately ran into the hunter. He was after a bull and had not been having much luck. He was leaving a pond to go chase a distant bugle. Christian and I went down to the pond and had a bugle that sounded promising a short distance to the south. We decided to go after that group. They were moving to where we got the picture of the 6x6 the previous morning. This one was frustrating for Christian. We got to within 100 yards of the bull and he had cows. Every time we tried to get closer to the group they moved away. Wind was perfect. We tried everything. We tried to go in quiet…they moved, we cow called…they responded but moved away. We bugled…they moved away. Ultimately they wandered too close to the state line and we backed off. I could see that Christian was getting a little frustrated. We could hear a bugle back at the pond so we started moving that way. The bull we had been following started coming to us as we moved away. We both decided to go back to the pond and see if the new bull had cows and would be more cooperative.

When we got to the pond we found an absolutely beautiful 340 class 6x6 on the edge of the meadow by the pond. We watched him run his neck and rack on a aspen tree for over 1/2 hour. The herd bull and cows were behind him in the trees. I have video but can’t post. A couple cow calls and this bull came into less than 100 yards. It was an amazing bull. Christian kept asking how big the herd bull must have been to have this bull as a satellite. Right at dark the cows stepped out at 180 yards. Too far to shoot in low light. We never saw the herd bull. He stayed in the trees until after dark.

Tuesday morning we are both woken up at 3:45 by a bull less than 100 yards from our tent. He was absolutely screaming and chuckling. He walked off into Wyoming but we got very little sleep after that.

We went back to the same area we had been seeing bulls. There were two different bulls that sounded promising for having cows near by. We dropped north east (opposite direction from the previous night) from where we parked and started chasing the bugle. We could still hear the bull by the pond but we were planning on checking these areas on the way to the pond first because they were close and the wind was good.

We made quick work getting in on the first bull. We got to within 75 yards. He was a absolute pig. This was one of my top five bulls I had ever seen alive and he was definitely north of 380. He was wandering around looking for a herd. No cows at all but he was an amazing bull. We had him under 100 for over 15 min. He eventually wandered off and we started for the next group.

Christians body language showed me he was really getting frustrated. He wanted a cow and was frustrated that he had missed a few opportunities. I kept telling him we had plenty of time but I think his hope was fading.

As we moved to the second bugle the bull actually stopped bugling and would do a single chuckle. It was about once every minute but just a single chuckle. Christian thought it was a bark but it wasn’t. It was just the single chuckle.

The topography of the area was cool. There were rock ridges running east to west that raised about 8-12 feet. Then a small valley that dropped 5-10 feet for about 100 yards then a parallel Rick ridge. There were 15-20 of these little rocky ridge valleys and the single chuckle was just a little south west of us.

We hit one valley and it smelled very strong with elk but there were no tracks. It was only 7:15 and Christian was asking if we could hunt all day and not take a break. He said he really wanted to get an elk.

I told him we were still in the game this morning and there was still the herd at the pond. I told him we needed to see if the single chuckle bull had cows. Christian didn’t think it did. As we were walking up the next little rocky ridge, I saw the bull just starting up the opposite rocky ridge. He was 130 yards away. He was not big but…he had a couple cows. The wind was perfect and we got Christian set up. The first cow that stepped up had a calf and stopped at 155 yards on the opposite rocky ridge. They were following the bull as he slowly walked south west. I told Christian that a perfect cow was following them and I would stop her when she was in the clearing. The cow stepped into the open and a single cow call stopped her.

I heard Christian take the muzzleloader off safety and take a slow calming breath. Then a lot of smoke.
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Actually it was an amazing shot. She dropped at the shot and Christian had made a perfect heart lung shot at 155 yards. 8B0A6354-534D-44AA-A615-9E6CF109D906.jpeg It was a 1 1/2 year old dry cow and only .6 miles from the truck. He was all smiles and couldn’t wait to call his mom. We had cell reception and he used his In Reach Mini to twll my buddy and his son “Q”.

We made quick work of the cow and had her back at the truck by 10:45.



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utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
We had a massive rush after he shot the cow. We were able to break camp and meet up with my buddy his son “Q” that night.

That night we had elk tenderloin marinated in a little red wine, lite soy sauce, with fresh onions and garlic from my buddy’s garden. It was simply amassing. We ate both tenderloins that night and had a great night sleep before driving back to Denver. We were able to spend a little time with my family who live in the area before our Thursday flight home.
3F3437F2-A572-407F-8C9E-C4E33A408A42.jpeg Christian with my mom on his right and my favorite aunt on his left.

We are back in DC now and are planning our NM hunt now. Christian is very excited to see me try and get a bull in NM. He has now gotten two elk in two years. He is off to a great start.

I hope we can get him a bull tag in the near future. This hunt absolutely spoiled him for what a bull elk hunt can be like.

More to come…
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
I always like a side story…This is the one-eye Wiley that occurred while waiting to continue our 2021 elk adventure…

I am currently working in DC and live in VA. There are tons of whitetail here. London County VA has one of the highest dear per square mile densities in the country. I am involved in local county deer management programs. In this program we have a earn a buck program. I can shoot up to three bucks in a year but have to shoot three doe.

I returned from CO and got to whitetail hunting right away. I got two does the first week I hunted. My stands have been going crazy with pics.
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
When my son saw this deer he immediately stated that was the buck he thought I should go for. My wife and I have been torturing him with 80s movie…including Goonies. My son immediately named him “Willie”. It has been a great way for Christian and I to stay in shape. He has been helping me with trail cameras and tree stands and kept saying we should go for Willie”. He can’t hunt in the program because he is under 18 but he has really enjoyed all the photos. He has been able to get real time photo alerts while I have been in the stand. He sends me texts about the deer and is really having a blas.
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
On October 25th I was in the stand and had a very large 10 point come in. He was working to my left and I was ranging every spot he could come out. It was going to be a 35 yard shot. Well Murphy arrived just in time…he turned and started to the right. As I tried to range the first spot my rang finder died. I had this buck in close and tried to change out my battery. No luck. I was able to get to my pack but didn’t have a proper spare. The buck stayed in the area for over a half hour feeding all around me. I was not going to risk a bad shot so I let him leave.

A short time later a heavy 8 with a huge body came into the same ridge. It is covered in acorns and the deer love the area. Well he followed the program and came into a known range…
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
Jude body deer that was aged at 5plus years. Not the biggest rack but a perfect shot and great result.

I took a few days off and was back in the stand.

I have a stand that is always good in the rut. Well I was in the stand and everything was quiet. I was really about to get down and head home and ai heard a deer coming in.

I a couple minutes later I have a young 9 (almost 10 with a cheater starting on his left side) right under my stand.

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He ended up bedding down right in front of my stand so Idecided to have my coffee while he took a nap. You can see his hind quarter just past the log. I thought I was being funny and it but me in the butt.
 

utah400elk

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Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
741
Location
Sterling, VA
As I was sitting there drinking my coffee I heard a huge commotion to my left. It was total pandemonium for a short time I was actually trying to figure out how to soft bump this little guy. I realized it was two bucks going crazy in a fight. Everything happened really fast. A deer came in hauling butt. I had my coffee in my hand and had to quickly get ready. It looked like another doe which would get me my third earn a buck tag. Nope, it was a large 8 that had his entire right side busted off. A huge 9 point stopped at 30 yards. He had been chasing the broken buck. It happened so fast I didn’t get any pictures but crazy fun morning.
 

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