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Utah Elk Hunt - Christmas 2018
Old 01-11-2019, 04:27 PM
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Default Utah Elk Hunt - Christmas 2018

As mentioned here: http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums...ad.php?t=20021, I got drawn for a cow elk in eastern Utah with the hunt dates (Dec 19 - Dec 31) coinciding with a Christmas visit already in the works.

In a stroke of extraordinary luck, I connected with a very nice fellow in Utah that offered not only to help me out with information, but offered to drive me around as he hunted with his two sons and another youngster he was mentoring. A truly nice/generous fellow that is real THL 'material'. I'm trying to get him to consider becoming a member of THL.

The hunt area surrounds the Utah part of the Dinosaur National Monument - https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm, and I rented a hotel room in Vernal, UT on Wednesday, December 19th. Mark couldn't make it over to Vernal from Ogden until Thursday evening, so I did a little sightseeing on Thursday, and we met up that evening when he drove into town. He was staying with relatives, and after we had the 'meet-and-greet', we agreed to meet at 0630 the following morning and commence looking for elk.

We hadn't gone too far when I spotted a herd of about 50 getting ready to cross the road about 100+ yards in front of us. They ran off to our right and stood and looked at us at about 100 to 125 yd. There were three bulls in the bunch: a spiker, a little "3-pointer", and a 'rag-horn'. Of course the tag was for "antlerless", so we weren't interested in the bulls. I just mention them for 'completeness'.

Couldn't ask for better shot opportunities! 100+ yards; STANDING BROADSIDE; just looking at us. It had been explained to me when Mark first offered to let me ride along that his son and the boy being mentored were to get the first shots. That didn't bother me AT ALL! I was pretty sure we would see elk in 'herds', and the chance at a shot was still very good for me. More importantly, I was most looking for "training" on the area: "where", "when", and "how" to hunt this particular hunt. The fact that he was willing to bring me along on HIS hunt was 'gravy' as far as I was concerned!

So... you'd think with the above circumstances, we'd have 3 dead elk on the ground PDQ. We didn't. The reason is clarified when I include ALL of the information. Specifically, we were on National Monument property when we saw these elk. No shooting them! Didn't even bail out of the truck. We were about a mile from "the line" that would have made them legal.

The sad news is that we hunted that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We saw two more small herds of 6 or 7, on public land, but at ranges of 1000 yards plus. And when they saw us, they started running away, even at that range. Tuesday was Christmas Eve, and we all needed to be back home for that, so Mark and sons headed back to Ogden, and I headed for Layton. We met back up in Vernal the following weekend to try again. Unfortunately, the results were fundamentally identical: Saw a big herd on the Monument - but they were VERY spooky - and saw a couple of small herds on public land, but WAY off, and 'on the move'. We did get closer to a herd of about 50 on public land, but it was IN COLORADO! (The hunt butted up against the state line.) No joy there.

In this picture, the elk are in the clear patch in the distance, at the center of the picture, about 1000 feet in elevation below us, and close to a mile off. They were moving away from us.

The countryside was beautiful, and I got some cool pictures of petroglyphs.

And here's a panoramic view of the Green river on the Monument:

Also, during the middle of the day one day, we stopped at a federal fish hatchery located near the hunt area.

The last two days we hunted, we went up to the "high country". Mark and I agree that we saw more than 200 deer that day. My estimate is that AT LEAST 50% of them were bucks, and that at least 50% of those bucks were GOOD bucks. I finally got tired of just looking at them and took some pictures. These are pictures of the "average" ones.

The second weekend, the weather got 'rough' the first day. That's genuinely horizontal snow you see in the first picture.

I did get some good 'training', and I made a new friend. By the way, no one else got any elk either. We saw ONE dead elk, and when we mentioned that to other hunters we spoke with, they were amazed we had even seen ONE dead one. NO ONE was getting any elk, and no one knew "where they were". So... ANOTHER bust on an elk hunt. Getting downright discouraging. It'd be different if I were the only one not getting one, but the last FOUR elk hunts I have been on, NO ONE has even SEEN any elk (on legal land)!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~ C.S. Lewis.

Do not confuse technical skill for wisdom and do not confuse strength for skill. Paul Skvorc
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