Dallen Smith Power Forward - Senior Season at LCA

Dallen Smith Power Forward

Dallen Smith Power Forward at Layton Christian Academy  

My hunting and shooting has come to a stand still for a few months to make way for basketball season. I've been a little busy keeping up with our three boys playing basketball. I do plan on working up a 270 WSM, 150 gr Hornady SST load for my X-Bolt as soon as things settle down a little.

Dallen is a senior at Layton Christian Academy. Layton Christian Academy is the top rank team in the state of the 2A teams. It's been an exciting year for Dallen and the team. He is on a team with a lot of talented players and a wonderful head coach, Bobby Porter.

I have started to go through some of the video from Dallen's season and will post and update this playlist.

Update 3-2-16: Dallen had a fun season. His team did really well. It was a little disappointing that they lost they state championship game by one point.

On March 12th Dallen was one of ten players from the state selected to play in the 1A vs 2A All-Star game at South Sevier High School.

Here are a few of the highlights from Dallen's senior year.


This clip below shows only the minutes that Dallen is on the court for a full game. Dallen is #54 in white. The game is against Waterford, the second place team in our region. Waterford took 6th place at the state tournament this year.
In this game Dallen is assigned to guard #32 a 6’6” player that likes to shoot the 3 ball and post up.  #32 scored 20 points the game just before this. #32 doesn’t score a single point when Dallen is in the game and only takes two shots. #32 does finish the game with 9 points but none of them were with Dallen on the court.
Dallen has the ability to score a lot but given most of the players on his team this year are just as capable, he works hard on the boards and defense. When the ball does come his way he knows what to do with it.



Here's a few highlights from his junior year. Check out his footwork and the use of his left hand.


2015-2016 Mule Deer Photos

Here's some of the bucks I have seen during the rut this year. I'll make the high res version 1920x1080 so they will work as computer destop wallpapers.

I haven't been able to get out and find mule deer to take photos of as much as I would like. It's been a busy fall for me. As I write this I am cooped up recovering from three surgeries from the week before. Let me just say that you don't want to find out that you have a gallstone a couple hours after having a double hernia surgery... not good, not good.

I will continue to add photos to this post as I take them this fall and winter.

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Mule deer photo

Coyote Hunt - Pulling Trail Cams For Winter

243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless

243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless coyote hunting.  

When KB and I were hunting during the muzzleloader elk hunt we made some coyote challenge barks and had coyotes in four directions going crazy all around us. So I decide to take out my 243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint rifle to see if I could find some to shoot when I went in to check my cameras.

On the way up the mountain I setup to call for coyotes. After calling for a few minutes I spotted a coyote somewhat behind me on a ridge 199 yards away. I swung my rifle and shooting sticks around steadied and sent a 105 A-Max out to meet him. Well it didn't work out quite the way I was hoping. Oops, I think that bullet sailed right over the coyote. I just educated that song dog. Dang it!

A later trip to the range showed the the rifle was shooting an inch and a half high at 100 yards. Add the extra inch I dialed up for the 200 yard shot and I was probably around 3 inches high at 200 yards. Hmm.... I still should have hit the coyote but this might have been just enough to make me miss. Dang it!

After I went and verified that I missed I started hiking back to my Montero. As I hiked back along the path I had hiked in a came across a set of bear tracks crossing over my tracks heading around the hill behind where I had setup to call. I'm not sure how close the bear came to me but he was somewhere behind me within 100 yards while I was calling for coyotes.

I drove up the mountain further and headed in to check my cameras. About a mile up the mountain I crossed some really large bear tracks in the snow. I ended up crossing over these large bears tracks many times while I retrieved most of my cameras.

I decided to leave three of my older cameras up on the mountain to stay for the winter. I set them to only take a couple photos per each trigger so that they wouldn't fill up the SD cards, hopefully before I could retrieve them in the spring. I'm excite to see what these cameras capture on the mountain through winter.

I ended up getting the large black bear on three of my trail cameras. Two cameras were taking photos and a Recon Force Full HD camera got some great video footage of the bear. (see video on page)

Sadly, I found a lion killed fawn near my cameras. It appeared to have been killed a day or two before. The bear had sat down in the snow by the carcass but I don't think he ate much. Only the neck and brisket area around the rib cage had been eaten. The hair on the fawns chin had been mauled making me believe that a cougar had killed the fawn. Because of the fresh snow there was only the fresh bear tracks going to it. I'm pretty sure it was a lion.

It was a beautiful and sad day to hike up into the area for the last time this year. I can't wait to see what the cameras capture through winter.



Big Black Bear Track in snow

Track from the large black bear.

3 shot group of 243 WSSM 105 A-Max

The 105 A-Max is shooting well just an inch and a half high and a little to the right at 100 yards. Given I dialed up an inch to take the 199 yeard shot at the coyote I was around three inches high at 199 yards... just maybe enough to contribute to my missed shot.

Mountain Lion killed mule deer fawn

It appeared that a mountain lion killed this fawn within the last couple days. Notice how all the white hair under it's chin is matted and twisted. It looks like a cougar may have had a hold of this fawn's face.

Bear track in the snow

More of the large black bear's tracks in the snow.

Hunt For The 7x8 Bull - 2015 Utah Muzzleloader Elk Hunt

7x8 Bull Elk

The 7x8 bull elk when I first found him on trail cameras in July.

Cow Elk Down

My cow elk (just over the barrel) from where I shot her.

CVA Accura V2 on Pack

My CVA Accura V2 Nitride finish.

KB showing me elk track

KB showing me some fresh elk tracks.


A porcupine chilling in the oak brush.

Ruff Grouse

One of the few Ruff Grouse I saw while hunting. They have been a little scarce this year. I find that on wet spring years there are few grouse.

Recovered SST muzzleloader bullet

I found the 300 Gr SST muzzleloader bullet resting against the hide in the abdomen after it passed through from the neck/shoulder area of the opposite side.

Pushing the Pack Wheel Game Cart

One way I will push a heavily loaded Pack Wheel up steep inclines is to rest the handlebar against my waist and push with my waist. Most of the time on inclines I do push with my arms forward but this is a nice change-up that works well.

PAck Wheel carrying Powerhouse ground blind

I left my tall Powerhouse ground blind setup from Dallen's rifle elk hunt a month earlier. I hauled it out on a Pack Wheel one day while I was hunting.

I have been looking forward to hunting with a muzzleloader for elk this year. Normally I archery elk hunt but this year I was really busy with other commitments in August and September so hunting the first of November with a muzzleloader was a better option for me.

This summer I also had a nice 7x8 bull on two of my trail cameras. Based on reviewing my trail camera footage from the previous two years most of the elk leave the area for the rut, especially the larger bulls. I was hopeful that some bull elk would be back in the area in November in particular the 7x8. Hopefully come November during the muzzleloader season things settle down and the 7x8 bull would move back in the area.

Opening morning I worked my way back into the area were Dallen had taken a cow elk during the rifle elk hunt. As I worked my way into the area I ended up sitting right where Dallen and I sat when he shot his cow. I was sitting near the end of a narrow meadow that meanders down the edge of quaking aspens, oak brush and maple trees.

While setup in this location, close to a CWMU property line, I started cow calling and within minutes had a bull bugling on the CWMU heading in my direction. Every few minutes he would bugle a little closer and I would answer with a group of two to three different cows calls. Eventually the bull had moved past my location and bugled but he was still on the CWMU. It appeared the bull knew where the no fly zone was. He was paralleling the property line and wanted me to come to him. How do they know where they will get shot?

Shortly after hearing the last bugle to my left I turned back to my right to see a lone cow elk coming around the exact same bend in the meadow that Dallen's cow elk came around during his rifle elk hunt. It was complete deja vu. I swung my CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader around, cocked the hammer, lined the Vortex 1x24 scope on the edge of her neck/front shoulder and filled the air with a blast of smoke. The 300 gr SST just crushed the cow dropping her right in her tracks.

With the cow on the ground I pulled out my range finder and ranged her at 68 yards. I figured Dallen's cow was at 75 yards when he shot her. Dallen's cow ran off 30 yards before her lungs filled up and she tipped over or both cows would have fallen within yards of one another as they were both standing in nearly the exact same spot when we shot them a couple weeks a part.

I was glad we both had purchased the $30 cow tags this year. It worked out great for us to fill the freezer.

I spent much of the remaining day boning out the elk and hauling it up and out of the canyon on my 29er Pack Wheel game cart. I took the exact same game trails up and out of the canyon that we did with Dallen's cow elk. With Dallen's cow we made a yoke to pull from the front of the Pack Wheel and we climbed up and out of the canyon licky split with both of us working the Pack Wheel. This time by myself. I was probably three times slower on the uphill but other than needing to take small breaks to rest I easily made it out with the whole elk in one trip by myself.

One thing I will remember from the day I shot the cow, is that I noticed I was peeing dark brown. Something a couple CT scans later showed I have a 6mm kidney stone that I will have surgery to remove later this month. Oh joy!

After a couple days I was back out looking for the 7x8. I ending up hunting six days, two completely full days and four half days of hunting. On one evening I had a five point sneaking past me in the really, really thick oak brush at just 30 yards. Unfortunately he never stopped and it was just too thick to find a hole through the brush to thread a bullet. It was cool hearing the bull coming through the brush as I could hear his antlers scraping across the oak brush. Through the narrow gaps in the brush I was able to recognize the bull as a wide five point I have bugling and chasing smaller bulls on trail camera from October 20th. You can see this video on the page.

Four days into the hunt I was sent a photo of the 7x8 taken by another hunter right near where I had just hunted. I was right, the 7x8 did move back into the area for the muzzleloader hunt but someone else found him before I could. You can see some full HD video of this bull in July on this page below.

One evening my youngest son KB went hunting with me. We found fresh elk tracks all over the place but nothing standing in the tracks. KB did find a shed elk antler and we also found a NOAA weather balloon with the styrofoam enclosed instruments and we sent it back in the mail to the NOAA. KB is fun to take hunting. He is getting so excited to be able to hunt deer and elk himself.

For the last couple days of the hunt I couldn't find an elk to save my life. I found fresh tracks and dropping all over the place but nothing standing in any of them. It appeared for the most part that my muzzleloader hunt and during Dallen's rifle elk hunt we were always in the right spot at the wrong time which often can be the case with hunting elk. When you are in them you're in them, when you're not, your not.

Elk season didn't give Dallen and I many opportunities for a bull. That's just how it rolls sometimes. I did have a lot of fun getting out in the woods enjoying all of God's beautiful creations and it was nice to fill the freezer with cow elk meat. There's always next year, yes next year.




CVA Accura V2 with 2015 cow elk

My CVA Accura V2 with my cow elk.

KB with elk anlter

KB found this elk antler while we were looking for elk.

KB my hunting buddy

KB hunting with me.

Hunting buddy KB

Selfie of KB and me hunting elk.

hauling out my cow elk on a Pack Wheel

Hauling out my boned out cow elk meat on a 29er Pack Wheel game cart up game trails.

Cow Elk

A selfie with my muzzleloader cow elk.

7x8 Bull Elk

The 7x8 bull elk on trail camera in July.

7x8 Bull Elk

Another photo of the 7x8 bull elk on trail camera in July. He doesn't look too healthy right now but I'll bet the the rapid antler growth elk have really take a toll on them in May, June and July.

Dallen's 2015 Rifle Elk Hunt

rain on opening day of elk hunt

Hanging out under our rain fly on opening morning.

fog lifting through pines

The clouds starting to clear out on opening morning.

Browning Powerhouse ground blind

KB and Dallen hanging out by the ground blind.

Elk rubs

KB and Dallen finding some elk rubs.

Bull elk in the distance

We watched this bull way off in the distance on opening day.

Bull elk on trail camera

Oh no! The trail cameras revealed that the bull we were calling to came in to where Dallen could have easily shot him but we left to soon to try another spot. No!!!

Montero stuck

I managed to slide the Montero off the trail and got it stuck real good.

Montero stuck

Another angle of the stuck Montero.

Cow elk in distance

A couple of cows we tried to catch up with.

A lady bug invasion inside of the ground blind

A lady bug invasion inside of the ground blind.

With the muzzleloader deer season coming to a close with me getting skunked and Dallen taking a nice buck, it was now time for Dallen to hunt elk with a rifle.

With a bull taking a 150 grain Accubond Long Range bullet last year by Dallen and getting away I wanted Dallen to use a different bullet this year. I was going to try a 150 Gr SST but didn't have time to work up a load in my 270 WSM X-Bolt. I also thought about trying the 150 Berger VLD that I love but also didn't have time to test it in my X-Bolt.

So with the lack of time to test bullets and work up loads I had Dallen carry my 300 Win Mag Model 1885 rifle with a 208 Gr A-Max load. This 208 A-Max load has been shooting great out to 1,000 yards with great accuracy.

I checked my trail cameras the day before the opener for what the elk activity looked like for the past month. Nil, Nil, Nil... not a single elk on any of my eight trail cameras. The elk had been in the area quite a bit around the last week in August but after the first couple days of September they completely dissapperared. Darn it.

The night before the opener Dallen, KB and I spent the night in a tent on the mountain. And it rained lightly off and on all night long.

Before light opening morning we set out hiking in the rain to one of my favorite places to watch from. Once we got there we setup a military poncho as a rain fly over top of us. As the fog and storm cleared we didn't see any elk at this location.

For the evening we hauled up my Browning Powerhouse ground blind to the location where Dallen shot Charlie One Horn in 2013. I wanted to have the ground blind there for us to get into whenever it rained and we were up there. I planned of just keeping it setup for a month so that during my muzzleloader elk hunt I would also be able to use it if I was hunting that area.

Not long after we got to this area we spotted a good looking bull feeding two canyons away from us. Whenever I would bugle this bull would lift up his head and look our way but other than that he appeared to pay us no mind and just continued to feed. This bull was way out there and across a steep and nasty thick canyon and after a while the bull feed out of sight.

We continued to call every 10 minutes or so to try and attract a bull into the canyon we were watching but nothing responded or showed up.

With a half hour of shooting light left we quickly moved to another spot. At this other location we spotted a cow elk briefly as it moved through a lane and into the thick maples and oak brush. We setup waiting for her or any other elk to move back out into the lane where we could get a shot but nothing ever did.

With the rain off and on during the day and the night before the roads were a greasy messy. I thought of spending the night and driving out in the morning but we wanted to get back so we could attend church first thing in the morning.

We made our way down the mountain in my old Montero and were in the process of trying to crawl over some large rocks while on a side incline the back of the montero slid off a bank and the front wheel dropped into a hole right behind a large rock. We were on a 23 degree incline from one side of the Montero to the other. Oops! We were stuck for the night.

At somewhere around 11pm we pulled our a tarp and some sleeping bags and slept on the ground next to the Montero. The next morning we were able to get chains on three of the wheels thanks to a handy man jack. We also dug out under the Montero clearing the rear axle and we dug a slot in front of both rear wheels and place a flat rock in front of both of them. Once we had this done the Montero crawled right out without any problem.

KB and Dallen will remember the night we got stuck well. I remained calm and discussed with them that everything would be just fine. We were prepared and would be able to get out in the morning. KB reminded me of one of his hunter's safety videos where a guy panics and takes off all his close and gets hypothermia. That's right KB, we remain calm and always try to be prepared to spend a night if we have to.

Dallen was out of school on Thursday and Friday so we headed back up Wednesday evening. Thursday we hiked a long ways and hunted the whole day. We found a couple cow elk but were unable to close the distance and find them again.

Friday we hunted back around the area I have my trail cameras out. At mid day we checked the trail cameras. Thanks to the USB cable and SD card reader we were able to skim through some of the photos and video while we were out hunting on my Samsung phone. To our horror and surprise we learned from the cameras that had we have stayed put on the opening Saturday a six point bull had came in with just enough light to get him. Dallen could have easily shot the bull from where we were setup at 185 yards away from one of the cameras. NO! We're pretty sure it was the bull we had been trying to bring in that was across two canyons from us.

Having this bull come this far really taught us a lesson to stay put if you are in a good spot and the bull you see has disappeared.

After the bull showed up it spent from 7:00pm to 2:00am going up and down this small draw passing four of my trail cameras repeatedly in the dark. Probably looking for those other elk he could hear...

Saturday we decided to go into bow hunting mode. We knew where some elk had been hanging around and there was plenty of sign in the area but it was really thick with maples, oak brush and quaking aspens. So Saturday we slipped into this area and snuck around really quietly. At midday we took a nap and that afternoon started sneaking around again.

In one spot we sat down on a side of a hill in the maples watching an opening below us as I cow called. It wasn't long and Dallen swung the rifle around to a cow elk that had come in right to 10 yards right behind us. All Dallen could see was it's face before it took off into the thick trees. That was pretty cool as Dallen had never seen an elk up that close before.

We continued to sneak around and call from time to time that evening. We made one last setup on the edge of a small meadow and I sounded like four different cows and a bull making short mini bugles. That did the trick and a cow elk came sneaking around the corner of the meadow 75 yards from us. I told Dallen to wait to see if a bull was following but it didn't take long for the cow to stop and suspect something was wrong so Dallen placed a 208 Gr A-Max into her lungs. She started to run off spun and took a second round from Dallen and she fell. She was dead on the first shot but we wanted to make sure.

I didn't have a Pack Wheel with me so I left Dallen with the elk and I hiked back out and returned with one. We didn't get started boning out the elk until almost 11pm. I wasn't feeling the greatest so it took us until almost 4am before we had the elk all boned out. Dallen actually did a lot of the boning this time and did a great job. Being so late we decided to just sleep under a tree for a couple hours and hike out in the daylight.

The next morning we experimented with making a rope yoke for the Pack Wheel by tying a rope from the bottom corners of the meat panniers. This worked totally amazing for us to work together to haul the elk up and out of a canyon on mostly game trails. We found that it worked best if the guy pulling just pulled using one arm. In this fashion the puller's arm would take up the slack back and worth without the rope falling back into the wheel. The system worked great and neither operator had to work very hard to move the Pack Wheel up and out of the canyon.

Both Dallen and I didn't draw regular cow elk tags this year but we were able to purchase $30 cow tags that we could use in the area we were hunting during any big game hunt. I was glad that we did because we have been out of elk meat for many months.

Even though it wasn't a bull we were both tickled to get some more elk meat back in the freezer.

We did get out one more time but couldn't find any elk.

Nice work Dallen. Great memories!

So now I have just one big game hunt left, my muzzleloader elk hunt.



Dallen 2015 cow elk

Dallen with his 2015 cow elk.

Pack Wheel pulling

With some rope tied to the bottom of the meat panniers on our Pack Wheel we were able to easily work together hauling the cow elk meat up and out of the canyon on game trails. With one of us pushing and steering the Pack Wheel and the other pulling with just one arm to their side it made the trip uphill quite easy.

Model 1885 in 300 Win Mag with Vortex Viper PST scope

My Model 1885 in 300 Win Mag with Vortex Viper PST scope.

Dallen standing for a pose

Dallen posing wanting me to take his picture.

Dallen hauling out his cow elk on a Pack Wheel

Dallen hauling out his boned out cow elk meat on a 29er Pack Wheel game cart.

Back to the Montero

Back to the Montero.


  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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