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.


Porcupine

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.

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