Cow Elk Hunting Jan. 2012 — Helping My Brother in Northern Utah

Cow Elk Bedded in Snow

One of the small groups of cow elk that we debated about going after.

The built-in 30x zoom on my FujiFilm HS20exr camera works great for getting pictures of critters that are at long distances.

After harvesting my cow elk in early January, and using my ultralight game cart to haul the elk out, we received a couple of really good snow storms. However on the other hand Dallen my oldest son who also had a cow elk tag, had a horrible cough and breathing problems throughout most of January. After a several trips to the doctor the x-rays showed pneumonia with his left lung full of infection. I felt really bad for Dallen and at the same time I felt like a horrible father for not even getting him out to hunt a single time for his cow elk.

With about a week left in the hunt my brother and I set out to fill his tag. Right at first light we started hiking up the same canyon I had taken my cow elk in two weeks earlier. This time the canyon looked completely different with a heavy layer of snow covering everything.

Spike and Cow Elk Feeding in Snow

A cow and spike elk that some mule deer we bumped managed to clear out of the area.

With the snow we had high hopes that the elk would have moved further down the mountain... well that wasn't to be the case. As we reached about three miles in, near the area I shot my cow elk a few weeks earlier we started to spot different small groups of elk. Every group of elk was going to require hiking considerably more to get into position and range for a shot at one of the cows.

We accessed the different groups of elk and decided our best option was to continue hiking up the moutain and then swing around through a north facing slope to get to a ridge line that we could follow. This would hopefully place us swinging above a small group of cows that we hoped we would be able to get within range of.

Small Four Point Mule Deer Buck in the Snow

This was just a fun picture I took of my brother glassing a small four point mule deer buck.

The plan was good but we had no idea how deep the snow really was until we started to cross the the shady north facing slope of the mountain. Luckily we were able to find where a horse hunter had crossed the draw a few days earlier. It had snowed six or so inches on top of the horses trail through the snow. The snow was so deep that you could see the riders foot and stirrup dragging, leaving a groove in the snow a foot down from the top.

As Weston and I made our way around the trail we did our best to stay on top of the horses hoof prints without sinking all the way to the ground. As best as we tried we found ourselves stuck in snow up to and above our waists on many occasions. After crossing the first of two draws we spotted a spike and cow and we hoped to move in for a shot, however a couple of mule deer had other ideas as they busted from the second draw and spooked the spike and cow.

Stoney Point Steady Stix in the deep snow

Can you see the shooting sticks? The snow was deep... snow shoes are going to be added to my list of needs for hunting.

I like to carry a set of Stoney Point Steady Stix even if I am not shooting myself. With a small hook and loop strap on the bottom to hold them together they make pretty good walking sticks. And if I need to help my son or brother out with setting up for a shot, I can quickly hand them the shooting sticks.

After we spooked the spike and cow we finished working our way around the second draw placing us above the location we had last seen the group of cows from earlier in the day. As we worked our way down the ridge-line we spotted a cow on the backside of the ridge where we didn't want to shoot a cow. This cow was safe... a little further down the ridge and a cow and three calf elk showed up on a finger ridge below us at 230 yards. Weston dropped to his Stoney Point Steady Stixs and dropped the cow with my 140g Accubond hand load from his A-Bolt 270 WSM.

It was now four in the afternoon and we were a long way from from the truck. After a few photos we quickly went to work on boning out the cow. To get the elk off the mountain we had packed my homemade canvas meat bags and two of my modified meat hauling saucer sleds. After boning out the meat and securing the meat bags to the sleds we started our way down the mountain in the dark. At eleven o'clock we made it back to the truck. As always the sleds worked great. Each of us pulling a half of the 150lbs of meat.

Thanks for the opportunity I had to help you with your cow elk Weston. It was a great day on the mountain.

I wish Dallen could have been well enough to go out for a cow elk himself this year. I really enjoy the memories I share with my son Dallen while out hunting.

Weston with his cow elk and Browning A-Bolt 270 WSM

Cow Elk 140g Accubond exit wound with 230 yard shot

Weston with his cow elk taken with a Browning A-Bolt in 270 WSM. The 140g Accubond fired from my brother's A-Bolt 270 WSM exited the cow elk just behind the shoulders with a 230 yard shot.


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