2014 Utah General Rifle Deer Hunt - Dallen Gets a Nice Four Point Buck

Dallen with his 2014 mule deer

Hunters with Pack Wheel Hiking Carts

Headed out with our Pack Wheels hiking/game carts the day before the Utah deer season opener.

 

Dallen hunting with neoprene rifle jacket

Dallen hunting with my X-Bolt, 270 WSM nicely protected in a Browning neoprene gun jacket.

 

Dallen sneaking past a 3 point buck

Dallen found it quite entertaining to be sneaking past this 3 point buck without it knowing we where there.

 

4x2 mule deer bedded

This large 2 point buck actually has two small forks on one side. Guess it's a 4x2 buck then. We watched him for a few hours hoping a larger buck was with him.

 

4 point mule deer dead on cliff

View from where Dallen shot his buck with the zoom cranked up on the camera.

 

Dallen with 4 point mule deer and Alps Pathfinder pack

Dallen with his 2014 mule deer and Alps Outdoorz Pathfinder pack.

 

Browning Escalade Knife Model 662 with mule deer

I love my Browning Escalade knife. It is the best knife I have ever used asside from my custom knife Russ Kommer made for me which is just a little larger than this knife. I love small bladed, deep bellied, fixed blade skinners. This is a small knife that you can bone out a deer really fast with.

 

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting Scope on Alps Outdoorz Pathfinder

Hauling around my lightweight spotting scope, a Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 on a Ultrec Carbon Fiber Tripod with my Alps Outdoorz Pathfinder pack.

After eating tag soup during the muzzleloader season and Dallen's rifle elk hunt not ending the way we would have liked, we were itching to find a good buck for Dallen.

Dallen really wanted to try and find the large 3x4 buck that out smarted me during the muzzleloader season. I couldn't blame him. It was a nice buck and I would really like to have Dallen get him.

The day before the opener we got dropped of by my brother and started our five and a half mile trek in to where we needed to be to hunt for this buck. As always the Pack Wheel carts made the hike a breeze. After we passed a group of backpack hunters on the way in we both laughed to ourselves at how easy it was for us as we watched them struggling from carrying in all their gear on their backs.

We did have a little issue with the 26 inch tire on Dallen's Pack Wheel. We have both of our Pack Wheel tires setup tubeless and Dallen had a thorn or something go through his tire and it was leaking rather fast. The Stans sealant wasn't sealing it up very quickly. I had a tube and patch kit with us as an emergency but preferred not to use it unless it was a last resort. We were able to pump the tire up every half hour or so on the way in and then hung the tire in a tree with the hole on the bottom. It leaked some fluid and eventually sealed pretty good, well enough to get back off the mountain. I think it was just low on Stans sealant as I hadn't added any in a good three months and have been using this Pack Wheel on a lot of off trail trips. I'll make sure to keep the fluid maintained better on future adventures.

Where I found the large 3x4 buck during the muzzleloader season was about 6 miles in, in an area that we knew we would be competing with horse hunters. There was a horse camp a couple hundred yards from where we camped Friday evening so as daylight approached on the opener we weren't sure how much competition there with be. As it worked out we had the canyon to ourselves. This was nice. We spotted 14 deer in the canyon and 6 bucks but not the large 3x4 we were after. There was one four point but he wasn't very large so Dallen wasn't interested in him.

After watching the canyon until around midday I dropped my Alps Pathfinder pack and looped way around the backside of the canyon and down then I brushed up the canyon hoping to bump deer back towards Dallen. Something was wrong with this picture when I was a kid I was a brusher for my dad as he sat on the ridge and  now I'm brushing for my own kids. Hmm... something's not right with this picture. Anyhow, it took me a good two hours to brush the canyon and I only got out a fawn that came within 20 yards of Dallen. We had watched six deer down in the canyon earlier so I must have somehow walked right past most of them.

For the afternoon we slipped into another canyon we hoped no one had been in yet. Jackpot! Just as we were entering the canyon I am watching to the right where the deer like to bed and unbeknownst to me Dallen was watching a small 3x4 out feeding right below us. Luckily Dallen pointed out the deer before I spooked it. We watched this buck and also found a large two point (4x2 with small forks on one side) bedded in the canyon. We sat on them for a couple hours hoping that a larger buck was bedded with them that would get up to feed come evening. Well evening came and a big one never showed up. Darn it!

Being good boys we packed it up and hiked off the mountain with our Pack Wheels in the dark so that we could attend church on Sunday.

Back to school and work on Monday. Dallen however was really itching to get a deer so we both played hooky on Friday. Instead of going all the way back in where we were for the opener we decided to go to a closer but rougher area to hunt. It is a really steep climb in and out of this area. I killed a good buck in 2003 in the area, a bull elk in 2010 and Dallen killed a bull in 2012 in this area.

In the dark Friday morning we were working our way down the canyon. As we approached the first finger draw we paused to let it get light enough before proceeding so as not to spook any deer out before we could see to shoot. As it got light enough to shoot we peaked around the ridge and sure enough right below us was a three point feeding.

We watched the three point for a few minutes and then re-charted our course sneaking past him so that he wouldn't bust down the canyon scaring everything out before we could get there. Dallen thought it was pretty funny to be so close to the deer without the buck knowing it.

As we worked our way down the canyon we spotted a buck about a 1000 yards away. My new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope made it crystal clear that it was just another three point and not worth going after. We also spotted a lot of other does and fawns in the area and a few moose but no big bucks.

Working our way along a ridgeline we would look off one side then the other. Then at 87 yards two bucks jumped out and stopped on a small cliff. Dallen was behind me, took to steps to get around me and boom. The larger of the two bucks dropped like a sack of tatters. Not a twitch. The 150 Gr Accubond Long Range out of my 270 WSM X-Bolt just crushed him with a high shoulder shot angling down to the lower shoulder on the opposite side.

The bullet stopped against the hide on the opposite shoulder. The lungs where destroyed along with the backbone. The recovered bullet weighed 58.2 grains. I was very pleased with the performance of this bullet. This could be my go to mule deer bullet, it works well on deer at close range, yet has plenty of energy and expansion to cleanly take deer out to 1000 yards. Not that I would shot at a deer at 1000 yards but the bullet has the potential.

What a cool experience to have Dallen just pull up and shot the deer without any coaching. I was actually trying to get my camera ready to take some photos of the bucks right when Dallen dropped the hammer. Dallen has really matured as a hunter and has really impressed me with his marksmanship skills and hunting abilities. I'll take a little credit for spending time at the reloading bench and getting the rifles setup to shoot well. He has the green light from Dad out to 600 yards. Given the right conditions Dallen is great at making the shot. This comes form experience and he is getting pretty darn experienced at a young age.

After a few photos it was time to bone out the deer. I had Dallen do a lot of the work this time. My Browning Escalade knife worked awesome at boning out the deer. I love deep bellied skinning knives with a short blade and this knife is sweet.

We decided to cape out the buck to give to our taxidermist in case he needs a cape for someone else.

After getting it all boned out we put half of the meat into each of our Alps Outdoorz Pathfinder packs. I really like how versatile this pack is. I do think a Alps Outdoorz Traverse EPS pack would be an even better option for this style of hunting. Once home the meat weighed in right at 60 pounds. There probably was a good 5 pounds of meat we lost in the front shoulders from the bullet.

Dallen has now taken three, 4 point bucks and one 3 point in the six years he has hunted deer. That's not too bad. Actually the one year he had swine flu and was only able to get out for a few hours that season so I don't know if that season should count. He has done really good considering all of his deer have been taken on public land in Northern Utah, in a very heavily hunted unit.

Nice job Dallen!

Dallen admiring his 2014 mule deer

Browning neoprene rifle jacket

Dallen admiring his 2014 mule deer.

 

I purchased this Browning neoprene rifle jacket this past year and have just loved it. It's just like a neoprene scope cover except it is for the whole rifle. The scope and rifle are protected. It snaps off just as fast as a scope cover. I no longer have to tape the end of my barrel or have a scope cover. When it rains or snows the rifle is covered. I really like it when it comes to sitting the rifle down. I can lay the rifle on any surface and not worry about scratching the rifle or scope.

 

Dallen hunting on skyline

3x4 mule deer feeding

Man that camo looks good. I love RealTree Max-1 camouflage.

 

Dallen spotted this 3x4 buck feeding 200 yards below us on opening day.

 

Dallen packing mule deer alps pathfinder pack

Dallen packing mule deer with Alps Pathfinder pack

Packing mule deer X-Bolt and Alps Pathfinder pack

Hiking down to dead mule deer buck

My X-Bolt 270 WSM with Vortex Viper 4-16x50 HS LR rifle scope. Packing out the buck in a Alps Outdoorz Pathfinder pack.

 

Dallen hiking down to his buck.

 

Dallen with the caped head and mule deer rack

Crossbill

Dallen's buck caped out in a meat bag ready to haul out.

 

A female Red Crossbill was hanging around watching us on the pack out.

 

Dallen's 2014 mule deer buck

Recovered 150 Gr Accubond Long Range 270 WSM

Dallen and me with his 2014 mule deer.

 

Here's the recovered 150 Gr. Accubond Long Range bullet reduced to 58.2 grains. It was resting against the hide on the opposite shoulder.

 

Cool sunny grass photo

Packing out mule deer buck with Alps Pathfinder pack

I thought this made a pretty cool photo of the grass in the sun with a dark shadowed canyon below.

 

Dallen packing out his mule deer buck.

 

 

2014 Utah General Rifle Elk Hunt - A Bull Gets Away

Dallen sitting on cliff elk hunting with X-Bolt

Dallen on the lookout for elk. The RealTree Max-1 camo works so well in the rocks and many other western terrians.

 

Dallen sitting on cliff elk hunting with X-Bolt

Dallen hunting with my X-Bolt, 270 WSM with a  Vortex Viper HS LR 4-16x50 rifle scope and EGW 20 MOA picatinny rail.

 

Me and the boys elk hunting.

Selfie of me and the boys hunting for elk.

 

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope

Using a Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope to glass for critters.

 

 

Elk hunting with a Pack Wheel game cart

Me hunting with a 26 XL Pack Wheel collapsed on my back.

 

Townsend's Solitaire

This Townsend's Solitaire landed next to me while hunting.

Rough Grouse Strutting in the Fall

This Rough Grouse was strutting in the fall. I guess they do strut outside of their spring breeding season.

Bull Elk on Trail Camera

This might be the bull we lost. I clearly saw a 5th point in my binos and Dallen thought it was a 4 point. The shape of the antlers could look like either. Anyhow this bull was in the area the day before he shot the bull. We have however had many 5, 4 and 4x5 bulls on trail camera in the area this year so who knows for sure.

This year Dallen had a rifle elk tag we both have cow elk tags so we decided to hunt the area that I have most of my trail cameras in watching for elk and where our cow elk permits were for. I was successful in taking a spike with my bow back in August, a spike in 2013 and Dallen's bull in 2013 from this area.

For opening weekend we decided to take the little brothers along with us to hunt. This was Dallen's younger brothers first time out big game hunting. They were super excited to go hunting with us. It's always fun to take young kids hunting and see their excitement.

The night before the opener we all headed up the mountain and and slept in a tent. Early the next morning we were hiking up the mounatin in the dark.

We have a spot that we like to sit and watch for elk. There's some cliffs overlooking a draw that has a couple of springs and a couple of my trail cameras. Not a lot of elk frequent the area however if they do the spot provides a great vantage point to get a good shot. This spot proved to be a good spot on Dallen's elk hunt last year.

After making the steep hike up to the cliffs we spent the rest of the day hanging out there watching for elk. We didn't see any elk. We did see a few does and fawn mule deer.

It was a fun day with the boys. I wish we could have seen some elk with the little boys being there. But we all had fun spending time together.

On the way out we pulled the SD cards from the trail cameras. They showed a few elk being in the area but not a lot. Just as I expected based on my experience with watching the area with the cameras the year before. It's cool how you can learn the general patterns of the game in an area with a few trail cameras.

The following weekend Dallen and I headed back up the mountain. Friday evening while hiking in we spotted some cow elk about a 1000 yards below us that headed into some thick cover. With not seeing a bull and the area they were in we decided to hope that something would come out in the draw we like to watch. Well nothing did that evening nor through most of the day on Saturday.

Around midday we decided to switch locations. We headed to the area we seen the elk the day before. As we got within 500 yards or so of this area we spotted a bull moving in and out of the oak brush. There were also several cows with the bull and they were working their way up the canyon.

The trick was that we were on a sidehill that was covered in trees. This presented a challenge to find a window through the limbs to get a clear shot across the canyon. We were able to find a window and setup for the shot. I ranged the bull, had Strelok Pro open on my Galaxy S4 phone. At the range and current weather conditions my X-Bolt 270 WSM with 150 Gr Accubond Long Range bullet needed 8.5 MOA. Dallen dialed the scope. The Bull stopped broadside in the clear and Dallen sent the shot. Whop!

The bull was hit hard. The cows all rapidly cleared the area. The bull very gingerly turned and slowly started walking directly towards us getting deeper and deeper into scrub oak brush. As it was moving in the brush Dallen sent a couple move shots his way. The target size was now much smaller and there was a lot of brush to try and get a bullet to pass through. His third shot hit the bull in a hind leg sending fur flying into the air. Then shortly after this the bull disappeared into the brush.

As sick as the bull looked I figured the bull would be dead within minutes and by the time would get across the canyon we would find him dead.

We slowing approached where we though he would be dead. As we approached the bull was about 30 yards off from where we though he would be and he jumped up and took off into the trees where Dallen couldn't see to get a shot. Dang it!

We started following the bull we ran into two other hunters, friends of my cousin and the bull had just ran into them and they had bumped the elk down a creek bottom. This could have been good if they were prepared to see an elk but may have just pushed the elk harder...

Well, to make a long story short we never found him. We spent the rest of that evening looking into the dark, most of the next day and went back another day searching for him, but no elk.

Dallen is pretty upset about the bull getting away. He made a good shot and sometimes elk just don't go down. I would really like to know exactly where the bullet hit, the amount of penetration and recover the bullet. This bullet should have performed very well at 550 yards. With the weather conditions Strelok Pro shows that the bullet was going 2400 fps and had 1900 ft lbs of energy, still plenty to kill an elk.

Some would argue that we shouldn't be shooting distances this far but Dallen has proven his marksmanship skills time and time again. He can shoot and this bullet should have done the job. Again, I would really like to know exactly where that bullet hit, the penetration and expansion...

As I write this we still plan on going back and looking for birds to help us locate him and at least recover the rack. Hopefully we will still be able to find him.

The boys sitting on a cliff elk hunting

A bull moose he saw elk hunting

The boys on the lookout for elk.

 

Here's a bull moose Dallen and I got within about 35 yards of.

 

KB smiling while elk hunting

Landen elk hunting

KB with some of our snacks around his lips.

 

Landen having fun elk hunting.

 

Moon on skyline

Beautiful fall colored quaking aspens

The last glimpse of the moon as it passes behind a ridge.

 

Some beautiful fall colored Quaking Aspens.

 

 

2014 Utah Muzzleloader Season - Large 3x4 Buck Out Smarts Me

Deer Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter with EGW Rail and 1x20 Nikon Scope

Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter.

 

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 with Ultrec Carbon Fiber Tripod

I just love my new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope. Lightweight, compact and nice clear glass. This scope works great with my carbon fiber Ultrec tripod.

 

Deer Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter with EGW Rail and 1x20 Nikon Scope

Using a 26 XL Pack Wheel hauling all my hunting gear. The Pack Wheel worked awesome at getting me a long way in.

 

TC Encore Vortex Razor HD Spotting scope

Last rays of light from the sun one evening on my TC Encore, Alps Pathfinder pack and Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope.

 

Hunting with Salomon Trail Running Shoes

I've "seen the light" in a different style of footwear for hunting, that being trail running shoes. I have been using trail running shoes for a year or so while hunting and this is my first time using Salomon mountain trail running shoes. As long as it is dry these shoes are awesome for hunting. I also have some Salomon gaiters on order to keep the debris out for my next trip out.

These shoes aren't going to last like a full leather hiking boot but they are so comfortable to hike in. They are extreemly lightweight, offer awesome traction, very breathable, and have great cushioning. I think they are greatly helping my bad knees.

 

Bivy Camp

My bivy camp out on a small point for a couple days.

Because bivys don't breath well and condense a lot of water on the inside I usually place my sleeping bad on top of the bivy and if it is going to rain I put it inside.

After a couple scouting trips. I was ready to spend some time on the mountain with my new TC Encore muzzleloader and see if I could get a nice mule deer.

The opener was on Wednesday so on Tuesday morning I had my brother and father drop me off at the trail head. It was over five miles to where I wanted to camp for the first evening. A 26 inch wheeled Pack Wheel made the trip ver enjoyable.

Tuesday on the way in I checked my trail cameras. Nothing! Since about the first of September the cameras have had almost no deer at all on them. At first I thought the camera was messed up but all three of the cameras I had in this high country were devoid of deer starting around the first of September.

One cool thing I found on the trail cameras was two young bull elk up in the really high country. This is cool.

Thursday evening I found three Mountain Goats. I believe they are all billys but I'm no goat expert. In fact I believe these are the first mountain goats I have ever seen. What's is also cool is that they are on a mountain that has three major roads and highways that they would have had to cross to get to this mountain. These guys are living far from where anyone can hunt them. They have potential to live to die from natural causes in a wicked nasty canyon where few will ever dare bug them.

The lack of deer on the trail cameras should have been a clue that I needed to head down the mountain to find the deer. But I stuck it out and hunted hard where I knew there had to be some good sized bucks hiding somewhere.

Hiking up and down the mountain to hunt morning and evening in 500 to 1000 vertical foot increments for three days I was a little tired. Yes, I was a little tired but I was excited the my bad knees were handling the hiking very well. My last surgery has done wonders on my quality of hunts.

I did see a couple four point bucks one day out of muzzleloader range. One looked to be a 150 buck with a 24 inch or so wide frame. One morning I briefly spotted a buck down in a nasty hole on the mountain. I could see he had good main beams going out to at least the tip of his ears. I quickly tried to get my spotting scope out to get a better look at him but by the time I had the scope out he had disappeared in the brush.

The next day I decided to try and sneak down into the area I had seen the buck the day before. Getting down into the area was not as easy as I thought it would be. There was a lot of chaparral brush with little to no deer trails in the brush. I worked my way into position over the spot I had seen him the day before. I sat there for an hour or so and didn't see a thing. I decided to try and sneak into the hole and see if I could gently bump him out and have him do the classic bounce, bounce, stop, turn look followed with a boom!

Well it didn't quite work out the way I planned. I slowly started working my way down into the jack quaking aspens and other brush and trees. I noticed a fair amount of deer sign in the area and fresh rubs on the aspens. As I got down in the middle of some aspens I could hear him and saw him bounding out and up through the oak brush of the other side of the canyon. Unfortunately, I was not in a spot to get a shot and I had to run out of the aspens to find a spot to setup for a shot. The buck was larger than I thought he was. He looked really nice but he never stopped until he got to around 450 yards.

I was able to get a few pics of him running out of the canyon. Dang it! A good 3x4 with a solid 28 inch frame.

I paid close attention to where he ran off and that evening I moved my camp over about a mile further in to be able to try and locate the buck again for the remaining evening and following day I was hunting. Well even though I was in great looking deer country I didn't see another deer the rest of the hunt.

All in all I had a great time on the mountain. I only saw one other person across a canyon one day. It's nice to get out and just enjoy the mountain, see the different wildlife and unwind from all the stresses of life.

I was so hoping to get a good buck this year with my new muzzleloader but it wasn't to be. Dallen has his mind set on trying for the big 3x4 with his rifle in a few weeks. We'll see if we can find him then.

 

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

One of three Mountain Goats I watched off and on during the hunt.

 

Another photo of a Mountain goat below my camp.

 

3x4 Mule Deer

3x4 Mule Deer

This nice looking 3x4 didn't stop after I bumped him until he was 450 yards away. So I took his picture running out of the canyon.

 

Another pic of the large 3x4 buck. He's a dandy. I would have loved to have been able to get him.

 

Rock Squirrel

Hunting Chaparral Brush

This rock squirrel was keeping an eye on me one morning.

 

I hate chaparral. I was stuck in this crap for a few hours thinking I was taking a shorter route back to camp.

 

Here's some footage of the small bucks I found in the high country. So the cameras didn't find any good bucks for me but they did help me know where not to waste my time hunting. The also showed a mass exodus of the deer the first of September.

Final Scouting Scouting Trip for Mule Deer - Utah Muzzleloader Season

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting Scope

Glassing for mule deer with my new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope in preparation for the upcoming Utah muzzleloader mule deer season.

 

Clarks Nutcracker

Clarks Nutcracker checking me out.

 

A week before the opener and I was hiking back in to scout and check my trail cameras. On this trip in I was taking my new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope out for the first time. It's a really good piece of glass that is nice and compact for my pack hunting and scouting trips.

I didn't see too many deer on this scouting trip.

After checking the cameras I found quite a few really young bucks but nothing even close to tempting me. I also noticed that the number of deer on camera greatly decreased a little into September. This is a little concerning.

I decided to move one of my cameras to another location a mile further in and near what appeared to be an elk wallow. We'll see what it gets next time in.

I bumped a nice two point in one of the canyons I hiked through. He pause just long enough for me to snap a photo.

I'm thinking I probably will be hunting further in just because I don't have any good bucks on camera in the canyon I was hoping the cameras would find a good buck in.

We'll see what's on the cameras the next time in when I'm back to hunt with my new Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter.

 

Large 2 point Mule Deer

Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5 Reading Trail Camera SD Cards

The buck gave me a nice pose for a second then headed out.

 

Using my Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5 to review my trail camera video in the field.

 

Here's some of the trail camera footage of the small bucks I found in the high country.

2014 General Archery Elk Hunt in Northern Utah

2014 Archery Spike Elk with Pack Wheel game cart

Spike Elk

Here's the spike elk I shot looking for me or at least looking for the cow elk that were calling.

 

Goofy looking antler bull elk

Here's the goofy looking bull with caribou like antlers that was mew-bugling 50 yards away from me. This photo from a Browning Strike Force trail camera, was taken few hours before I got into the area and started hunting.

 

Spike Elk on Strike Force Trail Camera

This is the spike I shot with my bow a few hours before I got into the area.

 

Poorwill young hiding on ground

I would think it is a little late in the year for young but I found these two cute little fuzzy Poorwills while out archery hunting.

 

Following the blood trail

Following the blood trail of the spike.

 

Finishing arrow in spike elk

The finishing arrow after I caught up with him.

 

Spike Elk loaded on a Pack Wheel game cart

The spike elk all boned out and on a 29" XL Pack Wheel game cart heading off the mountain. There is 142 pounds of meat and a 4 pound set of velvet antlers on the Pack Wheel for this trip off the mountain.

 

Pack Wheel Panniers (meat bags) on spike elk

Getting ready to bone out the spike and place the meat into Pack Wheel Panniers. These panniers are really just specially designed meat bags that secure to the Pack Wheel making hauling the heavy load easy.

 

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 previewing trail cameras in the field

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 previewing trail cameras in the field. Using the same USB adapter I use on my Galaxy S4 phone I can preview photos and video in the field from my trail cameras.

 

After going through two seasons of watching the patterns of the elk, with my Browning trail cameras, in the area I like to hunt,  I have a pretty good idea where and when the elk will be in the area.

Using the trail cameras has greatly helped me know when and where the elk will most likely be. I had narrowed down where I felt the highest probability to get close to elk would be last year when I shot a spike during the bow season. Again this year this was the "hot" spot for the area so a couple of weeks before the hunt I used a Pack Wheel to haul in a tree stand to hunt from.

The day of the opener I was tied up with other commitments. However, I wasn't too concerned about missing the opener because of the lack of elk in the area on my trail cameras. From July 23 or so to August 8th when I checked the cameras last there had only been two cow elk show up on any of the cameras. This was much the same pattern last year. The cattle get into the area really thick during the end of July and the first of August. I'm pretty sure this just pushes the elk out of the area until the cattle leave.

On Wednesday I could see a small window in the unseasonable rain we have been having and decided to take off work early for an evening hunt on Thursday. Surprisingly we have had a lot of rain storms moving through during the month of August this year. Anyhow, midday Thursday I took off up the mountain. Right at the beginning of my hike into my hunting area I slipped and fell into a creek. What a klutz I am! I will admit my week knees seem to make be a lot more clumsy. In the process I soaked my Galaxy S4 phone and it was dead... at least for the evening.

On the way in I decided to follow my trail camera route and pull the cards to see what was in the area. unfortunately I wasn't able to see what was on them right then because my phone was dead.

After I swapped out SD cards in all but one camera I was near my tree stand. I decided to pull the last card on my way out that evening.

After being in the tree for an hour or so I decided to give some cow calls and see if anything was in the area and might come in to investigate.

Not long after a spike came out and looked down into the area for the "cows" he could hear. Soon after that I heard something on the other side of me and noticed a goofy looking four point bull desperately trying to locate the cows that he was hearing.

I continued from time to time to throw out some cow calls attempting to get him to come in closer. He was pretty much hung up at 50 yards. After a while the bull couldn't stand it and he started making 2 second mew like bugles, he would just start to bugle kind of like a really, really deep sounding mew. I'm not sure what you would call the sound.

For well over a half hour I messed with this bull and somewhere during this time the spike noticed this other bull and decided. "Hey there's really some other elk down there. I better go down and check them out." So down off the hill the spike came trotting. After crossing around 100 yards above me to meet up with the other bull the spike then turned and wanted to visit with the cows (aka me with my Primos cow calls) and he started working his way towards me coming through the trees.

I could see on his current path that he would pass through an opening at around 20 yards so I waited until he was close to the opening then I carefully drew back and as he paused in the opening I anchored on a shot low and just behind the heart/shoulder.

I let the arrow fly... and it zipped through the elk. Unfortunately it was a little further back than where I was aiming and would have liked but still a solid liver shot. I watched the bull run off and stop about 50 yards away. I could see his head sticking up above some oak brush. I figured it wouldn't take him to long to tip over. After several minutes I heard a noise behind me so I turned to look. When I turned back the spike was gone. I figured that he must have laid down so I slowing started sneaking over to find him. When I got to where the elk had been he was gone and there was a pretty substantial amount of real dark red blood.

It was getting dark so I started following the blood and soon found the bull walking about 100 yards in front of me. I tried to close the gap to get another arrow in him but I ended up bumping him.

Thinking that he would die in the night had me a little worried about the meat spoiling but there wasn't much else I could do so I packed it up and wheeled my gear out on a Pack Wheel.

The next morning I crept in below where I last saw him the night before. I then circled the area looking to see if I could find tracks and or blood leaving the area. With nothing found I then swung back around and picked up the blood trail where I had last saw him. It wasn't long before I found where he was bedded for the night but no elk. I then heard limbs breaking in front of me and knew I had just bumped him out.

With him sitting all night there wasn't anymore blood trail to follow so I had to follow his tracks. After three hours or so of doubling back and around to find the elk, I finally came around a bend and there he was bedded down with his head up looking away from me. I quickly launched another arrow into his back angling up into the lung area and down went his head.

What a relief. I was getting a little worried that I might not get this bull. After looking over the entrance and exit wound I can see why he lived so long. Even though I was shooting down at him from a tree stand the arrow kicked real hard and angled back and upward. The exit wound was a good eight inches higher than the entrance and it was about a foot further back. so the shot just barely clipped the edge of the liver and went through the stomach. If it had been a solid liver shot like it appeared to be I just couldn't figure out why he didn't go down.

The more I think about it there must have been a small branch or something I hadn't noticed right in front of the bull. I'm betting that the arrow deflected off this branch thus hitting him further back than I was aiming and also angling the arrow upward.

On this hunt I carried in a 29er Pack Wheel. The plan was to have it with me at the tree stand ready to haul something out. As it worked out I also carried the Pack Wheel collapsed and on my pack as I followed the wounded elk. It was nice to have everything I needed to just bone out the elk and head down the mountain.

After boning out the elk and loading it on the Pack Wheel it started to rain off and on. In between some showers I sat my camera out on the ground and in a tree to get a little video of me hauling the elk with the 29er Pack Wheel.

The pack out was a breeze. I had to spend a little time slowing working my way up and out of a creek bottom and up to a ridge line. Once I got to the ridge line it was all downhill and I set it on auto-pilot and flew off the mountain.

Just after the hunt I acquired a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 with a cool bluetooth keyboard and case. One of the cool things about this setup is that I can take it with me in the field and view my trail camera videos using the same USB adapter that I use on my Samsung S4 phone. Also the Play Store is allowing VLC Beta to be downloaded and installed. This is the best software I have found to be able to play the AVI format that the Browning trail cameras produce.  I can now check my cameras with either my phone or tablet and use the tablet to write content for my blogs from up on the mountain. Combine these with my Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit and I can stay on the mountain with plenty of battery life to keep using my electronics for as long as I want, that is if the sun comes out to charge them.

Next up is my muzzleloader mule deer hunt. I'll now have more time (vacation time from work) to scout and hunt for muleys. :)

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