2013 Archery Elk Hunting — Taking A Spike at 35 Yards

Real Tree Xtra Camo Elk Hunting

Sitting/standing in the spot where I shot my spike elk.

Trying out Real Tree Xtra camo for the first time on this hunt. I like the pattern however my favorite camo pattern is still Real Tree Max-1.


My 2013 Spike Elk Taken with a Browning Adrenaline Bow

My 2013 spike elk taken with my custom Browning Adrenaline bow (I placed longer limbs on the bow and made custom strings to give me a 32 1/2" draw length), QuikSpin Speed Hunter vanes, GoldTip Series 22 shafts and Rocket Stricknine broadhead.


Alps Pathfinder with Spike Elk

I use the heck out of my Alps Pathfinder pack. It is a very versatile hunting pack and in comes in Max-1 my favorite camo pattern.


Sticknine broadhead entry hole on elk

After boning out one side of the elk I flip it over to see the entry hole made by the Rocket Sticknine broadhead.


Bloody QuikSpin ST Speed Hunter arrow vanes.

Here's the the back half of my arrow the elk broke off when he ran. It shows my favorite arrow vanes, QuikSpin Speed Hunters.


Pack Wheel game cart with Spike Elk

Back with my Pack Wheel game cart ready to start boning out the elk meat.


One side of Pack Wheel loaded with elk meat.

Half of the elk meat loaded in a Pack Wheel Pannier ready to load the second half.


Pack Wheel game cart loaded with spike elk

The whole elk boned out and loaded on the Pack Wheel ready to haul it off the mountain. 133 pounds of meat and a 20 pound head (I forgot my saw to cut the antlers off so I had to take the whole head. The antlers might make for some cool knife handles some day.)


The first two weeks have just been incredibly hot. Not unlike my experience hunting the Wasatch Limited Entry Unit last year. I highly dislike hunting in the extreme heat. I really wish that the Utah archery elk season was at least two weeks later.

With the extreme heat I think the elk have no been moving around much. I can see it from the activity or should I say lack of activity on my trail cameras. The elk just aren't moving around like they were back the first of July.

Friday even I headed back up the mountain to see what I could find. I decided to go into the area that I had moved a trail camera to watch a muddy spring area. I checked the three cameras that are in that general area and found some really cool videos of a small five point bull that plops down in the mud right in from of the Browning Recon Force trail camera (see video below). The bull wallowed in the mud the night before I got there so I decided to sit on that spring for the evening.

Nothing came in Friday evening so in the morning I headed for my ambush location were elk like to walk past in the morning hours. Nothing passed my ambush however a large bull came down a trail about 150 yards from me and turned down the wrong trail or I might have been able to get him. Dang it!

I forced myself to wait until noon just encase the large bull I saw got up and moved up to get water and bed down in a cooler area. At noon I slowly moved around the mountain and over to the muddy spring. It was a hot one and the sweat was a poring as I worked my way around the mountain.

I took a small collapsible shovel in my Alps Pathfinder pack. When I got to the muddy spring I used the shovel to help make the muddy spot where the 5x5 bull had wallowed two nights prior into a larger pocket. I was amazed that the bull wallowed right in front of the camera so I thought I might encourage more bulls to do the same and see if I can get them on the camera.

At 35 yards to the right of the wallow I setup with my back against a maple tree. Being one o-clock I tried to get a little rest but the flies and ants did a good job on crawling all over my face and hands keeping me awake. By four o-clock I stood up and rested my back against the tree.

Around seven o-clock I heard something to my right and I watched two spikes working their way through the trees. They weren't exactly what I would have preferred to shoot but I really could use the elk meat this year. I didn't draw cow elk tag and I knew that Dallen would be "trophy" hunting with his tag coming up in a couple weeks so elk meat was elk meat and spikes always taste great. With this in mind I decided to see if I could encourage the spikes to come down to the spring. A couple cow calls and they turned and started circling down and around the spring. Oops they went a little to far. After they were out of sight for a few minutes I gave one soft high pitched calf call and back they appeared this time headed straight for the spring. As they got within a couple yards of the spring they stopped broadside and I zipped a 463 Grain, Series 22 shaft tipped with a Rocket Stricknine broadhead through his shoulder. He ran about 30 yards and tipped over.

The shot placed a good one inch entry hole through the shoulder just behind the joint that articulates forward. The arrow then angled back and stopped against the rib cage behind the opposite shoulder. I really like the combination of QuikSpin ST Speed Hunter vanes, the original heavy Series 22 Goldtip shafts (that they don't make anymore), and Rocket Sticknine expandable broadheads that have a huge cutting diameter. I have been very sucsessful with this combination for years.

After a few quick photos I hiked back out to get my Pack Wheel game cart. Buy the time I returned it was well after dark. While boning out the meat I was surprised at the amount of blood shot tissue that was all around the shoulder that the arrow entered. It looked similar to a rifle shot. I was able to get 133 lbs of meat. I could have gotten another 5 to 10 lbs around that shoulder but I wasn't going to eat that nasty looking bloody meat.

I loaded up the Pack Wheel Panniers full of meat onto the Pack Wheel and off the mountain I went. Aside from going over several large downed trees I used little to no effort hauling the whole elk in one trip back to my Montero in no time.

One might ask with all the time I have spent scouting and using trail cameras this summer why would I shoot a spike? When it comes to elk I primarily hunt for meat. Our family loves elk meat. Also Dallen, my oldest son has a youth elk tag this year, right after the archery season ends his hunt starts. This has been my primary goal for learning what elk are in the area and their movements. Dallen is more of a trophy hunter than I think I am and I want him to have a great experience. He has passed a few bucks and bulls in his early hunting years. With me getting a spike this really helps our family out with keeping the freezer full of meat as we generally go through two full elk a year and Dallen can hold out for a big one without me putting pressure on him to shot something he doesn't want to.

The trail cameras really have paided off for me in knowing which spring the elk generally came to in the evenings and which areas they generally went through in the mornings. Using several trail cameras in an area really teach you a lot about the movements and patterns of the game in the area you are hunting.

Now I can focus on Dallen's youth elk hunt.


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