Saturday, August 9, 2008


Here is the video from out shoot today at 503 yards. Adam and I both shoot the same set up.

Sendero 300 Remington Ultra Mag
185 gr Berger VLD bullet
~3220 fps

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2007 Spike Elk

From the get go, things we not falling in place to set us up for success. First of all I had to work until 5pm on the Friday before the opener. Mike also had to work that Friday so we planned to meet in Orangeville Friday evening and then drive together up the mountain to Elk Camp. I didn't leave Salt Lake as early as I had hopped and traffic was horrible, which meant I did not get to Orangeville until 10:30pm. After a short visit with Brian and getting the 4 wheelers loaded up for the ride up the mountain, we left Orangeville at 11:45pm.

It had been raining off and on for the past few days and with it being as late as it was we decided to take the short route to Elk camp going around the South side of Big Mountain. We knew it was going to be sloppy through the clay slide off but we need to get to camp ASAP. It was nearly 1:00am by the time we reach the bottom of the slide hill. We had tire chains but opted to try the hill first to see if we could make it. I learned an imported lesson that night. It makes life a 1,000 percent easier if you put chains on before you actually need them. If you have to put chains on after you are stuck, you have just increased the degree of difficulty 10 fold. Needless to say we didn't make it up the hill very far and rather than mess with chains, we parked the 4 wheeler trailer at the bottom of the hill and drove off to camp.

Morning came quickly and it was so cold that night that all the mud was frozen solid. This was both good and bad news. Good in that we could easily get the 4 wheeler trailer up the clay side hill but bad news in that fetching the 4 wheelers meant we were going to miss the opening morning hunt. If you miss that opening morning, your chances of success are cut in half. The choice was a simple one when put in perspective. Risk losing $15,000 in 4 wheelers to potential thieves/vandals and not being able to get them out after sun thawed the mud or hunt Elk. After rescuing the 4 wheelers, we hunted Elk but did not see anything. The rest of the opener was uneventfully.

Sunday morning just before sun rise, Mike and I were first out of camp and driving down below camp towards the quaky draws. We were half way there when Mike spotted a lone Elk 1/2 mile a way running down hill toward our direction. We jump out of the white Ford and hurried down the hill side to cut it off. Mike knew it wasn't a Bull but could not tell if it was a Spike or Cow. We radioed back to camp that the dogs were on Elk and before we knew it all of Elk Camp was headed down to the quaky draws to get in the action. Mike and I got in to position and within a few minutes the Elk that we saw came out of the trees. It was a Cow. On our way back to the truck we heard more radio chatter on from the others who thought they saw Elk.
The details over the next 2 hours are a little fuzzy but by the end of the Sunday morning hunt, Cicso Kid (Josh Jewkes' 12 yr old bro) got lost when sent into the trees without a radio, Mike and Kurt got into a heated verbal argument that nearly boiled over into fist fight over radio communication misunderstandings, and we were all hungry ready for breakfast.

After breakfast most of the guys in camp fired up the heater in the poker palace and began the marathon. As Mike and I chatted around the camp fire we knew with 100% surety that we would not kill an Elk from inside the porker palace. So we began rounding up the dogs to organize a drive through the trees. By 11:30am we had 6 or so guys loaded up ready to move out. We had planned to walk down through Horse Creek. When we got there we found another hunting party had arrived just seconds before us and was planning to hunt the same area as us. Mike took the lead to politely try and trick these guys in to allowing us hunt the area. About the same time Kurt felt like he could do a better job than Mike. Again the exact details are a little fuzzy but in the end Kurt and Mike proved again that Manti La Sal national forest is not big enough for the 2 of them and but Mike had some how convicted the other hunting party to let us hunt the area we wanted.

I was not really optimistic that we would see anything so I thought I would enjoy the exercise and being outdoors. I reminded myself once or twice that the alternative was being couped up in a canvas tent only to be fleeced repeatedly. It was about 1:00pm by the time I had walked from the road all the way down to the next ridge past the willow patch.

My day dreaming was suddenly interrupted by a gun shot that was very close in the direction of the place I saw Mike. Then another shot and I knew it was Mike. I got on the radio with Mike as I ran to higher ground to see which direction the Elk were moving. Just as I heard Mike call out on the radio that there are 2 Spikes in the herd, I saw them running through a stand of quakies about 700 yards away. I dialed my scope all the way up to 14X and saw the that one of the Spikes was trotting out in front. They were moving in a direction that was away quartering away from me, so I fired 2 quick rounds at the Spike. To my surprise this stopped the herd dead in there tracks. The Spike stood out in the open circling not knowing which direction to run. He stood there long enough for me to cycle through a magazine and a half of ammo. All my shooting caused the Elk to turn and run directly towards me. I moved down the hill side 50 yards to get myself in a slightly better ambush position. While waiting for them to get closure I had seen both Spikes in the herd. I had a 100 yard shooting lane to where the Elk were filing up a ravine. One by one they passed through my scope. I told myself to keep breathing, remain steady, be sure of your shot and wait for the Spike. The 6th Elk up ravine was a Spike. When I saw Spiked antlers I could feel the fever coming on. I fought myself to remain patient waiting for a Cow to get out of the shooting lane. Then the window opened with 5 feet of space between 2 Cows. I put my cross hairs on the upper shoulder blade and let the 30.06 do its thing. I immediately saw the Spike go down without taking another step. I hit the Elk in the exact same spot as the Deer I killed a week earlier.

I got on the radio to let Mike know I had one of the Spikes down. After 5 mins of hard running Mike and I finally caught up with each other. We paused for a 2nd to decided if we should try and chase down the herd. Mike was exhausted from his run up the muddy hill side. The easy route would have been to stop chasing the Elk and field dress the downed Spike. I told Mike we needed to keep going. If he wanted easy he could go back to camp and play cards. If we didn't keep the pressure on the Elk they would get away and it would be back to square one. So the choice was simple; to keep going after the Elk. The ground was still moist and it was easy tracking this herd of Elk. As we reached the top of the hill, I saw a rag horn cresting the hill top directly in front of us. I told Mike to keep going and take an angle to cut some the distance they put on us.

I left Mike to go back and field dress the Spike. I was almost to the Spike when I heard Mike shooting. He emptied his 7mm twice, and then he called on the radio "Another Elk Down".
Five hours later we had both our Spikes back to camp and between the two of us we had 4 bullets left.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2007 Hunting Season in Review

2007 was a banner year for me in that I filled all three of my big game tags. It all started in June when I found out that I drew out for a late season Cow Elk hunt near Little Dell reservoir. By the end of July I had 3 tags in my possession; a Dedicate South Eastern Deer tag, a Spike Elk tag and a late season Cow Elk tag. Honestly I was hoping to full just one tag and never would have thought of filling all three.
I had a hunters dream of having enough tags to hunt continuously from the Deer Archery opener Aug 23rd to the end of the Cow hunt on Jan 12th. There was a stretch of about 2 1/2 months where I could have killed a Buck, Doe, Cow or Bull with my bow.
Michael Jewkes (my brother-in-law) and I hunted the state wide Archery Deer season hard during every weekend of the hunt. During Labour Day weekend, below Elk Camp in the quaky draws, we chased a big 25in 4X4 all three days without success.
Then came the Deer muzzle loader hunt. This was my first taste of success. The year before we had chased a big group of bachelor bucks (see video below) in the foothills above Orangeville, UT. So I convinced my wife to let me hunt yet another weekend by closing the deal when I told her we could go to her Dad's house in Orangeville for the weekend and that I would happily take on the task of getting our 2 boys bathed and ready for church Sunday morning.

Saturday morning before sunrise we got up and drove 20 min to the parking lot and then walk 3/4 of mile to our spot. The spot is a out cropping with barely enough room for 2, so I carefully set my muzzle loader a couple of feet from where we were glassing. 10 minutes went by and then out of no where Mike spotted 2 Bucks on a dead running directly at us. One was a 4 point shooter. They were 200 yards away when I realized I still needed to get my gun. As a stood up to grab my run, I was spotted by the deer. They stopped dead in their tracks, did a 180 degree turn and ran back from the same direction in which they came. I was frustrated with my self to see them running off into the horizon when all of the sudden they stopped about 1/2 mile away. Mike and I then realized that the Bucks had only 2 choices; go back to the valley where they were already spooked from or come back to the foothills in a different route. We knew they were coming back, so we dropped all our gear except for Mike's cam cord and the gun. We ran a 1/2 mile back to where the canyons funneled to a plateau that is no more the 30 yards wide. We planned for an ambush by sitting crossed legged Indian style under a juniper. Again like clock work, within 3 minutes of getting set up I see the legs of a deer coming through the bushes. I whispered to Mike "Deer". Then the buck steps out into the open at no more than 20 yards. Looking through my 1X power scope I count 4 points on each side, then without hesitation I move the cross hairs the top of the should blade and "BANG"! The gun goes off and all I can see is white smoke. When it clears I can see the Deer's legs flailing and then I know he is down. Dropped dead in his track. My excitement was abruptly interrupted by Mike. You see we had only one gun between the 2 of us. Mike also signed up for the dedicated hunter and he a muzzle loader tag but no gun. He order me to re-load it ASAP so he could go try for a shot at the other Buck. I re-loaded and Mike ran out to find the other Deer. We found him running up the hill side across the canyon at 250 - 300 yards. Mike had time to take 3 pot shots and came close on once but no dice. After the dust settle and the excitement wore off, Mike was glad to not have taken that deer as his was a smaller 3 point.
Unfortunately I left my camera behind and the only picture I have was taken by my cell phone with the buck in the back of Brian's truck. I did have the antler mounted European style.

My son McCoy holding the mount

It is 12:24AM and I need to get to bed, so in the next day or 2 I will finish the Spike and Cow Elk stories. Also I am still waiting for Mike to get me the muzzle loader footage. Once that happens I will post it.

"Get Some....."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Fire Damage By Turkey Camp"

"Turkey Season is Upon Us"


In an attempt to insure the availability to hunt in the Santa Ysabel Area, I spent the day scouting for turkeys. During the scouting trip I encountered a small group on Toms and Jakes.