by Marv Wilson
Utah Elk Hunt
My Dad and I had scouted for several weeks before hand and had heard where others were. Needless to say nothing ever works as planned. The night before the hunt Dad, Don Leonard (a coworker), and I spotlighted two 6 point bull elk in the main flat. They were both “keepers” but not real huge. That opening morning, way before sunlight, we waited for the elk where we had previously seen them. About 10 minutes before it was light enough to shoot, 2 other hunters came behind us. We soon discovered that the 2 hunters only represented one tag. They had seen the two elk the night before as well. Since there were two elk and two tags it was decided that we would each take one. We had agreed that they would take the one herding the cows and we would take the one that was waiting in the flanks (it seemed to have a wider rack and longer beams).
Our doubts were happily erased as we approached the Elk. It was a nice one.
Well things went down hill from there. As soon as the Elk were spotted it was a mess. The other party
moved up in front of me, so I moved up in front of them looking for “my” elk. It turned out that my elk had gone to greener pastures. So the other guy proceeded to shoot the one remaining. We didn’t see anything. So we made our way down to the end of Whitemans bench where the big one was supposed to be. I dropped Don and Dad off to hike a ridge towards me. It turns out that as Don stepped into the draw a huge 6X6 stood up not more than 30 yards away. It meandered off, never to be seen again. Just before dusk we decided to hurry up the flats of the east Sevier to see if any other elk would come out. As I was moving down the road by Tropic Reservoir and an elk caught my eye up a side canyon. We came to a stop, and checked it out long enough to see it was a large bull. I got out and tried to sneek through the trees for a better view. Well all I saw was the top three antlers on the rack as the elk entered the forest, showing that it was a nice 6 point. Another opportunity lost.
I decided to take my son Jesse out of school the next week to go back. Dad and I waited until after Jesse’s flag football game Monday night and returned to the cabin. The next morning we went to Whitemans because of the large elk we had seen and heard about, but once again nothing. We hunted the majority of the day until it started to get close to dark. Then we wanted to be checking out the flats next to water. We saw two really strange elk; a four point that looked like he had the fifth point chopped off and a five point. Dad questioned my sanity for not shooting one of those. They had huge eye guards. It wasn’t more that 10 minutes after leaving those two to chew their cud when we saw a herd in the main flat. After getting a good look at the bull I informed Dad that it was big and I was going to take it. After several seconds, which seemed like an eternity, I fired. The 300 yard shot was true, right through the heart. After he was down Dad asked if I was sure that it was big enough. Our doubts were happily erased as we approached the Elk. It was a nice one. Since then, I have had second thoughts about taking this one so fast, after all we knew of a couple of bigger bulls. However I can’t complain and by getting it early in the week I was able to help my wife Nola through a busy time in getting a presentation ready for local Swiss Days.
The rest of the story is that I had neglected to sharpen my knives for the hunt so the cleaning went really slow. We finally got the elk in the truck at about 1:00 am. We got 468 pounds of meat which was a huge bodied elk.