2022 Hunting Pictures

My oldest shot a bull last year and we had some guys on dirt bike ruin our bull season this year, its a restricted motor vehicle area and they decided it was OK to run anywhere and everywhere with their dirt bikes. Dirt bikes are only supposed to be used to move camp or haul meat in and out. The elk move out of the area with too much dirt bike traffic. He did draw a extra cow tag in the second drawing and got his 2nd elk yesterday morning.

It was a new area for us and as we were driving up we drove by a game warden parked along the highway just after we got into our unit. I turned around and grilled him a bit on the best areas to concentrate on in our area. He gave me a couple options and said one would have a lot higher odds but its a hike in only area. It was pretty late to do much hunting that night so we grab a room and some dinner. The next morning we hiked into the area he pointed us to, and immediately after cresting the first ridge, saw a good group of elk. They were 2 ridges and close to a mile away. The wind was howling and it was about 18 degrees that morning. We worked our way towards them and as we started getting close the whole herd worked its way up onto a tall bald knob. With the wind direction we had to try and come at them from the side or straight at them. We tried both directions and couldn't get closer then 780yds before we would be totally expose. My kids haven't shot anywhere close to that far and I wouldn't even take that shot in a 20+mph wind. We slipped out and headed back to the truck. We drove around a bit and only saw a group of wild horses and a group of elk on a "preserve" before heading back to town for lunch. Just after lunch we saw the same Game Warden drive by and we chased him down for some follow up questions. He was one of the nicest Game Wardens I've run into hunting but the vast majority here in Idaho have been pretty nice and helpful. He also let us know that the people that own the property where the elk were on absolutely do not let anyone hunt and don't even like it when people stop on the road to look at them. My son didn't want to do the same hike again that so we took another drive. We actually spotted the same herd of elk from the highway that evening and they had only moved a few hundred yards from where we left them that morning. Just some clarity, this is totally open rolling sage brush hills. Literally there isn't a tree for miles. We saw another group of elk way up on top of a ridge just before dark and a group mule deer just after that with a little 2 point buck. On the way back to town we saw several hundred deer and 50 or so elk along the highway in private farm fields.

The next morning we woke up to a couple inches of fresh snow. We left the truck and walked the same road as the first morning. Just before we got to where we hiked up the first day I looked up the canyon and saw some elk on a ridge nearly 1000yds away. We tried to sneak up the bottom of the draw but could only get to 730yds before we ran out of cover. We backed up and headed up the hill and slowly walked towards the elk. We spotted them again but they were still over 700yds. I was thinking about backing up and going up over the ridge to stay out of sight but before we could do much the elk headed over the ridge away from us. My son and I took off directly towards them. We only saw about 12-15 elk initially but when we peaked over the ridge there was at least 30 visible. My kids have done most of their field shooting from a bipod. Well the last time we shot I tried to get them to shoot using a ARCA mount on a tripod. It didn't go particularly well at 400yds from a sitting position. I was rushing to leave and forgot to check the gun I took for a bipod. Needless to say there wasn't one on it but I did take the tripod. Layed out totally flat the tripod is pretty low like a bipod. The sage brush wasn't more than about a foot tall anywhere so we had to belly crawl for 40-50 yds to get close enough to get to a clear shooting position. Our knees were frozen by the time we crawled into position. Most of the elk were bedded down except for a cow to the right and a cow to the left of the group. The cow to the left gave us the best shot, she was 275yds. I got the rifle lined up and slide over so my son could get on the gun. He got settled behind the gun and I told him to hold on her back bone but not off the hair. He fired and missed the first shot. I cycled the bolt and told him to shoot again. The whole herd stood up and they started moving away from us a bit. The same cow still presented the best shot but this time she was slightly quartered away. He fired the second shot and I could hear the whack immediately. She froze at the shot and then took a step backwards before tipping over backwards. After the whooping and hollering we walked over to a very big cow. He broke her on side leg, right where the shoulder blade meets the next bone. It tore the top of the heart apart and there was a bit of blood shot on the far side leg. He was shooting a 6.5PRC I built this year. I made a adjustable butt plate set up for it so I could shoot it now and it would work as my kid grow. It loves 55grs of R-26 with 147 ELD-M's at 2890fps from a 24" barrel. I shot a 1.5" group at 600yds with it. It turns out there was about 100 elk in the group. After pictures and a couple hours of butchering we loaded up our packs and headed towards the truck. I had everything but one of the hind quarters, my normal items in my pack, the gun and tripod. It turned out to be 80lbs of boned out meat. Probably a 105-110lbs pack. My 11 year old packed out the 35lb hind quarter and a few clothes in his whimpy kid pack that has a 40lb max rating. It was slow going and required a ton of breaks but we finally got to the truck at just after 1pm. We changed clothes and headed home. My kid got to stop at his favorite corn dog gas station on the way home. He inhaled 3 before taking a long nap.

The picture of the group of elk is only part of the group at 1230yds from my Samsung 22 Ultra phone rested on my pack. It's super touchy at full zoom so I didn't try to get the whole group. The whole herd laid on top of a ridge at about a mile when we were butchering the cow. View attachment 18678View attachment 18679
Great story, great hunt, great shooting, and great coaching. Congratulations to both of you.
I have been locked out of my account for a bit. Thought I would share my 2022 hunts with you all.

Congrats to all of you with some fine trophies and full freezers!

This year started off with my Dads crossbow antelope.

My brother shot a nice general season bull elk.

Then my sons archery elk hunt in Wyoming.

Upon return I bowhunted my first moose here in Utah. Such a cool animal. Called him in to 20 yards.

Shot my first banded goose and a few ducks.

Finished off the year with my brothers 1st sheep hunt here in Utah.

It was the best year we have ever been blessed with. Full freezers and many firsts.


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