August 26, 2009 Monroe Elk Hunt

We spent last night overlooking three great canons, visible water in each of them. One of our friends from Utah, Josh Utley, who actually lives in Monroe, met us at the glassing spot with his bother-in0law Rhett. These boys are the real deal and between all the eyes we found nine bulls before the sun set. Waking up to the alarm at 4:45, I quickly donned my clothes and prepped my gear while Andrew made coffee. Within 15 minutes we were headed North in the truck, the “Lost Trailers” blaring from the stereo. We were following a lead from Josh and we’d be checking out a new spot this morning, a rough hour drive on the dusty mountain roads from camp. We stopped before first light, and I pulled off my driving clothes to put on my Optifade. Just as we reached the spot Josh had recommended, Andrew told me to hit the breaks, not 30 yards to our right, 35 cows and two bulls were feeding. A 6×6 that was around 330″ (a trophy in anyone’s eyes) paid little attention to us. Without words or deliberation, we decided to pass on stalking this bull today. This is only day 3 of our possible 21 day hunt. I quickly set up my digiscoping system on my tripod and captured some footage. Wow it was great to hear the first bugles of the fall. At this point, we’ve seen 10 bulls. Andrew is stoked and his face is never without a smile. Tonight we’re going to stick close to camp and see if we can locate one of the monsters that led us to this area of the unit. Although we know the elk are farther north, and are tempted to chase them, we’re here for a reason and we’re going to follow our plan. We’ll be sending people to four different areas tonight to glass, scout, and hunt. Andrew will have his bow in hand, and who knows, maybe he’ll find his bull!

– Mark Seacat

August 26, 2009

I can feel the anticipation building, and not just in me but in everyone involved with this hunt. Seeing elk will do that. These animals have the ability to stir your blood no matter how big or small. Last night I watched two small bulls feed on a steep slope just below me. I was supposed to be glassing the long drainages that emptied out to the valley beyond looking for big bulls to chase, but my binos kept wandering back to those two young bulls. I smiled and chuckled to myself as they clumsily rattled their horns together in mock sparing. They reminded me of two boys playing with plastic swords. As I stared at the magnified scene, a wave of appreciation washed over me. For a moment I lost sight of the numbers and all the hype surrounding this tag, and I simply relished in how fortunate we all are to be able to observe and hunt these magnificent animals. It was a moment of peace and clarity that brought everything into focus. It was a blessing. Today we continued our search for the one, but a portion of last night’s peace remained, calming my mind and keeping everything in perspective. It proved to me that, although I did turn down a good bull this morning to wait for something larger, I have not lost sight of the bigger picture. We hunt because we love it. Big or small, bull or cow, harvesting an animal in the wild is an experience like no other.

– Andrew Crow