By: Bears Butt


Hunting season!  Man O man, this year I think my mind has been on hunting season since I first applied for my tag back in February or so.  It was my first year to apply for the archery tag after over 40 years of muzzleloader hunting.  I was hunting with a muzzleloader long before Utah even had a season dedicated to that weapon.  So to apply for an archery tag was quite a deal.  After I pushed the send button on my application my mind went immediately into “practice, practice, practice” mode.

I wasn’t so sure of myself shooting a bow.  My groups were all over the map but at least I was hitting the paper the target was printed on.  I had to tighten that group up and practice was the only way to get it done.  It was about mid year when I came across the “fixed crawl” method of shooting and from there the rest is history.  I set myself up with that and never looked back.  I shot about 60 to 100 arrows each day that I could and that amounted to about 5 of 7 days in the week…you do the math.  That was a lot of arrows.  But my practice made my groups tighten up and for me a 10 inch group was plenty good to kill a deer or elk….at no more than 30 yards…..using my recurve bow.

30 yards was my limit…31 yards and it was not for me to be taking the chance of wounding the animal.  I had night mares, trust me on that one.

So, when the hunt date finally came, I felt pretty dang good about my abilities to take an animal down with one shot.  Sure, I wasn’t punching 10 X rings every shot, but I wasn’t missing the target rings around the 10 ring too often either.  Weasel and I hit the hills and camped 15 days of the archery hunt!  That is a lot of days afield!  Sure we came home for a shower and to regroup on beer and supplies, but we just couldn’t stay any longer when we did that.  Then it was back into the field for more hunting.

15 days!  WOW!  That’s a lot of hunting days and a lot of time away from home.  Meanwhile the list of “you got to do this when you get back” grew and grew!

When the bow hunt was over came the muzz hunt.  Not that I had a tag, because I didn’t.  My tag was filled during the bow hunt…see picture above….but in Utah you can only hunt one of the hunts…you choose…archery…muzz or any weapon…and you only get one buck deer per year.  I’d love it to be more, but we aren’t Pennsylvania or New Jersey.  So, on the muzz hunt it was more of a camp out for me and Weasel.  We would help where we could to get the hunters onto a buck, but we were there more as a cheering section than anything else.  But we did spend another 6 days afield. It was a fun time!  Add six to the 15 already spent out there and now it’s 21 days hunting.

After the muzz hunt came the elk hunt…..YES!  I had a cow elk tag!  I tried to fill it during the archery hunt, which is perfectly legal in Utah as long as you are hunting with the proper equipment and in the same area as your elk tag.  I saw elk.  I heard elk…I just didn’t get a chance to draw back on one.  But when the elk hunt dates came around…there I was with Hunter and Mike.  We combed the mountains!  We sat on hillsides glassing!  We called!  We sat!  No elk.  No elk anywhere!  We talked to other hunters who had the same luck as us….nothing…..But then again, we were out in the mountains enjoying the out-of-doors!  And it was fun!  Up in the mountains on Friday and out on Wednesday….another 6 days of fun in the mountains!  Add 6 to 21….27!

27 days in the mountains!  Oh my heck!  I have NEVER spent that many days afield…EVER!  Well the hunt wasn’t over just because we came off the mountain!  I went back!  Took a scenic trip around and up and over…this time with Tracker and Bones!  We saw elk…..Two very respectable bulls and a cow and calf.  No chance for a shot.  Then another day we hit another area where we had to hike in…over a mile just to get to the beginning of elk country.  It had snowed the night before and Bones wasn’t quite dressed to handle the cold and wet.  We came out, but we saw elk….four cows, a couple calfs and 3 nice bulls.  Then a couple days later Tracker and I went back into that same place.  We hiked in using the moon light as our guiding light…we saw more elk but I didn’t fill my cow tag.  Add 3 more days to the total…..30 days!

30 days of hunting this fall!  1/12th of the year I hunted deer and elk!

Can it get any better than that?  I saw some incredible sights…beautiful sunrises, sunsets, moon filled nights and stars that couldn’t be beat.  I hiked miles and miles and miles.  Spent a lot of money on food, gas, beer and whatever else needed to be purchased.  I think I did my part to boost the local economies around my home and hunting grounds.

I’m not sure I will ever do this much hunting again in my life, but for this year it was a blast and I wouldn’t change a thing….well, maybe filling my elk tag…but the deer I put in the freezer with my bow was a milestone I had on my bucket list for many years.  It wasn’t a big deer, but it was my trophy and will always be my trophy.

October 24, 2016

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on October 24th, 2016 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

It seems hard for me to believe, but this is the last day of the elk hunt 2016.  Back in May (or whenever) when I first knew I had drawn a cow elk tag, it seemed like a “given” to tag out.  I had all of the archery hunt to do it (over a month).  I had the 13 days of the “tag dates” to do it.  How could I not fill that tag?

Remember, I sat on waterholes nearly every evening of the archery hunt.  I hunted during rain and snow storms.  I hunted when others were not even getting out of bed.  I hunted high.  I hunted low.  I hunted where the “cartel” told me to hunt and I hunted where my gut said there was a slight chance.

Well, this is the last day and Tracker and I are headed to where we saw some elk the last outing.

Yesterday I talked to Hunter, who has hunted this same area two mornings in a row.  The first morning he had the mountain to himself.  He saw elk, he even got a shot, but because he over thought the shot and over estimated the distance his bullet went high over the mark and the elk just stood there wondering what the noise was.  Yesterday, his mountain was crowded with people and some of those people were not thinking clearly and filled the crisp morning air with the sounds of rut crazed bull elk to the point of obnoxicity (not really a word, but a guy standing on the side of a hill, no elk in sight, and bugling ( in his best interpretation)  his guts out for no apparent reason, when in reality the rut has long been over).  Hunter again saw elk, but way out of range.

This morning, Tracker and I will take the mile or so hike into the same mountain and hope the others will stay at home.  It is going to be a beautiful crisp, cold but clear day, with a full moon.  I have been outside here in good old Willard, and the moon is shining brightly in a cloudless sky.  We shouldn’t even need our headlamps to guide our way up the long trail to the mountain valley where we saw elk sign on our last outing.

In reality, it doesn’t really matter whether we get a shot at an elk, or even see an elk for that matter.  The fact is, you can’t fill an elk tag while laying in bed, or sitting on the couch.  Is there a better place to be than on the mountain on such a beautiful fall day.  High temps are expected to be in the 50’s today with lows in the low 30’s.  Tracker and I should have a great day and hopefully he will fill his camera with good footage of what the Rocky Mountains has to offer.

Wish us luck!

October 20, 2016

Bears Butt





Leave A Comment, Written on October 20th, 2016 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

It’s been raining off and on now for 3 days but I have a plan today to put an elk in the freezer.  I’ve been thinking about how my hunting has been going, first with the camping for 5 days, driving all over high and low, hiking in and out and up and down and not seeing any sign whatsoever.  Then the day trip on Saturday…we did manage to see 4 elk at 1,000 yards or more.  Two very big bulls and a cow with a calf.  It was fun to see them and they are so very magnificent even at that distance.  Munching away without a care, while back on the road, 20 guys and gals wish they were closer.

Yesterday was Sunday and I went to watch the young children sing and show off their talents.  It was a very good program.  But the bigger thing was a discussion I had with one of my neighbors about his elk hunting…..That got me thinking…..and so today, I’m going to try something I have wanted to try for a few years now.

Rain, snow, sleet or hail (I doubt the sun will get involved today)….Tracker, Bones and I are going to take a short hike….maybe even as far as 2 miles.  If nothing else comes of this hike, I will prove to myself that there are or there are not elk using this drainage.  Fresh rain means fresh sign.  Fresh sign just might turn into an elk on the ground and a lot of hiking in and out carrying fresh meat.

More will come later today, or tomorrow, if luck falls in my direction!

October 17, 2016

Bears Butt


We arrived at our spot right on time.  It was right at the snow line which was a surprise to me as I didn’t know snow was in the forecast.  We put on our driest stuff and we all looked like the Pillsbury Doe Boy as we headed up the trail.  The going was slow, slick and sticky and we were trying to be as quiet as we could.  About a half mile in, I spotted two cow elk and two calves on a hill 600 or so yards away.  I thought by the way they were feeding and the direction the trail was headed we just might intercept them before we hit the mile mark.  That never happened.

As we hiked along the rain/snow/sleet began to tapper off but it was pretty dang cold.  At one point we stopped to catch our breath and make a bit of a plan maybe a change of direction, when Tracker spotted an elk way off in the distance.  Glassing it quickly proved it was a nice big bull elk and it had two other buddies with it.  We watched as two of them raked the trees and then decided to spar a bit with each other.  It wasn’t the hard fighting sparring the big boys do during the rut, but it was fun to watch.  Tracker got it on video.  After the sparring match, they wandered up and over the ridge.

It was then that Tracker and Bones decided they would hike up and around the ridge the bulls went and see if they could chase a cow down my way.  I stayed on the hillside and watched.  They were almost to the top when they turned around and came back my way.  My worst fear was that Bones had twisted her ankle or something.  She was using a stick to steady herself as they slowly made it back down from the top.

As it turned out, Bones had worn tennis shoes and her feet were wet and cold from the wet snow.  She needed to get off the mountain and back to the truck for warmth.  She didn’t want to sit and have us start a big fire to warm up her feet and dry her socks and shoes…nope…let’s get off this nasty slick mountain.  So down we came.

While waiting for them to conquer the hill I glassed up two more cow elk lounging on a hillside again over 700 yards away and up a steep slope.  Had Bones not been in the condition she was I would have made an attempt at them.  But I called it a day and we came down to the truck.  Bones was still wet but very much warmed up by the time we got back to the truck.  I think my next and last attempt will be to try and be that one mile up the trail before it is light enough to see to shoot.  That won’t happen for a couple more days however.

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on October 17th, 2016 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt


It’s funny what and where you find things in the forest!

Last Saturday found Hunter, Mike Brailsford and I back in the mountains and camped at the head of Green Fork.  The weather before had been somewhat rainy and even some snow had fallen during the week, but was nice and dry and a bit brisk for our hunt at this time.   Mike and I had left town around 5:30 and met Hunter on the mountain.  We went up through the Johnson Ranch and Hunter came in across the road from Monte Cristo.  We were all in hopes of bumping into some cow elk and Hunter also had a spike elk tag he was hoping to fill as well.  My goal was to have all three astride my Trooper as we bounced our way down the road back to camp, with blood running down the windows and the sound of the hoofs banging against the vehicle as we rolled along.  Much similar to this from several years back:


Well, as things went, the weather was perfect and so was the hunting, but the killing could have used some vast improvements….we saw ZERO elk.  Our daily jaunts took us high, low and in the middle of the altitudes around our camp.  We even found ourselves clear across the valley in the Crawford range…..I digress here to share a little light on something that has been happening during all these days of hunting…..

Randolph is a nice little community that shares a common thing with another community just 10 miles to the South, Woodruff.  These two towns have some very respectable citizens living there and they are very hard working, caring people.  Most own substantial spreads of land and almost all of them own a herd of cattle.  They work hard for what they have and they endure the coldest weather that Northern Utah has to offer.  The sign in Woodruff says something like….The coldest temps and the warmest hearts….I’ve heard the weatherman tell us that Randolph had the low temp for the state at minus 30….That is getting very close to Minot North Dakota cold.  Well, you no doubt read about a young man who told Weasel and I about some elk hunting area out near Big Creek.  We ventured that direction and found nothing much that held our attention and then while driving back toward town ran into another guy who said we should have turned off a ways further down the canyon and that it would take us into some very good elk habitat etc., etc., etc.  To my way of thinking I think those two guys were in “cahoots” to keep us from finding the elk we were after with our bows…just saying.  So, on this trip, we found ourselves enjoying some of Randolph’s finest chicken strips and tator logs, when a lady pulled up along side our vehicle and she and her son got out to go into the local convenience store (just like we had).  The young man asked me  how the hunting was going and then asked if we were hunting elk…I told him yes but we were not seeing any.  He then proceeded to tell me that he had shot an elk over in the Crawford Mountains the day before and that there was at least one cow and a calf still over there.  I questioned him about where he had been when he shot his…he said the towers.  And then for some reason his mother told him to get back into the car and off they went…that was strange.  Well, we talked among the three of us and decided we would go over there and see if we could find those other two elk.  We had to finish our chicken fingers first, however.  About the time the last bite was being taken, here came mom and the young man back….Without looking at us they proceeded to head into the store….I stopped the young man and asked him a couple more questions about his elk hunt the day  before…he answered my questions but acted funny to me.  Talking in the vehicle later, I decided there was a secret “Cartel” in the town of Randolph.  One in which the locals pay these people to tell hunters like us big old stories to get us to go off and away from the best hunting areas and into areas that hold few or no animals that we are after.  I believe this last young man was about to be paid off with a Doctor Pepper for his efforts to get us to go over into the Crawfords in search of elk.  Back to the hunt…..


We took a hike down into Green Fork and we went quite a ways into there.  Scoured a clear cut and around a hill, down and up and over and out and then back to camp….nothing!   We hit an area that Crock said had lots of sign and not too far from the road….we hiked in, saw a couple of deer, no sign of elk….we hiked up, over and out then back to the vehicle…nothing!   We took a drive miles away to a little hidey hole.  There was a LOT of sign from about a day or so after the last rain/snow but little or no sign that was fresh…we hiked out, down, up, over and back…nothing!


Mike even took a detour to push down through some very likely looking brush in hopes of kicking an elk to Hunter and I as we waited in ambush spots along the hillside…nothing!

We drove a long way out on a ridge, parked the vehicle and then hiked down into a spot where elk should have been running helter skelter all around us and when we got down into the deepest darkest spot, we began our slow ascent back toward the vehicle and in the bottom of all of this we found this:


A very nice 4 point buck that had been shot during the archery hunt but not recovered.  The shot was a bit low but fatal none the less.  We are sure the hunter just lost track of the blood trail as there should have been a good one and this deer died while still running.  Velvet was still on the antler that was partially buried in the dirt.

We tried early morning ambush spots in areas we had seen elk sky lined before (years before).  We hunting late into the evening in some of those same places and arrived back at camp at nearly time for bed.  We bounced and jolted our way up and down some very rocky and rutted travel routes we had never been on before.  We had to cut our way through some very tight spots in order to get the vehicle into what looked like the perfect elk hiding spots and when we got there, we found no sign at all….nothing!

It was a very discouraging hunt as far as elk were concerned.  However we did have a good time laughing and cutting up as usual and we did see a lot of deer, mostly does and fawns but I saw more buck deer on this outing than I did during the muzz hunt the week before.  Of course, I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get them on film (digital).  This one little spike stuck around with his sisters for this picture.


A whole lot fuzzy of a picture…sorry about that!



And just like the previous hunts, we saw more does with twins fawns than we did does with only one fawn.  This will be great if the winter isn’t harsh and next years deer hunt should be a good one.

With this kind of country all around us, one would think there would be elk a-plenty to be seeing, even if they were two miles away.  But none were there to be seen.


We spent plenty of time glassing and with each passing hour, each passing day…our frustration continued to grow.  On the last morning of this journey, we made it up to a place I had doubts the vehicle would make it.  We were on top of everything hoping that elk would cross over from one drainage into another and we would be there waiting when the morning light allowed us to take a shot.  Glassing out into the early morning light all we could see were deer and moose.  We stayed with the hope until all hope was washed away and then made our way back to camp and then home.

It was a fun four and a half days in the mountains even though frustrating as far as the elk killing was concerned.  We did see some country that I have only seen on Google Earth up until then.  There is some potential for future hunting especially for deer.  I learned that my Trooper can and will take you into places that perhaps you shouldn’t be in and that a good sharp saw is a necessary evil in order to get you out of tight spots.  I found roads that can shorten an otherwise long drive to and from potential “good hunting” areas.  I drove down a road that had my pucker factor pretty much maxed out and if it wasn’t for “one more beer”, I probably would have turned around, but my cheering squad said, “it will be just fine”…..We made it without incident….I’ll have another beer…was the key statement once we were down off that hill, even Hunter had a beer, which is something I have never seen before.

Well, there are still a few days left to find that elk and I’ll take at least two more of them and head back to find my elk.  You can bet I WON’T be going back into the area we just hunted in AND I am not going to listen to the Cartel guys anymore.

October 13, 2016

Bears Butt



Leave A Comment, Written on October 13th, 2016 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt


I borrowed this image from the internet (chrislonghunt2X350), as if you couldn’t tell, it shows a rifle aiming at a target 1330 yards away.  Some of us would consider this a long range shot.  Others would consider it a medium long range shot.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, but the target is quite a ways from the muzzle of the rifle.  There is an ongoing argument about long range hunting and we hunters need to gather in some facts and stick together.  If you have the right equipment and practice, practice, practice you will gain a knowledge about your particular type of hunting that makes you very proficient at that type of hunting.  I have some big (to me) issues about shooting long range shots, in that I doubt a shooter will take the time to “go over there” and check for blood after they have taken that long range shot and the animal walked away (that is a totally other subject).  This story is about the history of long range hunting….of course the facts are all contained in my own head, but I want to share my knowledge with you.

To start with, I have been hunting ever since I can remember and my rememberer is getting foggy to say the least, that is why it is SOOOOO important for me to be sharing this information with all of you.  I have hunted with a sling shot, bb gun, pellet gun, shotgun, big rifle, small rifle, muzzleloader, bow, rock, spear (gig), pitch fork, stick, pretty much whatever I thought it would take to bring home the game I was after.  I have bagged pretty much every kind of animal found in Northern Utah, my prowling grounds, except a mountain lion, bear or the once in a lifetime big game animals found around these parts (no tags mean no hunting for them).  Most of my bagged game have been deer, rabbits, a few elk, lots of birds and a few small critters in between.  My point is this….I like to think “I know my crap” when it comes to bagging the game I’m hunting.  Along with that knowledge comes my limitations and I like to think the closer I am to that critter, the better my chances of bagging it in a clean kill, ethical manner (another story that a lot of hunters don’t even consider).

So, back to this story and the history of hunting….nothing has changed in the hunting world….nothing….since the beginning of man and his quest to eat meat.  Let us go back in time.  Back to the “Stone Age”.  Digging deep into my cerebral hemisphere I picture a man walking upright and living in a cave.  A cave that was there waiting for him to inhabit.  Now, I’m not getting into all the religious and or Darwin theory stuff, this man just suddenly appears and is living in this cave.  He has a woman and of course since they didn’t have any TV’s or iPads, they of course had at least one child.  The child takes all the woman’s time…she takes care to make sure the child is fed, is warm and gets to bed early so it is asleep when the man comes home for entertainment (remember they don’t have a TV).

Since “she” is busy in the cave, “he” has to go out and bring back some bacon (meat).  In his quest to do that, he climbs trees, rock outcroppings and does a myriad of other “manly” things that causes his body to get big and tough.  When he encounters a beast, he wrestles it to the ground and breaks its neck.  Brings it back to the cave and they feast on the beast until it is completely devoured.  At this point he has to go back out into the wildness surrounding the cave and do it all over again.

At some point in time, the child (let’s assume a male) grows up and emulates his dad.  “Son”, he says, “This is how we bring meat back to the cave”!  And he shows the young and tough boy just how to get the best of the beast and break its neck.  At the same time he shows him what critters are just too big and tough for them to tackle, as the chance of surviving a battle with one of them would just mean the man would have to go back and make another son (something he is going to be doing anyway, but why wait for that one to grow up to this ones point in life).

The boy learns well, and so with two meat gatherers in the family, life becomes better for the “old man”.  Soon, however the boy wants his own cave and off he goes.  Dad is left with the task he had in his younger days.

Well, one day, while he was out trying to get the better of a beast and break its neck, the man comes across his boy (now a man) bringing a beast of his own back to his own cave.  This beast has had its head caved in with a rock!  A rock!  The man yells at the boy…”THAT IS NOT HOW I TAUGHT YOU!!!!  YOU MUST BREAK ITS NECK!!!!  NOT BASH IN ITS HEAD WITH A ROCK”!!!!  The boy on the other hand scratches his head and says, “But dad!  The rock makes it so much easier!  A couple of quick strikes and the animal is dead and then I have meat to take back to the cave.  I don’t have to be as big and strong as you in order to wrestle them down.  I just grab them around the neck with one arm and bash it in the head with the rock that is in the other hand”.

After much convincing the man gives in to his boys way of doing it and he too joins in the malay of acquiring meat with a rock….life is good in the land of the cave dwellers.  Time marches on and soon the man is gone and the son has had a son of his own and has taught him the fine art of smashing heads with rocks and bringing home the food so needed for survival.  Well, that son goes off and establishes his own family in his own cave and like his father before him suddenly finds his son sitting high on a rock outcropping that is directly above the very game trail he hunts daily.  A heard of game go by under the outcropping and the boy high above drops a huge rock from some 100 feet above the unsuspecting game.  SMASH!!!!!  One of the animals is sprawled out under the big rock.


Of course it takes a bit of time for the boy to come down off the rock outcropping and when he does he gets a royal butt chewing from his dad.  In retaliation he says to his dad, “Dad, you might think it unfair that I drop a rock on top of the meat, but in so doing, I don’t have to be as big and strong as you to hold an animal in one hand while I bash its head in with the other holding a rock.  I just simply find as big a rock as I can pick up, hold it above the game trail and when the string of animals comes along I let the rock go.  It falls and smashes one of them and off I go to feed my family.  It is simply my way, don’t you see dad”?  Dad, scratches his head and goes off thinking about what he had just seen and heard and soon, he too is standing atop a rock outcrop over a game trail with a rock of his own waiting to drop onto an unsuspecting meat bearing animal.

Time still marches on….dads have sons, sons become dads with sons… goes on and on, mostly because TV’s have not been invented yet.  And with the sons, comes new and better ways to bring home the meat.  Dropped rocks become pointed rocks on the ends of sticks.  Still the dads yell at their sons who are holding the sticks with the pointed rocks on the end and cuss them out about how they are supposed to drop rocks on top of their meat animals.  The sons explain how they don’t have to be as big and strong as their dads to pick up big rocks and hold them for hours while they wait for the game to come along.  They can be stealthy in the forest and when the animal comes along they jam the pointed rock into the side of the animal and take home a whole lot more good meat than one that has just had a 200 pound rock dropped on it from 100 feet above.  And soon the dad is carrying his own pointed rock stick and sneaking along the forest floor in search of meat.

Suddenly one of the sons has the brilliant idea that if he could propel a pointed rock stick from a distance away from the game trail he would be able to take more meat home to the cave as the animal would not smell him while he is so close to the trail.  He invents a bow!  And when the dad, who is waiting next to the game trail sees his son coming down the trail heading back to his own cave with a meat animal slung over his one shoulder and the other hand carrying a bow and pointed rock stick, becomes very irate and yells at his son for not carrying on tradition!  “YOU MUST HAVE A LONG STICK WITH A POINTED ROCK ON THE END!  TO END THE LIFE OF A MEAT ANIMAL WHILE YOU ARE SO FAR AWAY FROM THE TRAIL IS NOT FAIR TO THE ANIMAL!  THROW THAT BOW AND SHORT POINTED ROCK STICK AWAY AND TAKE THIS LONG STICK AND DO IT THE RIGHT WAY SON”!!!!  But the son soon convinces his dad that more meat is put in the cave without having to be so close to the trail and that he doesn’t have to be so very strong as to be tough enough to jam the pointed rock stick so deep into the animal to cause it to die quickly.  The next time the son sees his dad, the dad has a very nice bow he made and a couple of short pointed rock sticks in his hand.

Soon enough the dad has captured a horse and trained it to allow him to ride it.  Why wait for the meat animal to come to you, when you can go to it….and while you are at it, you can shoot while atop of it and bring more and more meat back to the cave.  In fact, so much meat was being brought back to the cave, that the sons were using the animal hides to create caves without having a rock wall to make it out of.   Soon, all of the cave dwellers were leaving the caves and finding new and bigger sources of meat animals.  The bows and short pointed rock sticks were allowing them to seek larger meat animals.  By increasing the amount of pull the shooter had to pull, meant the short pointed rock stick would fly faster, farther and with more force the meat animal didn’t have to be a small one. Dads everywhere were arguing with their sons that it was just not fair that they could bring home more meat than they were bringing back and that it was the son’s obligation to honor the way his dad had taught him to bring home the meat….”YOU MUST DO IT MY WAY”!!!!!!……………

Quite by accident metal was extracted from one of the fires that cooked the meat and soon (many, many, many years) man was making metal objects and sharping them into knives and spear heads and points to put on the short sticks.  And dads all around the area were yelling at their sons that to place a metal point on a stick was not the way they were taught!  They were to listen to the elder of the dwelling and sharpen the rocks like they were told from the beginning.  Metal points on sticks was not a manly way of doing the meat gathering exercise.   And sons were continuing to convince their dads that it was a modern way, much quicker than sharping a rock and it made a much better cut on the animal and it died giving up its meat in a much more humane way.  And it wasn’t long before the dads were carrying the metal points on their short sticks.

Along came a very intelligent meat gatherer who thought it best to form up a barrel and put some new fangled powder down into it and shoot a round projectile out of it.  Wholly crap did the dads yell then!  A revolution was on the brink of happening with sons gathering up as many barrels as they could find and powder by the stacks were being stockpiled.  They called these instruments “guns” and soon the bow and short metal pointed sticks were out numbered.  Dads joined in the revolution and had their guns and they went out with their sons and brought back tons of meat!

Guns too got to be made different and over a very short period of time a small rock was attached to the side of the gun and when the trigger was pulled it would strike a plate of steel sending sparks down into a chamber that held a powder charge.  The powder charge would then ignite, explode and send the round ball inside the barrel down range at an amazing speed and with very good accuracy!  Dads yell at sons and sons explained back to the dads.  Soon dads everywhere had this type of gun.  They could bring home much meat and not even be close to the trail where the meat animal was walking.  Many called out that it was unfair to the meat animal and that the shooter didn’t have to be “close” to be able to kill the animal!  But alas, the arguments faded away and everyone had a gun like this.  BUT WAIT….more inventions!  Why have a rock that made a spark, when you could put a powder infused cap over a nipple and when the hammer hit the cap, it would pop and send a spark down into the waiting powder charge!?!  You could hunt on a rainy day!  You could keep your powder dry and it would fire nearly every time!  What a thought.

Once again the dads yelled at the sons who were purchasing these type of guns!  And once again the sons were explaining the benefits of such a meat gathering tool to their dads.  Sons were bringing more waterfowl birds back to the dwelling on rainy days then ever before.  The guns were more reliable and so the old flint fired guns found their way to a fireplace and burned up, or converted to the cap firing guns. Dads everywhere were using cap fired guns and having a great time bringing home meat.

But it wasn’t over yet!  A brilliant young man came up with an idea…What if I could put powder in a container, place my patched round ball on top of that container and place the whole thing in the back end of the gun.  Push the cap into the back of that and have the hammer of the gun hit it causing a pop and spark and BOOM…out goes the ball and kills the meat animal I’m aiming at!?!

And so, the beginning of a “cartridge”….patched round balls soon became more pointed….lead became copper coated….lead was soon replaced with another alloy that displayed the characteristics of lead without the problems caused by lead….and on and on.  And with every change came the same dad/son arguments and the fact that it wasn’t fair for the meat animals because they had no idea the hunters were anywhere around and being shot left and right without a clue.  Meat was being brought back to the dwelling by the truck load….yes, TV’s were invented…..the need for meat was being cut back on.  The large herds of meat animals had been decimated etc.  And suddenly game laws were enacted that restricted the hunters as to what meat animals they could harvest, how they could harvest them, how many they could harvest and what times of the year those animals could be harvested.

Dads yelled, sons yelled, everyone yelled…..some for the changes…..some against.

Let’s look at today.  Magnified scopes are now allowed on muzzleload rifles in Utah…..alas poor Eurick…..Muzzleloaders are more like a modern rifle than they have ever been, with shooters able to place hundreds of rounds in a circle the size of a fifty cent piece (or smaller) at 200 yards, 300 yards and farther ranges……..Bows are being made lighter and more accurate with the use of sights, stabilizers etc and rangefinders can be mounted to the risers……Trail Cameras are programmable to send pictures within seconds to a smart phone just a few yards down the trail, signaling the hunter of an approaching game animal…..Center fire rifles are being crafted and cartridges are being scientifically manufactured to consistently allow the shooter to shoot out to a mile and even farther and hit the target.  Big game animals are being killed in another county from those guns.  And the dads are screaming, and the sons are screaming and everyone is screaming….some in favor and some not in favor.

The dads could be screaming in part because of that damned TV invention.

October 3, 2016

Bears Butt

1 Comment, Written on October 3rd, 2016 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

Our hunting camp is not any different than most hunting camps, we have our traditions just like others have theirs.  One thing for sure that we share with all the rest and that is our desire to have a safe and fun time out hunting and camping.

Inspired by a lady who was questioning Half Cocked on a Facebook posting he and Dry Dog had put up as they were putting together some kill jugs for this years hunt.

dogandhalfcockedminis                                                                                                                                            (photo courtesy of Dry Dog and Half Cocked)

This is a story about “THE KILL JUG”.

Way back in the beginning of time, well, the beginning of our time hunting with muzzleloaders at least.  We started a tradition of having a shot of whiskey, or whatever makes you “grimace” (shake uncontrollably) when you drink it, after killing our buck.  Around the camp fire the evening of the kill, the shooter would tell his story and then toast to that success by drinking what was made available.  It began as a fifth of whiskey that was set aside for the occasion and expanded over the years to a mini-bottle of whiskey or some other form of alcoholic drink, adorned with the year of the hunt and each hunter received one that was in camp.  Whether the contents were drank in celebration of a kill or not, the bottle was tied to their beaver sharn and became another token and story of its own.



Empty bottles are highly prized, but often as not, the hunter just wasn’t able to put his tag on an animal that year.  All good things come in time.

As our camp grew in size and numbers of hunters, the purchasing of mini-bottles became an expensive ordeal for anyone to purchase and make up for the camp.  And so, we went back to a single bottle of “nasty juice” for the lucky hunters to partake of (back washes are un-heard of in our camp).  The bottle was in camp and near the bag of “betting money” collected for those who thought they could bag the biggest buck during the hunt (another story), and at the end of the day, it was brought out and a celebration had toasting the big bucks of the day.


Everyone who had filled their tags would tell their story and then take a big horn off the bottle and hand it to the next guy.  A fun time for sure.

As more time went on, the camp remained a large body, over 20 people in camp each year but not all were hunters.  There is just something about going camping with a large group of fun people that just has to happen every year.  And even if you don’t choose to hunt you are still welcome to come and enjoy the camaraderie and the festivities of the camp.


The past couple of years has found Dry Dog and Half Cocked delivering individual mini-bottles again.  I think as they ride their motor cycles during the summer they find good deals on mini-bottles and with their big hearts and desire to make sure everyone has an individual momento of the hunt, they make them up and give them to the camp folks.  Each year the momento changes indicating the new year and often times has another token of the hunt adorned on the bottle as well.  Last year (2015) I think they were not only giving a mini-bottle kill jug, but also one symbolizing “finding a cure for cancer”.  Cancer has affected nearly all of us in one form or another.

After a few years one beaver sharn can have enough adornments on it that the owner could carry on a week long story telling about each of the items found on that sharn.  Each mini-bottle symbolizes a full year of ownership and participation in the muzzleload hunts the Willow Creek Free Trappers have been on.  Of course some years have multiple momentos such as is the case when one or more of the group draws a special limited entry hunt tag.  Not only does someone produce a kill jug, but there is usually something else that is special and pertaining to that particular hunt.  Beaver Sharns carry all those momentos.

Well, if you need more information about the Kill Jugs, I guess you will just have to corner one of us and over a drink or two find out first hand just how it all works.  In the meantime PROST!


September 25, 2016

Bears Butt




Leave A Comment, Written on September 25th, 2016 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt


It was back in my college days (1971-1976 or so), when I first took a liking to Olympia beer.  Not necessarily for the flavor, which I have become extremely fond of, but for the message.  You see, Tracker and I found ourselves in an upper level college business class, and it was the first day of the class.  The professor was looking over the faces in the class and said to us all:  I see some unfamiliar faces in this class.  If you have not taken class number such and such, you need to take that class as a pre-requisite to this class.  You may be excused at this time if you have not taken that class.

Well, Tracker and I got up and left the class and wandered down to the Student Union building to look over the class selection book to choose another class.  As Tracker was looking through the book, I was looking at the latest student newspaper.  In it was a joke that had several sections each containing pictures of two guys in a classroom and the professor said “I assume you all have a working knowledge of calculus”……and the last section showed the two guys slunking down behind their desks, obviously without a working knowledge of calculus….and then it said “You owe yourself an Oly”!!!!

I showed that to Tracker and we laughed.  Later in the afternoon we found ourselves in a local bar and I was ordering an Oly beer.  I have been drinking Oly ever since.  And I’m probably one of the very few to be drinking it to this day.

Oly has been my mainstay beer for over 40 (yes forty) years.  Should anyone ever need a blood transfusion using my blood, the doctors had better test for more than just blood type…mine is A-negative, which is rather rare and I’m certain there is a substantial amount of CH3CH2HO mixed into it as well.  I’m not bragging, it’s just a fact.

I use Oly as a cooking beer as well and it makes the flavor of Rabbit Chicken (see recipes in the category block to the right) exceptional.  No other beer will make it taste like Oly does.  Wapiti can attest to that fact and anyone who has ever tasted rabbit chicken made with Oly will also attest to the great flavor.  For those of you who think the alcohol content of the beer will cause your Bishop to cringe and think bad thoughts about you, I can re-assure you the alcohol evaporates out and none of it will remain in the pot with the chicken.  Go ahead and use it.

Now that I have you convinced to use Oly beer in your cooking recipes, I have to inject a negative note.  Soon we won’t have any Oly in Utah…bummer huh?  It’s getting harder and harder to find it on store shelves as of late.  I went through a period several weeks ago where I had to rely on my backup beer, Keystone lite, which is cheaper than Oly by a few cents but not as flavorful.  I just flat out could not find any Oly on the shelves.

After several attempts to locate my favorite beer in local stores, I was obliged to write the producer (Pabst brewing company) and ask this question:

I’m finding it very difficult to find Olympia beer in northern Utah. My regular source, Smiths Food and Drug, only had 6 12 packs this week and my other sources haven’t had any in the last two weeks.  Are you guys discontinuing producing it?

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

There response was this:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Pabst Brewing Company and Olympia products.

At this time this product is only available in the following states: Washington, California, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona

If you travel thru one of these states or reside in one, we would need a zip code and city to provide retailer locations.

Unfortunately, due to the rules and regulations given by the State Alcoholic and Beverage Committee, beer products cannot be ordered directly through Pabst Brewing Company and beer products cannot be shipped. In order to obtain beer product not located in your state you would need to travel to one of the states that carry it.

This brand is what we call a “regional beer” and is only going to be available in certain states, and at this time we do not plan on expanding this brand any further.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and thank you again for contacting Pabst Brewing Company.


Indulge Responsibly – Drink Exceptionally

Consumer Relations Representative

Pabst Brewing Company


That is one of the saddest emails I have ever received.

Weasel and I discussed this email and have decided it is a corporate decision to cut costs on products that cost more than the regular production run products.  You see, Utah is a state that requires beer manufacturing companies to only deliver 3.2% alcohol content and the majority of states allow 6% alcohol.  For them to “cut” the alcohol and yet maintain the flavor they have to do something out of the ordinary from the usual run to cut that alcohol down.  Perhaps an evaporative step or something and they are finding the demand in Utah just doesn’t justify that expense.  As a business decision that is a good one, but for me…the consumer…I’m saddened.  I don’t particularly like 6% alcohol beers.  The flavor is usually too strong and the alcohol is certainly more than this guy can handle (not that I can handle the 3.2%).

Since this letter was written and responded to, the stores have been stocking up more Oly than I have ever seen.  Perhaps the distributors are giving the stores a discount price in order to clear out the warehouses…I don’t know, but I’m buying it up like usual, and more so.  They should just bring it to my place and store it here avoiding the middleman.  But they won’t.  I’m betting that by Christmas time I won’t be able to find an Oly that isn’t 6% anywhere in Utah.

In the meantime, I will take the Consumer Relations Representatives words to heart….Indulge Responsibly-Drink Exceptionally!  CHEERS!

September 15, 2016

Bears Butt

UPDATE:  Oct. 6…..Could only pick up 3 12 packs the other day…..:-(

3 Comments, Written on September 15th, 2016 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt


The third leg of our 2016 Archery hunt found us camping in a very nice spot from September 7th through the 11th.  While we were away at rendezvous we were hoping it would rain and settle the dust.  We talked to one guy we named “Joe Serious” who informed us it had indeed rained hard a couple of times.  If that happened you couldn’t tell it from the dust in the roads.


These mountains are made of red clay and when it gets dry and has a lot of travel on it, the dust is like talcum powder…very fine and it gets into everything.  Before the hunt was over my white beard was a reddish tint.  Of course not washing for 5 days will emphasize that.  But the main issue is the fact that the dust in the roads is about 4 inches deep.  Even in the cattle and game trails it kicks up when you or the animals walk down the trail.  It gets in your nose, eyes, mouth and even in the cooler water with the beers.  We need rain in a very bad way!

Our tucked away camp was just below the highest peak around, one called Monument Peak.  I don’t know the elevation and it isn’t that important anyway.  We placed our camp there so as to be able to take advantage of a somewhat hidden water hole.


We decided to just pull into the spot and when the trailer was level, unhook and call it good.  We didn’t put stabilizers under it or anything else, just chocked the wheels and unhooked.  That worked fine for setting up and getting ready to go home.  Our positioning of the trailer in relation to the terrain was such to have our cooking area out of the wind, which seemed to blow down the draw through those trees every day.  Some days were worse than others, but always an afternoon wind.

When we left before, Weasel had placed his trail camera down at the hidden water hole and we took the hike to see what animals had visited while we were gone.  Our discovery was not a pleasant one.  Only a few hundred pictures of mostly cows and the fact that the water had been cut off from going to this location and it had dried up.  Bummer for us.  We had to go into “new game plan” mode to decide what our evening hunt was going to look like.  We made a plan and stuck to it only to spend another evening sitting where no animals like to play.  We learned a whole lot on this trip about animal movements etc.

We were pretty serious about getting Weasel a shot at a cow elk and tried our very best to make it happen.  This time we didn’t even hear an elk and only saw one, which was in the back of someone else’s truck.  After a Friday evening sitting in what Weasel calls “The Cross Roads”, his chance for an elk ended with his season date and the setting sun.  My hiding spot was pretty cool but my window to shoot was only about as wide as a pickup.  Nothing came through.


Speaking of cool….it got down right COLD most of the nights with the coldest temp hitting 19 degrees.  Inside the trailer we sat watching our breath while the coffee heated up and all three burners on the stove going full blast.


Meanwhile, outside the Crisco was beyond shivering as it was frozen solid!  (Hey Crisco….How cold is it? {say it with a Mexican accent})


The cold temps helped with some of the Yellow Jacket population but not enough yet.  One afternoon we set out to help cut down the population some.  Placing about an inch of water in the bottom of our liver bucket and sitting back with our “Bug-A-Salt” shotguns we knocked a few from the edge of the bucket into the water below.  Not only fun, but very entertaining as well.beebucketasaltingbeesbeebucketbeforebeebucketafterweaselbugasaltingbeesIf you are not familiar with a Bug-S-Salt salt shooting shotgun, you need to get yourself informed and better yet you need to purchase one from the Bug-A-Salt web site.  These are a hoot to shoot especially during the hot part of the day while hunting and waiting for an evening hunt.


They shoot plain old salt and a fully loaded salt magazine will give you about 50 shots taking bees off the rim of the bucket from 2 feet away and nocking them into the water below.  Fun times for sure.  And you can count on me having a couple of these bad boys in camp during all my hunts from here on out.

Well, on this hunt we covered a lot of ground we hadn’t covered previously.  We were mostly looking for elk and/or sign of elk and found ourselves over by what I call Gunners pocket.  A pretty little pocket of mixed quakies, pine and chaparral.  Gunner shot a nice 3 point at the head of it some years back.


That trip also took us past an old abandoned mobil home someone decided they would like to have on public ground to live or camp in.  Right now it is a whole heap of ugly trash that really should be removed from the mountain.


Every year finds it in another state of ugly.  I wouldn’t even dare walk inside it now as the roof is about to cave in.  Most likely this winter the snow load will take it down.

Our driving around let us find more available water sources and a few animals that were frequenting them.  No bucks however for Weasel to shoot.


Mostly does and fawns.  We were counting upwards of 30 each day.  A couple of small bucks but nothing Weasel wanted to put his tag on.  He is holding out for 60 or more pounds of meat.  Those smaller bucks only have about 30 on them.  Now speaking of meat, Weasel made sure to bring his Flu-Flu arrows in case we saw some grouse.  There were a few around but when word got out that Weasel had those arrows, they got smart real quick.



Fastest and smartest grouse I have ever seen.  Another day perhaps Weasel!

Hiding at water holes was something we did every evening of the hunt except the last Saturday.


On that evening we drove around the back roads until dark.  Weasel had a chance at a very nice 3 point but it dashed like big bucks do before he could close the distance.  I think we counted close to 40 deer that day, most of which were seen at evening time.  We were talking off and on with others hunting in that area and they were telling us about the deer they were seeing and not getting shots at and the whole time we were sitting at a water hole somewhere hoping for an elk.  I suppose that would have been the only way for us to kill elk and we would probably do the same thing again.  But the thought of shooting a big buck is always a good thought and even though the chance to do that at a water hole is very good, it just isn’t the same as being with others driving around B.S.’n trolling for bucks.

Our hunt took place in an area of Northern Utah that gets hammered every year with hunters during all the big game seasons Utah has.  I won’t tell you exactly, but for those of you familiar with the area should be able to tell where it is by the pictures.  One of the things we try to do every hunting season and every scouting trip in and out, is to pick up trash we see along the roadways.  This trip was no exception and in the back of the truck is a dedicated trash bag for such stuff.  One morning found us at the top of Monte Cristo (looking for Dry Dogs cow elk) and taking a break for a snack of Kippers and Ritz.




kippersattopofoldcanyonKippers is a welcome snack to me.  We found where a 4 wheeler had rolled recently and alongside the road was a broken cooler and a lot of paper trash and empty cans.  We cleaned it up as best as we could and surveyed the situation.  Why a wheeler would roll where it did wasn’t exactly clear but with an empty cooler there it is pretty obvious he was not in the best of condition to be driving.  Some of the papers we found had a name on it but we tossed it in the garbage can because it was not papers that were of any value and we figure that the rest of his party probably wanted to get him and his rig to a doctor quickly.  If by chance “you” are the party that rolled your rig and you are reading this, be sure, we threw your stuff in a garbage can that has probably been moved to the land fill by now, your name is safe with us…besides I can’t remember what it was anyway.

So, picking up trash is something we do and sometimes we have to wonder just why we are worried about it anyway, it doesn’t seem like too many others care.  We stopped to pick up a piece of barbed wire that no doubt had fallen from a ranchers truck.  It snagged on stuff all the while and caused all sorts of discontent one day when it snagged my camo pants…I cussed a bit over that one.  Anyway, while we were sitting in camp one afternoon I thought about a gate that leads from private land onto public land that we have to open every time we enter or leave the public land area.  The rancher who put the gate there must be 6 foot 10 inches and strong as an ox, because the gate is heavy and very hard to get open and closed.  In fact I can’t do it by myself, I have to have Weasel’s help.  With that in mind, I decided I would take a piece of slick wire I had picked up and make a wooden gate closer.  Then on our way out we would fix it to the gate and make things easier for everyone who enters and leaves this gate.  And that is exactly what we did on our way home Sunday.

The bottom wire, where the gate post is placed was so close to the post you had to really heave-ho to get the post into the wire it needed to be place in….so….out came the barbed wire we had been kicking around and we extended the bottom loop.


Then wrapped the slick wire to the upper portion and fixed it so even a young kid could leverage the gate closed!


Weasel was so happy when all of this worked out for the better!


And there you have it folks!  Our 2016 archery hunt has come to a close, just like this gate.  We spent a total of 15 days in the mountains and had the time of our lives.  We saw deer, elk, coyotes, moose, antelope, porcupines, weasels, squirrels, chipmunks, birds of all sorts, cows, horses, sheep, badgers….the list goes on….with the aid of some hearing enhancers I even heard elk talking back and forth…that is something I would not have heard without them.  I watched as a Weasel was bullied by a squirrel and all the while I expected the squirrel to become weasel lunch.  I saw many things while sitting at those water holes that were amazing to watch.  I came to realize that every critter in existence has it’s own unique personality and that even though it is a wild being it still has an entertainment factor beyond belief.  I had a squirrel drop pine cones on me and then come over and take the cones to its hiding spot to eat at a later date.  Some of the things I saw would not have been seen had I not spent 13 nights sitting at a given spot for two or three hours just before dark.  I guess what it all boils down to is this:  Just sit down and observe your surroundings for a couple of hours, while you try not to move, or if you do, move slowly and try to be quiet.  Especially in the woods.  You sill be very surprised at what you see.  Once the critters around you have decided you are not a threat, they come out of every nook and cranny there is.   As a final note, a few years back, I sat at a water hole with one of my nieces.  We were sitting in the vehicle with the front doors open so we could get out quickly if a deer or elk came by.  We sat there for about 3 hours as darkness came on.  After just a few minutes of us being quiet, out came several deer to munch on the grass around the water hole.  Soon we could hear the sound of a vehicle approaching.  The deer became alert and then slowly (slowly) walked back into the brush and stood still while the vehicle made its way through the area and was gone and out of site.  Out came the deer again and continued to enjoy their evening.  So, the next time you are “spotting and stalking” think about that for awhile.

September 12, 2016

Bears Butt

P.S.  nightbirdinroad

This is a very poor picture of a bird in the road just after dark.  They fly around and land in front of the car, spread out their little wings and sit there waiting for you to run them over (not really).  They fly just before you are about to do just that.  According to my famous source, Tonya Kiefer, with the Utah DWR…they are among the family of birds called “Nightjar” and they like to eat insects that fly around open areas like mountain roads.   Click on this little blue line to read all about them:   

2 Comments, Written on September 12th, 2016 , Archery stuff, Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

MyBowOnQuakie copy

Today, Weasel and I will embark on what I’m calling our Third Leg of the archery hunt 2016.  We plan on staying until Sunday afternoon to come home.  It’s the last three days of Weasel’s Elk hunt and that will be our concentration.  Filling his tag.  And then Saturday and Sunday we will try and fill his buck tag.  However, if a buck happens to come within his range and is big enough (body size, as horns don’t matter), he will take it.  I can still fill my cow elk should I get a chance at one of those.

It’s still very hot in the mountains with no rain in sight.  Highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the 40’s is what is expected.  Everything is SO dry and dusty.

We have a plan and hope all the circles cross especially on his elk.

I haven’t shot my bow in a week and need some practice this afternoon!  More to come when we get back!

September 7, 2016

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on September 7th, 2016 , Archery stuff, Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt


This story is going to take me awhile to put together and I haven’t decided if I should break it into several segments, shorten it or just let it unfold however it goes.  I guess I’ll decide later on.  My journey to take a deer with a bow has only been about a year and nine months in the making.  I have always wanted to accomplish the task but needed a little push by the boys and grandkids.  That happened the Christmas before last when they gave me three old arrows and a kids recurve bow.  After shooting it one time, I think I was hooked.  The next big step was joining a local archery club, “The Brigham Bowmen”.  The fees to join allowed Sherry and I unlimited use of the clubs indoor and outdoor ranges and lessons on how to shoot a bow.  Chris Barton and Lynn Hayes were my mentors in this effort.  Chris taught me the basics…how to hold the bow, draw the string, anchor and release.  Lynn took me under his arm and taught me to try different things until I found a style that fit me and my shooting abilities.  He has been a wonderful help and is trying to get me to understand that there is more to shooting a bow than just hitting the target.  And that something that might work for someone else may not work for me.

I have always been one to “make my own stuff” if I could.  It is a lot easier to go out and buy something that is a necessary part of shooting a bow and I did some of that early on, but as time went by, I began to customize my own stuff and add the Bears Butt squigglie where ever I could.

MyBowOnQuakie copy

Arm guard, camo paint job on the front of the bow, my Spam can bow quiver, range quiver etc.  All of them have the squigglie clearly identifiable somewhere.  I’m not ashamed of any of it and everything is functional.

Well, earlier this year, when it was time to apply for our big game tags, I had a decision to make.  Was I ready for a bow hunt?  I would have about 8 more months to prepare for that one shot.  Or should I apply for a muzzleloader tag like I have done the last 43 years?  It was a pretty big decision… to make the commitment to practice as much as possible and hone my archery skills.  I applied for the archery tag and was lucky enough to draw it.  From that point on it was “sweat time”.  Practicing in the field at 20 yards, then 25 yards and finally out to 30 yards.  I felt pretty confident at 20 but move back 5 yards and the arrows just didn’t seem to be consistent to me.  Well, they were consistent in that they went where they wanted most of the time and not where I wanted them to go.  And then I watched a video by Matt Dernzack called “The Push”.  He suggested that hunters using traditional equipment should prepare themselves for a 25 yard shot using a combination method of string walking and gap shooting, he called it “Fixed Crawl”.  I tried it, set up my bow for it and never looked back.   I place my nock against the side of my nose when I anchor, look basically down the arrow and place the point of the tip on the mark I want to hit and then release.  If my target is at 20 yards I put the point a little lower than where I want to hit.  At 30 yards I place it a little higher.

I practiced pretty regularly every other evening, shooting mostly from the 30 yard mark and shooting about 100 arrows a time.  Always being pushed to practice by Weasel.  If the weather was too hot or windy or whatever, I would practice standing out in the street and shooting into a bale in the back of the garage.  25 yards was about as far back as I could go which is still good practice.  I can’t say I didn’t have some arrant arrows that caused a hole or two in the sheetrock and you have probably read about my ruining 3 brand new arrows when I tried to shoot from across the street at closer to 30 yards and smashed into the backside of the bricks.  So, most of my practice sessions were pretty good and when Sherry would ask me about my session, my comment usually was, “a deer or elk is going to be in trouble”…My confidence level continued to rise with each practice session and I owe it all to the Fixed Crawl method of shooting.  It is now my “form” of shooting and all my backup strings are set the same way.

August 20 was the big day…the opening of the Utah archery deer hunt season…it seemed like it would never get here.  On the 19th, Weasel and I were headed for the mountain.  Our camp choice was already made and we camped in the shade of a big stand of pines that towered 70 or more feet above us.


It was Friday when we were set up and we had a few celebration beers to break in the season.  Not too many so as to spoil the next day and by 10 p.m. we were sound asleep.  The alarm clock on the little No Grimace carved bear was set for 5 a.m.


That became the norm for this hunt.  Up at 5, a cup of V8 and a hot cup of coffee.  Then it was out to the truck for a 6:30 a.m. ride out to a vantage point and looking for deer.  When a deer is spotted a plan is put into place and a stock made to try and get close enough for the shot.  Sometimes that works out, but most of the time the deer can sense danger and don’t let us get close enough for a shot.  That’s just the way things go and if everyone who put a sneak on a big old buck actually bagged it, there wouldn’t be any deer left.  We had planned to continue this regiment for the entire hunt, spot and stock in the mornings.

As for the evenings, as hot and dry as it has been all summer and the fact that water is at a premium up in the woods, we decided we would find a water hole or two and sit in an area close to it until dark.  Our hopes were for a big buck or a spike/cow elk to come in while there was still enough light to get a shot.  Spot and stock in the morning, rest back in camp during the heat of the day and then sit on a water hole in the evening.  I think 90 percent of the hunters on the mountain did that same routine and so, we probably shared some of the water holes with others and didn’t even know it.

My worst fear has been to wound an animal and not be able to recover it.  I have had several nightmares throughout the summer and so to help keep that from happening, I know I need a close shot.  Hopefully within 15 yards.  I’m very confident at that range even though my practices were only as close as 20 yards.  One thing for sure, when you are that close to a wild animal, it seems like you are right on top of them.  Shooting at that distance would be awesome and I’m sure my adrenaline would be pumping like crazy.  Probably enough to effect my shot in a negative way.

We spent nearly 10 days in the mountains, every day doing our routine and only changing the direction we went for the morning hunt and covering only a couple of different water holes in the evenings.  Even at that, I never once thought about going home early.  We did take a break after the first seven days, came off the mountain for a much needed shower and to restock on supplies.  We were only off the mountain a total of 24 hours.  The days all run together when you are hunting like we were.  Right now I couldn’t tell you which memory I have happened on what day.  The best part is the experience was awesome.  Weasel and I got to know each other a whole lot better and I told him a lot of stories about my young hunting days that I’m sure he had never heard before.  A very good time for a dad and son.

It was the early afternoon of the first day (I know this for a fact, I think) we met an elderly man (Al) and his Son-in-law (Dwight) who had stopped at a solar panel next to our camp to gas up the generator sitting next to it.


We walked over and introduced ourselves and they told us what they were up to.  Because of the drought the cattle needed water and in order to have water scattered around the mountain the solar powered pump would pump water during the day and the generator would power it during the night.  They felt it necessary to run the pump 24/7.  We offered to help them out for the time we were to be hunting and we sort of assigned ourselves to be in charge of making sure the generator was filled up with fuel and running all night in order to keep the pump pumping water to the guzzlers which were scattered around the mountain.


They were very happy to have us do that and it would save them having to make a trip from town up to the generator and starting it each evening.  Besides the time, there was the factor of gas for the vehicle to get them up there and the extra gas to run the generator while the solar panel was working.  During the course of our hunt we learned quite a bit about their water system.  A bunch of money, time and labor has been put into it and it works very well.  At least until the generator breaks, which happened on the second Friday we were there.  Fortunately, before the generator quit working all the guzzlers in the system were full of fresh clear clean water.  The solar powered pump should be able to continue to keep them full until they have to move the cattle off the mountain.

Until the pump quit working I think we saved them 15 or more gallons of gas and at least 10 hours of drive time up and down the mountain.  Not much in the whole scheme of things but a little relief for Al who seemed to be the guy in charge.  On Wednesday morning when we got back to camp we found this note:

NoteFromAlWe had told Al our plan to leave the mountain on Thursday for our much needed shower, so he would be up in the evening to start the generator.  Unfortunately it used nearly 5 gallons of gas from Thursday evening until we got up there Friday afternoon.  See related article from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Back to hunting:

We were not seeing the bucks we have seen  in the past few years and the does were pretty scarce as well.  A good day of deer sighting was around 10 and only one or two small bucks.  Weasel had set his bar a bit higher this year, as he is counting on shooting a big doe on the Wasatch Extended hunt should he not fill his tag with a nice big buck.  He is not horn hunting, but rather meat hunting.  It is better to harvest 60 pounds of doe meat than 30 pounds of meat from a small two point or spike.  I have to agree with his way of thinking, but this is my first year to hunt with a bow and anything legal that gives me a shot is in trouble!


SundayMorningSpike copy

My kind of buck on this hunt!  Of course I would try for a bigger one should it come along first, but I’m not being picky at all!

Weasel and I hunted high in the pines and low in the tall sage.  We did see a few deer in all the places we hunted, but just not the numbers we are accustomed to seeing.



And like I said, the number of buck deer is WAY DOWN from previous years.  Drought?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps we were glassing in all the wrong places.

One evening while sitting in camp thinking about going to bed, a vehicle pulled into camp.  We had offered to help a family camped down the road should they need it.  They were calling us on our word.  The young gal (14 years old I think) named Charlott had hit a buck right at dark.  They found the broken off arrow covered in blood.


DJ (the dad) said he thought he heard the animal pile up, but it got dark way to fast and they didn’t have the means to track the blood trail.  They wanted to go right out and see if we could help them find it.  After a thorough examination of the arrow, Weasel  told them that she had hit it good, but it was hit in the liver.  It would be best to wait until morning to find it and to let it have plenty of time to bleed out and die.

The next morning, we sacrificed our normal routine of spot and stock and went to their camp to follow them to the scene of the shot.  It took about an hour to get there because of the rough roads.  Once there we started our blood trailing.  Charlott was a natural at spotting the small droplets of blood at the beginning of the tracking job and she continued to be a regular blood hound until the buck decided to make a U-turn.  The blood trail lead us parallel to its uphill run as it made its way back down the hill to its death!  DJ spotted the dead buck piled up in the sage brush and Charlott was beside herself with joy!  A very nice buck!  Congratulations to everyone.  That tracking job was one of the harder ones I’ve been involved in.  Remember the saying:  Tracking a wounded animal is “the second hunt”!


That’s the way to get it done Charlott!

On this hunt we saw nearly every animal on the mountain.  Ruff Grouse (no picture), Sharp tail grouse SharpTails

Several mooseMooseAndCalf

A couple of coyotes (no pictures),  Elk (pictures are blurry), Antelope (no pictures), Badger (no picture), A doe standing in a mud hole (more on this one at rendezvous), DoeStandingInMud


Turkey BuzzardsTurkeyBuzzard

CirclingBuzzards Crows and all manner of smaller animals.

Being out in the woods, smelling the fresh air, listening to the sounds of elk and birds and crunching leaves is really what it’s all about.  Good food, good drinks, good company.  Meeting some of the nicest people in the world.  Laughing, cutting up having a great time.  Does it get any better?

One afternoon, Weasel and I had just fixed up a couple of ground blinds for that evenings hunt and had a couple of hours to kill before we cooked and ate our supper.  So what better to do while sitting around than to make ourselves a self bow and go hunting some wild game yellow jackets.  We made the self bow out of pine and the string was a four strand continuous loop.  The arrow was fashioned after a single bevel point and not fitted with fletchings.  We needed to shoot straight out without interference from the bow hand or riser, so we chose to shoot bare shaft.  The brace height was set at 4 inches with a draw length of 10 inches.  The draw weight was not actually calculated, but we figure it was around a pound.  More than adequate for Yellow Jackets.



With so many yellow jackets to choose from, we set ourselves up a bait station with some cooked chicken and waited for them to land.  Weasel made a perfect hit on one, driving the single bevel straight into the yellow jackets heart, killing it instantly. Weasel'sTrophy

Fortunately for the hive, the deceased was carried off for others to enjoy.

One morning Weasel and I were just about back to our camp from an enjoyable morning of spotting but no stocking, when suddenly we rounded a bend and there stood a big old buck!  Weasel was the first to see it and excitedly told me to get out and grab my bow…it’s a buck!  Following the routine, I eased out of the truck and grabbed my bow.  I stepped off the road and began a slow sneak to where I thought the buck was standing.  I had not seen it yet.  As I came to a spot on a small rise I could see the buck broadside looking to my right.  I slowly lifted my range finder and pressed the button, 28 yards.  My heart was pounding pretty good at this time and my eyes shifted from side to side making sure there were no branches or obstructions between me and the buck.  Nothing stood out as a problem.  With the buck still standing there, I drew to full anchor, found my mark on the bucks shoulder and released the arrow.

(Digressing:  Earlier in the week I had purchased some “lighted nocks” from a store in Logan.  When I bought them the guy behind the counter asked me if I had ever shot lighted nocks before…I told him no, I had not.  He said, OK…be careful when you shoot and see that little light zipping away, that you don’t drop your bow hand.  It’s a common thing, especially with traditional archery equipment.  I acknowledged his comments and went out the door.)

I’ve made this sort of shot on my targets all summer long and it’s not a problem to hit at least very near the circle of intention.  This time, however, I saw that little light come on and sure as I was warned, I dropped my bow hand and the arrow went right behind the front leg and into the dirt!  DANG!  The big old buck bounded out of sight quicker than a quail can fly.  And I thought to myself…Damn it Wynn, that might be your only chance and you just blew it!  Oh well, such is life.  I started toward the arrow laying on the ground then stopped myself and decided I best nock another arrow, which I did.  Continuing up the trail toward the downed arrow, I rounded a pine and there stood the buck.  This time looking toward my left.  Again, I slowly raised the range finder…29 yards….

I’ve told you before that my practices have been mostly at 30 yards and I’m just not really all that comfortable taking that distance of a shot at a living animal.  A million things ran through my head…the dropped bow at the last shot….my practices at 30 yards tending to group low and right about 8 inches.  I knew the big buck wasn’t going to stick around long.  I drew to my anchor and made sure I could feel the nock against the side of my nose.  The fixed crawl method of shooting has me looking nearly down the shaft of the arrow at full draw and I put the point of the arrow on the spot where the deers neck meets the top of the shoulder.  I reminded myself not to drop the bow and then released.

The lighted nock flew like an “arrow” and burned its way through the bucks shoulder.  It kicked and bounded away, across the hill side.  Once out of sight behind a pine about 10 yards away, I heard it crash to the ground.  I could hardly believe what had just happened and I turned toward Weasel and gave a clenched fist “YES”!  He saw the buck run off and heard the crash, but wasn’t in a position to see the arrow actually hit the animal.


Elated?  Oh man!  Adrenaline rush delux!  I just accomplished a task I have been years wishing I could do.  I silently thanked God for the success I was enjoying.  I thanked God for the perfect shot placement and taking all the bad dreams out of my mind.  I owe this hunt and the success to those mentioned before…Chris, Lynn, Weasel, Sherry and all my family, all of you members of the Brigham Bowmen, Matt Dernzack, Randy Benson and Darin Gardner.  Whether you know it or not, you have influenced my decisions on choices of bow equipment.  You have been a large part of many conversations on arrow weight, FOC, broad head selection….the list goes on.


Am I hooked on archery hunting?  You better dang sure bet on it!  I’ll stick with my Samick recurve, 500 spine arrows and Badger broadheads.


I will write a story about the Badger Broadhead and how it did its job.  If you are interested at all in the effectiveness of a single bevel broad head, please read the next story.

August 30, 2016

Bears Butt

Authors note:

The author used a Samick Journey take down bow measuring 64 inches from tip to tip, with 55 pound limbs, Lynn Hayes custom turkey feather rest, a 3 Rivers custom made Flemish twist bow string, yarn found in my wife’s hobby drawer, Gold Tip Kinetic arrows, cut to 29 1/2 inches and weighing 7.4 gpi, 4 inch parabolic cut right wing fletching feathers mounted using a Bitzenburger jig at right helical and Bohning fletching tape.  The broad heads are made by Badger Broad heads and were at 125 grains and single right bevel, nocks by Burt Coyote “Lumenock” in red color.  Chevy trucks, Prowler trailers, Goodyear tires, Rogers eggs, Kroger (Smiths) orange juice, Olympia beer, Keystone lite beer, V-8 Juice, Folgers (that’s what is says on the can) Coffee, Aero Aluminum Coffee pot, Badlands packs, Motorola two way radios,  Great Value Spam, Echo chain saws, Maverik Gas, Diamond “strike on the box” matches, Kroger 2 ply toilet paper, Willard City Utah water, Luci brand solar light system, Fox Valley Tannery (out of business now), Kings pattern camo, Under Armour, Altra running shoes, Bushnell binoculars, Nikon range finders, Colman sleeping bags, Hone Propane, Big Buy bacon, Kroger Texas Garlic Toast, Camp Chef (the way to cook outdoors), Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, Crystal ice, Igloo and Colman outdoor products, Ace Hardware motor oil, The Randolph Woodruff area cattle ranchers, USFS, BLM, Utah State University, Utah DWR, Smith and Edwards, Richard Green’s donation of moose steak, High Country Twisted Trail 3 pepper jerky mix, Necco dehydrators, Zip Lock bags, Gerber, Samsung, Energizer batteries, Nikon, T-Mobil and finally Maytag Freezers.

Bears Butt 😉



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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.