By: Bears Butt


With the vision of a dream hunt for elk on the horizon, Bears Butt and the gang are ready to head out on the great adventure.  It’s Thursday, November 7th, 2013 (No Grimace’s Birthday).  Tracker arrives about 6:30 a.m. and the plan is to pull out at 7.


He backed up to the trailer and hooked up.  He is as excited as old Bears Butt himself and has been anticipating this hunt just as much.  His emphasis is on the video opportunities that will be provided on this hunt.  The animals, the country side, the red rock country in general.

One of the first things we realize are the poles for the dining fly are too long to be able to ride in the back of the truck while pulling the trailer and so we made room inside the trailer for them.  To say the least, the trailer is full and if we discover we didn’t bring everything we need for this hunt, we missed a good chance.


Where is the beer?

It’s a good thing this is a 1970’s vintage camp trailer as I don’t think the axle strength of a modern one would have handled the weight we put in this one for this trip!

Packed and ready, I gave MaPa’s one last scratch and Winemaker a big old kiss and we were outa there!

With a 7 a.m. start there wasn’t any time for breakfast and so I had prepared a breakfast burrito for each of the eight of us to eat on the way.


That should keep us going until we stop somewhere for lunch.  Well, that and a handful of home made venison jerky and a Halloween type Snickers bars.

After leaving Willard, we had to make one stop to pick up Edjukateer and as we arrived at his place in Layton, the stack of things he was bringing made it look as if Sara had kicked him out of the house!


It is becoming quite obvious to me at this point that everyone is excited and probably packed more than they really needed.  But like someone said, it’s better to pack it and not need it, than to leave it home and need it.  I agree!  But please leave the TV home!


Let me introduce you to the hunting gang (from left to right)!

Jay “Softball” Zundel (Support), Clyde “Tracker” Westley (Videographer), Brennen “Night Fisher” Gerhart (Elk Expert and Support), John “Wapiti Dung” Zundel (Support), Tracy “Edjukateer” Zundel (Support), Brandon “Weasel” Zundel (Support).

It’s sort of a tradition on our special hunts to make sure everyone is given a special gift of some sort and this hunt was no different.  Sometimes the special gift is just a special saying or even a prayer.  I had already given everyone and their spouses a set of wire elk antlers that can be hung from their beaver sharns or rear view mirrors and now it is Softballs turn.


Softball is always thinking about our comfort and so he gave each of us a set of ear plugs to assist us in getting good nights sleep!  AND he gave us each a good pair of work gloves to combat the thorny plants found only in the San Juan area!  Thank you Softball, they both came in handy!

Once on the freeway heading South, my thoughts turned to the fact that we were about to drive through the Salt Lake and Utah valleys during rush hour traffic on a Thursday morning…YUK!  I hate driving through that traffic anyway, yet alone pulling a trailer.  Well, like all things that have to be done, you just grit your teeth and try to stay out of the trouble that others have gotten themselves into.  We made it!

Turning off and heading up toward Spanish Fork Canyon we met up with Cousin Dennis.  He had seen us traveling through the Salt Lake area and got ahead of us.  We didn’t know what he was driving and when we made the turn he was quick to get on the phone and have us meet up before heading up the canyon.

Dennis drives a Volkswagon Golf with a diesel engine and when he puts the pedal to the metal, he is GONE!  He said he would meet us in Green River as he had to visit with a cousin in that area and then we would have lunch.

Well, as Dennis traveled at near 100 mph, we were pushing it to go 50 mph up the canyon and down the other side.  We gassed up in the little town of Wellington, just South of Price.  Dennis was on the phone about then asking us where we were.  He had already made it to Green River.  We still had an hours drive ahead of us to get to where he was!  Lunch would be late for him!

When we finally got to Green River we went to the only eating place in town, “Rays Tavern”!


A very quaint looking place that was packed with people eating and having a beer or two.  The burgers we each had were very large and an over the top portion of freshly fried French Fries with the spud skins still on them.  For under $9 it was a very worthwhile meal!  I recommend that place as a stopping place if you are ever in the Green River, Utah area and have a minute.  You can’t miss the place, it’s just off the main street about the center of town.  OH YA!  And if you sit near the middle of the dining area, watch out that you don’t accidentally get the chair leg stuck in the hole in the floor!


Well, it was now time to leave Green River and head toward Monticello via the town of Moab.  Moab is a destination town for millions of visitors each year and right now (November) is a great time of year to visit this great place.  The air is cool and crisp and the bugs, snakes, lizards and assorted other hot climate critters are tucked away waiting for the heat of summer.  And so this is what we saw in Moab.  Lots of bike riders (pedal type), cars, vans etc. filled with joyful folks wishing to see all the sights.  But our goal was to get through town and off down the road to Monticello.

Not far South, there is a place called “Hole In The Rock”, a smallish tourist attraction which was actually established by our cousin Dennis’ relatives on his fathers side.  We met with Dennis there and I turned the driving of Trackers truck and my trailer over to Weasel and I climbed in with Dennis to get ahead enough to pick a camping spot somewhere high in the Abajo Mountains.  We felt this was necessary to speed up our camping  process as it was getting late in the day. Dennis thought a good starting point would be Foy Lake.

So, off we went at about 8o mph!  On the way to Foy Lake, we had to go past a large rock that sits along side the mountain.  Dennis bought the rock and property around it and is in the process of cutting holes in it to make a motel.  A very unique idea.  The rock is called “George Rock” and is situated across the highway from another large rock called “Church Rock”.


We hung around George Rock (Dennis Rock) and waited until the convoy of two caught up with us just to make sure they didn’t miss the turn off from the main highway.  When we saw them coming we went on our way with radio contact for awhile.  Our last contact with them was to tell them about the turn off toward Foy Lake.

Dennis likes to drive sort of fast and so up over hill and dale we went and suddenly we were standing next to Foy Lake.  A wonderful little out of the way lake high up on the highway leading from and to Monticello and Newspaper Rock road.

I assessed the situation and the camp spots.  There were several, but for this trip I wanted to make sure it was “the camp spot of all camp spots”….this hunt is special and I want it to be special for everyone.

By the way, we saw several large flocks of wild turkeys strutting around alongside this highway.  I didn’t get any pictures as while I was sitting in Dennis’ car, I wasn’t fast enough to get my camera on the turkeys before we blew past them.

Well it took about a half hour for the convoy of two to make it to Foy Lake.  Dennis and I left them to look over the camp sites there while we went on down the road toward Monticello to look at the other potential sites.

I have to admit the view of the valley we had just driven up was spectacular and a vista worth stopping to see.


Again, there were several nice camp sites to choose from but I finally chose one quite a distance from Foy Lake and off the side of the road enough that people driving by would not even see our camp.

With that done we had to go back to Foy Lake and let the others know.  And then the drive to the camp spot I picked out.

By this time it was after 4 p.m. and it gets dark around 5:30.  We had to do some humping to get camp set up before it got dark.  We hustled and just like a good team will do, we had things set up and orderly soon.





Dennis hung around awhile and then had to leave.  He lives across the valley from Monticello and into Colorado a ways, he says about an hour away.  I suppose as fast as he drives it is an hour, but I also suspect that if I was driving it would be more like an hour and a half…just guessing.  As he was leaving he said to us…”I’ll be here early in the morning and will take you around to see Uncle Bob’s property”!  We said our goodbys and off he went.

After a few comforting drinks and some good laughs we set into making our supper meal…Stew and Hard Rolls…does it get any better than that?  I think not!

Well it was a long day of driving and looking and we certainly are not disappointed in any of it.  But tomorrow, Friday, is our day to look around and maybe even spot some elk.  The hunt actually begins Saturday and I would love to tag an elk that day.  Remember Dennis said he would be here early in the morning and so we decided we had had enough fun for one day.  It was time to retire.



Alarm clock set for 5:30 a.m.?  Check!

Bears Butt

Nov. 18, 2013

Written on November 18th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


Well folks it’s been a really long time since I posted up anything on here.  But you have to consider I’ve been away from the computer and from most of civilization for the last 9 days!  When was the last time you stayed away from a hot shower for 9 days?  Top that time line with a little breeze and some of the finest red clay dirt in the world and a quick wipe with a wet towel has you thinking maybe you are turning into a red man.

The last you heard from me was the fact that we had everything packed and ready to head off for the hunt, that was a week ago last Thursday, Nov. 7.  Since then a lot has happened and I’ve got a wonderful story to relate to you.  I’d like to tell you about that story in a day by day unfolding.  Everyday of the hunt has some wonderful memories and pictures and just for the record, I’d like to take you with me on this adventure.

For those of you with little to no attention span or patience or time to spend reading this nonsense, I will let you know I did end up with an animal in the caliber that I was looking for…a mature 6X6 bull elk around the 300 point mark.  Now I’m not saying I would not have taken a spike if given the chance, I would have…that’s just me and if the opportunity came about where I had a 400 yard shot at a 6X6 or a 20 yard shot at a spike, I would have taken the closer animal.

As the Gods of fate, Luck of the Draw, Crossing of the lines of the circles or call it what you will, in my case “Butt Luck”, we did spot a small bachelor herd of bulls feeding in a chained area near our camp and we managed to sneak within gunning range (150 yards) and God put a very nice bull in my sights and let everything else play out perfectly (film at 11).

As for right now, I’ll have to just let you drool over that much of the story.  For the next several days you will get to re-live my 9 day adventure of a lifetime, one day at a time.  It’s better to savor the meal before you than to stuff it all in your mouth at one time and choke it down.

For the impatient ones…send a friend request to Brandon Zundel on Facebook and see the pictures he posted up…for you with a knack to savor things of this type, chapter one will be coming soon.  Check back often…and by the way…click on some of the ads you see on this page and maybe even buy something.  It helps with the costs of operating this site…just saying.

I have meat to put into the freezer right now and must get going on that task.  I have never seen such a big animal before me laying there in all its dead glory.  I Thank You, God, for making my dream come true.

Bears Butt

Nov. 16, 2013

Written on November 16th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


You can all guess by this picture what is on my mind…yes a 6X6 bull elk…whether that happens or not will depend on a lot of good luck falling my way.  No matter what, we are leaving today, November 7, 2013, and coming back sometime before or after November 17.  Everyone is hoping and wishing sooner than the 17th, including me.  BUT….

When you get a chance like this, you really have to plan on the extent of the time allotted.  It does not make sense to drive 400 miles, hunt a few days and call it over, at least not in my mind it doesn’t.

I sent an email to the local conservation officer down there and he replied today with a very good note, basically it said: The weather has been good and it looks like you will have the entire mountain to play on!

I suppose in years past that has not been the case, thus 60 – 70% success on less than quality animals.  This is my year!  Total access to the mountain and animals begging to be taken to Willard and put in a freezer!  Sounds good to me!

Mr. Shumway also said some other things I can not divulge here right now…someone might be skulking around looking for information.

And with what he said, I did a very thorough look at the very imagery I have poured over for the last 3 months…To tell you the truth, I’m sort of sick of looking at the Abajo Mountains from straight above them!  I need to see this ground I’ve been pounding from right on top of it!  With my feet firmly planted in the red clay or whatever dirt it is made of!

I have peered over the edges of some of the deepest canyons in the world!  I have hiked up trails not even a mountain goat could climb!  I have soared like an eagle over and down and around some incredible looking country and have I seen so much as a ground squirrel or a deer?….NO!….It’s past time for me to be down there looking across, or up instead of  straight down!  (Today I did see some cows in the imagery, red ones and black ones ;-)).

Yes folks!  Today is the day we are heading off toward the Moab/Monticello/Blanding area.  I’ve been to Moab, I’ve been South of Moab to where my mother was raised, Big Indian Valley…But I’ve never been further South than that!  A first for me in that regard and a first for me to be able to hunt a wiley bull elk!  Firsts around!  I’ll drink to that!

My camera battery is fully charged and you can bet I’ll be taking a ton of pictures!  Hopefully one or two will contain a bull elk with me holding up the antlers!  We will see!

Until next time!  Take care…wish me luck…and get busy thinking of Christmas gifts….Not for me, but for others!  I’m blessed with this tag!  Santa could not have been more thoughtful!

DeadElkOnTopOfCarNo more days, we are GONE!

Bears Butt

November 7, 2013

Written on November 7th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


Monticello weather:

Sunny!  High 41, Low 23!  Winds WNW 5 to 10 (like always)….Again, looking down the road the weather appears like it will pretty much remain like this through all of next week.  I like it!

The roads should all be dry and with that cold of nights the elk should cool down really quickly.  The flys and other flying critters should be all holed up and of course the clear sky’s will lend picture taking to an absolute maximum!  I can hardly wait to see what the night sky looks like as well!  With there not being many city lights down that way there should be 20 billion and six stars shining above.

We might even see Taurus…The bull…as in Elk!  And life will be good as long as we don’t see uranus (hahaha!)!

Today is the final packing day and even my food supplies are going into the camp trailer.  One last trip to town to get the stuff that could have spoiled since last weeks shopping trip. And then the long wait!

I’ve burned myself out looking at earth views via satellite of the hunting grounds.  I’ve pretty much got everything memorized, except the names of the drainage’s and mountain tops.  Most of my emphasis has been on the lay of the land, roads and water sources.  In my dealing with those things I have discovered other things that I can’t reveal on here until after the hunt.  If I was to say what I think I have discovered and then it doesn’t pan out to be what I believe it to be, my credibility would go from the low it is now, to below low.  So I’ll keep it to myself and share it with the gang when we get down there.

Tomorrow is the day!

BearWithAntlersModifiedWhat am I thinking about?

Bears Butt

Nov. 6, 2013

Written on November 6th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt

I’m hoping I either get to see this done, or get to do it myself:

Written on November 5th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


Monticello weather:  Partly cloudy skies.  COLD!  High near 35 F.!!!!  BRRRRRRRR, with winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.  That is what is expected today and with a low tonight of 19 F,  there will be frost on the pumpkin!

Right now it is 25 F, with 54% humidity and a 12 mph wind, so it feels like it is 15 F.!!!!

I’m for sure taking my capote on this hunt!

Yesterday, like many days before, I was scouring the digital images of the hunting area  looking for water holes and I found quite a few around where I think Dennis is going to want us to camp.  One in particular is a water hole I saw in a You Tube video of a guy that frequents (or used to) a forum I like to look at…the Utah Wildlife Net…His name is Elk22 something and in his video he shows a water hole that he was watching and then the bull elk he finally put down.  I noticed some features about that water hole and when I found what I did yesterday, I had this feeling come over me that it was the same one I saw in his video!  Game on as far as I’m concerned.  But whether the elk are visiting that hole or not at this time of year is another thing.  He was bow hunting and it was August or September when they were all over that water hole.

There might be a time during the hunt that I’ll take a hike into that hole and see for myself if there are any fresh tracks around it.

Speaking of tracks, I will have my plaster of paris stuff with me to make casts of any good bear tracks we may come across!  I got a good one of a cougar track on a past hunt up near Kamas once, so since there are supposed to be so many bears down in this neck of the woods there is bound to be an old track left in a hardened mud place to be found.  Time will tell and speaking of time……………

2 days!

Don’t forget to vote today!

Bears Butt

Nov. 5, 2013


Written on November 5th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


BRRRRRRR!  34 degrees outside right here, but what is it like in Monticello?

26 degrees! with 62% humidity!

Today will see a mix of clouds and sun followed by mostly cloudy this afternoon and a few showers possible.  High expected to be mid 40’s and winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph…It always seem to have winds 5 to 10 mph….and a chance of rain at 40%  Lows tonight around 30!

Looking down the road at their long range forecast I see a warming trend with highs above normal, around 50 with lows around 30.  I think us hunters are in for a very nice hunt!  With this mild of temperatures we may even see ourselves a bear or two!  Wouldn’t that be fun!!!?!!!  I have never seen a bear outside of Yellowstone!  And as long as any bear we saw was far away from the downed elk, I would be just fine with that!

Who is excited is ME!!!

3 days!

Bears Butt

Nov. 4, 2013

Written on November 4th, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


Woke up to snow on the ground and more flying around!  BRRRRRR!  Bundle up in that there capote!

Monticello woke up to a mix of clouds and sun, with a high expected in the low 50’s and lows in the upper 20’s!  Winds today will begin out of the SW and shift during the day to out of the NNW!  That will mean a change is coming their way in the form of colder temps and maybe even that snow that was talked about yesterday.  The storm watch has been lifted!

I’m glad I got done what I got done yesterday as far as packing some of my personal stuff in the camp trailer.  Today I would be tracking in wet snow and that would have meant another cleaning of the floor before heading out.

This afternoon Tracker is coming down and we will make sure the trailer will hook up to his truck properly…level and lights….His truck sits a little higher than Weasels.

Do you know about Weasels truck?  We were going to use it to go hunting with, but suddenly what turned out to be a bad fuel injector that cost him over $900 to get fixed, another problem caused his radiator fluid to dump into the crank case.  Then after fixing that problem and changing out the fluids in the crank case and having the engine purring like a kitten, his transmission went out!  What a streak of bad luck!

What all of us are glad about with that situation is that it broke down before we left town.  It could have been much worse to have been part way to the hunting area or worse, up on the mountain hunting.  That is something everyone needs to think about even with new vehicles.  Be prepared!

4 days!

Bears Butt

Nov. 3, 2013

Written on November 3rd, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt

All shot on the “Blue Mountains of Utah”! If these are not already killed, we just might run into one!

Written on November 2nd, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS
By: Bears Butt


Hold everything!  Monticello weather has a change coming that wasn’t in the forecast yesterday!  Remember when I reported yesterday about it going to be mid 40’s through the rest of this week and all of next?  Well, it ain’t so now!  Listen to this!

Special Weather Statement for Monticello and surrounding areas:

Potentially significant winter storm to bring colder temperatures and snowfall to the region Sunday night through Wednesday morning!

A strong cold front ahead of a trough of low pressure will move through Northeast Utah and Northwest Colorado Sunday afternoon and night with snow starting in the mountains of NE Utah and NW Colorado!  This cold front will stall just north of the Book Cliffs Monday morning, with the trough of low pressure deepening over the Great basin Monday afternoon.  Precipitation will increase across the area in the SW flow with snow levels initially around 8,000 feet.  The cold front will push across the remainder of eastern Utah and western Colorado Monday night into Tuesday morning with snow levels lowering to all valley floors!  Snowfall will continue through Wednesday morning as the low lifts out of the region!  Snowfall amounts are uncertain at this time, but the potential exists for significant snowfall in most mountains as well as some valleys and temperatures turn much colder!!!!!!

YIKES!  That is a major change!  So, folks bring your capotes to the hunt!

With a change in our local weather coming tonight through tomorrow, my day is going to be filled with Fall activities, especially picking up leaves, but also getting some of my things packed into the trailer for the hunt!

Another thing that has occurred recently is the addition of Night Fisher to our gang of hunters!  I called him yesterday and talked to him about joining us!  He said he would love to!  He brings with him the expertise we need in finding an elk.  He has killed many in his young age and knows their habits and such and although he has never been down in the Abajo Mountains, I don’t think it will take him long to figure out where the elk like to hide.  He is also bringing a couple of back packs used to haul out elk on ones back!  So, with his two and Trackers one, there will be three of us available to haul out boned meat, while the others will be free to carry the head, antlers and cape.  I figure the meat alone will weigh about 600 pounds, while the head, antlers and cape will be close to 300!

Additionally, the antlers alone will be about 80 inches long, which are too long for someone to put on their back and carry out, so I picture a man on each side carrying them, still attached to the head of course, and a third man carrying the bundled up cape.

It really doesn’t get much better than this!  IT DON’T!!!

5 days!

Bears Butt

Nov. 2, 2013

Written on November 2nd, 2013 , DREAM HUNTS | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.