Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Utah Spike Elk Hunt

Snow falling on the Boulder Mountain yesterday
It's good to be home with nothing to do for the day!  Let it rain, and errr, well, snow too!  That's right, 4" of snow now blankets the top of the Boulder Mountain, and looking from my back porch, I would say that snow level made it down a little lower than the weatherman predicted!  This is just what we need to bring on a great general season deer hunt, which begins next Saturday, October 20th. 

Today however, we are talking spike elk hunting.  Many of us started the 2012 spike elk (and general any bull elk hunts) waking up to pretty warm conditions.  Those lucky enough to have cold weather didn't report much of a change that would be enough to get the elk moving a whole lot.  Early success in the spike hunt was hard to come by this year, as the elk would draw back into the trees shortly after daylight, and didn't want to make another appearance until almost dark.

Zach and Mike glassing
Zach glassing a canyon

This year I had the great privilege to be invited along with my good friends, Zach and Spenser Owens, along with friends and family.  We were joined by the Owens' buys father, Doug Owens, brother Layden, Spenser's wife Laura, and good friends Mike Marshall and Ryan Dastrup.  Along with this group, we were quite often visited at camp by other great friends from the Panguitch area, some who found success in this hunt a bit earlier than the rest of us!  Way to go Kenny Tebbs' group, as I we watched from across the canyon as the boys got into some great shooting just after sunrise!  I understand some young guys, Daxtyn and Chandylr Tebbs (Kenny's nephews) got into the shooting action, and the group brought 2 spikes in on the opener.  Before pulling the trigger uncle Kenny asked the boys if they knew what they were getting into.  Kenny's brother David says that the boys got to experience the hard work it can be to pack an elk out of a nasty canyon!  Seven hours later the group had the bulls packed out, and were back to camp.  Well, hopefully it didn't sour the experience.  We hope to hear of more success from the Tebbs family in the future!  Congrats boys on a couple of fine spikes!

Cache with his spike
Another local hunter, and frequent visitor to our camp, Cache Miller of Panguitch, also brought down a spike just a day after I left camp to return home to work.  No doubt the "widest spike on the mountain", we also want to tell Cache good job on a successful hunt.

As for the rest of us, well, Wednesday evening I was able to put it all together and bag my first spike elk.  While I have been hunting spikes several times, I have to admit this was my first kill.  We headed up to an area where I have often seen herds dropping off of the top of the mountain as the weather turns cold.  With the approaching storm system, I figured that the time was at hand, as I always seem to have great luck with elk the day before or the day after a storm.  After work, I loaded the family for a ride up to a favorite spot when the elk are on the move.  Sure enough, we jumped a herd right in the middle of the road, but no spikes, only 1 big bull.  Back in the truck, and around the next turn we found the rest of the herd, and in a small clearing a spike!  After a short chase around a hilltop I was able to bring the bull down with 1 shot from 398 yards hitting him right int he neck and dropping him in his tracks, a spike by 2 (thank you Vortex Ranger 1000 rangefinder, and Vortex Diamondback Riflescope!)  We will have a review of the Ranger 1000 rangefinder coming to the blog after the rifle deer hunt in a couple of weeks.

My boys celebrating the kill
All packed up, ready to head out

The best part of it all, having my family along that evening.  What a blast hiking my wife and kids into the canyon to take care of my kill.  It's only a spike, but if you could have heard my boys you would have thought we had brought down a 400" monster bull!  It was dark when we made it back to the truck, and we had a good time talking about the experience all the way home.  I have to give out a big thanks to Gregg Christensen, for meeting up with me that morning, bringing along a good horse, and for helping me quarter and pack my elk out so I could get home in time for Dallin's birthday.  Thanks a ton Gregg!

The next day I received word that Zach and Ryan were also able to bring in 2 more long tines!  Switching locations back to a favorite spot, the boys had no trouble filling their tags.  In addition, they are out trying to find another one that they spotted last night.  Hopefully that will bring success to the rest of the Owens/Mike Marshall group!

The Viper HD spotter was a valuable tool for this hunt!
Ive got to say, I have never got into the hype of the spike hunt.  With tags in the past, I have spent very little time out scouting, hiking, or even camping really.  This was such a fun hunt, it will go down as one of my favorites.  What a relaxing time sitting around the fire in camp and swapping stories with old friends, and running into so many friends that I haven't seen in years.  I think I looked more forward to the down time in the middle of the day than the early hours of hearing the bulls bugling in the hills.  I've missed out on some good times in the past for sure, and I look forward to making this trip an annual event with great friends.  Thanks for inviting me for a few years now boys!  I'm glad I was able to finally put work aside for a few days and join you for an amazing hunt.  I've also been applying for a few out of state hunts with these guys.  Hopefully there's plenty more good times to come chasing big game through amazing country! 

As for the rest of the group, well, there's still almost a full week left to hunt, and the snow that is falling is only going to help things for them.  Good luck to all of you that are out there still trying to fill your tags.  Be sure to send some pictures our way!  You can email them to or post them (or tag them) to our Facebook page,

Amazing country, and great friends.  This is what the spike hunt is all about!
Thanks for all your support everyone!  As we approach our first anniversary of SUH&F, we are now nearing 600 Twitter followers and 500 Facebook fans!  Keep spreading the word!  Also, keep watching as within a couple of weeks we will have BIG news on an amazing upcoming round of contests/giveaways.  I hate to give out very many clues, but have you seen our list of sponsors?  Would it be possible they could be participating in the festivities?  Hmm...