I am unabashed in my love hunting out west. I spend my entire winter and spring studying the odds and trying to draw the best tag to put me in the mountains
in September. And this year, I drew a big fat zero, leaving me with 13 Utah elk points. That was my cue to get out there and do some in-person investigation… a
guy can only learn so much from tidbits on the internet and phone
conversations with the folks at the Division of Wildlife.
I have had my eye on a few units out there. I am typically a 2nd tier kind of
guy, but putting in for that long, I am getting close to the top tier
units. After a few calls, I had maps ordered and horses lined up for a 3-hour gear pack into a nice comfy camp where I had drawn a big red X on a map. From there, I had easy access to explore a half dozen drainages and find out if there really are any elk in Utah.
The terrain in this
unit ranged from goat-like steep and barren to a mix of lush Aspen and dense
Lodge pole Pine, all with grassy meadows in the bottoms for feed.
It sure was nice being in elk country without the
pressure of filling a tag. I used the
opportunity to test some new gear, and was completely impressed by the Bivy 45 and the Merino base layer. I also confirmed there is nothing better in
the mountains than the Ascent and Jetstream pieces.
In the end, the investment was well
worth it. I found plenty of good rubs
and wallows, some hidden springs, and some very remote feeding areas that will
all come into play when I finally do draw this tag.