Saturday, September 11, 2010

Strawberry Hunt-n-Fish

Fishing and Hunting Time: Friday through Sunday
Weather: Perfect, warm, no wind
Moon Phase: 15% Moon
Location: Soldier Creek Reservoir
Water Temp: 55 degrees
Bait: White tube jig tipped with worm
Who Went: Phil, Dax, Dick, Me
My cousin Phil drew out on the Wasatch Big Bull Elk Hunt this year and invited me to go with him to hunt the backside of Strawberry Reservoir over the weekend. My Uncle Dick went with us along with Phil’s son Dax who is 6 years old. I took the boat up there because my Uncle Dick knew of a hunting spot only accessible by boat or horse that he wanted us to try. I also had ulterior motives that we might be able to get in some fishing time! We drove up on Friday night but stopped short of Strawberry to Hunt a canyon near Daniels Summit. We spent all night in a blind listening to elk crash through the trees all around us, but never saw any come down to the watering hole we were watching. We hiked down in the dark and headed to my Uncle Dick’s buddies camp trailer where we spent the weekend. The next morning my cousin and I hiked down to a watering hole in the dark and then sat there until it was light enough to see. We waited there for about a half hour but didn’t hear or see anything so we wandered around the mountain into a large canyon. Just as we were about to lose hope my cousin spotted a four point elk wandering through the trees about 100 yards from us. We contemplated whether it was big enough to shoot, but decided it wasn’t. We hiked up and out of the canyon and met Dick and Dax by the road and headed back to the trailer. We asked Dax what he wanted to do for the afternoon and he adamantly said, “I want to go fishing!” He’s a kid after my own heart. We loaded up the fishing and hunting gear and headed down to the lake. We launched the boat and began fishing, but our spirits unfortunately weren’t as high about fishing as they normally are. Not only was it the worst time of day to fish, but we had been up at 5:00 a.m. hunting and hiking mountains, so we were wore out physically. Not Dax though, he was ready to fish and he was catching them all by himself with no help. I kept dozing off at the front of the boat and by 4:00 p.m. the hot sun had taken its toll and we decided to hit the mountain and find a shade tree to sit under while we waited for the elk to start to move. We pulled the boat up on shore and anchored it to a pine tree making sure it wouldn’t wander anywhere while we were gone, and then hiked up the mountain to our spot. We waited for three and a half hours watching this canyon without seeing or hearing a dang thing and decided to call it a night early so that we didn’t have to drive the boat back in the dark. Just as we were walking down the mountain to leave I took my binoculars and glassed a hill that was hidden from where I had just sat for hours. I saw two nice Bulls and a group of cows about a half mile up the canyon. We debated whether we would have enough time to get to them before dark, and decided to go for it. Phil and I ran up the mountain and got into a position where we felt we were pretty close to them. We got on the radio and called down to my Uncle Dick and asked him if the elk were still there. He told us they had wandered over the hill and no sooner after he said that we heard one of the bulls bugle and knew they were not close, so we called it a night. We went back to the trailer and ate more steak and potatoes than you should have in five sittings and then crashed! Next morning we all woke up early again, except Dax, he was not in the mood for another early wakeup call and Phil had to dress him in his sleep, but soon enough he was awake and ready to hunt again. I have to say that Dax is one of the coolest 6 year old kids I’ve been around. He’s not annoying like most kids his age who ask a million questions about nothing and never leave you alone. He kept up with us the whole trip and never complained while hiking or hunting, even when we sat there for four hours straight not making a sound and I felt like I was going to pull my own hair out. He just hung out like the big boys and even declined his coat when I thought I was going to freeze to death! What a little stud! I also learned quite a few baseball stats over the weekend because Dax’s favorite thing to do is look up baseball scores and stats via internet on his dad’s phone about his favorite team the Brave’s. I tried to recruit him over to the good side and route for the Yankees, but his dad’s pretty much got him brainwashed to be a lifelong Atlanta fan! This morning’s hunt started with Dick driving us around to all the spots where he has seen elk in the past. Dick rides horses up there religiously and knows every nook and cranny of those mountains, so he put us right where the elk were every morning and night. He pulled his truck off to the side of the road and parked it, and we hiked up and over a ridge to a lookout spot and instantly I spotted another bull sitting behind a bush. It was a good find and I felt pretty proud about it! We watched him for probably around a half hour debating whether he was a shooter or not, but came to the decision that it wasn’t quite big enough, and by then the sun was coming up and the day was getting hot, so we called the morning hunt complete and headed back to the trailer. I loaded my gear and got out of there. What a fun trip and good times hunting with the Bringhurst family. I love hiking and being in the mountains looking for big game. Fall is my favorite time of the year by far!

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