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Quality private-land elk bugle hunt in east-central Utah

This Utah ranch offers the opportunity to rifle hunt elk during the rut or bugling season. The ranch, 5,000 private acres, is part of a 25,000-acre Cooperative Wildlife Management unit. The ranch gets two permits per year. The state of Utah also issues one permit per year through a computer lottery to a resident hunter, who is allowed to hunt the entire 25,000 acres. All hunters in the past 12 years have filled their tags. With few exceptions, the bulls score 300 to 375 Boone and Crockett points. Hunts.Net agent Rich LaRocco leased this ranch one year about 10 years ago and guided two mule deer bowhunters, both of whom killed 4x4 and 5x4 bucks early in the season. At that time there were a few elk, but their numbers and quality have increased dramatically since then due to conservative management. The unit where the ranch lies had been overhunted for elk in the late '80s, but then it was open only to holders of draw permits until 1998. Meanwhile, Utah adopted the Posted Hunting Unit (PHU) and later the CWMU programs, similar to Ranching for Wildlife in Colorado, and most of the ranchers put their land in CWMUs. Under the CWMU system the herds are managed for trophy quality, and in return for limiting the bull harvest, the ranchers are awarded with longer seasons and the opportunity to take elk rifle hunters during the elk rut in September and early October. The outfitter usually guides and has a friend help guide even if he has only one hunter. Some years he gets two permits; other years he gets only one permit. One of the guides is part of the ranching family; the other is a friend who loves hunting. The hunt dates are tentatively set for mid-September and early October, but the rancher has a great deal of flexibility because the season runs from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31.

Most bulls taken on this hunt are in the 320 to 330 B&C range though one of our customers, Kelly Zier, took a 350-class animal within six hours.

In 2007 the outfitter ended up outfitting three hunters, more than normal, and each killed a 6x6 in the 320 to 330 range. They killed one a day for three days.

Hunts.Net Customer Kelly Zier with his 350-class bull, 1st day of his hunt.

Misty Larson with her 345-class bull.

Note: Next opening is in 2010. The outfitter said he'll probably keep the price for anybody booking now.

"I've just returned from the elk hunt that you coordinated for me in Utah," Bill Frazier of Missouri said. "My wife went with me and we had a wonderful experience. It started out slow with three days of heavy rains and hail. The weather seemed to keep the bulls quiet, but once the sun came out, the hunting got hot! The accommodations were excellent, the meals were very good, and the country side was spectacular. The terrain was tougher than what my wife had expected, but the beauty of it all was well worth it. The outfitter even provided us with four guides! The were all very friendly and treated us like family. On the fifth day of my hunt I finally settled on this nice 338 3/8 6x6 bull. Every bull I saw was a 5x5 or better. It was one of the best hunts I've been on. I would recommend this hunt because the outfitter and his staff thoroughly enjoy elk hunting and will give 100 percent to ensure that you enjoy the experience."

Hunt EK4521

Price Guide ratio
$8,000, any 5 days, 9/1-10/31 2 guides per hunter; 1x1 if two friends come together
Hunter success Trophy size (avg., smallest, biggest)
100% almost every year from 1989 through 2007. Most bulls scored 300 to 375 B&C; occasionally a hunter shoot a smaller bull because he is in a rush or makes a mistake. Most hunters have a chance to take a bull in the 320 to 330 range.
Outfitter pickup Method of hunting
Price, Utah; Fly into Salt Lake City and rent a car (2 1/2 hour drive)

Bugling, calling, spotting and stalking, roads reach higher elevations, so most walking is crosshill or downhill

Extra fees Terrain
Taxidermist, butcher, state tag, transportation between Salt Lake City and the ranch. 5,000 private acres of mostly open sagebrush ridges and quaking aspen woods with some conifers and juniper, elevations mostly 7,500 to 8,500 feet.
License costs Lodging and meals

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 Modern cabin on the ranch with satellite TV