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Utah offers superb trophy elk in limited-entry units

(Update: our outfitter has temporarily retired. Another outfitter, who has done a good job for us for 20 years, moved last year to this valley and will now operate this hunt for us.)

Tom Paluso of Hunts.Net gets a great bull in September 2007.

This hunt is offered by a local outfitter who grew up in central Utah, where several world-class elk units meet. He uses four-wheel-drive trucks and mules to access areas where the biggest bulls live. You'll stay in a 24-foot camp trailer next to the hunting area and will ride into the back-country pockets where the big boys live.

One of these units is nationally famous, but a couple of others produce great bulls, too. Rifle and muzzleloader hunters typically can expect to take bulls scoring 340 to 380 B&C points, and bowhunters should have opportunities at animals in the same category. Hunters who are selective usually get bulls in the 370 or better category. A hunter who wants to increase his chances of hunting should consider applying for a bow or muzzleloader permit or for a late-season rifle tag. The outfitter guided a hunter on the blackpowder hunt in '05 and produced a 360 bull. In the Pahvant unit, he guided a hunter in '06 to a 390 bull.
In 2007 Tom Paluso of Hunts.Net hunted with a rifle and got a bull that grossed 379 B&C. I tagged along to videotape Tom's hunt for a future TV show.

Rich LaRocco of Hunts.Net got the bull that carried this rack in 1999, and the area has improved since then.

We had a great time, covering many miles on the backs of well-trained mules and looking over about 100 bulls, including several other great animals in the 350 to 370 class. The outfitter was looking for a 400-class bull that he had seen, but this bull was too hard to pass up. When he appeared in heavy junipers, we didn't have enough time to evaluate him before he was back in the timber. Then his cows spotted us and started to run. I bugled to make it appear that the ruckus had been caused by another bull chasing the cows, and this wary old warrior walked back into the open.

Tom made a 300-yard shot with his custom-made ultralight .30-caliber rifle. The main beams were almost 56 and 57 inches long, and we gross-scored him at 379 B&C. If you want to take this hunt, get hold of us in before applications are due, usually in January. Typically about half the tags go to hunters with few or no bonus points. A handful of landowner and conservation permits are available to high bidders each year.

"The bulls pile up in a remote area," the outfitter said, "and we get there with our mules. We take mostly resident hunters. I personally shot a 64-inch elk in this unit a few years ago.

"One reason we do well is that we know where the remote water sources are. A guy hunting on his own would probably never find them."

This outfitter also operates in several other units that offer some excellent bulls. Some are more difficult to hunt or are not known for holding many B&C caliber bulls, so the odds of drawing a tag are better. Landowner and conservation permits are available at auctions in the state. They typically go for top dollar. Ask about Hunt EK4567KA.--Rich LaRocco.

Hunt EK4567

Hunt
Price per person, length
Archery, rifle or blackpowder elk $4,000 for 5 days
$5,250 for 7 days
$7,000 for 10 days
Location
Units near Fillmore and Nephi, Utah. These are rugged mountains ranges that rim the arid Great Basin. You must draw a tag or buy a landowner permit or auction permit (usually sold through the mule deer or elk foundations. Details on licenses

Seasons

Travel
Bow is in early September. Muzzleloader is in late September. Rifle is in mid-September and again in mid-November. Fly to Salt Lake City and rent a car for the 3-hour drive to Fillmore.
Lodging and meals
24-foot camp trailer, meals included