The Devil’s Pitchfork
Being a local Saint George boy, Nick McDaniel loves to hunt in Southern, Utah.
I'm a local boy, born and raised in Saint George, and I currently live in Washington Fields. For the past 12 years I have been putting in for a coveted bull tag on the Southwest Desert. I fell in love with that area because of the number of animals you can see. I’ve had many cool experiences with coyotes, mule deer, bull elk, badgers, and even happened upon a baby calf elk once. It could barely walk. Year after year I waited in anticipation for the draw results only to be let down. Finally, 2014 was my year!
We started scouting at the first of July. We scouted the unit high and low all summer. Each trip we came across so many animals, and a few nice bulls. I clearly remember taking the 2 hour trip (each way) from St. George. I also would run up there after work trips and spend the night. I got very good at packing for an overnight stay in my truck.
When opening day finally came, many of my lifelong friends and I set out to find a bull. On opening morning, we couldn’t close the deal but later that afternoon we located a bull that I thought was awesome. He was with eight cows/calves. We had never seen him during scouting which made it that much more exciting.
My buddy Tyler Bowler and I crawled about ¼ mile on our hands and knees through a burn (not easy) to get a good position to shoot from. My other friends guided us in by radio. His cows spotted us during the stalk and took off. The bull just stood still and tried to figure out what was going on. The meadow he was in was surrounded by cedar trees so it would only take him a couple of seconds to be gone forever. I picked a cedar tree to get a good rest on and set up. He was just over 350 yards away. After my second shot my spotters (Zent, Trent, Duke) thought I had missed both times. I finally got the THWOP that I was familiar with on the third shot and he went down. He didn’t go very far from my last shot. We found him after dark and realized that I had hit him all three times. It was like the first two shots didn’t even phase him. Talk about a tough freaking animal.
It was a hunt of a lifetime, a very cool experience. He is not a record breaker but his right side is really cool. It’s hard to see in the pics but he has a devil’s point along with all the other goofy stuff that gives him 9 pts on the right side. He had 6x9 total points. We think he was an older bull on his downside, rear teeth were loose. I submitted the teeth and info to DWR and look forward to hearing back on his on genetics/lifespan details.
I want to give a special thanks to my friends for sharing in on such a great experience that I will remember the rest of my life. Thanks to Tyler Bowler, Trent Bowler (Veyo,Utah), Zeth Gibson, Duke Barnes, and wife Brittney McDaniel. And a very special thanks to my Dad, David McDaniel for teaching me to love and appreciate hunting/fishing and the outdoors.
Nick McDaniel is from St. George, Utah. He is the National Sale Manager for Iwata Spray Guns. Iwata specializes in premium automotive paint equipment based out of SLC. He drew the tag on the Southwest Desert with 12 points. His rifle of choice is a Ruger 300 Win Mag. He is married to Brittney McDaniel. They currently reside in Washington Fields.