Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy New Year from Star Mountain Ranch!

This time of year with football almost over and fishing six months away, our thoughts turn to elk hunting in the Mountain West. Ads in magazines and the internet offer a wide array of guiding services for hunters. Please be aware, not all outfitters are reputable. Many of my clients, past and present have told me horror stories of previous hunts where they had been deceived and taken advantage of. Before booking a hunt, ask questions; make sure the outfitter’s ad is not just smoke and mirrors.

  • If the hunt is guaranteed, it is likely a high fence hunt. Often outfitters will advertise several thousand acres to hunt on when in reality you may be hunting on a three to five hundred acre fenced parcel. Insist on knowing how many acres you will actually be hunting on within the fenced area. If the outfitter is elusive, walk away!
  • Find out what is included in the cost of the hunt. That bargain price that caught your eye may have hidden fees. Extra cost for license, guide fees, trophy care, additional guest, etc. can ruin a hunt. Ask questions!
  • Lodging and food are another issue. That picture on the internet of the beautiful trailer or cabin you are to stay in may actually be a tough shed with a cot. Don’t laugh; this happened to several hunters last year. Find out if your meals are being prepared in a kitchen licensed and inspected by the Department of Health. Unsafe food preparation will ruin any hunt.
  • Yes, size does matter. You are paying for a specific size bull elk and that is what you should go home with! Many hunters don’t understand Safari Club International’s measuring system and are often taken advantage of…..Don’t let this happen to you!

Nothing is more heartbreaking then discovering the 450” class bull you paid for officially measures 390”. I booked a guaranteed hunt for a 400 class trophy bull several years ago. I was assured the ranch had three 400+ class bulls available so I sent in my deposit and couldn’t wait for August to arrive! The magazine ad said I would be hunting on 11,000 acres, in reality; the fenced enclosure I actually hunted in was under a thousand acres.

When my guide had me shoot my “400 class bull”, I was elated; it was the biggest elk I had ever seen! I took my trophy to the taxidermist and discovered my “400 class dream bull” officially measured 372”SCI. A call to the ranch about the discrepancy was futile. They refused to refund the difference in class size. I later found out this was the biggest bull they had on the ranch!

I had saved for years and was taken advantage of by dishonest people preying on my inexperience.

I decided to start my own ranch and run it with the integrity you expect and deserve. Previous managers failed to meet these criteria and have all been replaced long ago.

Since then, the ranch has been a huge success with 100% client satisfaction. My top notch staff will insure you have the most exciting hunt of your life for the trophy you have always dreamed about.

Looking forward to hunting with you on Star Mountain Ranch.


PS…. I will be in Sacramento CA at the International Sportsman’s Expo. Jan. 20-23rd @ Cal.Expo State Fairgrounds

Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Feb. 5-13th @PA. Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA


From one of our 2010 Hunters. Thanks for the kind words.

Dear fellow hunters,
There are a lot of Elk Ranches out there that tend to exaggerate their claims. John Romero on the other hand, has not told me anything that has not proven to be an honest, straightforward representation of his ranch, and the trophy bulls on it. He doesn't need to! John runs one of the best operations I have had the pleasure of becoming familiar with. I can recommend Star Mountain Ranch without reservation. I have found John to be honest, and a man of considerable good humor.

Neal Current.....El Paso, Texas

Monday, October 4, 2010

I have been reluctant to post this message but I realize now that I am receiving far to many calls to ignore this any longer. In no way is Star Mountain Ranch associated with Shane Dykster. In fact we released Shane from the ranch 2-years ago for legal reasons.

For you hunters hearing from Shane hinting to be part of this ranch, I suggest you Google his name and you will find a list of blogs and even one site dedicated to giving you the full facts of his "ranch" and guiding abilities.

Star Mountain Ranch is dedicated to giving each hunting party the best guided hunt available and we pride ourselves on a heart-pounding, once-in-a-lifetime hunt that cannot be compared to by any other ranch in the U.S. If you want the best hunt of your life, call us at 877-2-ELK-HUNT.

– John

Friday, July 16, 2010

Houston Hunting Show

THANK YOU San Antonio for the warm welcome! The turn out was incredible and I must say,I have not met nicer people anywhere. The introduction of our ranches top bulls, Titan (466" SCI) and Old Fighter (458" SCI) convinced our Texas friends that Star Mountain Ranch is "the only place to hunt truly massive bulls".

Texas hospitality has lured Travis and I to join you in two weeks at Houston's Reliant Center for the August 6-8th Texas Trophy Hunters Show. Titan and Old Fighter will join us, so come on out and meet the Star Mountain Ranch staff. For those needing directions and times use this link to find all the answers to your questions. 

Thanks again for the wonderful time in San Antonio....See you in Houston!

PS....When Travis and I saw our first "Texas Hottie" in mini skirt and cowboy boots, we were amused; after the third one, we kinda like it. Thank You Texas Ladies for opening our eyes.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Texas Hunting Show

It's been a while since I last posted any updates but we have been updating the ranch quite a bit; moving fences, working the road into the ranch so it's not so rough, and general after winter repairs. I have to say I think all the hunters this year are going to be impressed with the improvements.

Also, we are getting ready for the annual Texas Trophy Hunters Associates trade show coming up in a little over a week. We have had many hunter from the Lone Star state and I hope some of our past hunters will travel to San Antonio to visit with us. We're bring both Titan and Old Fighter and any of you who haven't had a chance to see these spectacular animals will be blown away. The texidermy was incredible.

I'm going to keep a running blog while we're at the show to try to give each of you an idea of what's happening and how much fun we're having. For those who can make it, we look forward to talking with you and for those who can't keep an eye on the website to get the latest info or here is a link straight to the event.

– John

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The guides at Star Mountain Ranch named him Titan. I tried to envision what a bull with such a colossal name would look like, I wasn’t even close. I have spent two grueling days hunting this incredible ranch near Nephi, Utah and have yet to catch a glimpse of this mythical beast. The third day is just beginning and I wonder what it will bring. Daylight is breaking as we cross an endless sage brush meadow. Our destination is the dark cedar timber on the North Slope. Titan has not been cooperative and I wonder if he even exists. My guide has been trying to keep my spirits up, telling me how incredible this bull really is; I only have today and tomorrow to find him before I must leave!

Elk hunting with a bow has always been my passion. Until now, I have hunted in Colorado exclusively and have taken an occasional bull, but none were large enough to put on my den wall. This was never an issue as every bull taken with a bow is a trophy. I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never have an opportunity to pull string on a bull big enough to have mounted. As time went on I realized if I wanted a trophy bull, I had to go elsewhere. I researched several ranches offering trophy hunts and was impressed with what Star Mountain Ranch in Nephi, Utah (1-877-2- ELK HUNT) had to offer. I contacted the owner, John Romero and his enthusiasm about his 2,500 acre ranch and the animals roaming there convinced me this is where I would finally realize my dream… The opportunity to bow hunt truly massive bulls in velvet!

I am not disappointed, the elk are everywhere! Cows and calves, huge massive bulls;

raghorns and spikes, in the meadows, in the cedars, in the rugged canyon bottoms; it is a dream come true! I see bulls I have only dreamed of, unbelievable bulls 360 to 400+ inches SCI; my fingers are itching; “Did you see that bull? He’s incredible; I’ve got to have that bull!

My guide laughs; “Titan will dwarf every bull you have seen”. My hands are shaking; I don’t know if I can take much more of this torture. “Be patient, we’ll find him”… Yeah, Right.

We reach the North Slope and begin glassing. We see several bulls bedded in the cedars on a steep ridge. Among them is a massive bull with an unbelievably wide rack.

This bull…. “dwarfs every bull on the mountain”…… IT’S HIM! …..IT’S….. TITAN!

The stalk will not be easy; he is bedded thirty yards below the ridge facing downhill. The breeze is blowing up hill straight toward him; we will have to circle around the ridge and drop down from the top. An hour later we are in position and begin a slow descent toward my dream bull. The breeze is in our faces; so far so good. It is difficult to see through the thick cedars but we spot a massive velvet antler between the branches below. I nock an arrow and pray I don’t botch the shot. We belly crawl for an eternity to within twenty yards. I can see Titan’s upper shoulder through a narrow shooting lane between the branches.

Time ceases to exist; my arrow, the shooting lane and Titan are the center of my being. My entire life has come down to this moment! My hands are numb; I take a deep breath to calm my nerves. The time has come; I draw back and begin to release…


The bulls jump straight up and barrel down the canyon in a mad rush. I am shaking so badly my arrow falls from the rest. The noise of pounding hooves and snapping branches fade as the drifting dust settles from the startled bulls’ departure. My heart races after them; I suddenly remember to breath. I have never experienced anything like this; that bull was massive, nothing could possibly be bigger…..“Wait until you see Titan!

It is now evening and we continue the search. We have seen more bulls in three days then I will see in my entire life. If there is an elk hunter’s paradise; this is definitely it.

The sun sets as the day comes to a close…..Still no sign of Titan! I have one more day before I return to the city. If I don’t get the shot, I pray I at least get to see him before I leave.

Morning of day four has arrived and I have decided to take Titan or return home empty handed. This is no longer a hunt, it has become an obsession; I cannot compromise it by taking another bull. Titan has managed to elude us for three days by staying in the thick cedars. Visibility at best is limited, making it extremely difficult to hunt in. We must somehow penetrate his hideout, get within forty yards and take the shot. We will need every trick in the book and a ton of luck to have any chance of success.

The vast cedar forest is engulfed in a drifting fog. Our vision is reduced to less than twenty feet. We kneel down often, desperately searching for pieces of hidden elk in the thick canopy. The bulls are here; the pungent odor announces their presence long before we hear them crashing away into the swirling mist. Patience has now become a four letter word and I am almost looking forward to days end so this nightmare can finally be over. Titan is the smartest bull I have ever had the pleasure of hunting, but frustration and exhaustion are taking their toll. We trudge on, glassing every nook and cranny…..Where is he?

Common sense would suggest Titan would hole up in the thickest steepest terrain he can find. This is where we have been searching for the past four days. He is running circles around us; everything we have tried has failed. Time is running out, we need another plan!

The sun begins to set on the final evening of this hunt, we have less then two hours of light left. We search the South end of the ranch as this is the only place we have not looked. The cedars here are not as thick and visibility is much improved. This is the reason we have not hunted here until now; we couldn’t imagine Titan choosing such a vulnerable hiding place. We slow to a crawl as the cedars open. We search every opening carefully; moving only when we are satisfied it is safe to proceed. We have one hour before dark; we can’t make a mistake now!

A tree stands alone at the edge of a small meadow. A first glance reveals nothing; “Wait, something just moved, is there something at the base of that cedar tree?” My binoculars pick apart the thick branches, bits and pieces of hide and horn appear; an unbelievably incredible amount of horn! “Oh My God; it’s Him…..It’s TITAN”!

There is no way we can stalk from behind; our scent will give us away. We will have to circle and try a frontal assault. My entire body is wrapped as tight as a spring, my hands and legs are shaking uncontrollably and my heart is beating a hundred miles per hour. A half- hour later we are finally in position to move in. The wind is perfect; Titan is unaware of our presence. We move forward slowly, using a cedar tree as cover; sixty yards, forty yards, so far….so good.

I nock an arrow at thirty yards and take a deep breath; four more steps…..twenty six yards.

I pull to a full draw and hold; you could cut the tension with a knife.

Titan senses something is amiss and begins to rise. He stands testing the air for danger.

Our eyes meet as I release the arrow………

Editors note:

Shawn Conquest shot Titan through the heart on day four with a half hour of daylight remaining…. Titan collapsed within ten steps. He was a 7x7 in full velvet with an incredible 49” inside spread. Titan green scored 466” SCI.

A video of this hunt is available on the Star Mountain Ranch website:

Written by John Romero


P.O.Box 3400

Pagosa Springs, CO


Monday, February 1, 2010

By now many of you may be aware of the fact that our friend and ranch mascot "Bubbaroo" passed on last year. It took a while to move past the grief I felt for his passing and I thought long and hard about trying to replace him, if that was even possible.

However, after meeting these two balls of fire I decided to take the plunge and offer my heart and ranch position to these new members of the Star Mountain Ranch family. "Bubba" and "Roo" (The Rooster) have been with us now for about 4-months and I could not be happier with the relationship. For those of you who hunted the ranch at the very end of the last season you met these guys; for the rest of you, meet the newest members of the family.

We'll be keeping regular updates of the puppies and I'm sure that for those of you who hunt this year or next you'll absolutely fall in love with them then way I have.

– John

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What an incredible morning. It's still dark outside but I am moving around with the elk in the pre-dawn light enjoying the outdoor air. As I look at the ranch all I can see is snow even in the low-lands which is unusual since we've had some slightly warmer air moving around the state. All the bulls have lost their racks and other than size it can be difficult to tell which are which.

We are continuing to prep for the coming spring which feels like it should be right around the corner. Perhaps I'm just to excited for warmer days and the thought of a new season. I think even the animals are ready for the winter to end and the spring to come.

We're taking a lot of booking but at the moment have plenty of open spaces for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Call anytime to book your hunt or go online and book it directly through our website.

– John