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Deer And Loafing On The Hunting Trail

Photo of Joe Smith, David Betts and his son James Betts.
Benjamin Bombard/KUER

The Utah deer and elk archery seasons wrap up across much of the state this Friday. The Division of Wildlife Resources says there are more buck deer in the state than at any time in the last 25 years. KUER’s Benjamin Bombard sends this audio postcard of a recent hunting trip in the Uintas.  

Photo of Joe Smith who claimed the mine in 1997. He believes it may be one of the legendary “lost Rhodes mines.”
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
Joe Smith claimed the mine in 1997. He believes it may be one of the legendary “lost Rhodes mines.”
Photo of David Betts, who worked as a tramp miner for 56 years.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
David Betts worked as a tramp miner for 56 years, traveling from job to job across the country. He held the claim on the mine before Joe Smith took it over, and his father was the last person to recover valuable ore from the mine when he held the claim in the 1940s.
Photo of a hoist installed in the back of Joe Smith's Chevy pickup truck. The hoist is over 100 years old.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
The hoist installed in the back of Joe Smith’s 1986 Chevy pickup truck is over 100 years old. It once belonged to Betts’ father, and it has been used to remove dirt and ore from mines in 48 states, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
Photo of Ryan White - nicknamed Blue -guiding a 25-gallon full bucket of dirt out of the mine shaft.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
Ryan “Blue” White helps to guide a 25-gallon full bucket of dirt out of the mine shaft. Over the course of a day, he and the rest of the crew excavated half a ton of dirt.
Photo of James Betts who works in the mine.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
James Betts enjoys the adventure of working in the mine. “I like to do things people just talk about,” he said. “Oh, I’ll do this. Oh, that would be cool. It’s like why wait? Just do it now.”
Photo of David Betts watching his son James dig in the mine shaft.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
David Betts watches his son James dig in the mine shaft. “The main thing we’re concerned about — heck with the mineral — it’s pure safety,” he said. “We do not want anyone hurt or injured.”
Photo of James Betts working to loosen the dirt in the mine shaft.
Credit Benjamin Bombard/KUER
James Betts works to loosen dirt in the mine shaft. He’s standing on about two feet of dirt atop a layer of sheet metal that overlays the bulkhead, the wooden cap that seals the mine. From there, the shaft descends another 90 feet.

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