Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting - MonsterMuleys.com

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Forums 2011 Hunt Adventure Challenge
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dillon
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Apr-08-11, 
11:00 AM (MST)
"Hoyt"

My name is Dillon Hoyt and shoot a Hoyt AlphMax 32.

I am currently living in Logan Utah with my wife. Our first child will be born in May. I am one year from graduating with a bachelors degree in Wildlife Science from Utah State University. After graduation I plan on being a conservation officer or a wildlife biologist in my home state of Utah.

I have been hunting big game since I was 14. I have taken six deer in my life: three with a bow, two with a muzzleloader and one with a rifle. I have also taken one cow elk with a rifle.

For pictures of my hunts visit my website at http://www.dillonhoyt.com

All six deer were taken in southern Utah on the Zion and Panguitch Lake Units. Having lived in Orderville for the majority of my life I love the Pausaugunt, Zion, and Panguitch Lake hunting units.

I believe that in Utah I am more likely to kill a big buck with a general season tag, than a big bull with a general season tag. For that reason I have been applying for limited entry elk. I currently have nine elk bonus points, and seven mountain goat bonus points.

This year I threw $40 in the hat at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. I did not win.

For 2011 I applied for a Cache South premium limited entry elk tag, a Willard Peak once in a lifetime mountain goat tag, and a statewide general season archery tag in Utah.

I only plan on getting the statewide general season archery tag in the draw. Even though the Willard Peak hunt is proposed to go from 16 to 35 permits this season, and I may get lucky. Then I will purchase an over-the-counter archery elk tag. I will only be hunting in Utah this year for big game.

I am looking forward to this season and the hunts that I will be able to share with you.

Enjoy,

Dillon Hoyt

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 Thoughts on pe...  dillon      Apr-11-11   1 
 Trail Cameras  dillon      Apr-20-11   2 
 Pregnant wife ...  dillon      May-14-11   3 
 Draw results  dillon      May-17-11   4 
 Baby  dillon      May-25-11   5 
 Baby, Trail Ca...  dillon      May-26-11   6 
 Baby Hoyt  dillon      Jun-10-11   7 
 Trail Camera  dillon      Jul-16-11   8 
 Update on scou...  dillon      Aug-01-11   9 
 Getting ready ...  dillon      Aug-15-11   10 
 The night befo...  dillon      Aug-21-11   11 
 Days 2 and 3  dillon      Aug-23-11   12 
 Cache units  dillon      Aug-27-11   13 
 Nothing yet  dillon      Sep-03-11   14 
 RE: Hoyt  dillon      Sep-15-11   15 
 Any Bull Elk  dillon      Sep-16-11   16 
 Extended Arche...  dillon      Sep-24-11   17 
 Moose  dillon      Oct-01-11   18 
 Moose video on...  dillon      Oct-15-11   19 

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dillon
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Apr-11-11, 
11:28 AM (MST)
1. "Thoughts on permits number increase"

I have a better chance of getting a once-in-a-lifetime permit than a limited entry permit this year.

I have 7 bonus points for mountain goats in Utah. In 2010 there were 605 applicants for the 16 permits available to Utah residents on the Willard Peak hunting unit. For 2011 the UDWR has proposed that the number of resident permits be raised to 35. Although I most likely will not draw a permit for 2011, I am somewhat concerned about the massive increase in permits available. Mountain goat harvest on many of Utah's units is at or near 100%. When I do obtain a mountain goat permit I intend to hunt with archery equipment. How am I going to compete with 34 other resident hunters and 4 non-resident hunters using a bow when they are using rifles? Many rifle hunters are now able to shoot animals out to 600 yards, and a few are able to go past 800 yards with the right equipment and practice. With archery I am limited to a much shorter shot. I do not like to shoot past 50 yards.

Last winter I did see several goats while hunting the extended archery deer hunt. I do believe that there are 40 billy goats on the mountain that could be harvested, and still have a healthy population. However, I would have a battle on my hands using my bow against an army or rifle hunters.

These are just some thought that are on my mind. I don't disagree that there should be more tags on the Willard Peak unit. However, if I would have know that the number of permits was going to skyrocket from 16 to 35 for residents and 2 to 4 for non-residents I would have applied for a different unit with less permits, so I could less competition while using my bow.

I took the following pictures in the Willard Peak area during the extended archery deer hunt of 2010.

Dillon Hoyt
www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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Apr-20-11, 
10:12 AM (MST)
2. "Trail Cameras"

We still have about a month before we will all be checking our credit card balances every hour to see if we have been charged for a hunting license in Utah. This means it is time to prepare for scouting during the summer. I used to have a few trail cameras when I was 18. They were excellent 35mm cameras that would take great pictures, if you could get the film to cooperate. At the time I was working at a photography business, so I was able to develop my negatives and print the ones I liked for just a few dollars. These are a few pictures I took back then using film. I had a lot more, but I can't find the CD I put them on. You can see a few more pictures on my website.

http://www.dillonhoyt.com

This past week I have been trying my luck on Ebay to get a trail camera. My goal is less than $45 each shipped. I have seen several cameras go at this price when I was trying to get them for less than $30 shipped. My goal is to get a 5mp game camera that has a flash that extends more than 40 feet. I really want two cameras. One for use around Logan Utah where I am living, and the other to use in a honey-hole in southern Utah. My dad would operate the one down south. Last year I drew back on a wide buck where I want the camera put in southern Utah, we had no clue he was there all summer. The year before I took a nice 4x4 close to there 30 minutes into my hunt.

I usually hunt the Monday-Thursday after the opener of the archery hunt. This is because I work for Utah State Parks during the summer, and getting a weekend off is rare. I hunt these four days in southern Utah. Then I hunt the rest of the archery hunt on the Cache units, which are not comparable to southern Utah. I have yet to see a buck on the Cache that really gets my blood pumping during the season. If that fails I will take my hunt to the extended archery hunt.

Trail cameras can really help you have the edge on the game you are hunting, especially if you are limited on time. As a college student, employee, husband, and soon to be father I need something to help me scout for the hunts.

I will post trail camera pictures throughout the season and into the fall. I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks,

Dillon

http://www.dillonhoyt.com


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dillon
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May-14-11, 
08:01 AM (MST)
3. "Pregnant wife and archery "

I have not posted for a while because I have been finishing up school for this semester and starting a new job. I did get a 3.75 gpa this semester. I was able to find my first elk shed ever on the Millville Face.

Also, I am finally shooting my bow again. Tonight my wife and I went to a gun/archery get together with a bunch of friends. She is 38 weeks pregnant, but she put the arrows in the right spot on the target every time. I love the pictures.

I have been checking my credit card twice daily waiting for a charge from the DWR for something. Okay, maybe just a general statewide archery tag. I highly doubt that I will get my LE elk or OIL Mt. Goat tags this year.

I will report back after the draws, or the baby. Whichever comes first.

Dillon Hoyt
www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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May-17-11, 
02:26 PM (MST)
4. "Draw results"

I started watching my credit card a week ago. So far I have been charged for a statewide archery deer tag ($35). I am now waiting to see if I get elk or Mt. goats. I doubt I will. However, nobody on MonsterMuleys has said anything about goats yet, and only two guys have mentioned possible elk hits. So I still have my fingers crossed.

So far it is looking like I will be passing up about 50 of these again this year with my bow in southern Utah, around Logan and on the extended archery hunt.

Dillon
www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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May-25-11, 
07:46 AM (MST)
5. "Baby"

This is looking like another rough year for my family pulling tags in Utah. That I know of only two of the six applicants in my family drew for southern region tags. Most of them did not draw last year either, so the tag cuts made things a lot harder to get.

I just got my statewide archery tag, and I am going to buy an archery elk tag.

On bigger and better news I am a daddy. My daughter was born weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. She is sure fun, but I am exhausted. I will add one picture on here, then if you go to my website you can see more pictures and video.

http://dillonhoyt.com/?page_id=664

Best of luck,

Dillon Hoyt

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dillon
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May-26-11, 
12:11 PM (MST)
6. "Baby, Trail Camera's and Draw results"

My baby is doing great and I have put some video and pictures on the following link.

http://dillonhoyt.com/?page_id=664

After some thought I have decided to get the new Moultrie Game Spy M-80 game camera. I am going to have my dad opperate it for me in southern Utah. I may also pick up a Trophy Cam later on, but I am not very impressed with their infrared, and the M-80 puts out a lot more light. The day time pictures of the Trophy Cam are better than the M-80, but I also want to see what is sneaking around in the dark. I want to see my M-80 pictures before I decide what to get for a second camera to use in northern Utah.

As soon as the snow melts off the mountains of southern Utah I should start getting some great pictures to share.

UTAH DRAWS

I got a statewide archery deer tag, and I am going to buy an archery elk tag.

My dad got a LE elk tag, it should be for the Panguitch Lake late hunt. He also got a southern region rifle deer tag.

My little brother got a southern region rifle deer tag.

I have two older brothers who both applied on the same card as their wifes and in each family someone drew a southern region deer tag.

That puts us at one LE elk, one statewide archery, and four southern region tags.

Dillon

www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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Jun-10-11, 
11:41 AM (MST)
7. "Baby Hoyt"

Since I last posted I have been working and playing with my baby. I still have not put my trail camera out in southern Utah. There is still snow where I want to put it on the mountain. We are going to have attempt to install it in a few weeks.

I just picked up the QAD Ultra Hunter rest for my Hoyt Alphamax. I have not had much time to shoot it since I got it installed on my bow, but it is definitely shooting better than the Whisker Biscuit.

This is a picture of my baby.

www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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Jul-16-11, 
08:19 AM (MST)
8. "Trail Camera"

I just got my first card out of my camera. Nothing big, but at least the camera is taking good pictures.

I have not found a solid buck yet this summer, but I still have time. Hopefully I will have August 19-23 off to go hunt in southern Utah. Then I will focus more around Logan, and on the extended archery areas.

There are more pictures on my website (click on the link below). And new pictures should be uploaded about every two weeks.

http://dillonhoyt.com/?page_id=738

I am almost zeroed in with my bow and I am definately getting buck fever. I didn't get a deer last year, so this year I really have to put my act together. My non-hunting wife wants venison in the freezer. My newborn child is only into milk as a food source so far, but she will come around when I give her jerky when she starts to teeth.

The search continues,

Dillon Hoyt

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dillon
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Aug-01-11, 
04:11 AM (MST)
9. "Update on scouting"

I now have my statewide archery deer tag and my general season archery elk tag in my pocket for Utah. We will go south the 20-23 of August and then focus our efforts closer to home after that. This should be an interesting season.

I got a little bigger buck on my trail camera, but not the one I am after.

I cropped these from the original trail camera photos which can be found at http://dillonhoyt.com/?page_id=341.

Look behind the doe. I think this buck is bigger, but this is the only picture I have of him. On my computer I can zoom in enough to see he is not the 2x3 in the pictures above.

Thanks for following.

Dillon Hoyt


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dillon
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Aug-15-11, 
09:32 PM (MST)
10. "Getting ready for the hunt"

I have hunted mostly alone in the past. Occasionally, I road hunt with my dad. However, this season I will have two helpers. My wife of two years has decided to tag along. My wife doesn't go anywhere without our two and a half month old baby, so baby is coming also. This should be a really interesting weekend. Interesting may not be the best word to use.

In the past I have gone shopping at Wal-Mart the night before the hunt and grabbed a few bags of Oreos, some Spitz sunflower seeds, and some Gatorade. Tonight we went shopping as a family and spent $65 on food. Healthy food. All our meals have been somewhat planned out. I have a tentative schedule of when I will be hunting with my wife and baby, when I will be with my dad, and when I will be alone.

I feel very confident within 60 yards with my bow. I have lots of broadheads and arrows. I think I am ready...


Dillon Hoyt

www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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Aug-21-11, 
09:41 PM (MST)
11. "The night before and Opening Day"

Friday Night:

We were able to get to my parents trailer Friday afternoon. We saw one very small 2x2 buck about a mile from our trailer. Friday night we went into some of the place I usually like to hunt and we saw 12 does and fawns.

Opening Day:

We started right from where our trailer is located. My wife was driving and my three month old daughter was in her carseat. We drove until about 10:00 am. Honestly we did not see very many other hunters. We saw a grand total of 10 does and fawns in the morning. I went on a two and a half hour hike and saw one doe. After a short nap my dad was there and we went hunting much lower than we normally would hunt. We saw more deer than we did up two thousand feet higher. No bucks. Just 14 more does and fawns.

That was the roughest opening day I have ever had. The deer are everywhere on the mountain. However, having had the opportunity to roam around the area I grew up in with my family was very special to me. My wife was very optimistic. My daughter cooperated very well the entire day.

Opening day obviously was not the best for hunting. However, I had a very good day.

We will be out hunting again on Monday.

Dillon Hoyt

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dillon
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Aug-23-11, 
09:20 AM (MST)
12. "Days 2 and 3"

August 22:

We saw 27 does and fawns in the morning. No bucks. In the evening I went out hunting with my dad. We saw 7 bucks and 32 does and fawns. The only problem is that five of those bucks were in places we can not hunt. The first buck was a 34 and he was feeding under the ski lift at Brian Head Ski Resort. Then we saw four bucks on the Cedar Breaks National Monument. One of them was a very nice 44. He was probably 24-25 wide and about that high. He was literally ten feet over the fence on the monument. He had some small bucks with him. Then we saw two little 22 right before dark on our way back to camp. I could have shot both of them easily.

We saw several pronghorn antelope as well. I will post pictures when I get home.

August 23:

This morning we packed up our stuff at the trailer and headed out hunting. We saw 29 does and fawns and 1 bucks. He was a small 22. Now we are about to head back home.

I was really hoping to see some elk and at least a few decent bucks. I saw two good bucks that I could not shoot and three little bucks that were all easy targets. Now I will continue my hunt in northern Utah.

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dillon
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Aug-27-11, 
10:07 PM (MST)
13. "Cache units"

Friday I went elk and deer hunting on the Cache unit in northern Utah. A few weeks ago I went into the same area I hunted on Friday night and there was a lot of elk and deer sign. I only saw one deer, but it ran so fast I was unable to determine if it was a buck or a doe. There was very little evidence that there were elk or deer in the area. The water hole was dry, so they must have moved out to find water. I also saw 3 more does off the highway while commuting.

These are some pictures from my hunting in southern Utah last weekend.

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dillon
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Sep-03-11, 
10:38 AM (MST)
14. "Nothing yet"

August 29, 2011:

Tonight I took my wife and daughter hunting with me. Two years ago I was got a bull bugling in the area we decided to hike. It was only about a mile in to where I wanted to be. My wife carried our baby in a Moby wrap. We only saw one doe and a whole bunch of cattle. My daughter is just a few months old, but she was awesome. She made a little noise, but not much. This was our first family hike/hunt alone. It was fun. I don't know that I want to hunt that way all the time. However, having everyone out hunting on foot once in a while is okay.

September 2, 2011:

I got out of school and my buddy Konrad and I decided to go elk hunting. We both have general season archery deer and elk tags. We focused on elk, because we both are way excited to hunt the extended archery hunt when it gets cold and the snow starts to fall. We hiked from 4-9pm. In those five hours we didn't cover a lot of country, maybe 3.5 miles round trip. We moved slow, paid attention to the wind, and listened very carefully. We found one wallow, but it didn't have any action that was really fresh. Some of the tracks were probably 3-4 days old. Finally about 7pm it started to get cold. The hunt has been very hot so far, and the elk have not been easy to locate. We stayed back in the area with the most elk sign until about dark and then we came out to the vehicle. We didn't see or hear a single elk. It was somewhat rough to get skunked that bad.

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dillon
(1239 posts)
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Sep-15-11, 
09:35 AM (MST)
15. "RE: Hoyt"

September 5:

I managed to get some free time on Monday night. I went up Logan Canyon to the Temple Peak area. There was a rain storm moving it, and it got windy and cold really quick. I only saw one doe. I hiked about 4 miles. This was the last time I was able to hunt during the spike hunt on the LE units in Utah. Thursday the 8th I left on a required field trip for school and we did not return until the 10th late at night. I did see a really nice 23" 4x4 at 3rd East and 4th North in Logan at 6:20am on the morning of the 8th. I almost hit him on my way to USU campus. He had crabby front forks, but he was a very nice buck for the Cache area. Why do all the good bucks live where you can't hunt them? He had a small two point with him.

Now I will turn my attention to the extended areas for deer hunting. If I happen to see an elk I will consider myself very lucky and take advantage of the opportunity. I hope we have an early winter!

As a side note my little girl is really fun and she likes to fish with me. My wife caught her first fish last week. It was a 3.5 inch large mouth bass. She also got a blue gill fishing with her brother somewhere near Lehi.

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dillon
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Sep-16-11, 
09:35 AM (MST)
16. "Any Bull Elk"

I went hunting on Thursday the 15th on an any bull unit in Utah with my bow. I actually found a bull. He was a tiny little 4x4. I have shot deer bigger than him. Long story short we called him in on the wrong side of us he had us pinned and I took a shot at 20 yards through a small opening. I could only see his head and about 2/3 the way down on his front shoulder. I hit a branch and I am pretty sure the arrow went over him. I also got a second shot quartering away and I shot low. It was not a 20 yard shot. It got dark on us before we could find an arrow or blood. So today Friday the 16th I hiked back in to where I shot at him and found my second arrow. I did not find my first arrow, any blood, or the bull. I am pretty certain I shot over him.

I do have to admit that calling him in was a blast and the adrenaline was really pumping. I am not a pro with elk, but I learned a lot last night about elk.

I have a better write-up of the hunt, and some bull moose footage from Thursday night on my personal website.

http://dillonhoyt.com/?page_id=1040

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dillon
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Sep-24-11, 
10:02 AM (MST)
17. "Extended Archery"

I woke up at 4:06 am on Saturday the 24th, that is when our baby woke up. I got my hunting gear ready and I went out to hunt deer and elk on the Utah Extended Archery area. I saw 5 does and fawns on my drive to the area I wanted to hunt. I was hoping to hear some bugling this morning before sunrise. However, I heard absolutely nothing. I did a short hike at first light and I didn't find anything. I talked with two guys, one from New Mexico and the other from the Dakotas. The NM guy was hunting mountain goats. They had some goats located and they asked me where they could best access them to get a closer look and a shot. The NM guy actually Googled "Willard Peak mountain goats" and my picture I took last year on the extended hunt came up on the screen. I volunteered to help him pack out the goat if he got one so I gave him my cell phone number so he could contact me. He called about 30 minutes later and said that he had my camouflage day pack. I apparently left it by my car and drove off. He returned it to me and I went to a new area to hike and hunt. I jumped one deer, but it was so thick I could not see it. I put up my trail camera and called it a day. 5 deer, and some mountain goats later I am home and ready for lunch.

The bull in front is the bull I shot at last week.

Thanks for following my hunt. Hopefully soon I can share harvest pictures of a buck or bull on the ground.

Dillon Hoyt

www.dillonhoyt.com

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dillon
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Oct-01-11, 
00:03 AM (MST)
18. "Moose"

October 1, 2011:

I woke up at 6:00 am just like I do every other day of the week. I went to check my trail camera and switch out the memory card. With the general muzzleloader hunt going full swing I did not expect to see any deer or elk. I looked through my trail camera pictures and found that a bunch of moose, and 4 hunters had passed by my camera in the past week. I got some decent moose pictures. I set my trail camera to video mode for the next few weeks. Then the camera is going to be moved to an area that I will be hunting until the end of the extended hunt.

These are a few of the moose pictures I got this round.

I do have other trail camera pictures of these bulls and a few cows on my webpage at www.dillonhoyt.com


Dillon

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dillon
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Oct-15-11, 
01:09 PM (MST)
19. "Moose video on trail camera"

I have not been hunting a whole lot lately. I have been really busy with school and work. I finally got up on the mountain to check my trail camera. I got a few video clips of this bull moose. He is no monster, but it was fun to watch what my trail camera picked up.

I have more videos of him, and other hunters on my website www.dillonhoyt.com

I am just waiting for the snow at the rut at this point in the hunt.

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