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2012 - A year to remember

 
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Forums 2012 Hunt Adventure Challenge
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Foxskinner
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Mar-08-12, 
11:07 AM (MST)
"2012 - A year to remember"

I'm so excited for this years hunting adventure. I am new to this site and love this Hunt Adventure Challenge idea. I think it will be a good way for me to document my hunting experiences since I am terrible at writing in a journal.

Anyway, the most exciting hunt this year is not even one I have a tag for. My brother in law should draw an LE Fishlake Early tag and I can't wait to go. Other than that special hunt, our family will just have general tags most likely. My brother and I should have an archery deer tag, my dad a muzzy deer tag, and my wife and her family will hopefully have rifle deer tags. That's a lot of hunting to prepare for and hopefully a few animals hit the dirt. A few other general season elk tags here in Utah and possibly helping a brother in law in Idaho on his elk hunt. Finally, I hope to hunt with another brother in law in Kansas in December if all goes well. Now if only I can fit in a hunt with my brother in law in Alaska. LOL.

Good luck to everyone!!

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Jun-28-12   1 
  RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Sep-04-12   2 
   RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-05-12   3 
    RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-07-12   4 
     RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-12-12   5 
      RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-21-12   6 
       RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-24-12   7 
        RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-28-12   8 
         RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-09-12   11 
        RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Oct-28-12   9 
         RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-09-12   10 
         RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-09-12   12 
          RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-14-12   13 
           RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-15-12   14 
            RE: 2012 - A y...  Foxskinner      Nov-27-12   15 
            Sunnyside Utah...  Foxskinner      Nov-28-12   16 
             Utah Moose  Foxskinner      Nov-30-12   17 
              Becky's Rifle ...  Foxskinner      Dec-17-12   18 
               Utah Extended ...  Foxskinner      Dec-18-12   19 
                RE: Utah Exten...  Foxskinner      Dec-22-12   20 
                 Some Winter Bu...  Foxskinner      Dec-27-12   21 

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Foxskinner
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Jun-28-12, 
06:12 PM (MST)
1. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Been a busy start to the year but have finally had a few chances to get out and explore new country. I got stuck in the only snow drift on the mountain and of course I didn't have a shovel or any tools to dig myself out. In my defense, it was my parents new car so there wasn't any equipment in the vehicle. Well 2 hours later after digging with hands and sticks and jacking up each wheel of the car and putting rocks under them, I finally got myself out.

Just got back from my first scout trip to Fishlake for my Brother and had a good time. Didn't see many elk but explored a lot of country and have some ideas of where to explore further.

The Manti is on fire right out my front door and has halted exploring some areas for my wife's general deer hunt.

Its just the beginning of a busy summer and fall. My wife and I are starting a new hunting equipment store up here in Price. I have 2 units to explore for elk hunts and 3 different units to explore for deer hunts. What Fun!



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Foxskinner
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Sep-04-12, 
01:19 AM (MST)
2. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Time flies too fast. I have made several scouting trips this summer. Found some decent bucks on the unit my wife will be hunting during the rifle hunt and some good bucks on other units that I can't hunt.

My wife says her name is on this deer for the rifle hunt so everyone leave it alone (and you don't want to mess with a 7 months along pregnant lady carrying a gun!). LOL.

My wife's plan B buck on the rifle hunt.

Stumbled upon this nice buck while on a drive in the mountains.

Thousand Lakes buck right before the archery hunt started.

I got some good video and photos of this buck. I wish I had a tag for this unit as I have seen several good bucks I would love to take with a bow.

Here is a video of the above buck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3ZFr_CtDY0

I finally did some scouting in the unit I have a deer tag for. A brutal 2 mile hike in found me 13 bucks but only 2 decent ones. This is about a 22-24 inch 4 point which I wouldn't hesitate to shoot. Photo was taken a mile away through my scope using my iPhone. Also had a brief encounter with a bear on the hike.

It has been hard to turn up quality bulls for my two brother in laws. The hunt is 2 weeks away and I finally found a 340ish type bull in one area. I'm hoping to find him again next week.

I am able to find cow elk and spikes in several places on the unit my brother have tags for. The bulls have just been hard to locate.

Finally starting to find some good areas that have elk in them.

This looks promising. I need to go check the trail camera I put up in the area to see if my hunch was right.

One visitor to this wallow already. Hopefully many more to come in September.

Finally after many days on the mountain, my research and scouting efforts finally turn up some good bulls. This photo was taken from 2.2 miles away through my scope.

I just spent the weekend hunting general season with my brother. I missed one raghorn bull on a long uphill shot through thick trees and my brother was just low on a shot at a decent buck. The very next day we watched 2 coyotes chase that same buck all around the mountain trying to bite him and take him down. We tried to get in on the action to kill one of the three but never got close enough. We also saw a sow with 2 cubs while we were out. It was a busy weekend but a lot of fun!

Hunting big country with a bow!

Found this sow track and several cub tracks in this mud hole. They weren't there in the morning when we came down the trail. About 10 minutes later we saw a big sow with two cubs crossing an opening on the other side of the canyon. One of the cubs was even a chocolate/cinnamon color.


Hopefully many more pictures and stories to come as the hunts get deeper into the fall!

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Foxskinner
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Oct-05-12, 
01:15 PM (MST)
3. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Trying to find time to add to this. I just spent 16 straight days in a tent hunting elk and muzzy deer. Here is a short video I threw together about our general archery deer hunt, part 1 from Labor Day Weekend.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgDpJmABpI0&feature=plcp

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Foxskinner
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Oct-07-12, 
09:36 AM (MST)
4. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Here is another quick video of the bears we ran into over labor day while archery hunting for deer. Now I need to get the Fishlake Elk Hunt stuff up on here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtOtlcRdbRI&feature=plcp

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Foxskinner
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Oct-12-12, 
00:34 AM (MST)
5. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

So my brother in law drew his rifle Fishlake Elk tag this year with 13 points. I knew he would draw and we were planning for this hunt form the beginning of the year. THe unexpected part was that my other brother in law from Kansas got super lucky and drew the same tag as a non-resident. Now we had 2 Fishlake Rifle Elk tags. There was lots of anticipation going into the hunt and we couldn't wait. Since neither of my brothers could really put in much time scouting the unit, I did almost all of the scouting effort. I have never hunted this unit before but my in laws all have as they have taken 3 bulls on this unit over the years.

I think I covered almost the entire unit and every road over the course of the summer. I got some good advice from a few people here on MM and tried my best to locate good bulls. Here are a few of the photos I took as I went.


This little guy was sure curious. He never even got aggressive with me even when I was only a few feet away

If you have been on this unit scouting some of the boarders, you may have come across this photo before. Can't hunt in there! Lol.

I'll get some trail cam pics up next....

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Foxskinner
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Oct-21-12, 
09:32 AM (MST)
6. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

I found a great looking wallow during one of my scouting hikes on the Fishlake unit. I had the camera up for two months and captured some great photos. I use several types of trail cameras and this wallow I set up my Tasco 3 MP Flash camera and it did awesome. It goes to show that you don't need to spend a couple hundred dollars on a trail camera to get your scouting done.

The first photo

The first bull (besides the spike in the first photo)

A Good Looking Bull!

Another picture of the same bull in the daylight.

One of my favorite photos off this wallow!

I loved how the wallow would be changed every time I checked the camera. It was so fun to see what could possibly be on the camera each time.

Here is a cool spike x 3 that came in one night.

Several raghorns visited over the weeks

A few of these guys showed up on the camera here and there.

Overall, I had a couple dozen different bulls come in to this wallow in 2 months.

I think that this bull could have lots of potential. He looks young to me but is very distinguishable with his 3rd on his right side basically like a double sword. It will be interesting to see him next year.

Once the rifle hunt started, the bulls didn't hit this spot very often. I had an occasional raghorn come in but mostly deer pictures in October that I will post later.

This is a great photo because of what is going on in the background. Two cow elk getting after each other.

Here is the monster bull in control of this herd. LOL!

The last elk on my camera.

Next I'll post pictures of our actual Fishlake Elk Hunt!

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Foxskinner
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Oct-24-12, 
08:42 AM (MST)
7. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

After months of anticipation and weeks of planning and scouting we were finally ready for the elk hunt to start. With no storms, the temperature in the mid-70's all week and no full moon, we figured it would be a great week of hunting. It turned out to be a very difficult hunt due to the higher temperatures. The rut was barely going and almost every day we only had good bugles in the first hour and last hour of the day. We tried to hunt a couple different spots that both were holding elk but calling them in proved to be difficult so we spent most of the time going in after them.

Opening morning Shayne actually had a great 350 or so sized bull in a meadow he was sitting on but by the time the sun was up enough for him to judge that bull and the others ones, he ran out of opportunity to shoot. On the second evening, I took Toby on a hike into the area of the wallows that I had cameras on for the last month. We could hear several bulls down on the flats below so we headed on down there and set up for the evening. We had several cow elk and a few bucks feed into the clearing we were on. We could hear the bulls not too far away and thought they would for sure come out with these cows but light faded and nothing appeared. We went in after them the next couple days and had some good encounters but no great shot opportunities. We found out that every single bull had at least a couple cows with them so they wouldn't leave to come to calls.

The evening of day 5 we all split up in some new areas to try and locate some new bulls. Shayne hiked up into a basin to watch it and Toby drove around for a bit and then decided to hike up a trail he found. He somehow ended up on the ridge above Shayne. There was a bull bugling in the area and it ended up crossing in front of Toby. He took a couple shots and dropped the bull on the ridge top. We went in the next day to help him get it taken care of and off the mountain.

We kept hunting with Shayne and passed on a few more smaller bulls. We would get bulls within 100 yards in the thick stuff but never closer or in the openings to judge or shoot. On day 7 of the hunt, the guides with High Top Outfitters ended up taking a bull that taped out at 417 in the same area that we were hunting. We talked to them when they got it off the mountain and that bull was super impressive. We often wonder if one of the bugles we were chasing happened to be this giant!

On day 8 we went back into an area that had some bulls in it and had a bugle right at first shooting light. Shayne didn't want to go back to Kansas with an empty tag so he was not going to be too picky about the bulls if we could get a good opportunity at them. We got on this bull pretty quick and Shayne set up for the shot. I don't know if it was nerves or excitement or what but he jerked at the shot and hit the bull but we weren't sure how bad. We had a great blood trail though and there were bubbles in the blood which gave us good spirits. Long story short, we tracked that bull for more than 12 hours and over 5 miles of up and down the mountain. We jumped him right before dark and unfortunately, Shayne was not in a position to take a shot. My wife watched the bull from the road and noted where he went into the trees after he crossed the valley. The next day we resumed the blood trail where he re-entered the trees and it disappeared very quickly. Even after several more hours of eight of us looking, we couldn't pick up any sign of where he went.

Shayne ended up going home with his tag unpunched. It was a great hunt and we had lots of family and friends there to help and enjoy it with us. It could have been better had the rut been in full swing but we still gave it our all every day at every moment.

Here's the crazy part. I ran out of time to retrieve my trail camera that I had on the wallow. I had to leave Sunday night and be in Salt Lake Monday to leave with my dad for the Muzzy deer hunt as we were going up to scout before the hunt. I ended up getting time to return to Fishlake to hike up and get my camera around the 15th of October. There didn't seem to be too much special on the camera so I didn't make much of it. Later in the week I was scrolling through the couple hundred pictures again and there he was. The bull that Shayne had wounded on the second to last day had walked by my trail camera and I had pictures of him. The pictures helped confirm our suspicions that Shayne had indeed shot the lower jaw off the bull. The reason why there was so much blood and bubbles in the blood was due to all the saliva he had been spitting out with the blood.

I have no doubt that this bull died within a few days of his wound. I don't see how he could eat or drink. I feel really bad at how he had to suffer but hunting isn't a perfect sport. Sometimes things go wrong and shots aren't perfect. Shayne felt pretty bad too and we tried hard to find him and stuck with that blood trail even when it took 3 hours at one point to find the next blood. I have a couple of his possible bedding areas marked on my GPS and I will be going in there next summer to see if he returned there to die. We tracked his blood trail a good 4-5 miles before we lost him that first night and where we lost the trail the second day, my camera was probably a good mile or two back UP the mountain. Pretty ironic that he stopped in front of my camera. He had only been there once about 3 weeks before the hunt so what are the odds that he would take the same trail back to my camera after the wound. Pretty crazy!

That concludes our Fishlake Rifle Elk Hunt for 2012. Now on to the Muzzy Deer hunt that we spent zero minutes scouting for and ended up having one of the most incredible hunts ever on!

Here are some pictures of the Fishlake Hunt and I will post a video with some of the elk action on it soon too I hope.

Here is our camp for 12 days

Shayne had opportunities to take his 6 year old Brighton (in photo) and his 9 year old Kayson (in video) on a couple hikes with us which they loved!

This is me and my wife Becky who is pregnant with our first child due around New Years.

Shayne, Loren, and I all revisited the meadow that held that nice bull on the opener that they should have shot.

Teaching some of the boys about elk sign and wallows.

Some of the many little pines that were abused by the elk this year.

SOME of our family out riding the wheelers and enjoying the beautiful mountains and weather!

After 14 years of putting in for this hunt, Toby finally got to put his hands on his first bull elk!

Toby with his dad, Monty

Tag team caping it out!

Shayne, Me, Cory, and Toby

Toby and his family. His 3 little boys thought this elk was pretty cool!
http://www.monstermuleys.info/photo

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Foxskinner
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Oct-28-12, 
03:07 PM (MST)
8. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Here is the picture that didn't come through on the last post of Toby and his family.

Here is a video I put together of our hunt. It has some of the elk action we got into, Toby's elk story, and pictures of the bull that we lost.

http://youtu.be/NlnZkMyU3EE

or

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Foxskinner
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Nov-09-12, 
11:15 PM (MST)
11. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

I had to re-edit the video of our elk hunt a little so here is the actual elk hunt video to watch. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMyvpOr7m_Q

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Foxskinner
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Oct-28-12, 
03:07 PM (MST)
9. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Our Fishlake elk hunt ended Sunday night, September 23rd. I was suppose to drive home Sunday night, do laundry, re-pack my hunting stuff, and head to Salt Lake Monday morning to leave with my dad for the Muzzy deer hunt Monday night. Well we ended up having the stomach flu go through our camp over the ten days that everyone was there and I picked it up Sunday afternoon. I could feel it coming while taking camp apart and I tried to work through it but it put me in bed all Monday. Lucky it was a 24 hour bug and I was ready to go Tuesday morning.

This muzzleloader hunt with my dad was kind of a last minute decision. He did not draw any of his five choices during the draw period. Summer came and went and I just happen to be looking on the DWR website in August and noticed that there were leftover muzzleloader tags for a few units. We had some previous experience hunting in one of the units and my dad and I actually killed our first muzzleloader bucks on the unit in 2008. I called my dad and told him and he went down and bought a tag. He was kind of excited to now have the opportunity to hunt this year but knew that there was no time for scouting so we would just have to take things as they came. He went to the range a few times to get familiar with his gun again after a year break and felt good with how it was shooting.

With all of our gear and four-wheelers loaded, we headed out to our area Tuesday night. We were driving up the road to find a place to camp and the amount of people camped there was incredible. In all our years of hunting that unit, we had never seen so many people! We were finally able to find one little pullout that didn't have a camp in it so we parked and unloaded. We had an hour left of light and headed up the mountain to check a few areas for deer. We checked the area we had killed our first muzzy bucks and only saw a couple deer and a single spike. We checked one last area that not many hunters go into and we found a few deer but they were all bedded due to the storm that was leaving the area. We were not sure what to do in the morning for the opener.

We decided not to fight the crowds on top opening morning and went back to the area that we had last scouted the night before. We were the only ones in there all morning while dozens and dozens of ATV's went up to the top of the mountain. We ended up seeing 5 bucks (3 spikes and 2 two-points) and twenty or so does. I knew my dad would kill a two point if I let him so I made him hold out at least a few days before trying to put meat in his freezer. That night we scouted another area and saw a spike and two point that we could have killed. I used my spotting scope and did some long distance glassing that night and glassed up two more 2-points, a bigger buck (probably a 3-point), and a big 3-point with 2 smaller 4-points and a bunch of does. That put us at 13 different bucks on the opener including some better bucks.

Day two we went for a little hike where we had sat the night before. We got into twenty or more deer but the only buck was a spike with 3 inch tall antlers. We joked about how small he was and got within a 100 yards of all of them. After an afternoon nap we decided to do a longer hike that evening out into the areas where I had seen the other bucks while glassing. We took it easy and probably covered 4-5 miles round trip. We ended up seeing four 2-points, and a good 4-point with two other 3-points. With my brother headed up to join us that night, we decided to wait until morning before going in after the three better bucks.

Day 3: With my brother, Shawn, and his friend Jared with us now, we decided to hike in at first light and try and locate those three good bucks. We saw some deer down in the canyon with at least 2 of them being bucks so it was looking good. We dropped down the opposite side of the ridge and headed into the canyon. We ran into several does and another 2-point and luckily were able to push them out of our way without disturbing the deer we were hunting. We worked around the cattle in the area and finally got to where we wanted to be. I peaked over and watched a spike and some does feed out of sight. Inching over a little more, I saw the four point and the two other bucks he was with. We slid to the side and put a big pine tree between us and the bucks. We hurried down the hill straight at them trying to close the gap for a good shot. We passed one last cow, the range bull, and when I felt we were close enough, we sat down to set up. I looked to my left and couldn't believe it. There were 8 bucks running down the hill. They were in a draw and we never saw them. The range bull ran into that draw and busted them all out. We looked up and our bucks were running over the hill too. Such a bummer! Everything was perfect until that range bull ruined it all.

The four of us sat there on the hillside and were just speechless at what had happened. None of us knew those bucks were in there. I asked my brother if he got it all on video and he said, "Kind of." In all the craziness, he looked with his binoculars instead of filming all the bucks running away. I teased him and took my video camera back.

We sat there for twenty minutes talking. We talked about whether we should go look over the hill where they went, we talked about how to set up for an evening hunt in there, we talked about my brothers new coyote gun that he had, etc. I glanced up after twenty minutes and said, "There's a buck!" The four point buck was visible on the ridgetop. He was super alert and would take one step and look around. I think he was trying to figure out what had spooked the other bucks. We waited to see what he was going to do and he just stood there.

He was 180 yards away and I told my dad if he was comfortable with the shot, that he could take it (My dad has his gun set up for 200 yards and I knew the distance wasn't a problem for him). The buck was giving a great front shoulder shot. My dad didn't even hesitate. As soon as I said that, he clicked the safety off and shot! I was videoing freehand and the shot made me shake a little but my brother saw the buck hit the ground. I had my dad reload and thats when we looked up and watched the remaining 12 bucks go crazy and run all over the place! It was antler madness and was funny to watch their confusion.

My dad made a perfect shot. It hit high front shoulder, double lunged the buck, and broke through the opposite shoulder and lodged against the skin. The buck struggled for a last few breaths when we got to him but expired quickly. The excitement we all had was incredible. That was an amazing experience for us all. My dad is still on cloud nine about this buck. The story is so much fun to tell and the fact that we killed the biggest buck on the mountain that we had seen in 3 days makes it even sweeter. My dad has only killed a few bucks in my lifetime and to watch him take his biggest buck in 30 years with a muzzleloader was unreal for me.

This hunt/buck has given my dad a huge lift in life both spiritually, mentally, and even physically. He has many stresses in life and I told him to forget them all during this hunt. Even a month later he loves reliving these moments with us all. He is having his first shoulder mount done and every time he looks at this beautiful buck, he will be able to feel those happy moments of this hunt. He is even talking about hunting elk with a muzzleloader now so I am very excited for the many adventures that await us!!

Sorry that this has been a long story. I didn't take many photos but did take some great video. I should have the video up in a few days and it will show this amazing experience!

My Dad with his best muzzleloader buck!

The Crew: My Dad, my brother Shawn, Shawn's friend Jared, and Me

Everyone helping with the 2+ mile pack out

Horn Hunter Mainbeam pack. My dad had it two days before he got it bloody. A great day pack.

Hanging him up in camp for all to see

Camp

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Foxskinner
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Nov-09-12, 
11:15 PM (MST)
10. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

I finally got around to getting a video together of my dad's Muzzy Deer hunt. What a special hunt for us. There is nothing like hunting with family. We dropped off my dad's buck with a local taxidermist that was super friendly and helpful answering all our questions. We can't wait to get it back. Anyway, here is the video. It is full of fun moments, crazy deer action, the kill shot, and lots of emotion from the whole experience. Enjoy!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn6RY3UvmLA

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Foxskinner
(212 posts)
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Nov-09-12, 
11:15 PM (MST)
12. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Well after being in the mountains hunting for almost 3 weeks, I finally got a little break. My family has a timeshare up at Snowbird so my wife and I took advantage of it being available to use for a couple days and we got to spend some time together. It was really nice. We took a few drives up and down the canyons in the area and just relaxed. We saw several moose along our drives too which was fun. Here are a few pictures. The fall colors were beautiful too.


My wife, Becky was 6 months pregnant at this time in early October.

Staying at the Iron Blossom

Alta

Going over Guardsman's Pass to Deer Valley/Park City

The Montage at Deer Valley - this mid-mountain resort is huge! This is the first time I have seen it since they started construction years ago.

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Foxskinner
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Nov-14-12, 
11:07 PM (MST)
13. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

This year for the rifle deer hunt, we were very surprised that only one person in our families drew a tag. That person was my wife, Becky. We didn't have much time to scout for her hunt due to the big bull tags and other hunts going on all over the state. She drew her home base tag so she at least knew where to go from previous years.

Here are some pictures of bucks we saw leading up to the hunt. Most of these are not in her unit but it was cool to see good bucks on our other adventures during the year.

These are all Fishlake bucks:

We saw this spike and the next 2 point almost every time we walked in to check the wallow camera

This guy was still in the velvet at the 20th of September.

This guy is missing a whole side

I saw these guys several times throughout the summer/fall. If they survived the rifle hunt, they should be nice bucks next year.

Cool picture of the same bucks with one in the background.

We only got onto my wife's deer unit once all summer and these were the best two bucks we found that evening. We saw about 6 other 2-points and another medium sized buck. We knew that there would be deer in there for the rifle hunt so we just had to find them.

I got a chance to take a hike a couple days before her hunt started and I saw three 2-points and several does. I set up a trail camera on a water hole that looked like it was getting used pretty well but I only got pictures of one animal on it - this lion.

We decided to hunt up there anyway and hope to see something bigger than a two point. I guess I need to mention that by the time the rifle hunt started, Becky was about 7 months pregnant with our first child but she still wanted to give it her best and try and kill a buck.

That first day we ended up hiking around 5 miles. We saw a couple of the 2-points that I knew were in there but passed on shooting them. We didn't see many deer at all which surprised us a lot. We heard lots of shooting that morning down in the main canyon but only a couple shots all afternoon and evening. Here are the pics from our hike.

Becky and her brother killed their biggest bucks right here many years ago.

We saw several elk during the day though.

Sunset on a long day

We got word that night that my sister was going into labor with her first baby so we made the decision to head to Salt Lake that night and be there to support her. We ended up staying up there until Wednesday when she brought baby Lillee home. Then we headed home ourselves.

Becky didn't feel like doing too much Thursday and since it was snowing, we took a drive for a few hours that morning. We only saw 3 deer all morning but did see 4 moose and 13 bull elk.

After a nap we decided to see if we could get up on top in the storm and see what things were like.

We broke through the storm once on top and it started to clear up. The views were great now that everything was white and spotting deer was easy. They were up and moving around and we ended up seeing lots of does and fawns but no bucks.

We got a late start Friday but decided to head back up on top to see if there was anything moving around during the day. We got up there and I stopped in the first place to do some glassing. I immediately found a deer on the far ridge feeding in the aspens. I watched it and could see good main forks on the buck. I couldn't tell how big he really was though because of the trees. It would be a little over two miles to hike down the ridge to where he was. We decided to keep going up the mountain and see if there was anything else.

Glassing up the buck on the other ridge

Zoomed in view of where the buck is - just to the right of the lone pine tree

Maxed out zoom on my Vortex Razor. The thermals made it super hard to focus at this distance but you can see the dark spot about center of the photo in the aspens. That is the buck.

We didn't see any other deer so we made the decision to do the hike out to where this buck is/was. Becky was feeling pretty good so we grabbed our packs and started to hike. We busted a big group of elk out of the pines about half way there. We ended up getting in front of them and got to watch a couple raghorns fight. We were approaching the area above the bucks and I wanted to walk on the back side of the ridge but we looked and there were 3 bull elk bedded 50 yards below us. They had no idea we were there. We watched them for a second and then eased our way forward and spooking them down the hill.

We couldn't see the buck and slowly edged our way toward the aspens. It had been 4 hours or so since we had last seen him so we didn't even know if he was still in there. We got in the aspens and found his tracks but no buck. I walked around for a minute looking at things and went and stood next to one of his beds. I happen to look to the right and saw a dark spot that looked like an ear through the thick aspen trees. I looked and there he was! He was bedded less than 130 yards away facing away from us. There was hardly a shot though due to the thick trees.

We spent the next hour moving around on the hillside trying to get a good shot. We finally got above him enough where he gave Becky a head/neck/front chest shot. I got her set up on my tripod for balance and she said she could take a shot. With light fading too, I hoped for the best. She shot and he bolted from his bed, went about 10 feet, stopped, turned broadside to us and looked back at his bed. I told Becky where he was, she was already on him and he never took another step. She dropped him in his tracks. We were so excited! All this work and plan and time (over 5 hours from spotting him to killing him) and it worked out perfectly! Such an amazing story for us and one we will have to tell our baby girl when she gets here in another month. He turned out to be a 3 point and after the long hike and soon to be long hike back with only one more day to hunt, Becky said she wanted to take him and it worked out great.

With light fading, I decided to try the gutless method for quartering him out. I had never done it before but I have butchered enough deer and elk that I was confident I could figure it out. It was awesome. It saved me a bunch of time in the daylight and I didn't get very messy at all. Since Becky was pregnant, it was up to me to get the deer back to the truck. I didn't want to hike all the way back out there to get a second half of the deer so I put the whole deer in my pack. I didn't think it would be that bad until I tried to lift the pack to my shoulders. Oh my! I got the pack on and the first part of the hike being straight up was brutal. Once on top I did fine but it was quite a load. I've never done a 100 pound pack before. It was worth it and we had a nice, slow hike back to the truck with a full moon to light the way. What a memorable deer hunt!!


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Foxskinner
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Nov-15-12, 
08:29 AM (MST)
14. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Its been kinda fun to live out in the country this last year. Here are a few of our 'pets' that come and go through our yard all year round. We also have pheasants, sand hill cranes, raccoons, and an occasional deer.

We have several bucks and lots of does in the area. No monster bucks but thats okay. I took these photos of the herd yesterday in our backyard. At least 3 bucks but could have been 2 other small ones or ones without their horns.

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Foxskinner
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Nov-27-12, 
01:35 PM (MST)
15. "RE: 2012 - A year to remember"

Here are some more photos and a video of my archery season. I didn't get on my general season unit very often but I still chased good bucks when I did. I also got a chance to go up north in October and hunt a couple days on the extended archery units.

Heading up the trail at first light

Saw several moose and the rut was in full swing for them

Lots of blue forest grouse up there. I wish I had a shotgun!

Fall is such a beautiful time of year!

While taking those scenery and grouse pictures, a little bit of movement caught my eye above me on the slope. I looked and it turned out to be a little 2 point buck and a nice heavy 4 point buck feeding. They were right behind these trees. Game on!

As you can see in the video, I got close to those bucks but it didn't quite work out. I watched where they ran off to and actually got in on them again but the brush prevented a shot at him. The next day I hiked into an area that I have never hunted before.

Spotted this guy when I got way up the canyon

I'm no expert on goats but he sure looked like a big one. Big body and nice horns.

Unfortunately I forgot my scopecam adapter so I had to freehand the camera through the scope. I still got some decent pictures of him.

I finally got to shoot at something and to see how the Grim Reaper broadheads perform. I was impressed at the damage they do.

This time it was a porcupine that met its fate from my arrows. I can't wait to get my opportunity at some big game! Bring on November and the rut!


Here is the video I put together of my last day on the general archery unit, those few days on the extended and my trophy porcupine!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzxo7KY2X_w

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Foxskinner
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Nov-28-12, 
01:35 PM (MST)
16. "Sunnyside Utah Bighorn Sheep"

I was out in Sunnyside, Utah this fall and was able to see some of their bighorn sheep down by the road. It was my first time seeing them and there was a bunch of them. This is a video of them as they walked by my truck. There were also several up in the bushes in the canyon. I even got a headbutt on video. Cool stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evay_V0ohzk

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Foxskinner
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Nov-30-12, 
09:22 AM (MST)
17. "Utah Moose"

Here is a collection of some of the moose I have run into this year on my hunting adventures. If you have never seen a moose do a lip curl during the rut, make sure you watch the video. I was super excited to be able to film a bull doing a lip curl at only 25 yards away. I've seen bucks and bulls do it but never a moose. Anyway, hope you enjoy more of my photos/videos. Thanks.

Some Trail Cam Photos

Bull #1

Bull #2

Bulls #3 & #4

Here is the some of the video I took on one of my archery hikes in October. I saw all 8 of these moose in the bottom of one canyon all within the first hour of light. The rut was going on and the one moose did something I've never seen a moose do - a lip curl. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77v7R6sV-sg

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Foxskinner
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Dec-17-12, 
11:31 AM (MST)
18. "Becky's Rifle Deer Video"

I spent a lot of days on the Wasatch Front Extended Archery unit the last few weeks chasing deer and elk so I am finally getting around to posting up my wife's rifle deer video. It was a short and sweet hunt and being 7 months pregnant, I think she did a great job. It's not the biggest buck out there but it is an unforgettable spot, stalk, and hunt story that we get to tell our baby girl someday! Next up I'll post some of the extended pics and video. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56IlqWsc9kI


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Foxskinner
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Dec-18-12, 
10:00 AM (MST)
19. "Utah Extended Archery Deer Hunt"

The Utah extended archery hunt is quite the hunt. There are many pros and cons to it. If you can handle the pressure and the tons of people, you can find and stalk some really nice bucks. I spent many days hunting on the extended this year. Some days I never got out of my truck and did lots of glassing while other days I hiked over 10 miles covering lots of country. Here are some of the highlights that I had over the month of November.

Can you see this buck? He already had me pegged when I saw him there.

This sweet bedding area had about a dozen dirt beds that I'm sure that deer and elk use frequently.

One of the dozens of moose I encountered on my treks.

Miles and miles of country

A much appreciated November snow storm!

I watched this big 2x3 for most of the day. He was in a position that I could have stalked in on him and shot him but with the new snow and being still early in the rut, I decided to leave him alone in hopes of finding a bigger buck.

This 3-point buck came off the top and ended up taking the does away from the 2x3 I was watching.

Where is the buck in this picture?

Here he is. I got under 300 yards from this buck but he bedded in an impossible spot to get closer to.

I almost always pack my tripod and Vortex Razor spotting scope on my hiking adventures, even when I go 10+ miles. It almost always pays off though to have great optics especially when glassing long distance. in this case, I glassed up what could be a moose shed on the other side of the canyon, well over 2 miles as the crow flies from me. This is a look at what I was glassing when I spotted the white object about the middle of the photo.

Here is a closer picture through the spotter of what I believed to be a moose shed. It was just the right shape anyway. I had the red oak as a landmark too. I talked to my brother about it and he said it was probably just snow which made me question myself a little.

This was the biggest/closest image I could get on my phone and I sent it to my brother trying to convince him. He was a lot closer to it than I was and I told him he should go check it out for me since I couldn't get to it that day. He asked where it was and I said it was a little over halfway up the mountain probably about a mile from him. Since he wasn't seeing much he grabbed his bow and gear and headed up the mountain. That's a lot of trust right there!

My brothers exact words when he got to the moose shed were, "Well I'll be damned! You have one hell of a spotting scope!" He then said, "Do you want it?" Brothers will be brothers. Well he packed it down for me and I was super excited to have it!

Some torn up willows


Well we hunted hard and as much as we could but neither of us ended up filling our deer tags. I actually missed 2 different 3-point bucks and then found out that my pins got bumped and were off. Oh the frustrations of bow hunting. I love it though. It is such a challenge and an adrenaline rush. I have already decided to dedicate even more time to preparing for archery season next year. Seeing goods bucks and bulls on the winter ranges already has me fired up to hit the hills again in August! Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that I did get blood on an arrow a couple weeks ago on the first of December. I'll have to tell you about the elk side of my extended archery hunt next! ;)

In the meantime, here is a video of the extended archery deer hunt. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy6xdry5ouA

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Foxskinner
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Dec-22-12, 
11:38 AM (MST)
20. "RE: Utah Extended Archery Elk Hunt"

Well the deer side of my extended archery hunt turned out to be a bust but I had a little better luck on the elk side of it. I saw and watched elk pretty much every day. I hunted up this one canyon a few times and saw cow elk several times. I know this one trail that they use a lot and set up one day to watch it but never saw anything. I put up a trail camera when I left and not long after dark they came along the trail.

The snow hit in mid November and that really helped out. I located a bachelor group of bulls up in this long nasty canyon on one of my hikes. I never went after them but they stayed there all month and I could locate them regularly when I got up to my glassing location.

Here is a decent looking bull I located in the snow from a long distance.

Here is a broken bull that is missing half of his one side. Just a young one though.

I love to glass long distance as I tend to find more animals far away than what is close enough to chase. It frustrates me but is cool to find stuff that no one sees or knows about. For example, on one of my day long hikes, I sat and glassed a mountain that was at least 3+ miles away across from me. I patiently glassed and turned up these guys.

I actually saw one other bull on that mountain besides these two. I never got to see how big that one is in the photo but not bad bulls overall.

A nice sized herd of cows and spikes was also located on another ridge of that mountain. This herd will come into play later in the season as I could locate them regularly and actually made a play on them.

I love glassing and usually spend hours behind my binoculars and scope. If you know where to look for the animals, you will find them. Here is an elk I located just cause I saw the color in the pines.

Well I decided to make the brutal hike up to those bulls and that herd mentioned above. Straight up hill and several miles back into the backcountry led me to get close to these guys.

The bulls were headed to the same ridge to bed on that I saw them a couple days before. I hiked hard trying to get there first but it isn't fair when you have to go straight up the mountain and they just have to walk across it. I got to within 500 yards and realized I would never make it in time. I watched them go over the ridge into the pines.

I also located the bigger herd. Unfortunately, this was Thanksgiving day and I had a family dinner at 2 p.m. so I would have to put off chasing these elk for now.

Another spot I put my camera and I picked up elk on a couple different occasions during the extended archery hunt.

Another 10 mile hike saw me 8 more bulls but the closest I could get was 100 yards from any of them. After that butt kicker hike and having already spent two weeks on the mountain, I decided it was time to let the bulls go and try and get into that herd of cows again to fill the freezer.

Well it didn't quite work out in November. I got one last day to hunt in December. I went up into the steep canyon I knew was holding elk. At first light I located a good herd. They fed the wrong way from me though. I located a small group of cows and calves another mile up the canyon. I decided to go for it. It took me a couple hours to work my way up to them and work into a decent position.

I dropped my pack and started to climb up the rocky cliffs. I was a little lost as to where I was in relation to the elk but soon found myself getting close. I stepped up on this rock ledge and looked up. There was this strange dark object that puzzled me. Then it turned and looked at me. It was one of the cow elk. She saw me and I started to get in position slowly. Then the rest of them came up to see what she was looking at. A cow started to separate from them and I drew my bow. I estimated them about 60 yards above me. I didn't have a shot at her. A calf step out and crossed in front of the first cow. They were getting nervous. I was holding on the first cow I had seen and she took a step forward giving me a great broadside shot. I let it fly. I immediately herd the arrow hit a twig and then a big hard WACK. They all took off. I was pissed. I adjusted my view and could see the two tiny twigs that were in my lane that I couldn't see from where I shot.

I was so frustrated and mad. All that work and a silly twig ruined it. It took me a while to get up to their level and I stood where they had been. I thought I had hit a tree with the loud smack but had hit a rock instead. I picked up my arrow and there was hair on it though. That is when I saw a few blood spots. Then I saw the guts in the blood and I got mad again. My arrow had deflected but still hit one of them but it was a bad hit. Ugh!

Looking around a little more I saw more blood and then a bush she rubbed that had a good amount of blood. I started to feel better now that I was seeing blood but it still wasn't going to be fun being a gut shot.

I sat there and text my brother the news. After about 40 minutes I heard something in the canyon below me. I never saw where the herd had gone but I started glassing. There was a cow elk. I could see it was the one I had hit. It wasn't a good hit. She worked her way up the cliffs and bedded straight across from me. Every time I took a step she would look over at me. She was going up so I knew I couldn't afford to bump her or take any risks. I sat there and watched her for 4 hours til dark. She just worked around the hillside and fed a little. She bedded on a ledge at last light that I could see her. She looked like she was weakening but still watched me work my way down the canyon. I finally got away the next afternoon to go back up that nasty canyon and found her in her last bed that I had left her. I was so relieved to have a positive ending to an unfortunate situation. This is my first elk with a bow and it feels good to have broken the ice. I'm so excited for August to get here and I can start chasing again. I have already decided to dedicate myself more to archery so I can get after these amazing animals again and hopefully get my first bull with a bow next year! I have lots of footage of the extended elk hunt and I'll try and throw together a video soon for you all to enjoy.

Just a couple cow elk tags left in the family for the year and I'll be done after that. Not sure how much hunting I'll get in on those tags though with the holidays and our first baby due around New Years but I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for following me along in my journeys this year. It was a great year full of memories none of us will ever forget!

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Foxskinner
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Dec-27-12, 
09:19 AM (MST)
21. "Some Winter Bulls"

I found these bulls hanging out a couple weeks ago after one of the snow storms. No monsters but good looking bulls. I wonder what the bull was that busted both mainbeams off the one bull!


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