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

Hoyt in my hand

 
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dillon
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May-16-17, 
11:04 PM (MST)
"Hoyt in my hand "

I moved to Wyoming in March of 2016 to work at a state park and found myself as a "man without a land" since it takes an entire year to become a resident for hunting purposes in Wyoming.

I became a resident this year just in time to hunt turkeys in April and May. Unfortunately, I have missed two turkeys with my new Hoyt Pro Defiant 34 and the season ends this week. This was my first time hunting turkeys and I made all the rookie mistakes.

I applied for type 1 elk and antelope, and type 3 whitetail deer in eastern Wyoming where I live. I will most likely draw the whitetail deer permit and probably my second choice permit for antelope. I will also get a general deer permit and time permitting a general elk permit.

I applied with four bonus points for a non-resident rifle deer tag for the Henry Mountains and I bought my 17th and 13th points for elk and mountain goats in Utah. Depending on which family members draw good tags in Utah I may end up in my home state as well this fall.

I hope you enjoy following my posts this year as I explore the great state of Wyoming with my Hoyt in my hand.

Dillon Hoyt


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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 Paying it forw...  dillon      May-17-17   1 
 2016 Wildlife ...  dillon      May-29-17   2 
 Take a kid fis...  dillon      Jun-05-17   3 
 Baby fawns  dillon      Jun-16-17   4 
 June 17th Antl...  dillon      Jun-18-17   5 
 Hoyt Baby#4  dillon      Jun-21-17   6 
 WyoDraw!!!!!  dillon      Jun-22-17   7 
 3D Archery Sho...  dillon      Jul-29-17   9 
 Pre-season sco...  dillon      Aug-03-17   10 
 More critters  dillon      Aug-07-17   11 
 Wyoming Archer...  dillon      Aug-24-17   12 
 Wyoming Archer...  dillon      Aug-28-17   13 
 Struggles and ...  dillon      Sep-11-17   14 
 Archery elk se...  dillon      Sep-16-17   15 
 Wyoming Buck A...  dillon      Oct-06-17   16 

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dillon
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May-17-17, 
06:48 AM (MST)
1. "Paying it forward"

I did not participate in the 2016 Hunt Adventure Challenge. However, I want to take a moment and do a really quick update on the two hunts I helped with in 2016.

First, I helped my brother-in-law get his first deer on a general unit in Wyoming. He also drew one of the best antelope tags in Wyoming. Newbies have all the luck in the draws.

I had a co-worker draw a type 1 elk tag in Wyoming his first time applying for a big game permit. He didn't know anything about hunting. I went with him once right at the end of the any elk season and somehow we found five bulls our first morning hunting together. He took a 261 yard shot on a small six point bull, but he missed. On his second shot, he hammered the only cow in the herd. He was super excited to get an elk and the three-mile pack out was almost worth the effort because she tasted so good.

There is something cool about helping other people learn how to hunt. I feel like I am "paying it forward" because I was once the one being taught by my father, brothers, neighbors, and friends.

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dillon
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May-29-17, 
08:42 AM (MST)
2. "2016 Wildlife Photography"

I took a lot of great pictures in 2016 that I want to share. Hopefully, I can turn up some of these bucks this fall during hunting season. They are shown in the order they were photographed.

The last buck in the series is named Luigi. I have seen him twice this spring and he is growing a really nice set of antlers. Hopefully, he will not be a 4x2 this year. He is right at the top or my bucket list along with Yoshi (the small non-typical) and Bowser (the big 3x4).

The 8 point whitetail picture was taken on private land, but I think if I play my cards right I can catch him on public land. I know he survived the hunting season last fall.

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dillon
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Jun-05-17, 
05:57 AM (MST)
3. "Take a kid fishing"

Life is good at the Hoyt house. We are just waiting on Wyoming draw results and preparing for baby #4.

My wife is 38 weeks pregnant and she decided to load up our kids on the boat and go fishing. We hooked one small walleye, but he got off the hook near the boat while we were reeling him in. We also saw a 5-foot snake swimming across the lake (last image).

It was fun and relaxing to be on the water with my family.

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dillon
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Jun-16-17, 
08:14 AM (MST)
4. "Baby fawns"

This doe decided to give birth in my yard by my car. Luckily, we didn't need the car for a few hours so we could give her some time and space to move somewhere else with her new babies.

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dillon
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Jun-18-17, 
07:54 AM (MST)
5. "June 17th Antler Growth"

I have been very busy at work and I have not had very much time to go fishing or looking for deer. I saw this buck yesterday afternoon and I was able to find him again in the evening when I had my video camera with me. He was a 2x4 last year with no eye guards. I am excited to see that he will at least be a 3x4 with eye guards this fall.

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dillon
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Jun-21-17, 
08:20 AM (MST)
6. "Hoyt Baby#4"

Baby finally picked a birthday. We made it to the hospital with a few short minutes to spare before she was born She is a BIG girl, like as in more than 9 1/2 pounds and 21 inches long!


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dillon
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Jun-22-17, 
04:41 PM (MST)
7. "WyoDraw!!!!!"

I drew everything I put in for this year in Wyoming! 

My brother-in-law and I drew Type 1 "any elk" permits on Laramie Peak (Area 7), which had a 24% draw odd this year. Last year the 1,500 "any elk" permits holders killed 832 bulls and 104 antlerless elk off the unit. Area 7, has a ton of elk, but they are very difficult to access on public lands and the hunting pressure is off the charts with 4,268 permits issued in 2016 (total harvest=2,118). I will hunt archery season (September 1-30), any elk rifle (October 15-November 20), and antlerless only rifle (November 21-December 31). Luckily, I can be hunting on Area 7 within 30 minutes or less from my house and I have all summer to scout. My goal is to harvest a bull (any size) with my bow, or if I can't get that done, I would like to shoot a 5 or 6 point bull during rifle season. Yes, there are very big bulls on Area 7, but they are hard to find on public land. 

I drew my second choice antelope permit for Area 103, which is right next to my house. I saw a few good bucks out-and-about last year on public land. I view my antelope hunt as my "kids hunt". I hope they can go with me and have a good experience. They are 6, 4, 2, and a newborn right now. My daughter was 4 when I took her antelope hunting in Nevada and she loved every minute of the hunt. Harvest success for this Type 1 permit was 91.7% in 2016. The unit is close to 90% private lands, but I know I can find the antelope on public land if I put in a little time. My goal is to get a buck with 14"+ horns with a rifle, or a 12"+ buck with my bow. I will hunt archery (August 15-October 4) and rifle (October 5-October 31). I can't actually hunt archery until after the August 21st because a total solar eclipse passes directly over the park where I work and we are expecting about 65,000 park visitors. 

I knew that I would draw a Type 3 whitetail deer permit on Area 15 as my first choice. I know this will be a very hard permit to fill on a buck, but I should have no problem getting antlerless whitetail. Last year 168 bucks and 24 antlerless deer were taken on the 353 permits. I am good with a 54% harvest rate. The unit is right next to my house and there are several sections of state land and a few hunter management areas that I can explore. I can hunt archery (September 1-30), rifle any whitetail deer (October 1-November 30), and rifle antlerless only (December 1-December 31). I've never hunted whitetail so I will hold out for a buck until the end of November and then I will harvest a doe. 

I will also get a general deer permit, but I don't think I will have time to focus on it with all my other permits. I would love to shoot a 24" muley buck or better with my bow. I will be hunting elk, antelope, and whitetail deer on general deer units, so I should be able to find a good mule deer buck in my adventures. 

I am going to need a bigger freezer! 

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dillon
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Jul-29-17, 
09:51 AM (MST)
9. "3D Archery Shoot, etc. "

I have not posted for a while because my camera broke and I prefer to post more pictures and less text. I picked up a new camera this week so I will start posting more now that I have it and we are getting closer to opening day. My archery antelope opens August 15th and archery deer and elk hunt open September 1st.

I was able to participate in a fundraiser 3D archery shoot at the state park where I work in Wyoming hosted my Converse County Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife. We had 55 archers participate and the funds generated will go toward making a permanent archery range at the state park. I can't wait to have an archery range 100 yards from my house. I didn't shoot great, 393/480 on a 40 arrow shoot, but I beat my boss by 1 point, so I am content. The last 3D shoot I participated in was at the Apple Festival in Glendale, Utah, 12 years ago. I forgot how much fun they are.


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dillon
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Aug-03-17, 
08:46 AM (MST)
10. "Pre-season scouting "

The top buck is Luigi. I have been keeping tabs on him for two seasons now and currently he is sitting at the top of my hit list as a nice 3x4. The first buck antelope in this post is on private land, but he was very photogenic so I am sharing some pictures of him even though he is untouchable.

Enjoy!

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dillon
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Aug-07-17, 
05:44 PM (MST)
11. "More critters"

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dillon
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Aug-24-17, 
12:51 PM (MST)
12. "Wyoming Archery Antelope Season: Part 1"

Archery antelope season opened on August 15th. On the 15th, I took my family (wife and four kids) for a long drive to see if we could find a buck on public land. This unit is about 90% private lands, but it is possible to find the antelope on public lands if you are persistent. We saw one buck antelope on public land, and some bison, some deer, and some other things. I thought it was fun, our six-year-old daughter complained a lot.

On the 15th, I took my family (wife and four kids) for a long drive to see if we could find a buck on public land. This unit is about 90% private lands, but it is possible to find the antelope on public lands if you are persistent. We saw one buck antelope on public land, and some bison, some deer, and some other things. I thought it was fun, our six-year-old daughter complained a lot. My wife took pictures of pretty weeds that had flowered along the road, which made her happy.

After the 15th, I didn’t get to hunt until the 22nd, because we had tens of thousands of people come to the park where I work to view the solar eclipse. The eclipse plans that we made worked extremely well and everyone had a great time. We had almost double the number of people in the park at one time that had ever happened in park history; yet, cleanup was easier than a typical 4th of July.

On the 22nd, I went out in the evening and saw 12 does. No bucks.

On the 23rd, I went to back to school night and on the way home, we saw a buck antelope on a parcel of state land. So, I ran home and grabbed my bow. I came back, got in position, everything was perfect until I missed. My arrow went right over his back. These are pictures of the buck I missed. He is not very tall or wide, but he had good mass for a young buck. I found my arrow!

(These photos were taken on the 18th from about 500 yards away so they are a little blurry)

On the morning of the 24th, I took my four-year-old some with me and we went hunting all morning. We saw a lot of antelope, including about 16 buck antelope on public lands, but it was really hard to spot and stalk the bucks with a little boy with me. 13 of those bucks were in a bachelor herd.

We had a lot of fun together and that is ultimately what really matters.

And the hunt continues for the elusive pronghorn antelope of eastern Wyoming.

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dillon
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Aug-28-17, 
04:27 PM (MST)
13. "Wyoming Archery Antelope Season: Part 2"

On the 25th, I went back to where my son and I saw all the bucks on the 24th and I found several bucks on public land. They eventually crossed off the public land and onto private property before I could close the distance. That is the story of my life.
I saw several other bucks on private property that I would have easily closed the distance on with my bow.

On the 26th, I decided to go see if I could find the buck I missed the other day and I found him, but I never got closer than 200 yards before he left the public land I was hunting on his way to the waterhole. Maybe I need to invest in a decoy.

So, I hurried to another location looking for Big Boy who had about 35 or so does with him. He has been hanging out on the wrong side of the fence for a few weeks, but on the 26th he was on public land and I was able to get close to him without being noticed. In fact, I got 82 yards from him and 43 yards from his closest does. He was following the does and I had about 5 minutes left of legal shooting light. It was perfect. Then a car full of kids with loud music ran him out of the country. I was irate. But, that is what happens when you hunt public lands. I came home and vented to my wife and sulked because that is what grown men do when a big buck gets away.

(The picture below was taken of Big Boy a few weeks ago from several hundred yards)

On August 28th, I had a day off of work so I slipped out early in the morning to check on Big Boy before the kids woke up. I didn’t want to use up all my “get-away-from-home” permission slips before my deer and elk seasons open in September, but Big Boy has been haunting my dreams since Saturday. So, of course, he was nowhere to be found on Monday morning.I went hunting, came back to pickup my daughter for school, and went hunting again for a few more minutes. My wife barely knew I was gone.

The sun was red because we have had a few fires lately near where I live. I helped fight the one in the picture below.

This is a good buck I saw while hunting antelope.

These are the little guys I saw when I took my daughter to school.

I might get out to hunt antelope one of these evenings, but my plan moving forward is to focus on elk and deer after Labor Day weekend.

Good luck everyone.

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dillon
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Sep-11-17, 
07:51 AM (MST)
14. "Struggles and success"

The past week has been filled with highs and lows. The lowest point was when I missed a huge 3x4 mule deer buck with my bow. I have been watching him for two years and it was disheartening to watch him disappear into the canyon below. I also missed a nice three point the day after I missed him. It was rough.

I decided to switch gears and hunt elk for a few days, but I couldn't find the elk either. I hiked and glassed a lot, but ultimately I had no success finding elk.

I decided to try my luck hunting deer again and on September 11th and I killed my biggest buck to date. He is a 23 inch three point.

I don't want to give myself too much credit for this buck because my shot was less than ideal and I had to stick him in the neck with a second arrow to seal the deal. Overall, I am happy and we are having fresh steak for dinner.

If you really want to follow my hunt in more detail you can follow my 2017 Season on my www.dillonhoyt.com website where I keep my hunting journal and post more pictures.

All smiles at the Hoyt house right now!

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dillon
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Sep-16-17, 
11:43 AM (MST)
15. "Archery elk season"

Long story short, I have been hunting elk for the last three days and I have seen two bulls, but I was not able to get within archery range of either of them. I have heard a few other elk early in the mornings. I have found some really nice deer and elk shed antlers this week that are worth sharing. Also, I have been seeing a lot of antelope on private land where I can't hunt, but I got some cool pictures of those too.

And so, the hunt continues...


First bull:

Second bull:

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dillon
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Oct-06-17, 
01:13 PM (MST)
16. "Wyoming Buck Antelope Down"

I hunted opening morning of my Wyoming rifle antelope hunt with my four-year-old son. I took a shot at this nice buck that I have been watching all summer, but I missed.

On the second day of the season, my six-year-old daughter and I went hunting together after work and I connected on this great buck from about 50 yards. We originally saw this buck about a minute after we left the car to go hiking and he went up and over the hill, so we circled around and he came right to us. Bang!

This unit was my second choice and is almost 90% private land, so I am thrilled that we found such a good buck and were able to bring him home.

My daughter must be lucky because she has been with me when I shot both antelope that I have ever harvested. Plus, we had a lot of fun making memories together.

I am going to attempt to Euro mount him like I did my last buck.

And yes, I did bring another awesome animal home in the truck of my Toyota Camry.


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