Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Bucksmut: 2016 Journal
Previous Topic | Next Topic 
Forums 2016 Hunt Adventure Challenge
Original Message

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
03:19 PM (MST)
"Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

2016 has been a memorable year for me with too many blessings to count. The grandest of which was the news of the coming of our new baby girl sometime in late October; she will be our first and Mom and Dad are thrilled beyond words.

Time has always been a concept that has escaped me; so symbolic and so fleeting. As I reflect on my year and anxiously try to pass some of that time, I find myself sitting in a dark hospital room with my wife awaiting our new child's arrival.

Although previous intentions of diligently keeping a weekly recap of my year have since been betrayed, I still have the desire to share the adventures of my year. I hope you enjoy:

My 2016 started with an intensely bitter rivalry and a picturesque ending to the not so perfect season. I was born into a diehard Denver Broncos family and do my best to carry the colors properly. Through marriage my wife has also contracted the sickness and going to games is something that we have grown to love and look forward to sharing together. I can say that I was on more of a high after the AFC Championship game against Tommy Boy than I can remember in many Bronco experiences. We did not make it to San Francisco personally but it was sweet to watch with the whole family of multi-generation Bronco fans while they brought home SB50.

I thought that since I was riding good vibes I should try to up the ante but no dice...

I thought that my luck streak was over but since I have gotten lucky at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in the past I had to try my hand again-fully expecting another donation but lightening struck twice. Unbelievable. When the text messages started rolling in the day they announced the winners I didn't believe it. I was headed to the Book Cliffs for the Muzzy hunt!!

  Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Nov-05-16   1 
  RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Nov-06-16   2 
   RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Nov-16-16   3 
    RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Nov-16-16   4 
     RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Nov-26-16   5 
      RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Dec-12-16   6 
       RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Dec-15-16   7 
        RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Dec-22-16   8 
         RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Dec-27-16   9 
          RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Jan-02-17   10 
          RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Jan-03-17   11 
           RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Jan-03-17   12 
            RE: Bucksmut: ...  bucksmut      Jan-30-17   13 

Lobby | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

  Messages in this topic  

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
11:52 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

I fully understand how controversial the Expo has become and really has been from the inception; as a resident of Utah I have had reservations about the process. That said, I firmly believe that those tags are public resources so I have never let my disdain for the medium in which the tags are distributed prevent me from putting in for them.

In 2010 I drew a Wasatch Archery Bull Elk permit at the expo and figured it was a first and last type of deal-I am glad I was wrong! With that tag in 2010 I found a unique freak bull and arrow-ed him at 10 feet.

That memory of my arrow zipping though a bugling rut-crazed freak bull is often where I go to in my mind while I am trying to fall asleep at night. I was ready to make some new memories and switch my mental t.v. station to big bucks!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
08:58 AM (MST)
2. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

Before I get too far into the hunts of this year, I need to give closure to my introduction and make mention that my wife and I welcomed in a beautiful little girl on 10/29.

She came a little after 7:00 P.M. after 24 hours of labor from my awesome wife. She is the highlight of my life- let alone 2016.

I will say that she does have her mom's timing and came on the opening morning of my New Mexico deer hunt. I was looking forward to this hunt in unit 2A but with the timing of her birth and the short five day season I did not even attempt to make the drive and hunt-maybe next year New Mexico! Also let this be a lesson to fellow hunters: don't have a Super Bowl Baby as it really can make for an interesting fall trying to schedule hunts.

The most grand adventures usually start with just a small thought, and one night while I was laying in bed thinking about the Book Cliffs and my muzzy expo tag I realized that I had 7 points for Utah black bear. Just in the nick-of-time I applied for the Book Cliffs Bear Hunt before the application period closed. I knew that 7 points was a little early but I am a degenerate gambler and I was on a high from a weekend win in Wendover so I applied in hopes that I could maximize the scouting. By the way, this was a quarter machine and it was 1,000 x $.25 not the $244K-just wanted to clarify so I don't start getting pinged for business venture ideas.

After a few weeks of waiting in anticipation and overusing the refresh key in checking my credit card balance, I saw a sweet sight!

I had bucked some odds and shaved a couple years out of the wait-this was one of many things that just fell together this year. I drew the Spring Bear hunt on the Book Cliffs.

At this point with two tags in my pocket and most of the year ahead of me I really started to dive into a massive cram session in learning as much as I possibly could about the unit, especially since I have never taken a step in the Books. It was at that point in time that I really starting to let it all set in and I started feeling the pressure of having a couple of quality tags and not being prepared like I tend to be in most other draw situations. I knew I was going to have a busy summer scouting but it started with scouring google earth and every map I could get my hands on.

I remember when I was younger while hunting with my Dad he would fondly reminisce about his days hunting the Book Cliffs when he was young. I remember how he said it was a magical place that was chuck full of animals so my expectations were really high. After spending countless hours online researching and speaking with anyone from friends to strangers who have hunted this unit I knew I was in for a fun summer as the most common phrase I heard was, "The Book Cliffs is such a fun hunt-it's a special place".

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
06:07 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

So without really knowing how else to approach a spring bear hunt in an unfamiliar unit, I started to make the 6 hour drive every chance I had.

The first trip out there we didn't make it very high as the snow drifts were impassible and a friend and I actually got the Razr so stuck that I thought we were going to have to spend the weekend walking out. Fortunately we were able to MacGyver our way out of that situation with lots of flat shale rocks, an old jack, and sheer will power. For as ominous as that situation was at the time, when I returned a couple weeks later when the snow had melted more it seemed so insignificant but everything changes when the weather is freezing and you are stranded. Note to self: "Be Prepared" is a great motto when doing anything in the back country.

Here was what remained of our rock trail out of the snow bank.

This trip was windy and cold!

The next outing two weeks later was much more mild weather and we really enjoyed getting out on the four wheelers and exploring the unit. I think it was fun for my Dad to revisit some of the old places that he used to hunt back in the 60's & 70's.

I learned what a beautiful place it is!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
04:34 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

On of my favorite things about Monster Muleys is the people who you come in contact with through this site.

During this scouting period I wrote a post and mentioned that I had the tag and was having some difficulty with the spring bear season; for as much time as we spent scouting we were coming up short on any bear sightings.

Forum member Whiskeydog chimed in and was very free with information and was willing to help out. The more I spoke with him the more I realized that he was not just a casual observer but that he lived, breathed, and slept the Book Cliffs and that he also owned an outfitter service and ran hounds.

Reputation travels a long ways in the hunting community and everyone I spoke to that was in the know couldn't say enough about Cody and Guy and what great guys they are and what excellent hounds they train and in my dealings with GT Outfitters I can also attest to that. I was lucky enough to talk Cody into taking me out bear hunting for a few days and it was a blast. Seriously great people with some seriously impressive dogs. My two take aways from that trip were: A.) There are lots of bears in the Book Cliffs and B.) Be good at what you do and treat people right and you will succeed in anything that you do. Thanks again Webster Family-I had a blast!

Here are some photos from our adventure:

Also another thing that I learned that trip along the same theme as being prepared, the Book Cliffs roads turn very nasty with any moisture.

We were caught in a rain storm-which came at an extremely bad time while were were in the middle of a race on a big boar that killed the trail in in it's tracks-and it was very tough mudding to say the least. This picture speaks for itself:

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
09:32 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

The bear hunt was such a fun experience! I can't wait to get back to applying after my two year waiting period so that I can go again.

I was excited to shift gears to big bucks!

After my bear tag was filled all I could think about when I wasn't there was getting back to the books to do more scouting and I will say we made the trip often. As each week passed I grew more and more excited as the antlers started to grow and I could start to identify bucks that I would be watching and start to formulate a game plan for the muzzleloader hunt.

Here is a quick video of the first couple days out.

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
10:30 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

It was a learning experience each time we made the trip. My good friend and forum member STILLWAITIN cashed in his LE elk points for the muzzy hunt that ran at the same time as my buck deer muzzy hunt so we were able to join efforts and resources whenever possible.

It made for an unforgettable summer and we both agree that it was a special season to have the opportunity to spend so much quality time together along with friends and family in such a beautiful place.

Here is a video of some more late summer scouting of big bulls and bucks:

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
10:00 PM (MST)
7. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

As the summer waned and the days grew shorter we felt that we had put enough time in to get a good idea of where the elk were hanging out so my younger brother and I decided to take the opportunity to buy archery spike tags and go hunt elk.

I looked at it as another chance to maximize my scouting time and try to help put him on an elk. I had intentions of hunting elk hard for the archery hunt but every time I went out I found myself glassing deer so on my end not much elk hunting was accomplished.

One evening my brother was late coming back to camp so I decided to head over to the area he was hunting. When I arrived, I was met with a big smile and I knew that he had a story to tell.

That evening he decided to sit on a water hole and after just a few minutes we was engulfed with a large heard of elk with multiple spikes and younger bulls. He placed a perfect shot at 30 yards and was able to cleanly arrow his first bull and was thrilled. It was a really fun night packing the bull out and experiencing some fruits of all of our scouting labors.

Here is a photo of his bull:

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
11:12 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

Throughout most of the summer I was preparing in other ways at home on the non-scouting weekends and after work.

I knew that with a new baby coming funds would be a little tighter this year. I knew that with all the money spent on scouting that I couldn't go buy a ton of new equipment but instead I needed to make due with what I had.

Because of this mentality I decided to re-purpose the scope that was previously on my .300 win mag and use it on my muzzle loader since a new Utah regulation was in effect this year that allowed for a higher scope magnification. Once mounted, I realized that this scope was overkill and much heavier than I had wanted but I also knew how poorly my 1X scope performed last year so this was the lesser of two evils.

After spending a couple hundred dollars on powder and bullets and after many outings of getting my range time in, I felt very confident out to 200 yards with groupings like these.

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
08:58 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

After all of the anticipation and preparation the hunt had finally arrived.

Due to different schedules with friends and family, I ended up making the voyage to the Buck Cliffs solo since some friends were already there in camp and other friends and family planning to meet us later. This drive was a good time for me to gather my thoughts and formulate a game plan of how I wanted my hunt to play out.

I believe that it is important for every LE hunter to make sure to have a game plan with a best and worst case scenario, even if you decide to not have a plan it is good to map it out mentally so that at the end of your hunt there are no surprises or disappointments.

So on my solo drive I went through all the different possible outcomes of the hunts and concluded that I would have a successful hunt either way even with tag soup but my best case scenario goal was a mature buck in the 170 class or better range. It was also a nice time to get to enjoy some good tunes and take in the beautiful fall colors.

I decided that since my good friend had the LE elk tag that I would go down the Saturday prior to my hunt starting on that Wednesday. This decision proved to be very fruitful even though I really didn't help him out that much it was fun to get to participate in his hunt and also to do some additional scouting for my deer.

By this time I was pretty dialed in mentally and ready to put together my final "hit list" of bucks that I would be happy with dropping-the-hammer on. Here are a couple of "last day" bucks that didn't make my list.

And then there were those that did make the list!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
11:08 AM (MST)
10. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

I had always wanted to be able to spend a good amount of time on a unit to thoroughly scout for an upcoming deer hunt and this tag allowed me to do so. After it was all said and done I figured that I had put around 30 days on the mountain in scouting and exploring the Book Cliffs.

Once I had finally found some bucks that I was interested in and had probably found a shooter buck it was fun to be able to sit back and get some good footage of him in the bachelor group of bucks he was hanging out with.

Here is a video of that bachelor group. At this point in my scouting, with the hunt only days away, I lost more than a few hours of sleep going back and forth between two bucks in this group.

Which one do you drop the hammer on if it was your name on that tag?

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
11:08 AM (MST)
11. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

After watching these videos on my phone over and over again, I finally decided the night before the opener that my game plan was this: if either the tall 5x5 in velvet or the square 4-point with mass gives me a good look-the sparks would fly!

Opening morning arrived and I had my game plan set; we were up at 5:00 A.M. and in position by 6:00 A.M. awaiting the sunrise. I was happy that by then my Dad had arrived in camp and would accompany me, together we were able to sit in the Rzr and discuss what our plan was. As the sun begin to give some clarity I caught movement to our right and the adrenalin started to kick in. Once I got my glass up, the outline of a 6-point bull elk on the horizon emerged. I was happy to see this bull and have that false alarm as in the end I think that it helped prepare my nerves for the next hour of my hunt.

As the daylight began to fill the valley we soon became witness to the exact scenario that I had imagined in my mindís eye unfolding before us. From the scouting I knew that this group of bachelor bucks would feed from a draw to the east and head to an adjacent draw to the west to bed down in thick timber. I knew where we needed to be and when, only problem that I did not factor in was the added activity of other hunters on the mountain that morning as the bucks were much more skittish now than ever before.

It all happened so fast. I had the bachelor group of bucks within 50 yards but they were moving and had their noses pointed into a very steep and rugged draw with the seclusion of thick oak brush and pines to hide their vulnerability. At one moment I had my primer in, hammer cocked with the big five point in my crosshairs but even with a bipod I did not feel comfortable with the shot at 125 yards because I just knew that I wasn't steady.

Just like that, the group was out of sight and I was about 90% sure that I had blown my chance for the morning. I was depressed that everything worked out so perfectly and yet I still didnít get a clean look and that I had just likely blew the best chance of getting on these bucks. I tried to snap out of it mentally and told myself that there was an outside chance that I could still catch the bucks before they hit the thickness of the bedding area so I decided to high-tail it and make the descent down into the draw that the bucks disappeared into.

I had only made it about 100 yards down when I caught movement, it was them. The group was steeply angled downhill and moving at a slower, less alarmed pace than before. I quickly found a rock that could serve as a shooting rest and began scouring the group for the buck that I secretly had my hopes on-the velvet 5x5.

After what seemed like a long time, I finally was able to put eyes on him as he was moving through thick cover below me. I knew that at some point these bucks would have to expose themselves one last time before they were safe in the pines as they had to cross an old open burn face. I directed my attention at this opening to prepare for when they emerged. It was then, as I was trying to calculate yardage for a shot that I discovered that I had misplaced my range finder so I had to estimate the range freehand.

Over the past few years I had recently started playing a lot of golf in my free time so this came in handy as I was trying to determine the distance with the mentality of either using my driver or a fairway wood; I concluded that the buck would emerge at 200+ yards which was at the high end of my comfortable range but I was confident because of my steady rest on the rock and that I paid the price at the range all summer long and knew that I was capable.

Just as I had calculated, the buck was headed for the clearing. The only thing that I hadn't expected was that he decided to hang up right before he entered my shooting path...for a long time. This buck must have had a sixth sense that he was in danger because he stood in cover with his vitals concealed for a solid 5 minutes. With each second I grew more and more tense as the opening was only a few feet wide and my window would be short. I fully expected the buck to blow through this opening as I could clearly see he was reluctant to enter it but just as stepped forward, halfway through my shot window, he paused. I was ready. With my 10 MOA hash mark buried in his vitals, my slow exhale was met with the explosion of fire and smoke. KABOOM!

I knew that my mechanics were sound but for anyone who hasn't shot a front stuffer, the moment after the shot is always suspenseful as the black smoke clears and you await the aftermath. I caught movement through the haze, it was the buck on a dead sprint down the mountain. I got up and moved to try to get around the smoke cloud so I could see more clearly and stepped on a flat shale rock that snapped and made the loudest "CRACK" sound that pierced through the canyon. On cue, the buck jammed on the brakes and was locked on to me. I slowly raised my empty long gun and put the buck in my scope. BLOOD! and lots of it coming from the bucks mouth. I knew it was a good shot but why was he still so alert and had me pinned? Was the shot not as good as I thought? When will he go down!?!

These questions raced through my mind as we had the Mexican Stand Off at 200 yards. Finally, I decided that I needed to make a move and reload so that I at least have the option of a follow up shot. Just as I made the move to grab a speedy-loader the buck bolted out of sight further down the hill.

After I was reloaded and more composed about what had just happened, I decided to not even attempt to go after the buck just then. I have hunted archery for a long time and the number one rule after a shot is back out so I decided to hike up the hill and touch base with my Dad who I had lost in the scramble of chasing bucks. We met and discussed the shot and I told him my story of identifying the 5x5 buck with the kicker and making the shot. As we discussed it and processed it more we both concluded that he was likely piled up down there due to the amount of blood I was seeing from the bucks mouth so we grabbed our gear and slowly made our way down the mountain.

Another side note, I had a quality tag in Idaho back in 2010 that turned out to be a nightmare for me. Long story short, I scouted all summer and found a monster buck that was in the 200" category that had a crab claw cheater on his right main beam that was very distinctive. When I finally found what I thought was this buck during the hunt I shot him even though his rack was not fully exposed. When I went to retrieve this buck I was heartbroken as I discovered I had killed his younger brother with the same distinctive main beam-it was sickening. I bring this up as this experience entered my mind as I was walking down the hill to look for this buck I had just shot. Was it possible that I had another case of mistaken identity and shot the wrong buck? I kept reassuring myself that this could not be the case as I verified numerous times and right before the shot I saw the kicker off his left G3. These thoughts were cut short as I heard my Dad say "Blood!" We were right that it was a good shot as there was lots of blood. I identified where the buck had stopped that we had the standoff and from there we only trailed him another 15 yards before he piled up.

As I approached the buck his head was in a bush and I got that sickening feeling once again as I thought I had killed the wrong buck. I almost had a nervous meltdown until I moved to a slightly different angle and saw the other half of his frame-from there and especially when I got my hands on him there was no ground shrinkage!

This buck was more than I had ever hoped for with this tag and he is my biggest buck to date. He had very beautiful velvet for late September and was massive throughout his long tines. I knew what this buck was when I shot him because of the film I was able to review from scouting but having him in my hands I did not realize how the height of this buck minimalized his thickness and I also didn't realize how long the extras were. I was ecstatic and especially so since I was able to share this experience with my Dad.

We caped him out and it took two loads to get him off the hill because of the steepness and we headed back to camp. Everyone at camp was happy to see that I was able to connect on this buck that we had all ogled on film. I was razzed a bit because after all the planning and preparing I was done with my planned 9-day hunt within the first hour but with a buck like this wearing my tag I had no regrets and would pull that trigger on the Book Cliffs 10 out of 10 times. Plus on the flip side I was able to spend another 5 stress-less days on the mountain enjoying my friends hunts with them.

Two days after I was able to connect with this buck my good friend who also had the deer tag was able to share an unforgettable experience with his 6 year old boy and take this nice buck. I was able to see many families hunting together and enjoying all the animals and making great memories-that is what I feel encapsulates the Book Cliffs-a great place to hunt with your family for sure.

The next day after this my other good friend was able to fulfil his longtime dream of putting his LE tag on a quality mature bull. It was really fun to see all of his hard work pay off and experience the excitement of having such a cool animal down. I couldn't believe how much bigger his bull was than a deer-it was a stark contrast from packing out deer to trying to roll that thing over-very large animals indeed.

Here is a pic of his bull coming out once we got him loaded. Lucky for us he collapsed a few feet from a road or else that would have been a really long night of packing in the rain.

To summarize this year on the Book Cliffs, I will just reiterate that it is a special place and one that I will look to further explore in the near future. I am grateful that I could write a small chapter of my hunting experiences there and I had a blast on my hunting adventures in 2016 that will be hard to top in 2017-but of course I will try!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
10:07 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

To hear more about forum member StillWaitin's hunt he did a write up on the Utah Wildlife Network and here is the link:

I need to remind him to add his story here to Monster Muleys also because it was a cool hunt that I am sure others here would like to read about.

Well after my buck was down on the Book Cliffs and the other two tags in camp were filled, I had some more time off from work burning a hole in my pocket so we decided to head east to Colorado to scout for our 3rd season deer hunt that was upcoming. I didn't actually have a tag in my pocket yet at this point but my Dad and two brothers who were with me did and I had plans to purchase one.

For our first scouting trip we only stayed for a couple of days but it was fun to get to look around the area and get an idea for what was upcoming. The biggest buck that we saw was a young buck with good genetics and a hook cheater that was down in a farmers field eating fallen apples but he was still fun to see nonetheless. Little did we know at the time how frustrating it would become to only see deer on private property during the hunt.

After that scouting trip we did not make it back to Colorado until the week that the hunt started. I actually ended up driving down separately due to the newborn baby at home I wanted to make sure I had transportation in case my wife needed the help. By the time I arrived a few days into the hunt my options for picking up a landowner tag were slim to none and on top of that the weather was not cooperating at all! It was very hot with very little movement or rutting activity throughout the day.

Spirits were a little deflated by midway through the hunt but we were still learning the area and were having fun being together and out hunting. We were in a small town in Colorado when we learned the election results and it seemed that the whole town was happy with the outcome as it was really buzzing with pro Trump signs-interesting to see the contrast from being in Denver at a Broncos game a couple months prior as the rural area was quite disconnected from the capitol.

Since I wasn't able to get a tag I spent my time trying to help my Dad and brothers find bucks or really at that point just laying an eye on deer that were not on private property was an accomplishment.

Midway through the hunt we were able to learn the area enough and find some deer and expected that where there were does the bucks were sure to follow since we noticed that the bucks on the private were starting to show signs of rutting activity.

On the second day of spending time in this area my brother and I took the Rhino for a ride up a gnarly trail and about halfway up I caught movement so we pulled to the side and stopped to glass. We saw a doe with a really heavy two-point in the rocks above us. My brother jumped out and checked them over with his scope hoping that more deer would materialize. Soon the buck and doe decided that they had enough and bumped up over the hill. My brother had the hunch that he wanted to follow them on foot to see if other deer might be with them that were unseen. We decided that I would stay back with the machine and wait for a signal to go and pick him up later. As he walked off I glassed some more deer about 1/4 mile away that were playing and running around and I was sure that a monster buck was going to step out but my daydream was cut short with the crack of a rifle shot. It had to have been my brother and I immediately thought that he had caught up with the two point and bumped him off since we were not seeing much that trip. I gave it a few minutes and went to find him.

When I met up with him I could tell that he had found something better than the 2 point as he was smiling. He had trailed the deer and just as he had thought there were more hidden in the trees and when he caught up to them he was able to make a clean shot on a nice 4x4. In finding this buck it lifted the spirits for the rest of us as we were finally able to get into some bucks.
Plus he was really happy that he could bring a buck back home for his four young boys to see as they give him a hard time when he comes home empty handed.

After we had his buck taken care of we continued to explore the area and put together a game plan for the other two tag holders. We had ran into other hunters who had some photos of bigger bucks in the area and from the sign we were seeing we knew that they were around.

The next morning my younger brother was able to connect on a 4x4 also. This was his biggest buck to date and he was thrilled. This buck didn't give him much of a look but he has never been accused of having a slow trigger finger so he made the most of his opportunity and bagged this heavy 4x4.

It was really fun to participate in this hunt as a bystander and help out where I could with no pressure of having the tag myself.

By this point in the hunt we were down to 1 more day to get it done for my Dad. He has killed more big bucks than any of us three combined so we knew that it was going to have to be a special buck for him to get really excited about. We hunted hard but couldn't turn one up for him that he wanted to shoot. He did pass up some smaller bucks but he was satisfied with letting them get bigger for next year. On the way home we met a nice guy and his son at the gas station who downed a monster buck that left us with even more of a desire to return to Colorado next year. It was fun to talk to them and hear about their experience. When I saw their rack inside the cab of the truck with them at the gas station I knew it was going to be a nice buck and it was-congrats again guys.

Overall it was a great time and it was an adventure to say the least. My take-aways from this hunt were: A.) You don't have to have the tag to have an enjoyable hunt B.) No matter the success or lack thereof, hunting with family is always fun. Spend as much time with family as possible to build memories and C.) When you drive a long-bed 4-door Dodge pickup don't try to go down washes or you will destroy your running boards!

Here is a short video that I threw together of this hunt:

It has been enjoyable to put down in writing my experiences and I appreciate Founder for opening up this section to do so. With 16 deer point going into the Utah draw this year and some other options in other states I am hoping that 2017 will be even better!

I hope that you all enjoyed my 2016 HUNT ADVENTURE CHALLENGE!

Thanks for reading!


  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

(278 posts)
Click to EMail bucksmut Click to send private message to bucksmut Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
07:25 AM (MST)
13. "RE: Bucksmut: 2016 Journal "

As a fitting encore to my 2016 HAC I thought I would share with you the final chapter of a cool buck from a few years back.

In the spring of 2010 I talked my brother into going out on the open access shed hunt on Antelope Island in the last minute. Back then it wasn't as popular as it is now and we both were granted an access pass for the day. I remember practically begging him to go that day because I didn't want to go alone and since he worked night shifts he was reluctant but after some persistence he agreed to accompany me.

We arrived early morning and scoured the hills for most of the morning and into the afternoon. I was getting pretty tired and discouraged because I hadn't found anything and had walked a long ways but we kept looking. After the better part of the day had passed, I heard my name faintly and noticed my brother about 1/8 of a mile away motioning for me to come over. I remember thinking that this had better be good as I was walking away from the truck on the west side of the island in the low lands and by that point I had had it and was ready for a Mt.Dew!

When I met up with him I could see white antler tips extending from a large sage brush in the bottom of a ravine and I could tell it was a good find but the closer I got to him I realized that it was a great find!

We knew the law and didn't want to touch this until a DWR officer was on site and authorized it and lucky for us I had cell reception and we had the warden who was patrolling the shed hunt there within 30 minutes. It was fun to get our hands on this head and really appreciate how big it was even though we knew that it would be going to Fish and Game headquarters and not home with us.

Here is a picture of my brother with the head after the DWR arrived:

This is what we thought was going to be our last view of this buck in the back of the Fish and Game Officer's truck:

As luck would have it though, with some persistence and patience my brother was awarded this magnificent trophy buck by the DWR after the investigation was completed and it was found that this was a winter kill buck. We were both very happy and knew this was a special buck.

Yelum is the local Antelope Island expert in our area and probably everywhere and he was nice enough to let us come by his house and he scored this buck for us. It was a fun and memorable night as we talked big bucks for the evening I learned much about scoring and what Monster Muley hospitality was- he went just under 220". Thanks again Yelum!

Yellum also had some cool pictures from when this buck was alive that he shared with us:

From the get go after being awarded this deadhead the plan was to mount the buck but time and money is always fleeting so the restoration of this deer took 7 years to compete with the culmination a few weeks back.

I shot a buck in Wyoming in 2015 with a beautiful winter cape and thought that it was fitting that I could contribute to bringing this buck back to life so we used that for the mount.

The buck turned out gorgeous and will always be a fun story to tell regarding the find of a lifetime!

Seven years later:

Here he is on the wall-what a trophy buck!

  Remove | Alert Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top

Lock | Archive | Remove

Lobby | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Home | Hunting Forums | Photo Gallery | Hunting Articles | Videos |
Hunts & Tags | Hunt Draw Odds | About Mule Deer | About Elk
Store | Classified Ads | Photo Tours | About this Site | Advertising |
Older Content | Email Us | Privacy Policy | Links | Podcasts