Birthday Buck - Paunsaugunt Utah

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
After 25 years of applying, most of you know I got a Pauns muzzleloader tag this year. I'm old and sentimental, and since a lot of the success of this hunt was going to be just getting to set foot there, gun and camera in hand, and hope for the deer of a lifetime - it would be worth it, no matter what. Several scouting trips revealed beautiful country, a road and trail system that is unmatched anywhere in the West, and lots of friendly people. To everyone who called, texted, posted, shared map locations, or just said good luck - Thank You very much. It was an amazing experience.

The first scouting trip revealed a few deer, and included the lower, middle, and upper Tropic areas. Learning roads was made tough by torrential rains. Little did I know they would occur frequently over the next two months. Had a couple flash-flood "learning experiences", and now have a new found respect for those gulley washers!!

The next trip down in mid-Sept showed the tremendous green-up from the rains, but it also revealed the presence of cows everywhere. Little did I know they were to be a major part of my decision to shoot the buck I did. Darn them anyway. :)

After many conversations, checking the weather reports, and a gut feeling I decided to stay up top in the Tropic Reservoir area. I would do this until proven wrong. I still think it was the right decision, given the sheer number of deer, and no apparent need to migrate. Went down 4 days early, and began scouting in earnest. My God, there's a lot of deer there!!!

My very dear friend and hunting partner (PREDATOR here on MM) showed up and we discussed what I was seeing, the shear numbers of deer, and the fact that the weather was beautiful and they had no reason to leave. Several other people were hunting elk in the area and could feed me info, and others were choosing to hunt the lower country below the Pink Cliffs. For all of you who have tried to hunt thick cedars, you know how difficult that can be.

I was hearing horror stories of no big deer because of drought, big ones not down yet, guides all over and tons of traffic. I was actually nice up top, very few people, new friends made and got to see 4 other quality deer taken by hunters. There are so many 3-points, I don't how a management tag hunter could strike out here.

Now for the unbelievable parts of the story. Usually these begin with "You won't believe this", or "This is a no shitter!" Over twelve days, we averaged between 20-40 bucks a day (the highest was 50), and at least a 100 does and fawns, and almost all were within muzzleloader range. I identified at least 6 definite shooters, and others with potential. As usual in an area so well traveled by ATV, UTV, or truck traffic, a lot of the deer were seen right from the road. They could care less about you, they were feeding their faces on this great grass!!!

When it comes to deer, I really have no luck, unless it's BAD. We were always 15-20 minutes early, or just minutes too late to see the big one standing in the middle of the road!! We saw several nice deer killed, but no big ones to speak of. All of our shooters were seen by others, so we know they didn't leave - we just couldn't find them.

Over the 8 days of the 9 day season, I passed many very nice deer, that would be instant shooters in many areas of the state or other states. Always looking for Brutus, or Mr. Big. Come to Day 8 of the 9 day hunt, and we were still trying as hard as ever. It was also my 71st birthday, and in 54 years of hunting, I have never taken a single game animal on my birthday. Fending off a little snow, some major 22 degree frost, and 2 1/2 days of torrential rain and fog was trying our patience, but we kept on trying. We were seeing new bucks every day, but never the OMG buck.

On this day however, when 2 dozen Alton cowboys pushed 300 cows thru my deer hunting area, it was almost too much. We were already discussing the next days plans then, and when we looked up we saw 3 very nice mature 4 pt deer feed out of a timbered pocket in a valley. By running up the back side of a ridge, we might make it to the top before they were gone. Lo and behold, we got there and they had crossed the valley, but were still feeding up the other side. I got proned out on the CVA Accura, and had a good rest and sight picture. We discussed mass, forks, brow tines, looked for character points and stickers, and I made up my mind. Lisa quickly ranged the three and were at approx. 190 yards. The 290 Barnes TEZ BT drops 8" at that range, so a top of the back hold center-punched him thru the lungs. A quick death run, and a tumble back down the hill and we were happy campers!!

While not the biggest buck we saw, or widest, or tallest - I think he's the prettiest. A perfect end to a perfect tag, and a first for my birthday!!! Thank you God, for letting be a hunter!

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Camper_A1

Active Member
Messages
930
Great story, beautiful country, great friends and a Birthday Buck on top of all that. You couldn’t have asked for anything better, congrats!
 

Ranger1

Very Active Member
Messages
1,090
Congrats on a great BDay present and muzzy buck. Thanks for sharing a great story and your enjoyable hunt!
 

2lumpy

Long Time Member
Messages
4,278
Happy Birthday. Beautiful mature mule deer buck. All the right parts, in all the right places.

Thanks for sharing the hunt and the pictures. Lots of time and lots of effort, a classic example of a do it yourself hunt, with good friends and a perfect ending.

Congratulations.
 

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,660
Thanks for sharing your hunt! Congrats on a fantastic buck and overall experience. I bowhunted the unit in 2003 and it remains one of my all-time favorite places, especially all of that area near Tropic reservoir. Such a cool place!!
 

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
A few more pics. Even the little bucks show lots of quality, and the hunt should always continue to show a lot of deer to a lucky tag holder. They even have a sense of humor too, and know when they are safe!! To the azz-wipes who dis-assembled the Park Service gate on the Bryce boundary, I hope you got what you were looking for when you drove your ATV into the Park (needed Bessy for a high country tune-up)!! We reassembled the gate, and called the Park Service to fix it properly. Saw so many turkeys it was unbelievable. Every drainage, every meadow and road seemed to have flock after flock. The Fall colors were amazing too, and the 22 degree frost one night seemed to shock them into some awesome orange colors, instead of just the usual golds!!

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Gator

Long Time Member
Messages
17,410
Wow those pictures are outstanding love the sky pictures.
It getting colder each day hoping for a little snow and cold wind.
 

blueman

Member
Messages
31
I feel like I saw that buck during my early elk hunt. Wow, 25 years, suck a long time for a deer like that. Congrats
 

BradA

Very Active Member
Messages
1,861
Congratulations thanks for sharing! Some great pictures! Gotta love this time of the year with all the changing colors! By far my favorite time of the year.
 

littlebighorn

Long Time Member
Messages
4,366
Way to hang in there Blank! Two of my best animals came on my son's birthday. Unfortunately my March BD hasn't produced a thing!
Great story and pics.
Well done.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,481
Real nice buck there. Cool. You put in the time and effort. They’re not easy to get down there. I got my butt kicked in that unit a few years ago. Tag soup for me.
 

hunt30

Active Member
Messages
299
Congrats on the birthday buck and thanks for taking us all along on your adventure. I’d also like to thank you for all of your posts in the cooking forum. Love to see all of the great meals you come up with. Always a class act. Monstermuleys needs a lot more people like you.
 

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
We saw so many of these 2-3 year old 3 points every day we lost track of the total. Every canyon and hillside would be loaded up in the morning and evening. These bucks were actually sparring and getting after it, while I watched from cell phone camera range. Teenagers feeling their oats early, I guess!! I can understand why there is a 3-point hunt now.

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Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
EA: I never saw any mega bucks on my scouting trips in July or early Sept. For the two days before my hunt, I located three bucks that I thought were 30-31" wide, with big frames and that is what we concentrated on for the first two days. We chased a different buck on the third day, and that is when a couple guys on ATV's without tags ran into them, and said they were both monsters and over 180". A guide there from Ruby's, that I gave a ride to back to his outfit, offered up a 190" buck they had been watching for two weeks, as his buddy only had a management tag. We checked that area for 5 days, and never laid eyes on him.
 

elkassassin

Long Time Member
Messages
27,997
That's Why I Was Asking if the Migration had Started?

Makes it Damn Tough!



EA: I never saw any mega bucks on my scouting trips in July or early Sept. For the two days before my hunt, I located three bucks that I thought were 30-31" wide, with big frames and that is what we concentrated on for the first two days. We chased a different buck on the third day, and that is when a couple guys on ATV's without tags ran into them, and said they were both monsters and over 180". A guide there from Ruby's, that I gave a ride to back to his outfit, offered up a 190" buck they had been watching for two weeks, as his buddy only had a management tag. We checked that area for 5 days, and never laid eyes on him.
 

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
Sorry, I missed that part. No, Lisa and talked at length about whether or not to move down and try lower. Talked nightly with a couple other hunters down on the Glendale Bench and what they were seeing. There was no reason for these deer to move at all. The beginning of the hunt it was 80 degrees every day, and only 40-45 at night. We finally got one 22 degree frost, and then 2 1/2 days of monsoon rain. The last day, when we were talking to the Alton cowboys moving the cows, they said the deer had just started to filter down to their place. Said they had seen some nice deer, but not a lot yet.

The 6-8 target deer I was interested in were seen daily, thru the 8 days I hunted, but I just couldn't connect on one. A lot of guys were using radios to stay in contact, just in case, but to tell the truth I never even thought of that myself.
 

elkassassin

Long Time Member
Messages
27,997
It's Not necessarily Bad Weather that gets them Migrating on that Unit!

Radio's,Trail-Cams,Bait,Salt,Cams that send Footage to the Owner,Spotlighting,Night Vision,Un-Limited Spotters,Scouters,Drones!

Ya!

Welcome To Utah!
 

Silentstalker

Very Active Member
Messages
2,893
Congrats Blank and Happy Birthday! Looks like you and Pred had a great trip! You shot a great buck and got to spend quite a bit of time in one of the prettiest places on earth! That’s a win in n my book! Thanks for sharing your story!
 

Trix4me

Very Active Member
Messages
1,553
I would love to shoot a buck like that on my birthday! But then I’d wind up in jail and lose my truck and gun. (August)
 

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
Actually shot there on purpose, as it was bedded facing a little away! Just behind the last rib and exited the left front shoulder.

I prefer broadside, thru and thru for my muzzleloaders!!! Retirement is a b*tch in the Fall!!!

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eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
28,056
Very nice writeup and congratulations on the harvest. My birthday is in October and I've killed many a deer on my birthday. It was almost a given in my younger years, back when California had deer.
 

Blank

Long Time Member
Messages
4,417
Archery deer and elk is in Sept. General deer opens the 10th, and elk the 15th of October. Nothing seems to open early in the month!!!
 

Juicer

Member
Messages
22
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm hoping to have this tag in the next couple of years. Congratulations on an awesome experience!
 
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