My 2019 season

deerkiller

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LAST EDITED ON Jun-11-19 AT 06:32PM (MST)[p]LAST EDITED ON Jun-11-19 AT 06:18?PM (MST)

I'll contribute this year to this section. I started my 2019 season with a successful spring General season OTC turkey hunt. It was a tough year to find birds and even harder accessing places due to snow and road closures that normally are open this time of year. On the evening of the 4th night, I finally roosted a decent Tom in an area I've had a lot of success in the past. I knew from previous experiences, what this bird was most likely to do the next morning. I had to make a long circle up the mountain to get around this birds roost without spooking him, so 2 hours before light I began my hike, In neoprene chest waders! The creek was much higher than normal, and had to cross it several times in my hike that I decided to wear waders instead. 30 minutes before light I was set up in a clearing up hill from the roost, about 100 yards away. A few soft calls is all it took to get him fired up. He ended up flying right to me and I took him at 20 yards in full strut. It was a hard year, but always fun to get out after sitting around all winter long. A week later my dad ended up taking a bird in the same general area, which quickly ended our spring season with 2/2 tags filled.

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So far neither I or anyone in my family have done too awesome in the draws. All I've pulled so far is a dedicated tag for my unit of choice. My wife has drawn the same tag as well. We should pull a few antlerless tags and will get some OTC elk tags and probably a few fall turkey tags. Im currently the top point holder in the state for sandhill cranes, so depending on how the other remaining draws turn out, I may do a group app with my family and go hunt those. Plus I'm sure I'll hunt waterfowl in any free time I might have. As far as big game goes, I'll invest most of my effort in my deer tag this year. I've put in a few days scouting so far hanging cams and checking out new country. Found a couple nice sheds (one from a buck I killed in 2015) and a decent lion kill buck from last year. He appears to be a 7x7, but it's hard to tell for sure with his tips chewed off.

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I still have 1 more camera to put out for deer and then I'll put out 3-4 for elk. I've attempted to go put them out twice, but deep snow drifts are making it impossible to get in there for now. I'm anxious to get up in there, a big fire went through in September, blocking any access to that area since then. I'm curious to see what all burned, and how many cameras and treestands, if any at all, survived the fire. It would be interesting to see how the animals reacted to the fire and how soon they returned to the area. I'm sure a couple cams are smoked, but there's a good chance a couple others survived. I never really enjoyed archery elk hunting prior to 5 years ago, always been a deer guy, but every year I get more excited for that hunt and find myself putting in more effort scouting and baiting places than I have in previous years. For some unexplainable reason cows and spikes get me fired up!

Hopefully the antlerless and Wyoming treat me better than the bucks, bulls and OIL Utah draws did. Either way it?ll be another fun year full of lots of hunting and memories made with family.
 

deerkiller

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I finally got all of my trail cams set up for the year. 8 total. 5 on my elk unit, 3 in the deer unit. Last Tuesday I put up my last deer cam. I started hiking well before the sun was up, it gets hot fast In the mornings now. I was surprised there was still as much snow as there was. I was nearing 9500?, waking up a snow field when out of nowhere, what appears to be a giant in the making jumps up and takes off 30 yards from me. Confused how I didn't notice him sooner, I walked over to take a look. I found a crater in the snow, that looks like has been his bed over the last little while, melted down 4? into the snow. I've never seen anything like it, I looked up ahead of me to see 4 other sets of antlers, eyes and ears barely visible over the snow line, just 20 yards away. As soon as I made eye contact they took off. Kinda cool to see them use the snow like that, but it makes sense. It's cool and I didn't have any flies or mosquitos bother me at all when I was in the snow. The minute I left it however was a nightmare once the morning temps started to climb. The best buck looks to be huge. Wide, heavy and long eye guards. I put a cam not far from there, on a bench that sees a lot of traffic. If he sticks around, I'm sure I'll get pics of him.

I almost struck out on the antlerless. I was point heavy on everything and figured I'd do better than I did, all I ended up with is an archery doe tag. Which is better than nothing I suppose. I'll pick up some private lands cow tags for me and my wife, as well as a spike tag. Combine that will fall turkey tags, swan and sandhill cranes, it?ll still be a full year hunting around home. I'm excited that maybe I'll have time to hunt waterfowl more this year now.

I have 1, maybe 2 treestands (pending cam results) to put up between now and the opening day or the archery hunt. Other than that, I probably won't check photos until a day or 2 before the hunt starts to determine where I'll focus that first week. That's the extent of my summer scouting these days, which is fine with me, since so much can change between now and the first 5 days of the hunt.

I may try to go shoot a cow on August 1, but I'm having a hard time trying to talk myself into it with as hot as it's getting. Maybe I'll take the kid and go for a ride that morning a check out a hay field I have permission for. My dad drew a Parker early doe pronghorn tag, so that weekend will most likely kick off the hunting season for me. I'm taking the first week of the archery hunt off to kill my doe and try to fill an elk tag or two. I won't start to chase deer until the muzzy. I've got a new load I need to fine tune a little more before then. I'm excited to see how far I can stretch her out now. My furthest muzzy kill to date is 305 yards. Im sure I can easily top that now with my new set up. I will always try to get in as tight as I can for a shot, but under the right circumstances, I'll take a farther shot if I have one wounded or feel confident in the scenario. It's always nice to have the longer range option if needed.

Hopefully these next few weeks go by, I'm starting to get excited. Seems to be a lot of doe and cows packing fawns and calves around this year. They look good and the bucks and bulls seem to be growing out nicely.
 

deerkiller

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My first hunt of 2019 was on my dads early pronghorn tag on the plateau, August 3rd. That unit is in very rough shape. There were very few goats. After hunting all day, he decided to extend his range limitations, and took a 875 yard shot with my 6.5 creedmoor to fill his tag.


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I drew a doe deer tag that started opening day of the general archery deer hunt. Over the last few years I've learned trying to kill a big buck or a spike opening weekend is usually a lost cause with all the helpers running around. I'm never lucky enough to have a good one run to me, so I figured I'd take it easy and go chase does the first day. My hunt lasted 30 minutes, I was able to take a big dry doe. She fell 30 yards from the truck. Always love when that happens

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deerkiller

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the opening weekend crowds went home Sunday afternoon, which meant it was time to start elk hunting. Monday morning I hiked into a spring that I just found a couple months ago. It was out of the way and had a lot of elk sign in there. A trail cam confirmed that it was a good elk spot, so I decided to start my hunt there. Unfortunately, a big Tom Mountain lion had killed a deer in there some time Sunday and scattered the elk from the canyon. I ended the day with seeing 2 little bulls and some deer. Tuesday morning I decided to check out a spot that has produced well in the past. A big fire that went through last year has changed the area dramatically, including elk behavior. There were a few frequenting the area, but not in the numbers that were there in the past. I checked my cam at first light and saw that there had been a spike and a 2x2 in there the night before, so that gave me some hope that things after opening weekend had calmed down and the animals were back to their routine. The first few hours were pretty uneventful, a few hen turkeys and a doe is all I saw. At 10:00, I caught movement on the hill above me, it was velvet antler tines. It slowly moved down the hill to where I could see what it was. It was the 2x2 from the night before. I knew the spike wasn?t far, so I sat motionless and waited. The 2x2 came down to the salt and water, and stayed there for close to an hour just hanging out in the shade. Finally, I saw more motion up on the hill, it was the spike. He worked his way down the hill, but wouldn't come out of the trees, into the opening. After another 15 or so minutes, I could tell that his buddy was getting ready to leave, so I had to make something happen soon, he stepped into a small clearing that I had previously ranged, and drew my bow. The shot was further than I would have liked, but I had confidence in my equipment and skills, so I felt good about taking it. He was quartered to me as I settled the pin and let it go. I watched the impact hit right where I had planned and he took off hoping down hill as fast as he could. Within seconds the canyon was silent and I knew he was down. After a short track job, I found him laying at the base of a ridge that he rolled most of the way down. It was a short archery season for me, but now I can get back to keeping the wife happy and spending time with the family. I got very lucky with finding her, she never once has told
I couldn't go hunting or gave me a certain time frame that I could only go for. She just asks what my schedule is and when I'll be home. She's by far my greatest trophy!!

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The next hunt I have planned is a sandhill crane hunt in cache valley, in 2 weeks. Looking forward to that, we have 7 tags to fill. Should be a great time!
 

deerkiller

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Looking at my hunting schedule mid July I realized I'd have a hole the first part of September with not much going on, so I decided it was time to part with the 8 sandhill crane points I had built up over the years. My last tag was in 2010 and I just haven't had time to make the journey north to hunt them in September until now. I applied in a group app with a couple friends and my brother to point boost a few who didn't have any points. My dad and wife also applied separately with their own points they had built up. Draw results came out and we ended up all drawing, giving us 7 tags in the group. My buddy who lives in the area who applied with me scouted out a great field in the last week and got us permission from the land owner. It's hard to find someone who can watch your baby, starting in the early hours of the morning so we decided to take him with us. At 2 am we all climbed in the car and made the 3 hour drive north. We met up with my friend, drove to the field and set out the decoys and brushed in the blind. As it started to get light, you could hear the cranes on the roost, which wasn?t far away. Soon the first flock of 3 headed out way. The first 3 shooters picked out their birds as they got within range and knocked all 3 down. The next group knocked down 2, then a single from the next group and then 20 minutes later my wifed knocked down the last crane, filling all 7 tags in less than an hour. My little boy, 15 months old, loved the entire thing. He sat on grandpas lap with his ear muffs on the entire time and was very interested in the entire process. It was a great morning spent with family and friends. Cow elk are up next, then muzzleloader deer!

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deerkiller

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This weekend I planned to stay around home, hang out with the family and get stuff ready for the muzzy deer hunt that starts in a week and a half. Friday night I went and shot my muzzy at some distance. It's dialed out to 400 yards, but I plan to only shoot that far in case of an emergency. 250 or less is my goal. Saturday I did some family things and took my wife to dinner. It's against my religion to let a weekend in September go by without going hunting, even if it turns out to be just a nice morning drive. My wife decided last minute she wanted to go with me to try and fill a cow tag or two. So at 5:45 we loaded into her car and headed up the canyon. The bulls were going nuts before it started to get light. I could hear what sounded like a good sized bull down in a pasture I have permission to hunt, so we made our way down to get into position for a shot when it was light. Being quiet is easy when you're alone. It's a lot more complicated when you have a 15 month old with you, but we made it work. As it got light the elk made their way up out of the pasture and headed up hill, right towards us. I picked out a cow in the back of the herd and when she stopped I took the shot. She ran about 50 yards before expiring. The rest of the herd, including a stud bull, didn't seem to notice they were missing a team member or act like they cared at all that we were there. I tried to get my wife to shoot her cow, but she decided she wanted to wait for another day so we have another excuse to go elk hunting again. I don't think a guy can be too upset about that!

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deerkiller

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After I filled my cow tag a couple weeks ago, it was my dads turn. We went out the following Saturday afternoon and glassed the area to see what elk, if any were still in the area. We ended up seeing 2 big bulls and about 30 cows above the property we could hunt. Right at dark they started making their way down the hill into the pasture. I knew they would still be there at first light the next day, so we made plans to be there in the morning. At first light my dad killed a calf. It was a great morning to be out in the mountains hunting elk with my dad,


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deerkiller

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Tuesday after I work I left to go hunt deer for the rest of the week. I got to camp and with an hour left of light, I went to go glass for deer. I saw quite a few little bucks and does, but nothing I for sure wanted to shoot. Right at dark a big bodied, white faced buck stepped out of the trees in a canyon I've had a lot of success in, in the past. I couldn't tell what he was, but I knew he would be worth trying to get a second look at in the morning. Opening morning me and my brother and law started hiking at 5:00. I was shocked at the lack of other hunters there were. Usually the parking areas look like a Walmart parking lot on Black Friday, but this morning there was only a handful of other guys and the majority of them were headed away from the area I was going to hunt. At first light I started glassing up bucks immediately, but nothing that I was excited about. My brother in law who also has a tag, has never really killed a big deer. Several nice ones, but nothing big. 2 of the bucks I saw and didn't want to shoot were right around the 160? mark and would make a great deer for him. With it being opening morning he was somewhat hesitant to fill his tag so early but said he wanted to watch them and if either presented a good shot, he would take it. At that point I decided to leave him there and I would go check out the area I saw the bigger deer In the night before. I made my way over the ridge and headed towards the next canyon. As soon as I could see into the bottom of the next little basin, I immediately saw 2 bucks standing in the wide open. 1 was a little 4x4 and the other was a big bodied mature buck. He was a deep forked 4x4, very tall, good mass and long eye guards, the only thing he was lacking was width. I knew it had to be the one from the night before. After looking him over really quick, I decided he was worth shooting, even if it was 20 minutes into opening morning with 5 days left for me to hunt. I ranged him at 185 yards, dialed the turret and set up for the shot. He was quartered away from me when I touched it off. I couldn't see through the smoke what happened but I heard the distinct ?whop?. When the smoked cleared, I could see him hobbling down hill, not very fast, and could tell he was really hurt. I reloaded and got another range, 270, dialed the turret and shot again. Another ?whop? followed and I watched him slide and fall down the hill to his final resting place.

I called my brother in law and told him I had killed a deer. He was going to continue hunting while I processed the buck and then come help me for the pack out. When I got up to him I was very happy with the size of the deer. He was a great buck for a general unit. I got him boned out, loaded into the packs and started the climb out of the hole he was in. It took about 3 hours total to get back to the trail head, but well worth every minute of it.

Some unexpected work obligations came up for my brother in law, so we headed home for the day, and will resume hunting this afternoon. Sad to be done hunting so soon for my own tag, but couldn't ask for a better buck to cut my tag on.

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deerkiller

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We got back out to camp Thursday night with a little day light left to go put together a hunt that afternoon. We went to a spot I have had great success in after the hunting pressure has pushed deer into thicker cover. All we ended up seeing was a bunch of does and a couple little bucks. Since there wasn?t many deer there yet, I figured I had a pretty good idea where they still were and planned to head there in the morning. Friday morning we got up early and started our climb to the top of the mountain. Right at first light, I glassed a group of bucks feeding on the edge of a thick aspen patch at the bottom of a steep basin. Most were little, but the one buck I could tell was a shooter. My brother in law, Steve, set up for the shot. After getting a good range reading, he set the turret and send one his way. The buck didn't really react to shot other than take a couple steps forward and just stand there. I couldn't see an impact so I figured he had missed and told him to reload and I would keep an eye on the deer. As he was getting ready to shoot again, I saw the buck stumble backwards, then forwards, then backwards again, then fall face first into the brush. Neither of us could believe it! We watched for 10 minutes to make sure he didn't get back up, then made our way down to him. He definitely got bigger as we walked up on him. Steve has killed a couple smaller deer in the last, so this one was by far his biggest. We took some quick photos then began the process of cutting him up. The pack out wasn?t nearly as bad as mine was 2 days prior, we were back to the trail in just a little over an hour. 2 great days of hunting with 2 great bucks. It?ll be hard to top this years deer hunt!

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My wife, dad and brother all have rifle tags, hopefully we can continue the good luck streak in just a few weeks!



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deerkiller

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I realize this forum is mostly geared towards big game so I'll leave most of my duck hunts this season out of this thread but the opener has always been a big deal in my life so I'll share this hunt. This marks my 24th consecutive waterfowl opener I've been on. My dad took me on my first hunt when I was 6, I was hooked ever since. It's become an annual tradition to go out to ?the spot? the night before the opener, set out the decoys and camp out, waiting for the opening morning festivities. This year, my brother bought a new mudbuddy, giving us 2 boats to use now, which meant we could bring more people. We try to keep the invites to just family for the opener, but i invited a good friend to come with also, giving us 7 total. Me and my brother went out Friday night, set out 2 decoy spreads about 250 yards a part and slept in the boats until the rest of the party showed up at 4:30, then one of us would shuttle people out to the hunt area while the other would stay and tend the decoy spreads. At just before 7 am the first shots rang out. Birds were everywhere. I still get just as excited for the first few ducks opening morning as I do when I'm about to shoot a big game animal. When I lose that feeling it's probably time to quit, although I hope I never do. Took a minute to get my swing figured out again after not shooting a shotgun at a moving bird in over 9 months, but we started improving the shot to kill ratio fairly quick. It's was a little slower than the average opener as far as bird numbers but it was still great. All said and done we ended the morning with 42 ducks boated and 7 that were knocked down and couldn't find, but counted in our daily limits. The plan was to go hunt the 2nd morning as well, but after talking it over, we decided to go chase elk instead and possibly fill a doe deer tag my dad has while we are in the area.

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deerkiller

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The rifle deer hunt has always been something I have looked forward to every year. My family goes to the same spot that they have been hunting for close to 100 years. This year we had 3 tags, my wife, brother and dad. I went up the afternoon before to try and locate some good bucks to chase opening morning. I saw a few small to decent sized bucks, but nothing worth putting a ton of effort in to. Everyone else arrived at camp later that night and mad a plan for the following day. Me and my wife would go to a place I've had success in the past, my brother and dad would go to a lower area that is a natural funnel/hide out for deer once the pressure started to move them. The lack of deer opening morning was somewhat disappointing, but there were a few to keep us busy. I couldn't locate any big bucks in the first hour, and with my wife not being able to hunt last year due to having our baby, she was pretty trigger happy and ready to just shoot one. With that in mind and knowing most of the deer have apparently left the high country already, I gave her the green light to kill any buck she wanted. Not 10 minutes later, I spotted a small group feeding in a basin, with 3 bucks in it, a 2x2, 3x4 and 4x5. After looking them over, she decided she wanted the 4x5, which was a main frame 3 point with some extra inline points. We snuck in to 250 yards and set up for the shot. With me watching through the binos, I told her to shoot whenever she had a good shot. He turned broadside and she took it. He was down within 10 seconds, a perfect shot right behind the shoulder at the top of the heart. We quartered him up and headed back to camp. My brother and dad didn't see any bucks that morning, but Alicia?s success was just as good to them as if they had pulled the trigger themselves. That afternoon I headed out with my brother while alicia and my dad were going to glass a few draws from the roads. The snow that rolled in was amazing. It snowed close to 8? in the 2 Hours we tried to hunt. The fog and blowing snow made it almost impossible to see anything, but we did see a decent 3x4 bedded in the open waiting out the storm. He decided to pass on it and see what the morning produced. The plan was to go back up to where alicia killed hers, on Sunday morning, but with all the snow that had fallen during the night, it was apparent that we wouldn't get back up there on our dirtbikes. We decided to just go up the truck road and glass the open faces and see if we can find a buck for my dad to shoot at. He?s 71 years old and can't get around as good as he use to, so a road hunt was a good way to spend a Sunday morning together as a family. As luck would have it, about an hour after light, I found a herd of 18 deer that had 5 bucks in it. At 550 yards, my dad took his shot and hit him perfectly. Down almost instantly. Another buck came out into the open that we hadn't seen previously, and my brother decided he would shoot that one. With another couple shots, his buck was down, 25 yards from where my dads was. We both hiked up to get the deer, the drag down was easy because of the fresh snow. We took some photos and headed back to camp to clean everything up and go home. I've been on a lot of good deer hunts in my life, but it will be hard to top this one, and I never even pulled the trigger. Our big game season is about over for this year, but we still have a few elk tags to keep us busy.


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deerkiller

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It's been a busy month for me and my family! Filled a few more tags and have had some great waterfowl hunts as well. Here?s some pics of our success


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deerkiller

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With the big game hunts winding down, it's time to focus on waterfowl. I used to be a huge duck hunter back in the day, hunting 4-6 days a week. But with the drought situation and most of my good spots being dry and hunting big game more, combined with getting married and having a baby, I was lucky to get out to hunt ducks more than 5 times a season the last few years. This year we had more than enough water and November/December/January pretty much clear of any big game hunts for me, so I decided to hit the ducks hard again. I had enough points to draw a swan tag again, and my dad and brother drew tags as well. I usually don't struggle killing swans, but this year was tough! The warm weather makes it hard and I really feel like the extra 750 tags they gave this year impacted their movements across areas open to hunting. I got lucky one afternoon and had a nice mature bird fly over where I was set up. 1 shot and he folded up. That was the last tag for me in 2019. 9 for 9. Pretty good year for not drawing anything good

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We went Back out the day after thanksgiving for my dad and brother. My brother wasn?t too picky on what he was going to shoot, so the first one that came through the decoys, he took. My dad shot his about 20 minutes later. We got a couple bonus Ross geese to finish out the day.

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We?ve had a few good shoots to start off December. We are waiting on cold and ice before it really starts to heat up, but I'm not complaining about the current situation either

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@screaminseagull
 

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