The Next Generation


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Like most hunters, I learned how to hunt from my father who learned from his father. We were not always successful in terms of harvesting trophy animals, but we made a lot of memories. The three photos below show my first archery buck taken around 2002, a 5x6 buck that we got with a muzzleloader around 2006, and a 4x4 that we put an arrow through in 2009.

Now, it is my turn to pass that same passion for hunting on to my children. The next generation of hunters in the Hoyt family.



In November of 2022, my oldest daughter (who we will call MM) completed hunter education. She did the online course on her own and then we sat through an extremely long in-person day together.


MM has been with me on dozens of hunts, including when I harvested my first antelope in Nevada in 2015 and my second antelope in Wyoming in 2017.



This spring, we put MM in for hunts in Colorado and Utah. We were both going to put in for Wyoming hunts, but I think we will just buy preference points this year because of the extreme winter kill situation.

We are still awaiting Utah and Colorado draw results, but our fingers are crossed that she can pull something...anything. Worst case scenario, we will get her a general season elk permit and/or maybe something off the Colorado reissue list.

As for me, I put in for deer, elk, and antelope in Colorado as well as elk (21 points) and mountain goats (19 points) in Utah. Also, I am in my second year of the dedicated hunter program. During my first year of the program, I was able to get a nice buck during muzzleloader season.


To say that MM and I are excited for this fall would be an understatement twelve years in the making.

Wish us luck!

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My daughter drew her 1st choice muzzleloader permit for general season deer in Utah. I'm going to need to work up a lighter bullet/powder combination for her than what I shoot.

I struck our on elk and mountain goats for the 22nd and 20th time, respectively. So, it looks like I'll pick up a general season elk tag and make the best of my second year of the dedicated hunter program.

We are still waiting for Colorado results.

We have been extremely busy this summer with camping and fishing trips. With archery season just over a month away, I am busy fine-tuning my setup and we just got a muzzleloader for my daughter to use this fall for her deer hunt. In the next few weeks, I will start getting her behind the gun so we can build up her confidence before September.




We are two weeks from opening day for general season archery for deer and elk. On the surface, deer numbers look down 20-30% from last year and I'm not seeing nearly as many fawns, or twins, as I typically see.

We spent some time camping in the Uintas and never turned up a single mountain goat. We saw several moose including one huge bull that was very impressive. Unfortunately, I didn't get good pictures because my kids had been playing with my camera and drained the battery.

I finally feel ready for archery season. After putting on new strings, it took me a while to fine tune my setup. Next step will be tuning broadheads.


Opening day of general season archery for deer and elk in Utah was a bust. I took my wife hiking with me on opening morning and we saw three small bucks (see the image below), four does, and only one fawn.

There must be at least one big buck in that area because there were at least seven trucks parked in a cluster at the bottom of the drainage. And, almost that many people up on the ridgeline.



I always take my kids with me at least once each season and stop at Mcdonald's for a happy meal. I don't know if they enjoy hunting sometimes, but they always remember the food and the time we spend together. It has become a tradition of sorts.

On the evening of opening day, I took my youngest daughter with me and we saw 8 does and 2 fawns from the ATV. The rain kept us contained to the truck for a while, but eventually, the clouds separated and we were able to go for a ride.

The highlight of our ride was talking to a group of high school boys in the middle of nowhere on an ATV trail in their mom's Nissan van. How they got it in there, we will never know...but, they also got out somehow. It reminded me of taking my parents' cars down goat trails when I was their age.


It looks like I'm only going to get out on the mountain once this coming week due to work, school starting, and my grandma's funeral. She was 95 and always joked that her funeral would be on the opening day of deer season (she came pretty close to pulling that wish off).

Altogether, I would say that the deer population is about half as big as it was last year, there are almost no yearling bucks, and very few fawns.
Monday, August 21st, we saw 22 does, 3 fawns, and no bucks on the mountain on public land. We did see five <20" bucks inside city limits after dark.

My companion for this trip was my oldest son. He likes to put the 56x15 binoculars on a tripod and looks for deer below us in the valleys. He also enjoys wildlife photography.


I was able to take my youngest son bowhunting with me on the evening of August 28th. It started off super slow seeing a deer here, a deer there, and sheep everywhere. Then, it was like someone flipped a switch and there were deer literally coming out of every nook and cranny of the forest. We ended up seeing 32 does, 8 fawns, and 5 bucks.

The bucks consisted of two 2x2s, a 2x3 that was twice as tall as it was wide, a small 4x4 that might have been 16" wide, and a very solid 4x4 that was on the move. He never turned his head towards me, but my guess is that he was in the 24-26" range. He did have very deep forks and good mass.

I'm going to go check that area again on Friday and see what I can turn up.

Work got in the way of progress, but Friday morning I was able to go back to where I saw the bigger buck on Monday night...and I found another great buck. I don't know if it is the same buck or not. I tried to get ahead of him on his way to his bed in the deep dark forest, but I failed. The five does and four fawns that were in the same area that he was in at first light walked right past me about an hour after I got settled in on their route. After he didn't show up, I backed out so I wouldn't bump him out of the area by trudging through the thick deadfall.

The deer were all bedded down in the shade before 8:30 a.m. because of the full moon.

I took these pictures from over 500 yards away about 20 minutes before sunrise with a 300mm lens using my Canon T3. I just couldn't get it to focus in the low light conditions and didn't want to waste time just to get pictures when the hunt was on.




Good luck to all the grouse hunters. I saw two today and could have easily killed this one if I had been carrying a junk arrow. There is not a grouse in the world worth a $25 arrow/broadhead combo.


Also, I feel bad for whoever parked their 4Runner and hiked up into the deep unknown chasing elk only to have the sheep herd follow them up the mountain.

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I came across this bull on Saturday afternoon. I couldn't recall the Utah definition of a spike so I didn't go after him. I've regretted that decision ever since because he does not fork above the ears on his right side. In fact, the entire beam on his right side doesn't go above his years.

He happens to be in the same area as the buck I've been chasing, so I'll be happy if I can find either one this week. 🏹 I'm headed back on Monday morning and then I'll be able to go one more time Friday night.


I went for a hike today in the rain and the snow to celebrate Labor Day. I got into some elk, but couldn't close the distance. On the way back to my car, I found this buck bedded at 64 yards. He ran about 50 yards after the shot, did two tight circles, and tipped over. His ear was still twitching when I got over to him, so I put an insurance arrow in his neck. I was 2.5 miles into my hike, but only 200 yards directly below where I parked my Toyota Camry by the road.

The pack out was brutal, but manageable.

This coming Friday, I'll circle around to the same pit and see if I can turn up the bull from my hike on Saturday. Then, I'll switch over to the any bull unit through the end of archery elk season.



My youngest son helped me prep my buck for Velvalock spray. That stuff is potent. I hope it holds. 🙏 🤲

Friday the 8th (today), I took a 4-mile hike into no-mans land looking for elk in the evening. I was particularly interested in finding the super spike that I found last Saturday. I did not find that bull, but I did see a beautiful 6x6 with dark antlers and white tips moving to water with 15 cows/calves. They were silent until the sun went down and then the bull started chuckling and bugling every few minutes. I could not hear the cows from where I was sitting on the ridgeline.

I didn't go after any of the elk with the big bull for a few reasons.

1) The cows appeared to all have a calf at their side.
2) They were at least 600 feet in elevation below me. Cow elk that are in a hole, and not near a road, get a hall pass.
3) I didn't see any spikes or super spikes.

My game plan is to start hunting the any bull unit hard on Monday.
I went archery elk hunting on the any bull unit on the 11th and 15th and didn't see a single fresh track or turd where I usually find elk. I'll keep trying. I honestly have no idea where they are holed up. I did find a cow moose.

I did find some time to take my daughter to the range to sight in a muzzleloader for her over the weekend. She shot great! Her first hunt kicks off on the 27th.

I also sights in a new scope on my 7mm Rem Mag. It took me more shots than I had hoped, but I did find my zero.

We also went fishing at Strawberry as a family and checked out the salmon running. Strawberry is always a fun place to play.

I went hunting two more times before general season archery closed for the year. I never found the elk. I did explore a few new areas, but in the end, I struck out.

Now, it's time to shift gears and get ready for my daughter's first hunt next week. #muzzleloader

My daughter's first hunt has been a lot of fun for both of us. We kicked it off with a donut at the Mirror Lake Chevron and then we followed everyone else with a deer permit up the mountain.

We saw a few small bucks in a hay field and a few does here and there as we checked out several canyons up higher on the mountain during the early hours of the day.

We did a 1.3 mile hike in a fairly thick and steep canyon. That was when I realized that my daughter was on stealth mode 1 off 10. She got closer to 3 of 10 after some stern looks.

When we got back from our hike we ran into another hunter who was looking for a big buck. He directed us to some younger bucks further down the road. Unfortunately, they dropped into the dark timber before we could close the distance. We had them at 250 yards, but my daughter is not very accurate past 125 with a muzzleloader. No need to take a bad shot.

Saturday can't come soon enough.


We were back at it first thing Saturday morning. After glassing up a dozen does and fawns we found a 2x3 buck in an open flat. MM took a 150 yard broadside shot... and she missed. The buck just stood there while we reloaded the muzzleloader. Right before she was ready for a second shot a group of three atvs roared around the corner and he dropped into the trees. We looked for blood, not expecting to find any, and we didn't find any.

MM was super excited to get a shot. She jumped up and down barely able to contain herself even though she already knew that she missed. It was great! 👍


Saturday night, we took the four wheeler to the place where we always always see bucks. We found two younger bucks, but they bolted before MM could get situated. Not two minutes later, we saw what was unquestionably the biggest buck that I've ever seen on this general season unit. He made my 2022 and 2023 bucks from the same unit look like baby bucks. We only saw him him for about three seconds while he sprinted through the aspens away from us. We tried to catch up with him, but it got dark. Unfortunately, we won't a chance to go back and find him again. 😞

We should be able to go out on Monday night as a family and then on Thursday night before the season closes.
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