Utah LE Muzzleloader Deer Update

bowhunt

Long Time Member
Messages
3,192
I decided to chronicle my Utah LE Muzzleloader Deer hunt on MonsterMuleys.
It may be a good way to think back on the hunt and remember how it unfolds.

I have been scouting for 10 days, and am headed back out to stay, today. Giving me 2 more days of scouting.

So far I have several good bucks on camera, and have put my binoculars on 3 I would consider opening day Mule Deer.

My biggest concern so far? I am positive all of the bucks I have watched are also watched by others...oh well. I will go be courteous, but join the opening fray.
I will start to post photos once the hunt opens on Wednesday.
Wish me luck!
 

Pines_N_Tines

Active Member
Messages
713
Good luck. I'm headed out today. I had three good ones on camera. I know one was taken on the archery. It was a solid 4 point that went 28.5" wide.
 

bowhunt

Long Time Member
Messages
3,192
The 2 days before the hunt went pretty well. I located, again, 2 shooter bucks. Both in a pretty good place to hunt them.
I also located a herd of 5 other bucks, 2 of which have potential.
The number of people driving around and camping is a little crazy, but, hey, I will just do my best to hunt the bucks I have been watching.
The area of the unit I am hunting does not have a ton of deer, but does hold these bucks for some reason.
Opening day update soon, it was exciting! However, not exactly what I expected. Let's just say, I will be hunting again this evening.

Good luck Pine and Tines!!!

More soon!
 

bowhunt

Long Time Member
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3,192
Oops, yes the unit. I am hunting the Vernon Unit. So close to Box Elder Ridge:)
Opening morning I spotted a shooter buck. He seemed to bed alone near the top of a wash by a large juniper.
Time to go put the sneak on him. I had earlier in the day talked to a guy that had hunted this are with a bow, his comment: man if I had a muzzleloader, I would have shot that buck 5 times.
My stalked lasted about 1 hour, I was feeling good about my approach up until I jumped 2 bucks I was unaware of, dang! They bounded right through the shooter buck and off they all went. I hustled over the next ridge, just in time to see them at about 300 yards on a walk. Too far for me dang it. If only I was hunting the rifle hunt, I could have shot him 5 times:).
The evening hunt was a bust. I did not see 1 buck. I did get word that a friend had harvested a pretty good deer on the unit...so that was a bonus.
K, the light is about here, I have to focus.
 

jhibbs

Active Member
Messages
309
Good luck, I hope you catch up with him again. I’ll be there myself in a few weeks for the rifle hunt, can’t wait, hope to have some good pictures to post when I’m done. Keep after them.
 

bowhunt

Long Time Member
Messages
3,192
I must be in the right area, based on the guide activity. :) The several I have talked to have all been courteous, and tight lipped.
I have made stalks on shooter bucks every time out, and just have not connected yet. If only I had a rifle:)
If you are going to hunt this unit, bring a good buddy to spot for you. The opportunity to spot a buck from a great distance, is certainly present.
I am seeing about 10 bucks per day, I know I could go to other parts of the unit and see more, but it seems the bigger bucks are where I am at.
More soon as I keep pounding away.
 

bowhunt

Long Time Member
Messages
3,192
And, that is a wrap.
I had 3 goals going into this hunt:
1: Shoot a 170 plus buck with my MuzzleLoader. based on my 10 days of scouting, reports from other, and trail camera photos, I thought that was doable.
2: Shoot a buck. I have not shot a buck with my MuzzleLoader for a long time, so I decided I was going to shoot a buck near the end regardless of my first goal.
3: Enjoy it, and do not let the swarm of people get to you.

I am happy to report I accomplished goal 2 and 3, but the 170 plus bucks escaped me.

I did see and hunt 3 bucks almost every day, that were certainly all over 170 and probably all approaching 180 plus. This was very cool and frustrating at the same time.
I got a little too focused on those buck and did not expand out to reach my 170 goal. However when you are seeing these buck every day, and most days had what I thought was a reasonable chance at them, it is hard to think about anything else. :)
The pressure from guides and other hunters was significant, but certainly not a reason for me to not get the buck I wanted.

I saw 2-10 bucks per day and 10-30 does per day. This seemed like a good number of deer, and certainly kept me interested!

Some other observations:
-The really need to ban Thermal Imaging! I will not elaborate on this, but it was an obvious, significant part of several hunts, and simply too big of an advantage.
-Trail Camera use is just unreal!
-The pressure on guides to kill the best buck is ridiculous, I feel bad for these guides.

Summary:
What a fun hunt! It was good to have so many close calls on trophy Mule Deer. I believe I saw 2 bucks that would approach 200, both now dead. 2 bucks over 180, and 3 over 170.
Getting one of them was tough, but the pursuit exceeded my expectations.
IMG_20211006_112641_2.jpg
 

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,573
Congrats Mike on a great buck!! Sounds like you had a great and enjoyable hunt, which is what it is all about it in the end.

I would like to hear more about the thermal imaging though - things like that have no place in hunting and should be banned long before we start talking about banning trail cameras in my opinion.
 

yoteduster

Active Member
Messages
877
That was a good write-up and congrats on a nice buck...it's always nice to do it yourself to heck with them guides...
 

Pines_N_Tines

Active Member
Messages
713
Congrats.

I just talk to my buddy who spent the whole hunt down there. He too was caught up on big bucks. The night before the last day he was watching a 170" four point deciding if he wanted to fill his tag with something below his expectations. Another hunter he had met drove by and stopped to talk with him. The other hunter said how discouraged he was and my buddy said well there's a 170" four point right up there at 150 yards. The other hunter was thrilled with the opportunity and shot it. My buddy was happy for him. The next day my buddy went to a new area this other hunter told him about. He is heart broken as he missed a 30" wide deep forked 5x6. it was the type of buck he had in his mind that the pauns should present. After seeing that buck he had two more opportunities at good smaller bucks but couldn't bring himself to take them after he had seen and shot at the giant.

I'm glad you got a buck that met your expectations of the hunt.
 

fullthrottle

Very Active Member
Messages
1,190
Nice buck, congratulations. We need to start another thread on thermal imaging. It is a huge advantage and has no place in hunting big game, totally BS. Can’t believe this has not been banned by now.
 

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