UtahMountainMan - 2012 Epic Year Planned


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After following many of the previous 2 years HAC threads I have decided to start my own this year. At the very least it is a way for me to keep a journal of my upcoming year in the outdoors.

First off, a little about me. I just turned 31 years old and being in the mountains is my main passion besides my family. I am married with 3 little boys (my future huntin' buddies!) ages 6, 3, and 5 months. Our youngest, Jeremiah (after Jeremiah Johnson of course) was born RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the Utah general archery season which altered my hunting plans tremendously last year. He has been well worth it.

I own a small sales and marketing company here in Utah with a good friend of mine. We started it about 16 months ago and we have been steadily growing but so have costs. At this point we have a pretty good little business but lets just say I am nowhere close to being able to afford to pay for expensive guided hunts. I do however have a fairly flexible schedule and I am HOPING AND PRAYING that it will stay that way throughout this year. That will enable me to spend more time in the mountains.

My upcoming year will be based around the following hunts/draws/plans:

Applied for Utah LE Archery Book Cliffs Deer with 4 points, about a 5% chance
Applied for New Mexico 2nd season bull elk archery in 3 top shelf units, about a 10% chance
Applied for a Utah spring black bear hunt, about 7% chance
Applied for a Colorado 3rd season deer rifle hunt, about 60% chance

Based on draw odds, the most likely scenario for me this year will be to hunt archery deer and elk in general season units in Utah followed up with a 3rd season rifle deer hunt in Colorado.

ADDITIONALLY, this will be the summer that we start building our cabin BY HAND with logs off of land that we own. First a brief history...

My grandpa bought 30 acres out near Scofield back in the 1970s. He and my uncles build a small cabin by hand one summer in the late 1970s. It still stands. It has no power, no water, no kitchen. It is perfect. I spent my summers running around the pine forest and aspen stands there and the time spent there has affected my life forever. I fell in love with the mountains there. Some of my most vivid memories are riding around on the dirt roads out there with 10 of my cousins and I in the bed of a pickup truck looking for deer.

Fast forward to 2006. Myself and 3 of my best friends, who are also my cousins, decide that we want to buy our own land. We cant afford much as we are all in our mid to late 20's with wives, kids, and mortgages. But we decide that we are going to partner up and MAKE IT HAPPEN somehow, someway. It takes us a few years to find the perfect place. In 2009 we STUMBLE upon 40 acres for sale only 1 mile from my grandpas land. Land does NOT come up for sale in this area. There are basically 3 BIG land owners (1000s of acres/CWMU type landowners) and then my grandpa and a few others.

We happened to buy this property from the LDS church. It used to be a Girls Scout camp and they no longer used it.

We have now owned it for about 3 years. We have killed a few elk on our own property. That is an AMAZING feeling. Keep in mind this is in the Central Mountains Manti LE unit, so it is a spike only hunt for us.

Anyway, we had the property logged over the last 2 years and this summer we are planning on starting the build. It is an intimidating proposition to be sure. But we want to build a cabin that our kids can enjoy growing up the way that we did on our grandpas land. We are not planning on building a "typical" Utah cabin with AC, granite counters, and triple paned windows. We are building a "Mountain Man" cabin. It will be built by our own hands and for as inexpensive as possible. But many steaks will be grilled on the deck overlooking the view during the next 50 years.....

The only reason I bring up the cabin, is that I am planning on spending a LOT of time in this unit this summer so I should be able to scout a lot.

Here is a link to a video I got of some big bulls on my trail camera on our land:

Here is my biggest buck to date, 2005 Utah general area rifle hunt :


My first archery buck 2006 (yes, I know its tiny, but my heart was racing like CRAZY):


My biggest archery buck, 2010 utah general archery:


My first archery spike elk 2009:


My first hunt EVER with my 2 oldest boys a few months ago, October 2011, ages 5 and 3 at the time, utah general rifle:


Good luck this season to everyone


Active Member
Spring is finally here in Utah. A buddy and myself decided to get out yesterday and do some fishing and a little bit of hiking. I was surprised to see around 40 deer while we were fishing. The deer dont normally move back into this part of their summer range until late May, but I guess with the mild snow year they moved back in early.

The fishing was decent, I caught about 10 trout in 2.5 hours.

And then the fun started!

We were standing on the edge of a muddy bank on the creek retying our lines and talking. We were there for a few minutes. I happened to look over to my left and about 50 yards away I see something in the mud.

I said to my friend, "No way! Is that what I think it is????"

And he said, "OH YEAH!"

I ran over and found my easiest elk shed ever. It was literally inches from the water right in the creek bed. The top 8 inches of the main beam was stuck into the mud, which makes me think the bull must have bent over to drink, his antler stuck in the mud, and pulled it right off. Pretty dang cool!


We started the search for the other side. I figured it was worth taking an hour or so to hike around and find it.

Turns out it only took 60 seconds, it was about 20 yards behind us at the base of some small pines.


I was packing out trout and antlers!


I ended up finding 2 more sheds, one was just a spike so I dont even count that really, but found a one year old shed that is still in great shape. The top of the main beam has cool character, it branches almost completely at 180 degrees.


Overall, it was a great day, and I thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine and the time spend in this beautiful state.

I am hoping to go back maybe this weekend.

I got home and showed my little boys and my 3 year old said, "Theres some more antlers to put in our collection!"


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One of the benefits of using the 2012 HAC as my hunting journal is that I am going to use it to hold myself accountable to my exercise/fitness/diet goals for the year.

I am typically in pretty good shape as I play a lot of basketball, run a half marathon or two a year, and do a lot of hiking. If I need to lose weight its usually 10 to 15 pounds.

Right now I am setting a goal for myself to get in the BEST shape possible for the archery hunts that start in mid August this year.

I have started a google doc to track my workouts, diet, AS WELL as how many times per week I practice with the bow. Lucky for me I can shoot in the backyard.

I have only shot a couple of times this year, but my plan is to shoot 3 times per week. I am going to focus on shooting mostly at 40 yards, and mix in some 50/60 yard shooting and some 30 yard shooting. In years past I shoot a lot of 20 and 30 yarders because they are fun and easy, but I know that practicing at longer distances will increase my accuracy at closer distances.

I have 19 weeks until the hunt starts. The time to START IS RIGHT NOW!!!


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UPDATE - Just applied for Nevada deer and elk archery hunts.

I applied for two late season archery deer hunts, and one archery elk hunt.

I have low draw odds on these hunts, so I am planning on just getting bonus points, BUT if I GET LUCKY it will make this HAC thread a lot more interesting come this fall!!!


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Received this email tonight:

From: New Mexico Department of Game & Fish

Dear Mr. Koskie

Congratulations! The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is notifying you that you were successful in drawing a 2012 - 2013 hunting license for the following hunt code(s): ELK-2-235. Information specific to your hunt code can be found in the current 2012 - 2013 New Mexico Big Game Rules and Information booklet. The booklet can be found online at the Department website http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Again, congratulations and good luck on your hunt!


I just drew an bull elk archery tag in the Gila Mountains of NM for the dates of Sep 11 through 18th!!!!

I cant describe how excited I am. I have never had a trophy tag in my pocket. I already starting running about 20 miles a week about a month ago and I am going to step it up even more. I am running in the Utah Spartan Beast on June 30th (Learn more here: http://www.spartanrace.com/utah-obstacle-racing-spartan-beast-2012.html. It is a 10 to 12 mile obstacle race.

Drawing this elk tag in NM is going to be amazing. I wont be able to sleep all summer.

Right now I have so many questions:

Where do I hunt in unit 16a? I have never been there....
Who can I contact online to start getting info and research?
How many scouting trips can I squeeze in? I am hoping 2...
When would be the optimum times to scout? July? August?

I will have a utah general archery deer tag that I will want to give a shot at filling in August but obviously my year has now become dedicated to chasing monster bulls around the Gila mountains!!!

I am so grateful for the opportunity, and I am going to prepare, practice, train, and research as hard as humanly possible to give myself the best chance at a great bull.

Anyone with any info about this hunt I would love some help... Scratch that, I NEED your help!!



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Well reality has started to set in a little bit since the excitement of finding out I drew the 16a tag. I have not slept really well, partly out of excitement and partly because I feel a burning desire to make the 12 hour drive down there to see what the unit looks like. Its driving me crazy.

Where I hunt in Utah, I put up trail cameras, I hike and scout it all summer, I pour over Google Earth, etc. I put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that I give myself every possible chance to be successful.

Its been hard for me to do that SO FAR for this 16a hunt.

I have gotten a few PM's from some guys who are willing to help and have shared a few general areas and info about the unit. That has already started making me feel better.

I have shot my bow every day since I drew the tag. Here is my best 40 yard group so far....


I am planning on practicing out to 60 yards all summer, and I am hoping to shoot 40 yards or closer when and if I get the opportunity to shoot at a bull.

I also am planning on driving up the mountain a couple times a week to shoot at extreme uphill and downhill angles. I dont do that enough. I have a nikon rangefinder with the ARC technology but I still need to practice those shots more often.

As far as my first trip down, I am thinking the 1st weekend in June I will go down for 3 or 4 days to get the boots on the ground. I look at it more of a "get to know the area" trip not a scouting trip obviously, too early to pin down where an animal will be several months from now.

I have also continued to run and lift and would like to drop another 6 or 7 pounds over the summer.

Excited to see how the Utah draw plays out in the next couple of weeks also!


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My wife was nice enough to let me take the afternoon and evening off to go put up my trail cameras. I hunt the Manti unit for general archery deer and I love scouting new areas and getting the cameras set up.

I was able to do about a 6 mile hike and went up and down a few big canyons, it was a good mountain workout.

The Manti is the unit I pretty much live in and I love it there. The best part is I hiked all over the place and I did not see or hear another person or vehicle. Thats what its all about...




Found a few of these....


Also found a bear den complete with tracks in the wet mud all around the opening. It was at the very bottom of a very steep ravine. I peeked in briefly then decided to quickly walk off....


Cant wait for the archery deer season to open in Utah!


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Well, its been a crazy past few weeks.

First, I was having a bit of a panic attack after we only had ONE $35 charge on my credit card for a general deer permit, since my brother and brother in law both applied on my card as well.

This meant only ONE of us drew a general season tag.

LUCKY FOR ME, bonus points were just updated today and I drew a general archery tag.


Actually as I write this thread, the up and down of emotions reminds me of a Simpsons Halloween Special from the 90's:


Old man: Take this doll, but beware; it carries a terrible curse.
Homer: Ooo, that's bad.
Old man: But it comes with a free serving of frozen yoghurt!
Homer: That's good!
Old man: The frozen yoghurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Old man: But it comes with your choice of toppings!
Homer: That's good!
Old man: The toppings contain potassium benzoate...
Homer: (confused look)
Old man: That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now?

Hunting Gods: Only one in your group of 3 drew a Utah General deer tag.
Me: Thats bad
Hunting Gods: But YOU are the one who drew the tag!
Me: Thats good!
Hunting Gods: But you will not have much time to hunt in Utah in September.
Me: Thats bad.
Hunting Gods: Because your a lucky SOB who drew a Gila Archery Elk tag in New Mexico.
Me: Thats good!
Hunting Gods: But there is a forest fire burning in the Gila that is over 170k acres and is the largest wildfire in NM history and its right smack dab in the middle of your unit that you have been studying like a psycho on google earth for the last 3 weeks.
Me: Thats bad.
Hunting Gods: At least you applied for deer and elk in Nevada and deer in Colorado.
Me: Thats good.
Hunting Gods: BUT you didnt draw any of those 3 tags:
Me: Can I go now?


Yeah, so there is a massive wildfire burning a massive hole in my heart, I mean, in the Gila National Forest. I have never been there, and I have been dreaming of this hunt every night since I drew. I mean that almost literally.

Now I am reading about the fire, how its burning everything, I am wondering if it is going to completely ruin my hunt. Im stressing.



I know that I am going to work harder than 95% of the other hunters that will be there in the Gila in the middle of September. Thats just the flat out truth. I am going to work, prepare, train, study, and that is not going to change.

I just feel like Mother Nature has flipped me the proverbial middle finger and said "ok, NOW lets see if you can kill a bull down here".

I am going to try like heck to do it! Fire or no fire, I am 100% committed to the task that will be at hand Sep 11 through the 18th.

"You sure you know how to skin grizz,


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Well, after burning up 280k acres in NM it appears that the wildfire is slowly coming under control. The latest update is that the Forest Service has closed off much of the forest and the roads down there until Dec 31. I am HOPING that they reopen a lot of it before the hunting season starts. I have talked to a lot of people and they have varying opinions on whether this will happen.

But to steal a line from a great film, "So youre telling me theres a chance!"

As I said before, I am determined to make the most of this hunt. I feel like mentally and emotionally I have come to terms with the fact that my hunt is going to be greatly effected by this fire. However, this is hunting, and Mother Nature is a part of the hunting experience.

So bring it on.

In the meantime, I have now set up all 5 of my trail cameras on the North Manti unit. I am going to be checking them this weekend.

I also have taken a couple of trips into my area to scout some new areas to hunt. I am happy to say that I found a pretty nice area and drove out there twice. I saw 6 bucks the first time and 4 the 2nd time.

I am going to keep checking up on this area.

I also found a really nice area that I nicknamed Bull Basin (original I know). I hiked in there last weekend and looked directly below me into a small basin that was very steep and there were 4 bulls all bedded about 150 yards away in the shade of quaking aspen. One would be a 300" bull but he was only growing one antler. There was one bigger than him that was definitely on his way to the 350" range.

I will post pics from the trail camera and still camera after this weekend.

ALSO, update on my training for the Utah Spartan Beast...

I am down about 6 pounds (I am 6'3 and 188 lbs). I have been lifting 4 days a week and running 5 days a week for the last 6 weeks. Last week I started running the "G" loop from Battlecreek Canyon to Grove Creek Canyon twice a week. Well, I dont run the whole thing, I hike the first 50 to 60% of the distance that is all uphill and then run the flat and downhill portion. This is an 8.5 mile loop.

The Spartan Beast has me anxious and excited. Either way it is great to do something like this in the summer to kickstart getting in shape for the fall hunts.

I only have 2.5 weeks left to train, the race is on Sat the 30th.

Keep ya posted!!!

"You sure you know how to skin grizz,


Active Member
Checked 3 of my 5 trail cameras today...

I had several videos and pics of this guy. A small bear but really cool color. He ended up pulling one of my trail cameras down.









"You sure you know how to skin grizz,

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