What Utah unit should I try to draw?

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
First post in a long time. I could really use your input. I’m having a hard time deciding which limited entry deer unit l should try to draw. I have been putting in for the Henry Mountains with the hopes of getting lucky ( I’m sure a few of you know how that is). I currently have 17 points and would love to hunt the Henry’s but realize with the point creep and some looming health concerns as I age, it’s most likely not going to happen while I can still get out and hunt hard. I have a little better odds to draw Paunsaugunt but don’t know much about the unit. My choice of seasons would be archery or muzzleloader but I’m open to any of the seasons. I have also been kicking around the idea of putting in as a group with my son on the Book Cliffs muzzleloader (he doesn’t like archery) and just enjoy time spent with family. We did chase a decent buck on the books last year but it was an archery hunt. I would really appreciate any suggestions any of you might have.
 

257Tony

Long Time Member
Messages
3,874
I'm in the camp of, you've been waiting a long time to draw a tag, get the best one you can. Your family can still come hunt with you, and your Son will get as much kick out of helping the old man score a big one as he would hunting for himself. I'd avoid the Books with that many points.

Pauns muzzleloader was 20 points last year, Archery was 19. You may still be a couple years out for that one, but would be worth the wait I think.
 
Messages
37
Like I mentioned in another thread, I know a guy who just passed away with 23 elk and bison points. He kept waiting for “next year”, which unfortunately never came. Go hunting. None of us know what next year holds as far as hunting opportunities and personal abilities. I’d rather die eating tags on a few lesser units where I got to hunt and make memories with my family, than go into a hole in the ground with a pile of points saved up for many different hunts. Draw what you can now and go hunting
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Thanks for all the great input, I really appreciate it! When I started putting in for the limited entry there was never a question that I was out to get the 200” buck. I have since been struggling with a bad back and knees. I’m only 52 and didn’t expect to start having these issues until I got much older, such is life. As I have aged my priorities have definitely changed. I’m much less concerned about the 200” mark as I am having a quality hunt. If I’m being honest, I would be very happy if I could hit the 170” mark and really enjoy the experience.
 

Shadow

Very Active Member
Messages
1,097
Any of the mid-tier units (Vernon, Books, Diamond) should give you a realistic shot at a170 type buck. May even get lucky and turn up a bruiser. Get the family loaded up and go have fun. Good luck.
 

utarchery

Active Member
Messages
456
Any of the mid-tier units (Vernon, Books, Diamond) should give you a realistic shot at a170 type buck. May even get lucky and turn up a bruiser. Get the family loaded up and go have fun. Good luck.i would pick the pauns over the henrys these days. but i would ultimately pick a unit you can hunt with your son.i would pick the pauns over the henrys these days. but i would ultimately pick a unit you can hunt with your son.

I would pick the pauns over the henrys these days. but I would ultimately pick a unit you can hunt with your son. shadow gave you a couple good units to pick from.
 

30inchbucks

Active Member
Messages
419
There isn’t a limited entry deer unit in Utah that is truly great anymore. There isn’t a unit worth 10 years to draw let alone 20. Yes there are a handful of 200s killed every year but they had already been tied up. Too many eyes with high dollar glass along with the entourage you have to compete with. Until game managers wise up there will never be the Pauns of old or what Browse/Henry’s was. That being said I would put in with your son and go hunt. I’m in pretty much the same boat with 16 points and my wife has 23. Wish they were elk points which is not much better but better. I will be burning mine when my daughter gets old enough to go. Especially now that it takes 3+ years to draw a general season rifle tag. What a joke!
 

utfireman

Active Member
Messages
309
I wouldn't look past the Oak Creek or the San Juan units either, especially if you're willing to go archery. However I'm sure the odds for Oak Creek is going to get harder the next few years.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Yes, I have heard that a lot of people will be moving from Henry’s and pauns to oak creek this year. It will be interesting to see what deer they get off that unit this year.
 

Blackie6

Active Member
Messages
107
If you have mobility problems with your back and knees, I wouldn’t suggest archery on the oak creeks. Look at the Vernon multi season.
 
Messages
26
From my perspective, I would think more trips with your son/family would outweigh any other option. Plus with those points, its not like you are going to a poor area either. You can still turn up a big one at any moment.
 

BrowningRage

Long Time Member
Messages
3,473
Hey Rowdy,

The Muzzy hunt in the Book Cliffs is not too different than the archery, except the deer are harder to spot due to being grey, but that's part of the fun and challenge. I'm sure the two of you would have fun if you both put in.

However, I would recommend getting the Multi Season tag in the Book Cliffs if you have the time to hunt. Getting a crack in archery, muzzy, and finally rifle if you don't seal the deal before is amazing. I did it in 2016. I hunted a total of 14 days through three seasons. I would have taken more time in the rifle hunt except a conflict arose with my work schedule. If you want people along with you, and you want access to more acres than you can count, the Book Cliffs is the way to go. I hunted with my wife, children and parents. It's an experience that I may never be able to replicate elsewhere. I found some very nice bucks throughout the hunts and took a great 4-point that hangs on my wall now...

Diamond Mountain Multi-Season looks to be an option for you as well. You can Youtube a couple of great bucks taken there recently.

Vernon isn't a guarantee from what I see from the draw last year.

If you really want a different experience, there's a late season Muzzleloader Hunt on the Crawford Mountains in northern Utah. It's the last 2 weeks of November, serious rut action, and good bucks, especially if the snow flies.

Maybe look at the Dolores Triangle for several different experiences between archery, muzzy, and rifle, varying Nov. 6th-Dec. 9th.

I think you just need to decide what you want from your "Once in a Lifetime" deer hunt. You have a lot of great options.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Hey Rowdy,

The Muzzy hunt in the Book Cliffs is not too different than the archery, except the deer are harder to spot due to being grey, but that's part of the fun and challenge. I'm sure the two of you would have fun if you both put in.

However, I would recommend getting the Multi Season tag in the Book Cliffs if you have the time to hunt. Getting a crack in archery, muzzy, and finally rifle if you don't seal the deal before is amazing. I did it in 2016. I hunted a total of 14 days through three seasons. I would have taken more time in the rifle hunt except a conflict arose with my work schedule. If you want people along with you, and you want access to more acres than you can count, the Book Cliffs is the way to go. I hunted with my wife, children and parents. It's an experience that I may never be able to replicate elsewhere. I found some very nice bucks throughout the hunts and took a great 4-point that hangs on my wall now...

Diamond Mountain Multi-Season looks to be an option for you as well. You can Youtube a couple of great bucks taken there recently.

Vernon isn't a guarantee from what I see from the draw last year.

If you really want a different experience, there's a late season Muzzleloader Hunt on the Crawford Mountains in northern Utah. It's the last 2 weeks of November, serious rut action, and good bucks, especially if the snow flies.

Maybe look at the Dolores Triangle for several different experiences between archery, muzzy, and rifle, varying Nov. 6th-Dec. 9th.

I think you just need to decide what you want from your "Once in a Lifetime" deer hunt. You have a lot of great options.
Thanks for the input! I’m seriously considering the multi hunt on the Book Cliffs. I have hunted there a few times with others but only on archery. If that’s the direction I decided to go I might be contacting you for more info.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Thanks for the input! I’m seriously considering the multi hunt on the Book Cliffs. I have hunted there a few times with others but only on archery. If that’s the direction I decided to go I might be contacting you for more info.
I would love to see some pics of you buck if you would like to share some.
 

tracker12

Very Active Member
Messages
1,259
You can always tag along with your son on his hunt. And your son can tag along when you draw a tag. I have a friend and we did that on our elk hunts in CO.
 

why

Active Member
Messages
289
First post in a long time. I could really use your input. I’m having a hard time deciding which limited entry deer unit l should try to draw. I have been putting in for the Henry Mountains with the hopes of getting lucky ( I’m sure a few of you know how that is). I currently have 17 points and would love to hunt the Henry’s but realize with the point creep and some looming health concerns as I age, it’s most likely not going to happen while I can still get out and hunt hard. I have a little better odds to draw Paunsaugunt but don’t know much about the unit. My choice of seasons would be archery or muzzleloader but I’m open to any of the seasons. I have also been kicking around the idea of putting in as a group with my son on the Book Cliffs muzzleloader (he doesn’t like archery) and just enjoy time spent with family. We did chase a decent buck on the books last year but it was an archery hunt. I would really appreciate any suggestions any of you might have.
not the book cliffs it look dismal out there this winter
 

JakeH

Very Active Member
Messages
2,807
not the book cliffs it look dismal out there this winter
Agreed, the book cliffs is in really really bad shape, deer and elk wise. I Would not advise that anyone burn any significant amount of points on it. The last 5 years both the deer and elk herds have tanked big time. Not just quality, but quantity is way way down.

Its great if you like bears though.
 

heywouldya

Very Active Member
Messages
1,024
I'm really close to your age, and those "teen" points seem like purgatory. I'll burn my points on the first good unit that I can find. It's way more fun out there hunting than waiting on the next great tag.
I say that sitting on 12 points myself, so I'll burn those as soon as I can.
 

bbarron2018

Member
Messages
26
I would recommend applying separately from you’re son so that you can each put in for the hunt if you’re choice. You can always have family tag along on your hunt. My father and I decided to start doing this rather than putting in as a group. We have enjoyed this better because it allows us to focus on finding only one animal per hunt and spend more time hunting together. In the end it’s all up your personal preferences. Happy hunting!
 

3Fingerbrown

Member
Messages
17
Agreed, the book cliffs is in really really bad shape, deer and elk wise. I Would not advise that anyone burn any significant amount of points on it. The last 5 years both the deer and elk herds have tanked big time. Not just quality, but quantity is way way down.

Its great if you like bears though.
What is going on with the herds in the Book Cliffs? Does your assessment include the roadless section?
 

ridgetops

Very Active Member
Messages
2,001
What is going on with the herds in the Book Cliffs? Does your assessment include the roadless section?
I think some people just want others to move onto other units and keep point creep down for those they personally know putting in for that unit. People are still killing great bucks on that unit and having a good time seeing plenty of bucks out there.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
I hunted the books last year with a family member. We were able to find many nice bucks. The deer he targeted would have scored over 180”, unfortunately he was unsuccessful in harvesting it. Having hunted on the books eight years ago with someone else I would have to say the biggest problem I see is with the drought conditions Utah has been seeing over recent years. Last year was beyond dry! We only had very few measurable rain storms. Having weighed all of my options I decided to roll the dice and try to draw the multi-season book cliffs. I guess we will see what happens. Thanks all for your opinions and recommendations, I really appreciated it.
 

JakeH

Very Active Member
Messages
2,807
What is going on with the herds in the Book Cliffs? Does your assessment include the roadless section?
I think some people just want others to move onto other units and keep point creep down for those they personally know putting in for that unit. People are still killing great bucks on that unit and having a good time seeing plenty of bucks out there.
3finger, back in November the dwr tried to drop the age objective in the roadless unit because they claim "they cant manage it for the higher age because the elk mix with the lower age limit portion of the books" I don't believe the wildlife board passed it, but they are having trouble keeping the age up in the roadless unit. To answer your question yes it is being affected.

I can Assure you ridge that is not where I am coming from. The whole herd for both elk and deer has decreased significantly over the past 5 years. If you dont believe me call the biologist and ask him if there is a problem.

The books are being hammered on multiple fronts, drought, overhunting, over grazing (horses, cattle, wild cows and bison), predators (they've documented bears and lions killing large numbers of fawns and elk calfs, loss of habitat due to fires (the wolfden fire from many years ago destroyed a huge swath of winter range and does not seem to be regenerating very well this is my own personal observation). Its a perfect storm of things that have definitely had a major effect on the overall numbers. I used to go out and see a couple thousand deer spending the day out there, the last few winters your lucky to see 100-200.

There are still some bigger bucks and bulls running around but the herds is hurting and hurting bad.

You can balk at my claim all you want ridge, but nothing but truth in what I'm saying.
 

ridgetops

Very Active Member
Messages
2,001
[QUOTE="
You can balk at my claim all you want ridge, but nothing but truth in what I'm saying.
[/QUOTE]. I believe every word your claiming but on the other hand hunters are still finding nice hucks to tag and are having a good time out there. I can say the same thing about the unit I live in but I still think people can find bucks if they know where to go.
 

JakeH

Very Active Member
Messages
2,807
[QUOTE
You can balk at my claim all you want ridge, but nothing but truth in what I'm saying. I believe every word your claiming but on the other hand hunters are still finding nice hucks to tag and are having a good time out there. I can say the same thing about the unit I live in but I still think people can find bucks if they know where to go.
there are bigger bucks on general units too, but overall the herd is in serious decline.

I agreed with you for the most part up until this last year, i had my brother put in knowing he would draw and thinking we could find a better buck. I'm telling you right now I made a mistake the unit is further gone then i even dreamed of. He ended up killing a smaller cactus buck the second to last day. It was rough.

But by all means keep burning those points people.
 

Shadow

Very Active Member
Messages
1,097
I know little to nothing of the Books but was out with a family member for this past rifle hunt. From what I saw, I wouldn’t spend many points on a tag.
 

3Fingerbrown

Member
Messages
17
That is a bummer, I have heard some good things about the Book Cliffs roadless unit in the past. I was even thinking I might put in for it with 12 elk points I would probably draw it for archery. The Filmore unit had a super low harvest rate for archery elk last year (just one hunter out of 13 tagged an animal), so that’s got me searching.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Thought I would post a quick update. After much consideration and thought I threw my points at the Book Cliffs and for better or worse I drew the Multi-season deer tag. I definitely have the odds against me. With the deer herd hurting as bad as it is in that unit and extreme drought conditions (and fire conditions) that we are experiencing in the state, it’s going to be tough to say the least. I knew going into it I was really taking a chance, but man the cards are really stacking up against me. Regardless of what happens I plan on taking family with me and having a great time. Wish me luck!
 

rraney

Active Member
Messages
346
enjoy your hunt we all want a big buck but memories made in the field with family and friends are worth it
 

BrowningRage

Long Time Member
Messages
3,473
I don't think there is a better unit to hunt with family in tow. I'll be out there with my cousin during the rifle hunt. Hopefully a trip or two in early August as well for fun. I'm excited to see how it plays out for you.!
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
I don't think there is a better unit to hunt with family in tow. I'll be out there with my cousin during the rifle hunt. Hopefully a trip or two in early August as well for fun. I'm excited to see how it plays out for you.!
That’s awesome! Good luck to you guys. Maybe we will see you somewhere on the mountain : )
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Update:
Now that my Book Cliffs archery hunt is over I wanted to post a quick update on my multi-season hunt. As I knew it would be going into the hunt, it’s been tough. I was able to spend 30 days on the unit. We saw quite a few buck that were around the 160” class, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a buck I wanted to harvest. It’s been an awesome experience and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to hunt this unit. I will be heading back out next week for the muzzy hunt with hopes of finding a good mature buck. One more thing, to the Jerk that stole my canvas Coleman tent that I had left prior to the hunt. I hope you think about the way you got it each time you use it. This was the tent my Dad and I used when I was a kid, it’s not worth much to you, but it was to me! To everyone else I hope you all find success on your hunts this year.
 

greysriver

Active Member
Messages
252
are you joking! They stole your tent! I used to leave tents on my archery hunts for days and days. Pretty sad.. crooks belong in Chicago not in our mountains!
 

BrianID

Very Active Member
Messages
1,792
Sorry about the tent. It is too bad there are a few bad people out there that cause problems for the rest of us. Keep at it with your multiple season tag and enjoy the experience. Even if you don’t find a giant buck you can finish the hunt knowing you have it 100%.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Just got back from another great week of muzzleloader hunting on the Book Cliff’s. Three of the days were spent in the roadless, but I still wasn’t able to get it done with the smoking pole. I’m now getting prepared and looking forward to the rifle hunt in a few weeks. Problem is I don’t have a clue where to start. I know that most of the deer will have migrated off the top. I’m not looking for anything specific, but if anyone would be willing to give me some general ideas of where I might start, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

somedaya200

Member
Messages
61
Does the multi season tag let you hunt both the north and south units for the rifle hunt? I don’t know the south side very well, but I could send you some areas on the north side.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Yes, it is north and south. Any help would be much appreciated. Like I said if I could just get a general area where to start. I wouldn’t expect anyone to give me their hunting spots. Thanks!
 

bucks

Member
Messages
90
Great story so Farr I wish you the best of luck,It sickens me to here about your tent,I have a 10 x 8 wall tent you are more than welcome to it has a stove and is ready to go let me know if you need it, good luck and hang in there.
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
Great story so Farr I wish you the best of luck,It sickens me to here about your tent,I have a 10 x 8 wall tent you are more than welcome to it has a stove and is ready to go let me know if you need it, good luck and hang in there.
Thanks for the offer! It's good to know there are good folks like yourself that are willing to help others. I have another tent as well as a trailer, so we are good : )
 

Rowdy168

Member
Messages
16
The end:
Well, this hunt has been everything I had hoped it would be. I was able to spend much of my summer (over 35 days) scouting and chasing velvet bucks, then I had the opportunity on the Muzzleloader to hunt with a guide for three days in the roadless on mules, then an additional three days on Moon Ridge with my son. I have no regrets dumping my 18 points on the Book Cliffs. As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t able to find anything I wanted to harvest on the first two seasons so it was on to the rifle hunt. I had made the decision long before the hunts started that if we went into the rifle season I would take advantage of Utah‘s mentoring program and the permit would be my granddaughter’s (her first year to hunt, she just turned 12) to fill. I hadn’t told her of this decision until two weeks before the rifle hunt, so it was off to the race to get her ready. She had very little exposure to shooting, but took it serious and practiced at the range with purpose. I couldn’t be more proud of her! She was able to harvest this nice buck at 225 yards with one shot!! I feel so blessed to have been able to share this experience with her. If you have the opportunity to take advantage of the Utah mentoring program I highly recommend it. Our youth are the future to continue the hunting traditions that our parents and grandparents shared with us.
IMG_8570.jpeg
 

BrowningRage

Long Time Member
Messages
3,473
Congrats on a very successful hunt.! It sure sounds like you were able to get everything out of the hunt you possibly could have.! Take care buddy.!
 

257Tony

Long Time Member
Messages
3,874
Awesome! I did the same thing with my daughter when she was 12, (she didn't draw a general tag) mentored my CWMU tag to her, she is now 19 and my best hunting buddy.

Congrats on a fine buck, and a great time with your granddaughter.
 

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