- Written by The DIY Hunter
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With Landen notching his deer tag it was time for me to get a little deeper into the backcountry to try and find a shooter buck for myself.
Tuesday morning rolled around and I was headed up the mountain.
That evening I didn’t see any deer but the next morning I was finding plenty just nothing of any age past two. Midday I moved to watch another canyon but there wasn’t anything in it that I could find so for the evening I headed back to the area I watched the bunch of bucks that morning. Sure enough, I was finding lots of small bucks again but nothing of any size darn. Given where I was hunting and that two other guys were in the area as well when I got back to camp that night I packed up and headed down the mountain. I wanted to see what might have moved into the area Landen shot his buck a few days earlier.
Back at home I recharged the battery and the next morning I was heading into the area Landen and Dallen killed their bucks this year. With my 28 Nosler, I felt really confident with my longer shots and this property has some really wide open canyons where I could glass for long distances.
A couple of miles in I had in mind of a couple of good points where I wanted to set up and watch for the evening hunt. If it looked promising I would set up the tent and hunt the area in the morning as well, if not I would move further in and camp for the evening.
On the way in I watched a good number of does and one small buck out moving around in mid-day. By afternoon I had set up the spotting scope on a good vantage point to glass from, pulled out the binoculars and watched the show.
I found a number of does and then way down and across the canyon, I spotted a buck moving up to a small ridgeline. It was the first 4 point I had seen all year. His body looked pretty mature but not the size of his antlers. Hmm... I hadn’t seen anything of any size this year and I also hadn’t killed a buck since 2011 and I kind of wanted to break in the new rifle.
I ranged the buck and he was within my zone of confidence (see 28 Nosler — Shooting At Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf Course). I could try to get closer but it would probably take me over an hour to drop to the bottom of the canyon then climb up the other side to get to where I would need to be to see him. Well to do that I would have to hope that the horse hunters that were riding a trail headed in his direction didn’t continue on that trail because even though they were much farther away. There would be no way that I could cross the canyon and be in position before the horse hunters passed within a couple hundred yards of this buck. Hmm... I decided to take the shot.
Oh, how I love my 28 Nosler X-Bolt. Down he went like a ton of bricks. As I was headed over to get him the horses ended up riding within 200 yards of him and easily beat me there by a half hour. I was glad I took the long shot and really glad I moved to a different mountain.
The buck was missing one eye from what looks to be Pinkeye . I hate it when deer get that in their eyes, poor things. He didn’t have very big of antlers but he had one heck of a cool roman nose and should make for a great European skull mount.
After my quick photo shoot as the sun dropped behind the mountains, I was cutting away, getting the meat all boned out ready for the trip off the mountain.
I debated spending the night and hiking out in the morning but decided to just pack out in the dark.
It was nice to get a buck on the ground after a long dry spell dating back to 2011. And the highlight of my hunt mule deer hunt this year was getting out with my two youngest boys and watching Landen get his buck: Landen's Second Buck — 2017 Rifle Deer Hunting in Northern Utah
Next up my muzzleloader elk hunt: 2017 Solo Muzzleloader Elk Hunt — Hunting the Backcountry
- Written by The DIY Hunter
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Coming off a rifle elk hunt for my boys where we didn't see any elk, we were hoping to have some success chasing the mule deer with rifles.
This year I actually had a rifle deer tag and was excited to get out and hunt with Landen and Kaden. Unfortunately for Kaden is still eleven for a couple more months so he couldn’t hunt deer but he does have a cow elk tag that coming up when he turns twelve in December.
Landen, Kaden and I were thinking of packing in the night before the opener but it was raining and we didn’t care to be hiking in the rain, mud and in the dark so we got up extra early the morning of the opener to hike in.
We were going to be hunting some great public ground but unfortunately some very heavily hunted public ground. I wanted to hunt the same area Dallen took his muzzleloader buck earlier this fall. Knowing where the deer were tending to hang around and the sea of orange that would be in the area I picked out a couple draws I wanted to focus on that were away from where I felt the bulk of orange was going to be located.
It was around 2 1/2 miles in and my young boys did great hiking in really early in the dark to get to where I wanted to get to just at shooting light. I let them set the pace and they pushed it pretty hard knowing how many vehicles were already packed in the parking lot and they didn’t want to get beat to the deer. I had to slow them down a bit so we didn’t puke as they were going a little too fast for the shape we were all in. LOL. They were excited and it was fun.
Right at first light, we were in the right spot to see deer but the ten or so deer in the draw we were watching were all does. We sat there for a while then decided to move around to the next ridgeline to glass from. As we got near the ridgeline there was a lot of shooting in the next draw we were about to look over into. As we looked over into the draw the shooting had stopped and we could see a couple hunters across the draw. They made some hand signals and when I finally looked through the binos and figured out where they were pointing we bailed back over the ridge and looked down the next draw. Sure enough, there were two bucks moving down in the draw.
Landen dropped to the ground and got all set up on shooting sticks all by himself as I pulled out the rangefinder and ranges 238 yards. Perfect, on the 270 WSM X-Bolt Landen was hunting with I keep the Vortex HS LR scope dialed up one MOA so that the max point blank range on a 7-inch target is out to around 300 yards with the 150 SST hand loads I have for this rifle.
In the process of getting out my rangefinder the larger of the two bucks bailed into the bottom of the draw and out of sight. Landen quickly got set up and I mean quickly. I was proud of how composed and quick he set up on his own. Anyhow, within seconds I had the buck ranged and told him to shot knowing we had very little time before it followed the other buck out of sight. Landen quickly fired and we were greeted with a whopping sound. Nice! The buck ran about a 100 yards and tipped over. Way to go Landen!
Landen had two goals for the buck he wanted this year. One was to be larger than Dallen’s buck and the second was that it was larger than the buck he got he got the year before. (see: 2016 Utah Rifle Deer Season — Landen's First Buck ) He accomplished both with a nice two-year-old 2x3 buck. We were all so excited.
Shortly after we shot the buck Ryan the other hunter that had been hand signaling us met up with us and we talked for a bit. Thank you, Ryan, for pointing out where the bucks were at.
After some photos and of course an Instagram post by proud dad, we worked on boning out the deer for the pack out.
Now that Landen had his deer tag filled it was time for me to get a little deeper into the backcountry to try and find a shooter for myself.
- Written by The DIY Hunter
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At the end of July I broke my scaphoid bone in my right wrist while helping the scouts (Landen and KB) on their 50-mile bike ride for their biking merit badge. For a silly little bone, I had no idea how painful and extremely long it takes for this bone to heal. And yes, I finished the remaining 15 miles of the ride one-armed. I felt I earned the merit badge.
Given my wrist was broke I was glad that I drew a rifle deer tag and I picked up a muzzleloader elk tag. These two hunts are Utah's latest big game hunts in the fall giving my wrist time to heal the most before my hunts.
Dallen drew a muzzleloader deer tag and wanted to pack in for a few days to hunt the area he rifle hunted last year. We loaded up with supplies to last for a week and headed into the backcountry.
As it worked out a couple of days before the hunt was my 8th week since I broke my wrist and the doctor removed the cast and upgraded me to a wrist brace just in time for the hunt.
The night before the opener we headed in going a mile or more past where Dallen shot his buck “First Try” last year. We setup the tent in the dark and enjoyed a chicken and dumplings Mountain House meal.
The next morning we were in a great position to view a lot of country and glass and glass we did but we couldn’t turn up a deer one. Not good. Come afternoon we caught a glimpse of a single doe and that was it. So we hiked back to camp and moved another mile and a half up the mountain that afternoon. Again that evening watching other areas we didn’t find a single deer.
The next morning as we headed out we quickly spotted a couple 18 inch wide bucks moving out down a canyon. We swung around trying to get a better look and they made it past us into the heavy oak brush. Dallen was able to pick them up again later that morning and we confirmed that it was a 2 and 3 point in the 18-inch wide variety. Not what Dallen was after for now.
We spent the rest of the day hiking and glassing only turning up a few does in the distance.
The following morning we took off early and hiked into the very back of the property and down into some beautiful canyons only to find a single doe. Most likely one that we had found the day before. Chalk up another four miles of hiking on the feet. Thank goodness I found that trail running shoes make for the best hunting shoes (as long as the weather is good) so my feet did just fine carrying my heavy butt around the mountain.
That evening we met up with some friends on horseback and tried to locate the two bucks from the day before for their youth hunter but we couldn’t find the bucks again. Darn it.
That night we broke camp again and moved farther to the north in the dark to hunt some different canyons the next day.
This move proved good. The next morning we found some deer. We ended up finding four small bucks and a number of does. We tried to outsmart a really tall narrow three-point but somehow he gave us the slip. I thought we had a brilliant plan to trick the buck but the buck vanished. Who got tricked? LOL
That afternoon we packed up camp and started wheeling off the mountain stopping to glass along the way. We found a small two-point and a spike. Dallen was ready to shoot the two-point and I think I talked him out of it. So back to work, we both had to go for a few days.
After work one night Dallen headed up alone to look for deer. Just before dark, I got a call that he had one down. I loaded up some gear and headed up the mountain to help him. He was about two and a half miles in and by the time I found him he had completely boned out one side of his buck. Incidentally, it turned out to be the same two-point he passed on when he was with me the week before. Too funny.
We flipped the deer over and was able to take some photos without you knowing the other side of the deer was a skeleton.
Even though this was Dallen’s smallest buck he has ever shot I was most proud of him going out and doing it by himself. Nice job hunting solo Dallen.
The next day my two youngest boys wanted to go look for deer. Landen had a rifle tag and in Utah, youth can use their rifle tag for all of the seasons, so up the mountain, we went. We found a great bull elk with a bunch of cows across on the private side of the fence and we also found some good bucks on the wrong side of the fence. We did find three small bucks that were the size of Dallen’s but Landen wanted to shoot something bigger than Dallen’s. Too funny.
Landen knew he still had the rifle hunt in about a month so we weren’t too worried about passing on the little bucks.
More great memories with my boys.
So next up is the rifle elk season with Landen and Dallen both having tags. Blog entry coming soon.
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