Landen's Second Buck — 2017 Rifle Deer Hunting in Northern Utah

Backcountry Mule Deer Hunting - Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

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 KB. Unfortunately for KB 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, KB 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.

I wheeled a Rogue 36 Pack Wheel with us everywhere we went. The Rogue 36 Pack Wheel has become my favorite Pack Wheel size to use as it rolls so nice. When we were on the trail I placed my day back on it but once we got off-trail and in hunting mode, I put the pack on my back and wheeled it around empty as we hunted.

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. 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. I might have gone into sales mode explaining the Pack Wheel I was wheeling around to him. LOL. But 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 and loading it up on the Pack Wheel.

On the trip out I wheeled the Pack Wheel up some of the steep off-trail terrain and the boys took turns wheeling out the deer the rest of the way on the trail for an ultra-easy 2 plus mile pack out back to the Montero.

It was cute to see Landen so proud to wheel his deer back into the packed parking lot with other hunters admiring his buck. Another fun proud dad moment for the books.

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.

Mule Deer Pack Out Backcountry Hunting - Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

Landen and Dallen's 2017 Rifle Elk Hunt

 

It's #trailcamtuesday!

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Right on the heels of helping Dallen with his muzzleloader mule deer hunt and it’s the rifle elk hunt. Landen and Dallen had tags this year but we also didn’t have a lot of time to go so we had to hunt fairly close to home.

The night before the opener KB, Landen and I were cooking Mountain House Chicken and Dumpling in the tent. Unfortunately, Big D had to work the morning of the opener. The morning of the opener we starting out hiking in the dark headed for our favorite place to hunt. 

All that morning it was pretty dead. In fact, I think we only heard one shot on the mountain that could have been elk hunters. Around midday, we decided to check the trail cameras I have in the area. The cameras showed that the last elk a few days before the opener and only a couple of cows. 

That afternoon Dallen came up to hunt with us but we still were unable to find any elk. The boys were a little sad.

So back to work and school. Except Dallen had some time off and went up the mountain by himself. He did find some cow elk on the neighboring CWMU but a couple days of hunting and he was pretty discouraged at not finding any elk.

The following Saturday given our lack of seeing anything the boys weren’t excited to spend a Saturday hiking around not seeing anything again so we went to their comp basketball games instead. This was a mistake as I later found out thanks to my trail cameras that a six-point bull was in our hunting area and bugling on that very Saturday at 10:30 am. Ahh!!!!

We did get out one more time but it proved to just be more exercise and no elk. Darn it. We talked about doing a deep backcountry elk hunt next year in the Uinta mountains. We’ll have to see if we can fit that in next year.

Next up is Landen and my Utah rifle deer hunt.

Dallen's 2017 Muzzleloader Mule Deer Hunt

Motorized Pack Wheel and Rogue 36 Pack Wheel Mule Deer Hunting

We packed another couple miles up the mountain this day with the Rogue 36 and Motorized Pack Wheel. We were hopeful to find some deer in some of these higher canyons.

 

While we haven't been posting about it lately, we have been very busy testing the motorized Pack Wheel on our family's hunts this fall. This video is from September going in five miles with enough water/Powerade for two people to last 5 days. @diyhntr has tweaked the design from what is seen here but the basic design is the same. And we can report that this system is absolutely amazing! With the ultra-high torque this system has it will climb like no other. You will have to hike yourself up the mountain but not the gear on the Pack Wheel. You only need to steer and operate the throttle as the motor will do all the work. Watch for more info to come. Available to purchase in January 2018. #goinheavy #motorizedpackwheel #climbingmachine #packwheel #hunting #whatgetsyououtdoors #hiking #outdoorlife #backcountryhunting #backpacking

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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 the Pack Wheels with a bunch of Power Aid, water to last for a week and headed into the backcountry.

As it worked out a couple 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 making it so I could operate the Pack Wheel fairly well.

Dallen was using a Rogue 36” Pack Wheel and I was testing the motorized Pack Wheel I had been working on before my bike wreck. After this hunting trip, I can say the huge 36” wheeled Rogue is my favorite non-motorized Pack Wheel. It rolls really well uphill and over obstacles. However, when it comes to sheer climbing the motorized Pack Wheel is just amazing. With use, I have learned to change a few things with the way I operate the Pack Wheel. For instance, this summer before I broke my wrist I was operating the Pack Wheel similar to how I operate a non-motorized version. What I found is that having the weight rocked back to bump over obstacles just increased the load in my arms from the torque of the motor. To get all of the weight and torque of the motor to carry the load I learned to tip the Pack Wheel forward with your arms raised up in the air similar to riding a tall handled chopper motorbike. I would tip the Pack Wheel forward to the point that it almost wants to tip over forward and then use the variable speed throttle to pull the Pack Wheel forward. It works awesome. You don’t have to carry any of the weight, just balance, steer and operate the throttle. I have geared the system to have very high torque and slow walking speed travel. It with crawl barely even moving up to around three miles per hour and will not bog down even with the heaviest of loads and steepest of trails. It's just amazing.

To operate the Pack Wheel in the uphill climbing position I have since added bar ends and a different throttle than what I used on this particular hunt these changes have made the uphill travel so very comfortable.

Before this hunt, I checked and made sure I had permission to use the Motorized Pack Wheel on this public land. Hunting e-bikes are getting more and more popular and are in kind of a grey area for motorized vehicle restrictions. Are e-bikes a motorized vehicle, as they are definitely a vehicle with a motor? The Motorized Pack Wheel is quiet and does not carry the operator (aka not a vehicle) giving the Pack Wheel potentially a greater number of areas than an e-bike where it can be used without restrictions.

Another thing to note is that on this trip I used the motor to climb some pretty good elevation over four days of use and the battery still showed half power remaining at the end of the trip.

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 or so 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 further 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 a Rogue 36 Pack Wheel and a minimal amount of 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 pack out on the Rogue 36 Pack Wheel was an absolute breeze. 

The next day my two youngest boys wanted to go look for deer. Landen had a rifle tag and in Utah a youth can use his 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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