2014 Utah Muzzleloader Season - Large 3x4 Buck Out Smarts Me

Deer Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter with EGW Rail and 1x20 Nikon Scope

Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter.

 

Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 with Ultrec Carbon Fiber Tripod

I just love my new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope. Lightweight, compact and nice clear glass. This scope works great with my carbon fiber Ultrec tripod.

 

Deer Hunting with my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter with EGW Rail and 1x20 Nikon Scope

Using a 26 XL Pack Wheel hauling all my hunting gear. The Pack Wheel worked awesome at getting me a long way in.

 

TC Encore Vortex Razor HD Spotting scope

Last rays of light from the sun one evening on my TC Encore, Alps Pathfinder pack and Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 spotting scope.

 

Hunting with Salomon Trail Running Shoes

I've "seen the light" in a different style of footwear for hunting, that being trail running shoes. I have been using trail running shoes for a year or so while hunting and this is my first time using Salomon mountain trail running shoes. As long as it is dry these shoes are awesome for hunting. I also have some Salomon gaiters on order to keep the debris out for my next trip out.

These shoes aren't going to last like a full leather hiking boot but they are so comfortable to hike in. They are extreemly lightweight, offer awesome traction, very breathable, and have great cushioning. I think they are greatly helping my bad knees.

 

Bivy Camp

My bivy camp out on a small point for a couple days.

Because bivys don't breath well and condense a lot of water on the inside I usually place my sleeping bad on top of the bivy and if it is going to rain I put it inside.

After a couple scouting trips. I was ready to spend some time on the mountain with my new TC Encore muzzleloader and see if I could get a nice mule deer.

The opener was on Wednesday so on Tuesday morning I had my brother and father drop me off at the trail head. It was over five miles to where I wanted to camp for the first evening. A 26 inch wheeled Pack Wheel made the trip ver enjoyable.

Tuesday on the way in I checked my trail cameras. Nothing! Since about the first of September the cameras have had almost no deer at all on them. At first I thought the camera was messed up but all three of the cameras I had in this high country were devoid of deer starting around the first of September.

One cool thing I found on the trail cameras was two young bull elk up in the really high country. This is cool.

Thursday evening I found three Mountain Goats. I believe they are all billys but I'm no goat expert. In fact I believe these are the first mountain goats I have ever seen. What's is also cool is that they are on a mountain that has three major roads and highways that they would have had to cross to get to this mountain. These guys are living far from where anyone can hunt them. They have potential to live to die from natural causes in a wicked nasty canyon where few will ever dare bug them.

The lack of deer on the trail cameras should have been a clue that I needed to head down the mountain to find the deer. But I stuck it out and hunted hard where I knew there had to be some good sized bucks hiding somewhere.

Hiking up and down the mountain to hunt morning and evening in 500 to 1000 vertical foot increments for three days I was a little tired. Yes, I was a little tired but I was excited the my bad knees were handling the hiking very well. My last surgery has done wonders on my quality of hunts.

I did see a couple four point bucks one day out of muzzleloader range. One looked to be a 150 buck with a 24 inch or so wide frame. One morning I briefly spotted a buck down in a nasty hole on the mountain. I could see he had good main beams going out to at least the tip of his ears. I quickly tried to get my spotting scope out to get a better look at him but by the time I had the scope out he had disappeared in the brush.

The next day I decided to try and sneak down into the area I had seen the buck the day before. Getting down into the area was not as easy as I thought it would be. There was a lot of chaparral brush with little to no deer trails in the brush. I worked my way into position over the spot I had seen him the day before. I sat there for an hour or so and didn't see a thing. I decided to try and sneak into the hole and see if I could gently bump him out and have him do the classic bounce, bounce, stop, turn look followed with a boom!

Well it didn't quite work out the way I planned. I slowly started working my way down into the jack quaking aspens and other brush and trees. I noticed a fair amount of deer sign in the area and fresh rubs on the aspens. As I got down in the middle of some aspens I could hear him and saw him bounding out and up through the oak brush of the other side of the canyon. Unfortunately, I was not in a spot to get a shot and I had to run out of the aspens to find a spot to setup for a shot. The buck was larger than I thought he was. He looked really nice but he never stopped until he got to around 450 yards.

I was able to get a few pics of him running out of the canyon. Dang it! A good 3x4 with a solid 28 inch frame.

I paid close attention to where he ran off and that evening I moved my camp over about a mile further in to be able to try and locate the buck again for the remaining evening and following day I was hunting. Well even though I was in great looking deer country I didn't see another deer the rest of the hunt.

All in all I had a great time on the mountain. I only saw one other person across a canyon one day. It's nice to get out and just enjoy the mountain, see the different wildlife and unwind from all the stresses of life.

I was so hoping to get a good buck this year with my new muzzleloader but it wasn't to be. Dallen has his mind set on trying for the big 3x4 with his rifle in a few weeks. We'll see if we can find him then.

 

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

One of three Mountain Goats I watched off and on during the hunt.

 

Another photo of a Mountain goat below my camp.

 

3x4 Mule Deer

3x4 Mule Deer

This nice looking 3x4 didn't stop after I bumped him until he was 450 yards away. So I took his picture running out of the canyon.

 

Another pic of the large 3x4 buck. He's a dandy. I would have loved to have been able to get him.

 

Rock Squirrel

Hunting Chaparral Brush

This rock squirrel was keeping an eye on me one morning.

 

I hate chaparral. I was stuck in this crap for a few hours thinking I was taking a shorter route back to camp.

 

Here's some footage of the small bucks I found in the high country. So the cameras didn't find any good bucks for me but they did help me know where not to waste my time hunting. The also showed a mass exodus of the deer the first of September.

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