Long initial post Alert!
Here we are it is almost August. It is hot and dry outside. We are all anxiously waiting for the big game seasons to start. The archery season is 3 weeks away and then it is go go go until things wrap up sometime this winter. Right now, everyone is bored and a lot are frustrated with the state of the big game in our great state. I think the frustrations are compounded by the fact that the world is seemingly in shambles and every time you watch the news it seems like it just keeps getting worse.
While all of that may be true, I am trying to stay positive and am really looking forward to the upcoming hunts. This year is taking me back to an old familiar place. I went into the draws this year expecting to draw a last choice gen deer tag and then planned to buy a general season rifle elk tag. To my surprise, when charges started hitting, I was hit for a LE deer tag. This meant I would be heading down to one of my favorite places I have ever been, The Book Cliffs.
My love for this area started in 2009 when my dad’s cousin got a beautiful bull on the muzzy tag. At that point I had never been out to this famed place before, but it got the wheels turning. Then it all came together when my brother drew the same tag in 2011. He drew along with a good family friend and we spent about a week getting them both beautiful bulls. That was my first experience chasing rutting bulls and from that point, I was hooked. We also had a great time exploring a new area.
Up to this point, I has spent all my time in general units with limited success. Going down there and seeing more animals than I had ever seen in my life was incredible. I could not wait to make it back down. The opportunity came in 2014, this time my dad drew the tag. He was able to score a gorgeous bull by 9 am opening morning and we were all super happy with how the hunt turned out. I had never seen so many elk in one canyon all going so crazy in the rut. It was amazing. To make it even more cool, my dad got his bull about 100 years away from the same spot my brother got his. This was out “honey hole”.
2016 found us down there again, that year it was my turn though. We spent a ton of time down there that summer scouting and preparing for my hunt. It was a good thing we did too, because our “honey hole” was a bust that year. I was able to tag a great bull and had the hunt of a lifetime. (Even if the bigger one got away). The same year my friend had the muzzy deer tag and he killed a great buck as well. It was such a fun year.. You can read up on this hunt here if you are interested:
Turns out my bro-in-law’s dad drew the muzzy elk tag the next year. We were able to go down with him and his family and be there as he got his first bull elk. We had a good time, but it seemed to be getting tougher and tougher to hunt down there. Another friend had a muzzy deer tag and we were able to show him around a bit as well. He missed a couple deer when I was there helping him. We had to head home and he was able to tag a good back after we left. I left the area that year not knowing when I would be back.
2018 comes around and my uncle was able to buy a cow elk tag that came available that summer. We spent some time down there for that. It was cool being down there in December as we had never been there passed the muzzy hunt. 2019 brought a rifle deer tag to my same brother who drew the elk tag in 2011. He got his biggest back to date on that hunt.
That brings us to this year. I put in for the muzzy tag, not thinking there was much of a chance of drawing. Well, lady lucked shined down again and I know I have my work cut out for me. The elk tags were all drawn when we were in the max points for the units. These deer tags have both came as random though. The amount of luck taken is not lost on me.
This has been a lot more long-winded than I planned. I am super excited about this hunt. While the Books isn’t what it once was, this will still probably be the best deer tag I will ever get so I want to make the most of it. In the time I have spent down there, especially in the summer and early fall there has never been a shortage of deer. Finding a truly big deer isn’t always easy but I know it can be done.
I made my first scouting trip down this past weekend. In all in less than 48 hrs (including two sleeps) we turned up 96 bucks. In all those deer, there were probably 3-5 shooters. I am not going to be super picky but, like I said, this will be the best deer tag I get so I want to make sure I get a good buck. In my mind I want about a 170 inch deer, which I know if a tall order out there, but it can’t hurt to have goals. In my mind, though I am not worried about score as much as I am a certain look. A mature buck, preferably with some mass and eye-guards, will do the trick.
I am also working on breaking in a new muzzy and developing some loads for that. So far, it has gone well but I need to spend a lot more time at the range so that I can be sure I am ready. I will keep updating this thread as the hunt gets closer and hopefully will be able to sharing a good story of success when it is all said and done.
Here are a couple pics of the scouting trip. I have more video of the group of bucks but need to put it on Youtube or something. There were about 16 bucks in this one groups it was pretty crazy. We also hiked into the Roadless a little as I have never touched foot in there. What a cool place.