Boulder General rifle Deer - Utah Wildlife Network

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Old 10-12-2020, 11:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Boulder General rifle Deer

Hello all,

I Joined this Forum in hopes of messaging a few of you who looked to have some experience in this unit. After writing the below message to a member here, I realized I was unable to send it until I had over 15 post. I understand joining a forum and asking for advice right off the bat is generally bad taste. However I am not asking for honey holes. Just trying to obtain some more info on where to start the "Search". Below is the private message I had ready to send. If any of you are ever interested in hunting Oregon. I would be more than happy to provide you with any information that I can.

My father in law, step-dad and I will be leaving for our Boulder General rifle deer tags this Thursday. We are all from Oregon and this will be our first hunt in Utah. I have been scouring the internet looking for info on this hunt and all in all it is decently sparse.

I understand that nothing replaces time on the mountain and learning the area but unfortunately with our work schedules and my young (and growing) family it was just not an option.

I found this forum and saw that you are pretty active on discussions surrounding this unit so I thought I would reach out and see if you had any advice you would be willing to share?

A little about us-

We will be staying in Escalante for the duration of the hunt. We are not looking for "Trophy bucks" just hoping to have a memorable hunt when it comes to seeing some deer and having the opportunity to fill our freezers. We are happy to put in the miles and get off the roads or hunt more populated areas if need be.

From what I have learned so far,

It sounds as though the overall deer numbers in this area are on the decline and have been for some time. I have heard this hunt is very weather dependent and unfortunately the forecast shows nothing but mid 70's and sunny for the season. I have heard that the south side of the unit has less deer and less pressure. It seems to me that most pressure and deer numbers is in the Dixie natl. forest around boulder and north of Escalante.

I had a gentleman tell me to stay below 8900' as by this time in the year the deer are starting to work their way down.

Anyhow, Thank you in advanced for any advice you are willing to give, and if not, I can completely understand that as well!

Jesse
541-852-9028
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've never hunter the unit but it is some of the most beautiful country you'll see. Make sure to throw in your fishing poles/fly rods for the mid day adventures. Like most places in Utah, the rifle hunt can be a challenge. Enjoy the trip regardless of whether you tag out or not, and good luck!
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply neverdrawn,

This is half the reason we chose this area as none of us have stepped foot there and it seemed to be one of the most diverse units in the state. We do plan to take some fishing poles as it sounds as the fishing can be pretty unreal!

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I've never hunter the unit but it is some of the most beautiful country you'll see. Make sure to throw in your fishing poles/fly rods for the mid day adventures. Like most places in Utah, the rifle hunt can be a challenge. Enjoy the trip regardless of whether you tag out or not, and good luck!
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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While fishing is great on the Boulder most of the fishing access is going to be on the north side of the mountain and not down around Escalante. But you do have Barker Reservoir, along with Posy Lake that can be driven to quite easily. But with Posy you really need a small boat or a float tube to get out away from the shore. You also have McGath Lake that you can drive to with a 4x4 vehicle.

The last time that I hunted down there on that side of the mountain the deer were below 8,000' by the time that the season started. Before the season we saw a few deer above that but none once Saturday rolled around and we didn't hear any shooting at all. We moved over to Pine Lake and saw very few deer around that area also. Fishing was good but no venison.

I have a friend who hunted it last year and he didn't see a single shooter buck in the whole week of the hunt and he was up on the Plateau around Pollywog Lake, which is just a mud puddle. He was looking for at least a 4x4.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you Critter,

I wish the outlook was better for the quality of the hunt but I reckon that is in the eye of the beholder! we will make the best of it and have a great time seeing new country with filled tags or not! I have no doubt it will be a better hunt than what Oregon has to offer in the terms of general tags.

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While fishing is great on the Boulder most of the fishing access is going to be on the north side of the mountain and not down around Escalante. But you do have Barker Reservoir, along with Posy Lake that can be driven to quite easily. But with Posy you really need a small boat or a float tube to get out away from the shore. You also have McGath Lake that you can drive to with a 4x4 vehicle.

The last time that I hunted down there on that side of the mountain the deer were below 8,000' by the time that the season started. Before the season we saw a few deer above that but none once Saturday rolled around and we didn't hear any shooting at all. We moved over to Pine Lake and saw very few deer around that area also. Fishing was good but no venison.

I have a friend who hunted it last year and he didn't see a single shooter buck in the whole week of the hunt and he was up on the Plateau around Pollywog Lake, which is just a mud puddle. He was looking for at least a 4x4.
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Old 10-12-2020, 02:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I won't tell you that the deer are not struggling. But I wouldn't say that the quality is bad. That unit still has large bucks, like any other. Overall numbers are certainly down.

Staying in Escalante offers you the opportunity to hunt multiple different areas, and multiple different terrains. What you need to ask yourself is: What do you want to do?

Boulder has elevations that ranges from 11,000 ft. down to 3600 ft. Alpine meadows, to red rock sandstone canyons. Aspen groves, to pinyon / juniper....or sagebrush and scrub.

Two good roads heading south from Escalante are the Hole in the Rock road and the Smokey Mountain road. Both offer opportunities at true trophy desert bucks. This would be a high-risk / high reward area. That's not to say that you wouldn't run into some smaller bucks too. This is desert country. It is beautiful, rugged, inspiring, and deadly.

You could head up the mountain, as mentioned by Critter. Either up the North Creek road towards the Barker's (great fishing opportunities!), or up to Posey and the Griffin Top. This is going to provide you more of an alpine hunt in the aspens and pines. Take a venture up to Posey, the across to Hell's Backbone, down towards Boulder and across the Hog's Back to Calf Creek, and back to Escalante. You'll be glad you did.

You also have opportunities to hunt more mid-elevation areas like Stump Springs (straight ponderosa canopy), or venture out Pet Hollow, or South Hollow (Canaan Mountain).

You have a ton of options -- you just need to figure out what it is you are looking for.


if you have specific questions about any of these areas, just ask. We'll all try to help you have a good trip.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I second what PBH has said about the quality. Iíve hundred south side by barker on the muzzy(earlier hunt) several years ago. We caught more fish than deer seen. Seems to be in the decline. I also hit the west side(rifle) different year and it was worse for me than the muzzy. If your looking to fill the freezer with meat, Iím sure a nice forky will pop up in the meadows around barker. Bring your fishing poles!!


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Old 10-12-2020, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you PBH. You were actually the one I was trying send a PM too but was not allowed due to post count. The desert side of things really intrigues me...Is this an area where water is very sparse and finding water holes is a plausible option? or is it a desert landscape with a multitude of water options for the animals?



Quote:
Originally Posted by PBH View Post
I won't tell you that the deer are not struggling. But I wouldn't say that the quality is bad. That unit still has large bucks, like any other. Overall numbers are certainly down.

Staying in Escalante offers you the opportunity to hunt multiple different areas, and multiple different terrains. What you need to ask yourself is: What do you want to do?

Boulder has elevations that ranges from 11,000 ft. down to 3600 ft. Alpine meadows, to red rock sandstone canyons. Aspen groves, to pinyon / juniper....or sagebrush and scrub.

Two good roads heading south from Escalante are the Hole in the Rock road and the Smokey Mountain road. Both offer opportunities at true trophy desert bucks. This would be a high-risk / high reward area. That's not to say that you wouldn't run into some smaller bucks too. This is desert country. It is beautiful, rugged, inspiring, and deadly.

You could head up the mountain, as mentioned by Critter. Either up the North Creek road towards the Barker's (great fishing opportunities!), or up to Posey and the Griffin Top. This is going to provide you more of an alpine hunt in the aspens and pines. Take a venture up to Posey, the across to Hell's Backbone, down towards Boulder and across the Hog's Back to Calf Creek, and back to Escalante. You'll be glad you did.

You also have opportunities to hunt more mid-elevation areas like Stump Springs (straight ponderosa canopy), or venture out Pet Hollow, or South Hollow (Canaan Mountain).

You have a ton of options -- you just need to figure out what it is you are looking for.


if you have specific questions about any of these areas, just ask. We'll all try to help you have a good trip.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks Hondodawg! Sounds like an area to at least check out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondodawg View Post
I second what PBH has said about the quality. Iíve hundred south side by barker on the muzzy(earlier hunt) several years ago. We caught more fish than deer seen. Seems to be in the decline. I also hit the west side(rifle) different year and it was worse for me than the muzzy. If your looking to fill the freezer with meat, Iím sure a nice forky will pop up in the meadows around barker. Bring your fishing poles!!


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Old 10-12-2020, 05:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Boulder General rifle Deer

One other option to consider is an area that PBH hinted at. Just West off the Griffin top and south of Pacer Lake. There is good access to the area by heading north from Tropic towards Widtsoe. I agree that it's some of the most beautiful country you will see, it's definitely alpine (pines & aspens) but it's somewhat steep and thick in spots so you would have to get out and hike. You will see some deer and lots of elk up there. Here's my Boulder deer that I shot this year during the muzzy hunt... Good luck! Keep us posted on how you do.

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