Disclaimer: this podcast has been transcribed from the original audio and likely contains errors. This transcription does not reflect the views and opinions of Epic Outdoors LLC. Please consult the original audio with any concerns.
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We’re coming out of a crazy winter.
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Utah should be a great year.
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If there’s only one tag it goes on. A random draw
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Is more of a winter range migration hunt that’ll come off that north.
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Anything to do with Western Big Game.
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Welcome to the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.
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Hey everybody. Jason Carter here with the Epic Outdoors Podcast. It’s powered by Under Armour. Appreciate them and all their support with the Epic Outdoors crew and all that we’ve got going on. They’re super supportive. Of course, we’ve had multiple different projects together and work together in different capacities, including the Orry for TV show and and other ventures. So anyway, super happy to have them on board today. I’ve got Adam Bronson here, we’re here in the office. We’ve been cranking over some different things. Had a lot going on here at Epic Outdoors. We just got back from the expo there in northern Utah and it was just super, super busy. We had a booth up there and just met a lot of different members and cranked through a lot of different things. Anyway, and then we’ve also, this last week, Adam and I were just super, super busy running through the march issue of the new Epic Outdoors magazine that’s coming out. It’s at the printer right now. Of course, we covered all species in Colorado, the Montana deer, elk, as well as
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Mo sheep and goat in Idaho.
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That’s right. So anyway, lot of fun doing that. Learned a lot of things of course we’re coming out of a crazy winter. The weather’s just been unbelievable in regards to the weather. Maybe Adam, can you tell us, you know, a little bit about what your feelings are as far as what you’ve heard from all of our different constituents across the West?
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I think if you look at Southern Utah, most of southern Nevada, all of southern Nevada, Northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, everybody’s really optimistic about how much moisture has fallen this winter. And those areas rarely, if ever, can have much significant winter winter loss on, on deer particularly. And so we have, I know I have high hopes for all those areas to really produce great deer and out great antler growth, great feed this year. When it comes to some of the more northern states, you know, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, they definitely have some areas of critical concern. It seems like over the last three weeks in those states as well as parts of Colorado and Northern Utah, things moderate a little bit. We, we got a lot of warmer storms that came in, rained on top of the snow, which caused a lot of problems like flooding and things like that. But from a, a deer or antelope standpoint, maybe it took the edge off a little bit. But still, you know, we’re not even a march yet. So still a lot of potential winter type weather ahead of us and we’re watching those fortunately in some of those states, Idaho, Wyoming don’t have to apply for antelope and deer clear till the end of May. Early, early June, Colorado as well. We’re not hearing as many red flag scary stories outta there as we were a month ago.
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Of course we had what, three or four weeks of just crushing brutal snowstorms and then some real cold weather. But it did lay up, lay off a little bit and you end up getting warmer and, and from what I’m hearing, you know, gunnisons definitely gonna be affected pretty significantly. But the rest of the state overall there might be small, isolated, you know, pockets of significant winter loss. But, but overall things are gonna be pretty fine across the Colorado. And the plains of course hasn’t been hardly touched at all it seems like.
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That’s right. And since we’re here to talk about Utah today, I would, I would probably just say Utah should be a great year. There’s gonna be some areas in northern part of the state that deer may take it on the chin a little bit too hard. A lot of that part of the state, however, is private land. Several cws operate up in that end of the state and not as many of our great limited entry deer units up there, maybe like Cash Crawford Mountain, but all of the central and southern parts of the state, which were really known for our public land, deer and elk units. They should just be great. I don’t know why, how they couldn’t be.
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Yeah, I agree with you. And you know, I know this weather kind of crushed good chunks of Idaho, Southern Idaho on the west side as well as good chunks in Oregon, Montana of course, you know, you did a lot of research in Montana and there’s just a lot of significant winter out there. But you know, when they have tough winters up north, you know, here in southern Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, of course Colorado, it’s looking really good, really good.
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It really is. Utah and Nevada are the two driest states in the country and particularly southern Utah gets, I think, you know, carries a bulk of that dry, dry part of the state. And when we’re super wet and Nevada’s super wet, you can’t ask for much better because it’s normally the other way around. We’re usually begging for rain, begging for moisture.
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That’s exactly right. So pretty excited to draw some tags or you know, make the best use of some of these landowner tags and different things that we’re gonna be doing this year. So couldn’t be better. Couldn’t be better. Super excited for that. Well, as we dive into Utah, of course that application’s due March 2nd this Thursday. So we just kinda wanted to dive into that a little bit and kind of expound upon our magazine and maybe just some of our thoughts behind some of the recommendations that we made. And so anyways, we start off. We’ll start off maybe for sheep. Of course a lot of, you know, Adam Bronson, you know, has, has been the president of Utah Fons and as well as you know, one of the top sheep outfitters in the state also worked for the state of Utah and dealt with the sheep pretty heavily as far as from a biologist point of view. So anyway, very well versed in the sheep. And maybe we can kind of, you know, start us off on the, the units that are available to non-residents might even kick off into some of the different resident units as well, Adam.
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Yeah, really the only change from a non-resident perspective is they did, they did carve out the Kapes West this year, make it available for non-resident tag. That unit’s been been part of the old compare what’s east where you could have the east, west and Escali now, now you can draw the east as well as the West and the Rafael South and the Zion. All of those sheep units for the most part are doing well. San Rafael is, is doing okay kind of stagnant. But Zion and the Kitz right now are doing very, very well. Great chance to see a 1 65 or even one 70 caliber ram available in those units. Our deserts in general that are available to non-residents are doing really, really well. And you know, coincidentally those are along with the Pine Valley unit, those are the best units for residents as well. Pine Valley, Zion, Kaper, whats West Kaper, whats east are the best units for residents from a trophy standpoint? There’s other units throughout the state
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Sheep are doing okay. You know Henry Mountains, I know they had the high, a high count there. San Juan South’s gonna open up some new sheep country, never been hunted given extra tag down there. It’s kind of interesting for residents. So there’ll be a maximum point tag there. Those are a few of the highlights. I think another tag on Dirty Devil as well from one to two tags. So that means another maximum point tag there.
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And those changes haven’t actually been made yet. But you’re just because we’re working so close with the biologists, we’re kind of getting a feel for where they’re gonna offer two tags. And the significant part of this is if there’s only one tag, it goes on a random draw. If there’s two tags, one could go to a maximum point holder. So that makes a difference. And it’s so a guy that applied maybe 30 days ago, you know, a lot of those biologists didn’t know if they were gonna offer two tags yet. Whereas we get really close to the deadline, they’re also getting really close to finalizing the recommendations.
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That’s exactly right. And with sheep, since they’re not waiting for teeth data to come back like they are on elk and deer and make an a firm permit recommendation, that’s not due until March the sheep, they normally go off of surveys as well as last year’s harvest. They don’t really have anything new after they fly the unit, there’s nothing new. They’re not waiting for teeth data to come back. So I’ve been able to visit with some of the biologists just the last week and get a feel for that. ’cause I’ve got a lot of people calling and asking me about that. And like you said, if you’ve got 18 to 21 points it can be the difference between sneaking in and stealing a max point tag and putting in for something where you only got one
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Available. You know, that compare what’s east for non-residents includes the escali unit of course that’s where I drew. Yep. And lucky enough to have you and of course our epic crew go out there and and crush that place. I mean it, well it basically crushed us but you know, 25 miles backpack each way. It was one of the most, you know, that’s some of the most brutal country there is in the Western US. I mean other than maybe parts of Idaho and unit 27 might, you know, compare to it. But it’s, it’s, you’re out in the middle of the desert and of course we went at the end of September kind of at the first part of that season and and had an awesome hunt. But anyway, that is part of the compares east. The compares east I know is coming on really strong, has not, not near the, you know, difficulty of of access but still not quite as easy as the Karos West. You know that Karos West is a pretty easy hunt, huh?
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It is. It’s got a lot of a t v four-wheel drive access day hike where the east has some backpack country and it’s somewhat remote. Some logistical challenges up even up off the lake, off Lake Powell. But that’s pretty much the deserts with Rocky Mountain from non-resident perspective. There was no changes in in units offered. The biggest thing to probably keep pointing out is the book Cliff South has continued to slip. We hunt, we’ve hunted the last three years in a row, just lower and lower sheep numbers it seems like every year sick and coughing sheep, which is just unfortunate that comes and goes throughout sheep herds. Unfortunately.
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Wouldn’t one of your good rams actually coughing as you shot it? I mean it was sick.
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Yeah, that was actually on the nine mile side which just caused for concern because there are lower numbers of sheep over there as well this ram. But cliffs seemed very, very good health. The ram we killed over there starting to see a few lambs, which makes me think it’s bottomed out. But numbers are way down. Nine mile Gray Canyon. I’m, hopefully they aren’t just continuing further down ’cause they’re definitely down as well. So not as great of an outlook as you know it used to be. It’s still some big rams. Yeah, good rams. But you know, three, four years ago it was kind of the exact opposite. Yeah, it’s like that’s the, that’s how sheep can go sheep when you have ’em, it’s time to hunt ’em and take ’em and you can’t stockpile ’em and save a bunch of trophy rams ’cause they’ll be dying in the rocks at some point if you do that.
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Well, and it’s been nice too. I mean, not to get too sidetracked, but you know, I know we’ve had some transplants from Nevada coming over to the Kitz and you know, of course we’ve seen, you know, some bigger rams coming up through the ranks and you know, I don’t know, I know you’ve been involved in some of those projects as well and it’s probably been nice to kind of see the fruits of that labor.
00:11:05:02 –> 00:12:12:13
It is, back in 1999, 2000 I, I started my master’s graduate work on Theit sheep right after the Grand Staircase National Monument was established in late 96. Anyway, so had several research graduate students out there. I was inventorying water sources and, and other people were doing telemetry work on the sheep. So they were brand new back then and in 20 years. Yeah, I mean that seems like a long time and they have been good prior to now, but they are really never been better than they are right now. And it’s very, very rewarding to see a lot of unoccupied habitats been filled in. And I just hope that, you know, the momentum that that that has built there will continue because as we all know, sheep sometimes just don’t stay the same, you know, unlike, you know, mountain goats or something else. They seem to just grow and grow and you’ve gotta kill ’em or transplant ’em or they don’t die maybe in a severe winter. But our Utah mountain goats have been doing very, very well. I know you had a Willer tag a couple years ago in Ogden Willard Peak. Yep. And so I’ve personally never a hunted goats in the state, but that was
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A fun trip. No, it’s good. Yeah, that was a, that was a lot of fun. Of course Willard’s pretty, you know, pretty easy. I mean there is a road to the top and then some major trails that you can access on motorbike legally with the forest service. So anyway, and that kind of, you know, cuts off probably eight hour hike plus or 10 hours of, you know, each way and anyway, and then you can get into there. I hunted a little bit late and after, you know, like on that second season, I actually hunted the second season and then even in October because we were muzzled or elk hunting on the Southwest desert. So anyway, you know, when you get that late, they’ve been pressured quite a bit. You’ve had the first season come and go, then you’ve had the bulk of the second season hunters come and go and those older billies will be right in that mid-range, which is on that particular unit.
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It’s the most inaccessible, you know, they’re kind of their safe zone. It took us a minute, we got it figured out and killed a good Billy. But it did, it definitely did. And, and it’s not, even though you can access into that country, you’re still in mountain goat country and it’s still gonna be physical for a guy. But, but if you, if guys do go right off the bat and hunt an opening day, you know, on either season you can generally, you know, get a guy that’s maybe not quite as physically capable as maybe a normal goat hunt would require. And so I think that would be a good option. I, I did spend some time in that lone peak, lone peak tempus unit with my buddy Clint years ago. And, and that was, that’s pretty physical hunt. We really enjoyed it and there was actually some big billies up in there. He ended up taking a nice Billy, but you know, it was interesting. Of course we have one of the best units right here next to our place. I mean the Beaver unit fairly accessible and some big, big billies coming off of it. Yeah. It’s
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Maybe not been as touted in the last couple years for killing 52 to three inches. But much like the Willard, the Beaver unit, the goats have just continued to explode and they’ve used them for transplant sources to the LaSalle Mountains where the Willard goats have come down to Mount Dutton, which to sidetrack track just slightly, that Mount Dutton unit is open this year for the first time for residents to apply for mountain goats there. And some goats pioneered over from the beaver unit as early as 2002. I was actually the biologist there the year that that Mount Dutton unit burned. And during the helicopter surveys during that burn, they found a couple Billys and it’s crazy. 2002 it was just, we didn’t only have, what are they doing there? Yeah, what are they doing? Well they’re standing in black burnt trees and they stuck out pretty good. Yeah, so you knew you had ’em cotton balls. Yeah, that’s right. So through some augmentation from the Willard and whatnot, we got a open hunt on Mount Dutton. Now should be a fun experience. I know that. I’m fond of that mountain and so it should be fun for some,
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Yeah, it’ll be great. You’ve actually seen some of the goats at recent times when we were up there, elk cutting course, you know, you drew an elk tag in there and, and I went on that with you and, and killed a really nice bull. But anyway, I know we, you’ve got some, you know, some extensive experience in in Dutton as well. So, and we’ll get into some of the elk there here in a few minutes. But anyway, as we move along, course residents can have to choose one of the once in a lifetime sheep go, moves buffalo or, and then they can also choose a deer, elk or antelope to apply for. And given us two limited entry species as well as, you know, we could all apply for that general, our general deer and then non-residents that’s can apply for everything.
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And that’s what one thing I was gonna point out on a lot of these non-resident odds, they’re, they’re always bleak for these once in lifetime species, but when that change got implemented, what was it eight years ago or so? Yeah, I would dare say that probably the sheep and the bison were probably the most popular back then. But then everybody just simply added the moose and goats and, and some of those, and they’re very, very tough. And, and we’ll get to that in a minute on the antelope and the deer and the elk now that non-residents can apply for everything. It essentially just flooded the random drying odds bull. But
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I think part of the method, you know, the reasoning behind that a little bit was of course, you know, non-residents, they to purchase that hunting license, you know, and I think it was just more to, to help them, you know, maybe get a point from multiple species and kind of justify that expense and allow ’em to do that where they
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Wanted to keep ’em, they wanted to keep the applicants. Yeah,
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Absolutely. And then the, and the, you know, and the residents fought pretty hard not to have that influx of, of ruining the drawing odds. Kind of, kind of odd that non-residents actually kind of have in a way, you know, a little bit more opportunity than, than than the residents do. And not per species, not per hunt. And that’s not what I’m saying, but just being able to apply for a lot more species or you and
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I can eight or 10, eight or 10 applications instead of two or three. Yeah,
00:17:00:13 –> 00:17:13:10
Yeah. So anyway, that brings us to our moose. I know. You know, like it, like everywhere. I mean our moose have seen, seen better days. I’ve actually never hunted the moose. Have you ever gotten a tag or
00:17:13:14 –> 00:17:20:16
Never have Never. I’m still stuck on sheep. You’ve, you’ve moved on down the ranks. You’ve killed a couple, one when you were young. A buffalo and then buffalo
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When I was 15 off the Henry’s desert,
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Desert sheep and, and goat. So you’re down to Rocky and a, I guess a moose. Yeah, that’s, you draw that Rocky Carter, I guess you’ll be in for a moose tag and I’ll mock you for the rest of my life.
00:17:32:04 –> 00:18:17:08
You know, Jeff, Jeff, John, my brother-in-law here, the office, he of course got lucky with just about, I think it was like six points. He drew his rocky. So I guess it’s possible. Not probable but possible. Anyway, yeah, I did draw that buffalo on the Henry’s when I was fif I was 15 years old. It was crazy. Of course back then the, the herd was some, felt like it was somewhat small. 15, I’d put it like about 19 90, 19 89, 19 90, so long, long time ago. But anyway, a lot of fun course those buffalo or free range and crazy wild and not, not like an easy drive up and shoot ’em like, you know, some people might think you would do like a, like a Hereford, you know what I mean? Yeah.
00:18:17:08 –> 00:18:36:00
They’re not on the Henry’s at all. I know that from talk, the, the book Cliffs by Bison, even though they originated, some of them were brought from the Henry’s and then the others, you know, wandered off the Ute reservation. They’re not as, not as spooky from everybody I’m talking to up there, biologists and things like that on the
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00:18:36:21 –> 00:19:36:06
Yeah. That WildHorse bench unit is more of a winter range migration hunt. They’ll come off that north northwest end of the Ute reservation down to, on the Green River and even cross across onto the Quin unit can be a pretty cold snowy. That’s where you see the long season August one to January 31. Yep. It’s, it’s, it still has high kill success. They will come off normally 175 to maybe as high as 300 they’ve said. So you know, you’re gonna kill one, but you’re gonna probably work a lot harder and it’s a little bit rougher country, but the regular book Cliffs Hunt fairly, fairly moderate. You’re gonna be hunting among the areas where you’d be hunting elk or deer. But all of the bison hunts in Utah give a great experience for somebody of all abilities. You know, antelope Island, if you just, if you can’t get around, you’re up in age or something like that. That’s, that’s for somebody. Book Cliffs and Henry Mountains free ranging wild, you know, awesome hunts if you can draw ’em. Yeah,
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And they sure are. And you know, I actually talked to a guy at the expo, he had drawn that WildHorse bench and he said, you better eat your Wheaties. It’s pretty aggressive. And it took him to the second to last day before he killed one, he just decided he was gonna kill one come heck or high water. And he, he gave it all he had. So definitely like you said, that’s, that’s probably one of the, you know, it’s one of the more challenging ones. And then of course those Henry’s your, your wife drew a, you know, what was it? A cow cow tag cow on the, on the lake, you know? Yeah. And he ended up doing well of course that lake can be extremely cold. The Henry’s is brutal cold that time of year, but it turned out well. Yeah,
00:20:13:11 –> 00:20:36:29
Went fine. She’d always, when she started hunting, she wanted one of those and finally drew one and we had a good time down there. It was, you know, minus 10 or 15 degrees, brutally cold late December, but still gives you the same experience as killing a bull. You just, you know, you still got a bunch of meat to take home, slightly smaller pack out too, which is never totally a bad thing. Yep. And you know, overall the same general experience
00:20:37:02 –> 00:21:33:25
That kind of brings us to the elk, you know, Utah is of course known for giant bulls or at least it’s gained that reputation there early mid two thousands and it was hard to beat that area was pretty hard to beat. And, and of course New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, I guess Wyoming as well. Just, you know, some of our, our best states for hunting big, big bulls. But I know that’s changed a little bit. We do have a lot of opportunities now as far as, you know, different seasons, split seasons archery, but kind of unconventional that here in Utah, we, we allow our rifle hunters to hunt pretty much early to mid rutt, like right in the middle. And then, then the arche on the rifle hunters and the archery hunts early kind of that August 19th to September 15th timeframe. And, and so anyway, and I know you’ve guided some of those hunts, but what are some of the challenges that you, you guys are seeing on, on the archery hunts?
00:21:34:07 –> 00:22:17:02
The first thing you do get 28 days and that’s about as liberal as any other state. Maybe Wyoming or Colorado’s on par with that in Idaho. But most, any other limited entry state like New Mexico and Arizona, you’re dealing with a 10 to 14 day season. You bet Nevada bet. And so what we, not all units are like this, but on some of the, the more higher end trophy potential units, we try to hunt the first five to seven days hunt a pre scouted bull before they start moving to rot. ’cause in almost in inevitably these bulls where they summer they, they’ll move to rutt even though sometimes there’s cows in the exact drainage, they’re summering, these bulls just don’t stay and move in with the closest cows. It’s just not what they’ve done, not what they’ve done their whole life. So we often will, will try to do that.
00:22:17:02 –> 00:22:43:28
Sometimes that’s problematic if you’re a non-resident needing to fly out once and if you don’t kill one to come back. But if you can’t do that, definitely the last 10 days is where you’re gonna try to have to make, make something count. It seems like year to year the, the rutt and all that will really vary a little bit. Sometimes once September hits they’re going really good. Other times you’re wondering if they’re ever going to get going before the end of the archery hunt. And sometimes it’s tough. Yeah, definitely. It’s not great arche archery dates.
00:22:43:28 –> 00:23:30:05
Definitely. I ate my archery elk hunt back, even in the heyday I wanted a 400 inch or nothing and I had southwest desert and ended up passing what I thought was a three 80 at about 20 yards with a bow. And I should have, I should have killed him. I’d kill him all day long nowadays. But anyway, back then, I don’t know, I just guess I was a little overconfident. The units were doing great and, and anyway, it ended up kicking my butt after that. But, but you’re right that that archery hunt, you know, sometimes they’ll, you know, you’ll hunt the wallows, they’ll start wallowing that first part of the season, then after that you’re hoping for some bugling action rut in action. But you know, you’re also dealing with, you know, general deer hunters that are out in the field and you know, hunting the archery deer and, and so there’s more pressure than just the, you know, 30, 40 tags, 20 tags, whatever the unit may have.
00:23:30:26 –> 00:23:43:18
That’s right. And then once the rifle or archery’s over the rifle starts and you got nine days early rifle followed by I think 12 days It is with the muzzle loader. Yep. So like you alluded, it’s pretty much backwards of every other state
00:23:44:02 –> 00:23:46:16
And, and we hunt elk in the rutt in this state every
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Day in September.
00:23:48:08 –> 00:24:22:09
It’s the craziest thing. It’s a little backwards management, but it does offer, you know, guys to have that premium experience and, and multiple weapon types. Of course then we’ll come in later in the year and hunt ’em again. But you know, normally states will allow you to hunt archery in the, in the rutt and try to have a little bit less take and maintain some quality, maybe give a little few more tags because they’re not as successful here in Utah. We’ll give, you know, fewer rifle tags, you know, than you would archery if it was the same season dates. But allow those few guys, you know, kind of a premium experience. We’re still maintaining three 50 plus bulls in a lot of our units
00:24:22:18 –> 00:25:14:13
Five to seven years ago. We all saw the quality really take a little bit of a slip pretty much statewide even on what we’re labeled as the top units, you know, San Juan, Pavan Watt Beaver, Boulder, Monroe, Southwest Desert, all those were probably, and probably still are to some extent the best sure. Top end units, but even they, they, those that are managed seven to eight year old bulls, they took a slight hit. And I think where we are right now is those permitting increases happened and in some cases they backed off a little bit and we’ve kind of seems like we’ve settled where we’re at right now and I think we’ve kind of got, we’re looking at what we’re probably gonna be dealing with unless there’s a radical management plan shift of some kind. But it feels like we’re pretty, we’re doing pretty good what we’re maintaining, what you see is what you’ve got. We’re maintaining. Yep. We’re not losing ground or, or it’s not getting better, but it’s not getting worse from a quality standpoint either.
00:25:14:15 –> 00:26:07:22
There’s always a few bulls that make it, I know we’ve got, you know, there’s a giant out southwest desert, you know, and there’s a giant or two over on, you know, that share the boundaries of Beaver Dutton in some of that country. And so, you know, there’s, there’s still gonna be every year one of the one or two or five of these big, big bulls that make it, I know San Juan’s got a lot of rugged crazy country that, you know, maybe less densities and where people don’t normally hunt that might have a giant show up. But, but anyway, there are, we will have some of those. But, but anyway, like you said, there’s just a lot of good, a lot of good bulls out there and, and different things. And of course, you know, our tag prices, we do sell some of those conservation tags and, and man, they’re still bringing crazy prices. We’re talking 50, 55,000 for like San Juan Beaver Boulder or some of this country, you know Yeah. On the premium hunts. So, you know, which obviously allows ’em to hunt all seasons until they kill a bull.
00:26:08:02 –> 00:26:50:06
One thing to maybe add onto that is everybody, when you think of Utah, you think of rifle or muzzle or rutt hunts. That’s what everybody thinks of. Everybody wants those. But as you study the odds in the magazine, you realize those are very, very tough to get and point creeps happening every year because they’re not drawn enough people off the top every year to make headway. If that reality’s setting in with you, I would put our late season hunts in Utah on par with any other late season state tags because we still don’t give very many late tags. Yeah. Compared to Arizona that has, you know, 250 to 500 and still maintains pretty good quality. I mean even on like the Manti, we don’t even give a hundred on the manti, you know, where there’s 10,000 elk.
00:26:50:07 –> 00:26:53:11
Yeah, tons of elk. Our largest population in the state. So
00:26:53:15 –> 00:27:01:26
It maybe consider that if you feel like you’re no man’s land. I know November’s not as glamorous time to hunt elk, but, but maybe it does have better drawing ons.
00:27:01:27 –> 00:27:44:13
Yeah, there’s no question about that. And even some of the non-traditional areas of the South Mountain still producing some big, big bulls and, and yet people don’t think of it. People are thinking, you know, Pavan Monroe and maybe Southwest Desert and San Juan, some of the old traditionals and, and, and yet we’ve seen some of these other units coming up through the ranks and maybe people don’t think about ’em as much, but, but yeah, a lot of opportunity there anyway. And then, so that brings us to our deer. Of course we’ve had crazy change with our deer in the last, I would say 20 years. I mean even if you want to go back as far as 30 years, of course we used to hunt ’em, you know, with a muzzle or in the rutt on general over the counter. I mean crazy opportunities that that have, you know, changed and shifted with the times.
00:27:44:19 –> 00:28:38:22
And as we get better as hunters and the equipment gets better and people get smarter about how they’re hunting and they’re also seems like spending a lot more time and money to do that ’cause these opportunities are slipping by. And so when you do, you know, obtain one of these once in a lifetime or or once every decade type opportunities, people are putting forth the effort to make the best of it. And so anyway, along with that comes, you know, some of our over the counter general hunts are now on, on a limited entry draw. But, but we do, we are known for some of the biggest deer in the west, but I would say like compared to Colorado and Nevada and some of these other states, we don’t have near the units that produce those. We have a couple of real star, you know, units and then, you know, and then we kind of go back down into some, oh just, you know, I would say maybe somewhat average, but, but we’re still better than average, you know, but I would just say, you know, less than our star units I guess if that’s how you say it.
00:28:38:23 –> 00:28:46:25
But, but we’ve both been on the Henry Mountains quite a bit. You’ve taken some of the biggest bucks over the course of the last decade. Just some absolute giants.
00:28:47:13 –> 00:29:33:02
Yeah, and that’s, that’s probably the most well-known unit we got no question. It’s kinda like the Arizona Strip in Arizona and unit 44 in Colorado. The Henry’s is kind of what we got the best. Doesn’t mean there’s not a few great giant deer actually that come off some of the general or even other limited entry units, but per tag issued, that’s definitely the best one. But the odds, drying odds reflect that the archery and muzzle loader, in my opinion, no question are the better, better hunts down there. Yeah. You get to go first hunt your pre scouted ducks first with a bow or a muzzle loader this day and age. And with the regulation change now you can use muzz mu scopes on muzzle loader about variable scopes. And so you just get a, a bet half to two thirds of the better deer get killed on almost first two hunt before the
00:29:33:02 –> 00:29:47:08
Rifle. And the rifle hunters are looking at what’s left. You know, archery hunters are good. Of course we go back to that when you were, you know, a 28 day season and you know when you run what, 10 total tags you got nine residents, one non-resident, same thing on the muzzle nine and one. And
00:29:47:16 –> 00:30:05:00
You know, whether people hire somebody or whether they do it on their own, they take it very seriously. They know what they’ve got, they bring a bunch of help and there’s a lot of pressure on the top end deer down there. There really is. It’s a hard to make two 10 or two 20 deer escape, three seasons of hundreds down there. But you
00:30:05:00 –> 00:30:27:00
Know what I find. Yeah. And what I find interesting, not to cut you off, but what I find interesting is, is you know, some of our best deer killed this year, were not on the Henrys. I mean you get really close to a book non-typical and we can, you and I listed what five that we knew of last year, you know, just off the top of our head and, and across the entire west. And the Henry’s was not listed in those five No, it’s crazy.
00:30:27:06 –> 00:30:31:17
Great for two 10 to 2 25, which are absolute giant, which are giants,
00:30:31:17 –> 00:31:15:12
You know, absolute giants. But, but for, for being the strip, as the strip is to Arizona, the Henry’s is to Utah as unit 44 might be to Colorado, you know, for being that it was surprising that, you know, it wasn’t listed in the top five bucks. I mean, you know, we, we killed a net book, two 30 net book non-typical out of Nevada and in an area that’s nowhere near the quality that the Henry’s is. And I think like you’re saying, it, it, it’s a testament to a how good the hunters are and they’re hunting these deer down and they’re taking ’em, you know, if they would, if, if, if somehow they could live and make it, you know, we’d go back to some of those deer you guided what, seven, eight years ago and kill a hunt, you know, 240 some odd inch deer. Yeah.
00:31:15:20 –> 00:31:41:14
You know, we had some of these other units like the Ponant and Oak Creek last year produce a deer or two that were as good or slightly better than came off the Henry’s. Now it was a little bit different like on Oak Creek you’d had had no years of landowner or conservation tags and last year there’s eight eight back in the mix in there. So ya again had a bunch of bunch of hunters that probably had hired a bunch of help to do that and a bunch of eyes starting to hit the, the ground there
00:31:41:14 –> 00:31:51:12
And, and a somewhat of a burn was mature, really matured up and and all of a sudden you’ve got some book big, big bucks including a net, A net booked, non-typical coming off the oaks. That’s
00:31:51:12 –> 00:32:30:20
Right. Exactly. So you know, that’s the Henry’s is still deer per deer gonna produce more 1 9200 inch deer. There’s not as many of them on the Oak Creek. The Oak Creek’s got a lower deer density, much harder to hunt. Thicker pongan has is doing really, really well though, much like the Henry’s, I highly favor the archery and muzzle loader hunt there. I agree. I think archery’s the best hunt down there. You get to hunt 28 days and you get to go first. And even on the muzzle loader hunt to some extent those deer can get a little bit tougher to find. It’s a thicker unit and by the rifle hunt they’re migrating south. And I just don’t like, I like to hunt one deer that I, we found I know you’re the same way Jason. We like to hunt a targeted deer versus
00:32:30:25 –> 00:32:32:06
Versus a migrating area
00:32:32:06 –> 00:32:33:18
That they’re showing into up
00:32:33:18 –> 00:33:22:12
To. Yeah. And we take luck, we’ll take luck, but if we got some time, it sure is nice to pres scout ’em. I know like the, the, you know, the muzzle on the Henry’s ponds book Cliffs where whatever we’re talking about is generally that, you know, September 27th. October 5th and they, and they’ve been stripped of the velvet for a while and they’re starting to get smart and and move a little bit. Anyway, one of my favorite, one of my favorite parts of of Utah deer, I don’t, I don’t know why I’m such a fan, but I guess our general units have just never been better. And, and now, you know, they’ve, they’ve a allocated some tags into a late muzzle starting November 1st this year and you’re starting to see the rutt and you’ll get that rutt activity, you know, and even though it’s on a general unit, those, your limited entry deer points is what matters there. Not the general deer points.
00:33:23:05 –> 00:33:39:22
They, November 1st of the ninth is a pretty dang good time to kill a deer. It seems like these deer, maybe they haven’t been used to been hunted, it seems like right after those hunts and the pressure lets up, they start coming outta the woodwork and moving with the doors a little bit with any kinda weather it can really be good.
00:33:39:24 –> 00:33:56:10
Well, in a lot of these units, like, you know, over to Pengu, which I mean those deer will migrate and they move and, and the Zion deer move and they, they’re moving to the winter range and they come off of Pine Valley and they come down to toward enterprise or some of these other places down by St. George and over to the Nevada border and they’re just, they’re just, they’re vulnerable.
00:33:56:10 –> 00:33:58:14
Vulnerable. More vulnerable than where they’re living up in the thick stuff.
00:33:58:19 –> 00:34:04:26
Yeah, absolutely. And you get to see some of these giants come out and and whatnot. Anyway,
00:34:05:02 –> 00:34:38:07
Just to point out yeah, on the, on the general, not those specific hunts we were just talking about, those are limited entry deer units and deer hunts that you apply for, but unique to any other state. Utah has the limited entry deer and the general deer and you can apply for both and get build points for both. They draw the limited entries first. So you’re not gonna compromise yourself in the foot by putting a general season hunt down. But at the same time, don’t apply for a general season hunt if you’ve got a few points. ’cause you’re, you’re gonna draw, look at the tables, almost all can be drawn with zero to two points. So Yeah.
00:34:38:23 –> 00:34:39:23
But having said that,
00:34:39:25 –> 00:34:40:26
Use them as a opportunity.
00:34:41:12 –> 00:34:45:26
Absolutely. Having said that, they’re legitimate opportunities. I I don’t know that our generals ever been better
00:34:46:10 –> 00:34:53:07
In, in our lifetime, probably not since we were 14 or 1516, right. When it was as good as it was. Right.
00:34:53:16 –> 00:34:54:11
Mid eighties. It’s,
00:34:54:11 –> 00:35:13:14
It’s approaching that in some of these units and I think we’re more aware of it now because we knew what we didn’t have for 20 years and now we’re seeing since we’ve gone to unit by unit draw in Utah, we’re seeing the benefits of that more bucks in the population. You can pass steer, it’s a great time to take kids out too. ’cause you’re gonna, they’re gonna get a buck if you got some time to hunt with a kid.
00:35:13:18 –> 00:35:49:10
Yeah, and there’s a few other factors too. I think, you know, the use of trail cameras. I mean we went, we started to use, you know, went to the digital trail cameras what oh 6, 0 7 0 8 right in there. And so prior to that, I mean, you know, we just didn’t see, we’re seeing so much more, we have a better pulse on what’s going on and so, you know, maybe there was some, you know, some good spots back in the day and we just didn’t know it because, you know, we weren’t working as hard as we’re working now. I mean, you know, the, the less the resource becomes available, the harder we all work and, and we’re just all really tuned into what’s out there and the changes we’re seeing.
00:35:49:26 –> 00:35:52:07
I guess we can’t forget about antelope. Well
00:35:52:24 –> 00:36:03:12
I guess we can’t, you know, they’re not my favorite species in the world. Anything that, you know, like runs alongside your truck and tries to beat you to wherever it is you’re going. I, I don’t know. It’s hard. I only grow
00:36:03:21 –> 00:36:04:06
It’s two points.
00:36:04:15 –> 00:36:26:18
Yeah. Yeah. They’re forking horns but, but hey, speaking of that, you did kill a big one in Arizona and of course we do hunt ’em. I’ve killed a, a real nice buck in Arizona as well years ago and, and spent some time in Wyoming, you know, taking my fair share of them and and taking my kids and stuff and we definitely do hunt ’em. It’s just maybe, maybe not our favorite species but we definitely put the herd on ’em,
00:36:26:24 –> 00:36:37:02
View them as more of just an add-on opportunity hunt in Utah. Even on the best trophy units like maybe San Rafael North or Southwest Desert or IFF South Cisco, those units,
00:36:37:12 –> 00:36:51:07
They did kill a really good one out on the Cisco and normally our best unit’s been the San Rafael North, but, but we do have some good bucks around in different units. So you just, you just got back from hunting Barbery sheep in New Mexico.
00:36:52:06 –> 00:37:39:02
Yeah, you know, we got done, as you alluded earlier, went to the expo that crushed just for four or five days. We got back, finished up the March magazine and really didn’t have breathing room but it was something I’d worked a year in advance to. Yep. I bought a, bought a tack through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet down there through a friend’s local banquet that was a ranch selling a Barbary sheet punt down there. Anyway, I bought it. He, I wouldn’t have known about it if he didn’t tell me about it, so I bought it and went down there and had a great time hunt a big ranch, 250 something thousand acres and southeast New Mexico. Always wanted to hunt one of them. It was a great what, two day trip down and back. Yeah. Yeah. I still feel, you know, the effects of that one as I get older I can’t make those 12 hour cannonball runs all night long like we
00:37:39:02 –> 00:37:41:28
Used to. Oh yesterday you were dragging in the office course I was dragging
00:37:42:19 –> 00:38:07:26
Toot. I even go, we’re backing better than ever, you know, but you know, that kind of hammers out Utah. I guess maybe the only thing we didn’t really cover is, is a change this year if your kids turn or 12 and 13 now they can apply for all species in Utah. That’s the biggest change that happened this year in Utah. Used to be 14 to apply for once in a lifetime in limited entry hunts. If you’ve got kids they can do the general and limited entry once in a lifetime. Yeah.
00:38:08:01 –> 00:38:08:17
Not just general.
00:38:08:20 –> 00:38:26:25
They give them a slight license fee break. I think it’s $25 for kids under 17 for non-residents and so, you know, get ’em started a little bit earlier. You know, we all know the point system point creeps, you know, well ahead of them but that’s, that’s a noteworthy change so definitely.
00:38:27:11 –> 00:38:32:08
Yep. No I agree a hundred percent. I know I’ve applied all my kids and what
00:38:32:08 –> 00:38:34:24
Are we gonna hunt this year? Carter, you
00:38:34:24 –> 00:39:26:04
Feeling lucky? I coulda keep a few things secretive, you know, but, but yeah, we’re definitely gonna spend some time on the general here in Utah. I think one of the best, best programs going even for a non-resident is our dedicated hunter program where you get to hunt all three, all the seasons until you kill a deer. You of course you’ve gotta do some work hours or at least pay for ’em and then, you know, sign up for the program, which isn’t super cheap for non-residents. But in the big scheme of opportunities, it’s my opinion that that’s one of the best opportunities there is. We got non-residents can kill two deer and residents, two deer in three years and then can hunt all the seasons until you get him. And, and especially for a guy that’s somewhat close to Utah that can do a lot of pres scouting and stuff, I think you can really capitalize on that and that’s kind of my, maybe one of my main goals this year. Yeah. How about, how about you? It,
00:39:26:05 –> 00:39:55:19
It is a good opportunity on the general season deer units for and and you set it right? If you live within a days drive or half days drive a Utah and can come on more than just a one five or seven day hunt. It’s something you might consider. It guarantees you tag for three years on the general unit, you’re locked into that unit. But if you’ve got mega time on a general unit, if you’re gonna overachieve, that’s generally what you’re gonna have to do. You’re gonna have to put more time in than just the normal, normal posts showing up, you know, shooting his gun the weekend before and going hunting, you know.
00:39:55:19 –> 00:40:15:10
That’s right. Yep. So again, just a reminder, the Utah deadline to apply is March 2nd, it’ll be Thursday and anyway, just make sure everybody gets into that. Speaking of deadlines, Wyoming sheep, goat, moose, bison deadline is tonight, midnight tonight, February 28th. So anyway,
00:40:15:20 –> 00:40:36:14
Might add, if you’re listening to this after the Utah deadline has passed March 2nd, you can apply points only in Utah up until March 16th. If you only are interested in doing points only, they give you an extra two weeks. So if you miss it or you know, forgot to do it or didn’t start altogether, you got a couple weeks after that to get points only.
00:40:36:20 –> 00:41:33:05
That’s it from Bronson and I here at Epic Outdoors. Time to get back to the phones, we just took about an hour break of, of putting in some applications and of course talking to everybody on the phones here at Epic Outdoors, you can reach us 4 3 5 2 6 3 0 7 7 7 or epic outdoors.com. You can see Sample Magazine on there. We publish a monthly magazine December through June and then bimonthly after that with nine total issues and we break down all the states, so we also help people visit on the phone every day, all day. Anyway, appreciate Under Armour again for sponsoring this podcast and, and helping us here at Epic Outdoors. We, we work heavily with them and, and they’ve got a lot of new innovative type things coming up out on the market in the near future and, and really look forward to showcasing some of those. So anyway, for now that’s it. Good
00:41:33:05 –> 00:41:33:26
Luck in the draws.