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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:
https://utahwildlife.net/forum/12-big-game/154554-bookcliffs-take-3-a.html

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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Looks like I am headed down this weekend to check cams and look around some more. I wanted to get down before the archery hunt to check them so in the next couple weeks I wouldn't be down there messing with someone else's hunt. Excited to get back and look over some more deer. Here are a couple more pics we took on the last trip. Some decent bucks, more and more horses, a big bull buffalo, and a few scenery shots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well guys, had another good scouting trip. We didn't turn up as many bucks but still saw quite a few. Saw some pretty good ones and had a nice 3x4 on the TrailCam. I am still trying to determine what is a "shooter". I want to saw I want at least a 160 buck. But I guess I am more looking for the right kind of look, something with some mass and height, maybe a little trash. Who knows, I guess I will now when I see. I have spent so much time on elk in the past, judging mule deer is still kind of new to me.

Anyways, any advice from you guys would be great. Here are a few of the bucks from this last trip. What do you guys think? The biggest I saw or have laid eyes on this whole year I wasn't able to get any pics of.

Buck #1 is a nice buck but not sure he has the width for length quite yet.

Buck #2 Is a young tall 3x4, woudln't shoot but has some good genetics for a young deer.

Buck #3 is a Big 3x4 I like him

Buck #4 is a nice 4x4 good front but weak back forks especially on his left, But does have a little cheater coming off the left side.

Buck #5 is just a trail cam shot but I think it is buck #3. Nice heavy buck.

Buck #6 is a cool buck, wouldn't even know how to score that guy. I don't think I would shoot, just not enough length, but I think he is a cool looking deer.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Looks like you’re making the most of it. I look forward to seeing how the rest of your season plays out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey all, looks like we are headed back out next weekend for what will be the last scouting trip before the hunt.

I have a question for everyone. If we were wanting to leave our Toy Hauler out in Roosevelt or the surrounding area for the two weeks before the hunt, do anyone know of a good place to do so? We just figure it is better than hauling it all the way home just to have to do the whole trip again two weeks later. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Had another good weekend looking for deer. They were tougher to find this past weekend, I am not sure if it was the heat, smoke, moon, or what. We were able to turn a couple good bucks up though. The does and fawns sure were out, which was a trade from the other trips when we saw about 10 bucks to one doe. Curious to see how this weather changes their patterns.

The trail cam did have some good pics though (Wish I had remembered to set the date and time). The buck with the cheater on his left side was still around within a few days of me pulling the camera on Saturday, so I am hoping he shows up on the hunt. What do you guys think, is he a shooter? I also like the 3x4. he is just big, wide and heavy. This other 4 showed up a few times and was with the cheater buck a few days before I pulled the camera.
 

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Just talked to a friend across the valley in Colorado from the Book Cliffs and the says that they got 6" of snow up at 8500'. His hunting area is in the Pine Gulch fire burn area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just talked to a friend across the valley in Colorado from the Book Cliffs and the says that they got 6" of snow up at 8500'. His hunting area is in the Pine Gulch fire burn area.
Wow, that is a lot. I was wondering how much they would get. It needs it down there. It was so hot and dry a lot of the roads were like driving in 3" deep flour.
 

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I just looked at the SnoTel site for East Willow Creek just to the north of Ten Mile Knoll, and since they went to the new format I can't quite figure it out.

I can't tell if the moisture level is from the last few days or year to date, it is saying 16.5" but doesn't show any snow.

https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/report...lue,PREC::value,TOBS::value?fitToScreen=false
You can use the pull down menu to change the report.

Looks like between 9/6 and 9/9 1" of precipitation was received.

Good luck to you guys.
 

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I’ll be heading to ten mile knoll tomorrow so I’ll let you know what we see in terms of snow/etc. but with the warm temps I think it will melt.

I like the bucks you got on the cameras. I’m not knowledgeable about the books for deer as I’ve only hunted elk in there. If I see any shooters during my fathers/brothers elk hunt I’ll let you know where we see them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys!

Judd, I really appreciate that. Good luck to you guys down there, hopefully this weather has the bulls talking. I agree the snow won't last, I am just hoping it settles some of the dust and stays cooler, I couldn't believe how hot and dry it was down there last weekend. I can't wait to see how you guys do.
 

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Raptorman;2195733 The trail cam did have some good pics though (Wish I had remembered to set the date and time). The buck with the cheater on his left side was still around within a few days of me pulling the camera on Saturday said:
I wouldn't shoot the 3x4. From what you have posted, you can do better. I do like the cheater buck and would be tempted to put him down if he walked in front of me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow, that is a complete 180 from last weekend! Looks awesome, that looks a lot more like hunting than what I was scouting in last week. Hopefully the bulls are talking!
 

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That's one thing that I have seen out in the Book Cliffs, going from 50 mph blowing blizzard to 90 degree temperatures in a single day.
 
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