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I have a TC Renegade in .54 that I shoot using 430 grain maxi balls that I cast myself. They are deadly on elk withing 100 yards.
Yea the shockwave alone with a chuck of lead that big would indeed kill every elk within 100 yards from the point of impact 😁

-DallanC
 

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Except that data doesn't show anything but an increase in harvest percentage. There is no context for the information shared.

Here is a little more context which tells a much different story...

PopulationArchery SuccessMZ SuccessRifle Success
2019
311,125​
16.5%​
27.0%​
29.3%​
2018​
376,450​
22.0%​
37.5%​
39.4%​
2017​
363,650​
19.9%​
33.5%​
37.9%​
2016​
374,450​
21.5%​
39.3%​
43.7%​
2015​
384,650​
23.9%​
34.5%​
42.5%​
2014​
355,600​
20.8%​
31.1%​
38.7%​
2013​
332,900​
18.4%​
30.7%​
37.5%​
2012​
318,550​
19.1%​
32.0%​
36.5%​
2011​
286,100​
16.4%​
19.6%​
28.9%​
2010​
293,700​
17.4%​
22.7%​
25.1%​
2009​
307,700​
20.6%​
29.4%​
30.3%​
2008​
273,500​
19.7%​
27.6%​
28.0%​
2007​
302,430​
23.0%​
33.3%​
35.8%​

This indicates the more likely explanation for increased rates is higher populations numbers. Regardless of weapon choice, success rates generally increase or decrease in relationship to the size of the deer herd. Post hunt deer populations were at there highest from 2015 through 2018, which also happens to be the years with the highest success ratios regardless of weapon choice.

As far as variable scopes driving interest in muzzleloader hunting, the numbers shared only indicate there was an increase in muzzleloader hunters because available tags increased over that time frame. Opportunity in Utah is capped by the number of tags the UDWR makes available. This is shown below.

Permits IssuedHunters Afield% of tags hunted
2019​
16,342​

13,840​
85%​
2018​
16,734​

14,134​
84%​
2017​
16,279​

14,218​
87%​
2016​
16,941​
14,561​
86%​
2015​
16,149​

13,873​
86%​
2014​
15,825​
13,502​
85%​
2013​
15,649​
13,578​
87%​
2012​
15,238​
12,916​
85%​
Increase​
1,104​
924​

The only way to know if interest in hunting with a muzzleloader increased with the introduction of scopes would be to be able to see application numbers in relation to applications for archery and rifle tags during the same time frame. That data is not available as far as I can tell.

There is little data here to support getting rid of variable scopes for muzzleloaders.

As has been stated by other posters, the muzzleloader hunt was never called or designated as a primitive weapon hunt which is difficult at best to define anyway.
Thanks for the informative post.
 

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Yea the shockwave alone with a chuck of lead that big would indeed kill every elk within 100 yards from the point of impact 😁

-DallanC
I hit a calf one year in the ribs at about 40 yards. It completely destroyed the ribs on the off side where it came out and that dang calf still ran 50 yards.
 

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I find it challenging that you increase your enjoyment by taking someone else's enjoyment away.
That’s because he’s too self centered and only cares about himself. That and he probably can’t find a big deer if his life depended upon on, so he’s hoping banning scopes and inlines will make them magically appear behind every bush that hasn’t burned up on the Nebo.
 

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View attachment 150883

Here ya go in dumb graph form--I hate excel graphs and refuse to spend anymore time cleaning this up--it's based on data posted by others so maybe it's fake news but it's easier to look at ;)
It's got to be fake, that archery line needs to be much higher and on the upswing.
 

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Well- if the numbers in that graph are correct, we just need to look how close the ML success rates line is now in relation to the Any Weapon success line. They made variable scopes legal in 2016 and in 16-19 the lines are much closer than pre 2016. And there must be something to scopes if so many people are upset they are considering going back to pre2016 regs.

In full disclosure, I was against allowing scopes when it passed. Most public input was against it too. They passed it and I took my ML with a 6-18x40 out to the Vernon and tipped over a buck at longer-than-open-sights range. Hunters seem to follow the regulations.

I would be against removing scopes if they still allow a free-for-all on the Any weapon hunt. No reason to save ML bucks from being shot at 500 yards if we are just going to shoot them at 1000 yards with a rifle....
 

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Well- if the numbers in that graph are correct, we just need to look how close the ML success rates line is now in relation to the Any Weapon success line. They made variable scopes legal in 2016 and in 16-19 the lines are much closer than pre 2016. And there must be something to scopes if so many people are upset they are considering going back to pre2016 regs.

In full disclosure, I was against allowing scopes when it passed. Most public input was against it too. They passed it and I took my ML with a 6-18x40 out to the Vernon and tipped over a buck at longer-than-open-sights range. Hunters seem to follow the regulations.

I would be against removing scopes if they still allow a free-for-all on the Any weapon hunt. No reason to save ML bucks from being shot at 500 yards if we are just going to shoot them at 1000 yards with a rifle....
I really think this is the root of the discussion. But I could be wrong.

Those of us who prefer a muzzleloader season with restrictions, which limit participation and increases our enjoyment never went away.
 

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I'll admit when the regulations on optics changed a few years I was surprised. It seemed like a radical move. Almost like cheating a little bit... I have since CHANGED my tune. I think it boils down to what is an "ethical shot". If you are hunting ML and you see a nice buck at 100 yards, you're going to TAKE the shot regardless of whether you are hunting with optics or steel sights. The question is what method will give you the best opportunity for a "clean kill"?
For those of us who's eyesight is diminishing and also for the rising generation of young hunters(many of whom have seldom if ever shot with open sights) optics on ML is a huge blessing.
I had the chance to hunt ML deer with 12 and 15 year old daughters this past season. They both were successful in filling their tags. We did our homework. We spent time at the range getting comfortable with the gun, we scouted a good area for deer that wouldn't require shots over 150 yards and we had a little/lot of luck come our way. My 12 year old made a 120 yard shot on opening day and my 15 year old made a 95 yard shot the following Saturday. One shot, one kill. In both cases, the deer didn't go more than 50 yards. I can almost guarantee if we were forced to use open sights, the result would have been much different. More than likely a shoot and miss... Or worse, a wounded animal that would have suffered and eventually died without being found. BTW, that's a great way to discourage first time hunters from ever taking the field again.
So my question is, do optics aid in "taking a more ethical shot"? As long as it is a reasonable distance, I think most logical people would say YES. Hope the DNR thinks so too!!
 

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If the scopes really made a huge difference, you would see a significant spike in ML harvest and a decrease in Rifle harvest (due to more bucks being removed before the rifle season starts). The chart shows ML and Rifle harvests following the same up and down trajectories, most likely due to herd populations and overall buck availability.

But, If you notice, harvest success even with scopes still isnt above the 2008 through 2011 harvest period.

I'm curious why 2015 had such a drop off in success. It makes the 2016 scope success look artificially high in relation. But again, rifle success has the same dip so its probably due to herd quantity taking a drop.

IMO, the data set is still to short to draw a definitive conclusion... but it is interesting. Kudos to those that too the time to gather and build the data.

-DallanC
 

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Amazing suggesting muzzleloader optics roll back to 1X triggers such hysteria.
Nah. Its just the Topic of the New Year. Look back every year this site has existed. Around this time of year we always find a subject to argue to death while we wait for the ice to get thick enough to get out fishing.

-DallanC
 

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Nah. Its just the Topic of the New Year. Look back every year this site has existed. Around this time of year we always find a subject to argue to death while we wait for the ice to get thick enough to get out fishing.

-DallanC

We haven't really had our usual annual blowout thread on the Expo (yet) this year, so we need to argue about something. At least the ice is finally cooperating.
 

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Packout made some great points, especially that any deer 'saved' by getting rid of muzzy scopes would very well be harvested by unchecked rifle hunters. I didn't think about that aspect of it.

I do think it's interesting that archery success is relatively flat even with the improvements in archery tech. This sorta makes sense, I don't see a tremendous advantage in the new bows over my 2010 Hoyt.
 

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View attachment 150883

Here ya go in dumb graph form--I hate excel graphs and refuse to spend anymore time cleaning this up--it's based on data posted by others so maybe it's fake news but it's easier to look at ;)
I think your dates are backwards on the graph, at least for rifle and muzzleloader. The highest success ratios were from 2015 to 2018. This seems to indicate they were 2008 - 2011. This would also indicate rifle success increased at a higher rate than muzzleloader success.
 
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I think your dates are backwards on the graph, at least for rifle and muzzleloader. The highest success ratios were from 2015 to 2018. This seems to indicate they were 2008 - 2011. This would also indicate rifle success increased at a higher rate than muzzleloader success.
Yikes! My bad--I fixed it. I have all sorts of excuses as to why I suck but I don't want to bore ya--thanks!
 

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I'll admit when the regulations on optics changed a few years I was surprised. It seemed like a radical move. Almost like cheating a little bit... I have since CHANGED my tune. I think it boils down to what is an "ethical shot". If you are hunting ML and you see a nice buck at 100 yards, you're going to TAKE the shot regardless of whether you are hunting with optics or steel sights. The question is what method will give you the best opportunity for a "clean kill"?
For those of us who's eyesight is diminishing and also for the rising generation of young hunters(many of whom have seldom if ever shot with open sights) optics on ML is a huge blessing.
I had the chance to hunt ML deer with 12 and 15 year old daughters this past season. They both were successful in filling their tags. We did our homework. We spent time at the range getting comfortable with the gun, we scouted a good area for deer that wouldn't require shots over 150 yards and we had a little/lot of luck come our way. My 12 year old made a 120 yard shot on opening day and my 15 year old made a 95 yard shot the following Saturday. One shot, one kill. In both cases, the deer didn't go more than 50 yards. I can almost guarantee if we were forced to use open sights, the result would have been much different. More than likely a shoot and miss... Or worse, a wounded animal that would have suffered and eventually died without being found. BTW, that's a great way to discourage first time hunters from ever taking the field again.
So my question is, do optics aid in "taking a more ethical shot"? As long as it is a reasonable distance, I think most logical people would say YES. Hope the DNR thinks so too!!
I've been torn on this subject but what DNB just explained has changed my mind and gives some pretty good reasons why the DWR should leave the muzzleloader regulations the same as they are right now.
 

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Packout made some great points, especially that any deer 'saved' by getting rid of muzzy scopes would very well be harvested by unchecked rifle hunters. I didn't think about that aspect of it.

I do think it's interesting that archery success is relatively flat even with the improvements in archery tech. This sorta makes sense, I don't see a tremendous advantage in the new bows over my 2010 Hoyt.
Getting to archery range is hard lol forget bow technology.

I'm an average hunter and closing the 80-90 yard range down to 40-50 yards can be quite the challenge depending on circumstance, even with a Hoyt 😂
 
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