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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 374
UT LE Elk Hunt for 2016?

Hi fellas. I've been away for a bit due to heavy work load and no spare time. I didn't go elk hunting last year....first time in 23 years except for the year I drew the NH moose tag instead. I have 15 LE elk bonus points for UT that I've been saving and I'm thinking this might be the year to use them. I am a NR. I would most likely do an early rifle or muzzleloader season. I used to keep up on what units were "the best" but I haven't been following that for a few years. Any guidance on which units have the better odds for a big bull? Any changes due to wildfires and such. I know Pahvant and LaSalle used to be pretty good. I "only" have 15 points so that might limit me some. With point creep the best units seem like they're always just out of reach. I have been hoping that since UT started requiring the purchase of a license to get bonus points, that some guys would drop out. Doesn't seem to be happening much. Any advice would be appreciated. I can alway fall back on CO if I don't draw. I don't bank points in CO anymore. As a NR I just apply for undersubscribed hunts or get a MZ cow tag as a second choice and draw a MZ bull tag every other year or so. I was lucky to draw my NH moose tag when I did. The moose herd is taking a beating and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the units shut down completely in the future.

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
You are still in limbo land

You are still in limbo land for a Utah tag with only 15 points and being a non resident.  You are not maxed out and when the majority of the hunts only letting out around 4 non resident tags your chances are not good. 

Now if you want to put in for a unit on a hope that you draw, I would recommend the Book Cliffs (Bitter Creek South).  I hunted this unit on the muzzle loader deer tag for the first time in 10 years and ran into quite a few nice bulls in the 350+ range. 

On Utah's license purchase, it hasn't helped lower applicants any since you can use one license to cover two years which makes it a bargin if you work it right.

There are a couple of sited that you can look at to see your odds.  This one is not up to date but it will give you the general odds of what you are looking at.

http://www.biggamedrawodds.com/big.game.draw.odds.utah.html

This one is a little bit more in depth and will give you some more information as you dig into it.  But you will need a Google account to see the spread sheets.

http://utahbiggameodds.blogspot.com/

 

.............................................................

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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 374
Limbo land

Hi Critter. Yeah, I hear ya. I do the two 'fer on the licenses so it doesn't hurt so bad. I'm on my second go round this year so I would have to buy another license anyhow if I were to hunt this year because mine expires on the last day of the draw period. It would be a drop in the bucket compared to the tag price. I missed applying two years otherwise I'd be at 17....

Joined: 01/25/2016
Posts: -3
Utah Elk

Depending on the size of bull you are after you are in pretty good shape.  the odds of drawing the following units are below.  All of these unit will give you 330-350 potential and every unit has bulls over 350 on them.  It is just a matter of hunting hard patiently.  Utah just changed the muzzleloader law allowing variable power scope on magnum muzzleloaders so the muzzleloader game now will hit 300-350 yards.  this may impact the odds some.  The early rifle will have great dates of sept 17-25, muzzleloader sept 26-oct 7 and late rifle nov 12-20.  It looks to be a great year out here in 2016.  Your odds are as follows: 

Book Cliffs South LATE 50 percent

Central Mountains Manti Early Rifle 25 Percent

Central Mountains Manti Muzzleloader  90 Percent

Mount Dutton LATE Rifle 33 percent

Panguitch Lake LATE Rifle 80 percent

Plateau Fishlake-1000 Lake LATE Rifle 40 percent

Southwest Desert LATE Rifle 66 Percent

Wasatch Early Rifle 90 Percent

Lasal Mountains Muzzleloader 90 Percent

Plateau fishlake 1000 Lake Muzzleloader 90 percent

Wasatch Muzzleloader 99 percent

What is your largest bull harvested to date?  What size bull will meet your harvest goal?

you are in great shape! SS

 

 

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
I would still put in for the

I would still put in for the Utah Book Cliffs Bitter Creek South hunt on a hope that you can draw the tag.  It is one area that a person that has never been into can go a couple of days early and find bulls, and usually good bulls, then decide on what they want to do to go after them. 

As I said I have hunted this unit from one end to the other and I drew the tag back in 2001 and shot a 343pt bull at 7:05 on the opening morning.  It isn't that hard to learn since the main road runs east to west along the top ridge with side roads all over the place and ridges that have no roads on them that you can hike to get into the elk.  It is also one of the few places that I know of that you can see elk just about every day just after sun up and before sun down.  This last year during the muzzle loader hunt it was so hot that the elk were not coming out until the sun went behind the hill but man did they come out.  Then the next morning they were out until the sun hit them then they were back into the dark timber.

I would love to have that tag again but I am getting to the point in my life that packing a elk out over 1/2 a mile just isn't my idea of fun.  Even the one that I shot here in Colorado in 2014 wasn't that much fun and it was a mile pack to the road. 

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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 374
old man time

That's one of the reasons I think it's about time to apply for a tag instead of banking points. I'm "only" in my mid-fifties and I'm still in decent shape. I always seem to shoot them down in a hole or a ways back. I've only had one "easy" elk that we were able to get near with a truck and 4-wheeler. All the others have been quarter up and pack out on our backs. I hope to be elk hunting for a long time but I can see the style of our hunts changing as I get older. I'm pretty sure some of my hunting experiences would probably kill me if I did them 20 years down the road. smile Since I didn't grow up out west and hunting elk it's still something I really look forward to every year and still seems a little new and different. I will look closer at the unit maps and topos for Book Cliffs. That sounds like a promising area. I have a ton of FF miles since I've pretty much spent every Monday morning and Friday evening on a plane for the last year and a half. I could use up a couple of trips to fly out and scout the area and put together a plan. This could turn into a real adventure. My hunting buddy from CO is already asking if he can go along. A real friend will go on your hunting trip without a tag and help pack meat.smile I would probably fly into Denver and pick up our wall tent and all the campoing stuff and drive over. That way I'd have something other than a rental truck. Avis doesn't like it when you bring your rental back with blood and smelling like dead stuff.

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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 374
Book Cliffs South

I just took a peek at the draw odds for the MZ tag and I think I would be close to drawing. If not this year, probably over the next few years. Time to do some homework.....