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Umpqua Hunter's picture
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Utah San Juan Elk Ridge - Muzzleloader Deer

Yesterday our credit card got hit for a limited entry deer hunt in Utah.  Since my wife and I both applied for the same hunt, we know it is for the San Juan Elk Ridge muzzleloader deer hunt in Utah, we just don't know whose tag it is yet until the results are posted.

Since I have max points in Utah for elk and have been applying for the San Juan, I figured this year we would also apply for deer there, and if we drew, it would give us a reason to go over and "scout" with a pretty good deer tag in our pocket.  Well surprisingly that actually happened smile

Does anyone have any experience in that unit?  If you are willing to get us pointed in the right direction I'd appreciate it.  Feel free to PM me.  Thanks!

exbiologist's picture
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Wow, another good tag for you

Dang you are one tag pulling son of a gun

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
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You have one premium tag

You have one premium tag there for a real nice mule deer.  I won't be much help since the last time that I hunted down there was in the early 70's, but we always did quite well and sometimes there was a big bruiser that came home with us.  We hunted the Horse Mountain area on the northern end of the unit but like I said I haven't hunted deer there in quite a while.  I did get down there a few years ago and hunted turkeys and saw a lot of deer around Bears Ear that is toward the southern end of the unit. 

One thing about the deer in that unit is that if you get a real cold rain or even a early snow storm the deer will start to head off of the mountain to their winter grounds. 

Umpqua Hunter's picture
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EX:  Mainly just a lot of

EX:  Mainly just a lot of persistence, a lot of years, a lot of apps and a lot of "unsuccessfuls"...ha ha

CRITTER:  I appreciate the pieces you gave there, they all help putting the puzzle together.  I am on Google Earth and familiarizing myself wiith the unit.

My earliest memories of hunting were tagging along with my dad when I was 4 years old in the mountains near Beaver, Utah.  This will be my first time to hunt deer in that state myself.

Critter's picture
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One thing that you will find

One thing that you will find with that unit is that it has quite a bit of Indian ground in it and without a paper copy of a map you will not know just where it is at.  Also you will find that when you are driving through the unit you will pass through sections of Indian ground as you go up the road.  There are also a lot of Indian artifacts and petrified wood in the unit which are real interesting when you find them. 

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Location: Fruita Colorado
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Congrats !

Jim,

I wish I could help you out ! Congrats on a super tag and good luck !

Quinton

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Location: Colorado western slope
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Congratulations on the tag!!

Congratulations on the tag!! No hits on my card but the only thing I had a chance for was antelope, the rest were just points this year.

Umpqua Hunter's picture
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Thanks

Thanks Quinton and Hunter!  I am locating a few guys who have hunted it before.  Sounds like it will be a good hunt.  I rarely hunt an area twice, so I love this stage of figuring  new area out.

Jim

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Very nice! Congrats on

Very nice! Congrats on pulling that tag!!!

I hunted the SE zone for general rifle about a decade ago, and to this day, it's still one of my most memorable hunts.  Incredible scenery, plus, I almost got run over by a herd of elk..... :lol:  That was an experience......

Can't wait till this fall to see your report.

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Joined: 12/06/2011
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San Juan / Elk Ridge Deer Hunt

Umpua, congrats on the tag!

I hunted there last year during rifle season with Black Timber Outfitters. We spent a lot time around / above Arch Canyon & Hammond, and Milk Ranch Point. We saw a lot of deer but I was honestly surprised by the lack of 180" deer. We spent 5 full (!) days glassing, stalking and passing on probably 30+ deer. A lot of 150 - 170" deer for sure. In the end I shot a nice 176" buck that I had passed up on the 2nd day of hunting. That was the largest one we saw while hunting. We did see a nice 181" killed as well.

If you hunting the "tops" where most of the guys do hunt, there are areas that can be glassed, but you have to pick your spots. There is also a lot of thick brush that does not lend itself to glassing. And it seems that if you move off the tops onto some of the benches, you're right into the thick brush in lot of areas, but there is a lot deer sign in there. It might be good for still hunting, but really tough to spot & stalk.

There are a lot of roads in there and most are in pretty good shape; very little extreme 4WD type of stuff from what I saw. There were a fair number of hunters camped along the roads, but we honestly did not bump into any while in the field.

In talking with folks, apparently the archery season (and likely the muzzleloader as well) is when you want to be there, as by the time rifle season rolls around many of the deer have already started migrating to winter range despite mild weather. The guys were saying that during archery season there were probably 30% more bucks up there, and they were not nearly as skittish.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

Stan

PS - a couple pics of the deer are attached. What was really cool was this deer had a broadhead fully embeeded in the main beam of his left antler. Seems the story was that one of BTO's archery hunters had shot at a bigger buck, and this one was standing nearer to the shooter. At the sound of the bow going off the closer deer jerked his head up and got pegged in the horns. The arrow bounced / broke off after hitting the horns, and the guys just figured that was it. But after I shot the deer and we found the broadhead, the whole thing story together!

 

 

 

Umpqua Hunter's picture
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Thanks for the great info

Thanks for the great info Stan.  I dropped you a PM.

Since I originally made this post, I have learned my wife was the one who drew the tag.  She drew it with only two points.  But it gets better, since then the Oregon results have come out and she drew a sheep tag here as well!  I guess I'm gonna be a guide this fall.  Love it!!

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