Saturday, March 31, 2012

Big Sheds, Big Fish...Great Viewer Submitted Photos

Today's post will be kind of short and sweet, but these are my favorite kinds of posts to put together, as our content today is all about YOU, the viewer!  Man oh man, you can sure tell the weather has been great the last few weeks.  Awesome pictures and stories continue to fill my email and phone inbox.  The weather man is calling for 80 degrees today, so you can bet that just as soon as I get off of the computer we are going to be hitting the hills today!  Tourist season is picking up, and you can also easily see spring break is here for high school age kids as camping trailers filled with younger kids are popping up throughout the hills and rolling down our local roads.  Do you have plans for the week your kids will be out of school?  Take a look at a couple of our recent posts here on Southern Utah Hunt and Fish for some great spring break destinations:

Escalante, Utah area:

Minersville Reservoir:

Newcastle Reservoir:

Also check out our "Fishing Reports" tab on the top of the page for info on other area waters that are heating up right now!

Speaking of fishing, ice off fishing has been spectacular around the area this year, and Dalton Lisonbee and myself took advantage of a warm afternoon to hit Wide Hollow Reservoir again.  While it was not my best outing this day, Dalton hooked up with several nice fish.  I've got to break this bad luck rut that I am in when it comes to anything outdoors lately!  I'm getting desperate...if anyone has any suggestions give me a shout!  I'm not sure if I need to put up some sort of offering or sacrifice, but I will pretty much consider any suggestion right now.  It was a great day on the water though!

Shed hunting is getting good as more country gives itself access to us as the snow melts off.  Here are some great photos sent in to us by Zach and Spenser Owens, of Panguitch, Utah this week.


Now, here's a few submitted by Bransen Jackson of Kanab, Utah.  Bransen has been sending in some great deer shed photos to us, looks like he and his group have found them some great elk shed grounds as well!

 Here's a great set of deer sheds sent in last night by Shane Woolsey.  His brother, Jared Woolsey was able to pick up this sweet set yesterday.  Talk about my bad luck again, it looks like I turned around about 1/4 mile to soon!  Either way, I have pictures of this buck back in December, and it's cool to see someone pick up his sheds! 

Finally, a little "blast from the past", Tye Ramsay of Tropic, Utah shares with us an amazing set picked up by his grandpa many years ago.  This buck is truly would you like to see a buck like this?  We can only hope his genetics are still kicking around somewhere!

A big thanks to all those that submitted!  Please keep sharing with your friends!  With over 200 "likes" on our Facebook page, 300 followers on twitter, this is truly becoming a hub for information for all things outdoors in Southern Utah.  As we near 20,000 views, you can bet we are about due for another giveaway!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A True Challenge for any Outdoors Enthusiast

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Spartan Race for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Here we are in March, all my ambitions of getting in better shape before my fire crew comes back on the clock in May are not getting me very far!  Oh yes, the hiking, running, and lifting are working some, but I know I could push myself harder with the proper motivation.  Oh yes, I've wintered well too, that's for sure! 

It's hard when you are working out on your own, life is busy enough as it is, and the weather outside does not cooperate so well.  How many of you find yourself in the similar situation, and find yourself fairly unprepared for the summer?  When it's time to start hiking into the backcountry lakes are you complaining about being out of shape?  How about when you jump a big one during hunting season, and it's time to sprint to the top of the ridge to get set up for your shot before he is gone, are you venting your frustrations then?  I'm always looking for the motivation to help me work out better.  I have a lot of friends in the same boat in the firefighting community.  Some enter marathons, some Iron Man competitions, but solid running isn't my thing, and I'm not much of a swimmer either.  So I want to share something with my viewers that has got me very excited about getting into better shape.  This will be great motivation for me, as I hope it will for you as well!


Spartan Race...I can't believe I have never heard of this amazing event until now!  This amazing race is more than a race, it's an obstacle course.  Talk about an amazing way to work out, the Spartan Race will give your body the workout of a lifetime as you push your body to the limits through this obstacle course!  Spartan Race was created with the idea that working out is not always torturous. It can be fun and entertaining, that is if you look at it in the eyes of a Spartan. What's even better is that all ages can enjoy the new muddy way to stay fit as long as they have the determination and self discipline to be part of this new fitness frenzy!

I went to the website for the Spartan Race, and to be honest with you, at first I was pretty intimidated!  As much as I was looking for a challenge I was worried more about embarrassing myself!  Let me warn you right now, if you watch the video on the homepage you are going to get pumped about Spartan Race!  Full of motivational words and quotes, and several smiling faces, how could you not get excited to give an event a try?

So, are you interested but maybe a little freaked out about what you might be getting into?  One great thing I like about Spartan Race is there are many different styles of racing and many different cultures of racers with races ranging from muddy 3+- mile events with 10 or more obstacles up to 40+ mile events.  Spartan Race is also one of the only events offering a kids race and a women’s network with Spartan Chicked- the race is one that promotes family, community, and overcoming obstacles.  This is truly a great way to get your entire family off of the couch and get them hooked to a desire to take care of their bodies!

If you are a beginner, the challenging 5k sprint trail races are a great way to get off your couch and start living.  From beginner trail racers and mud run participants to hardcore warriors, tough guys and marathon runners, they all come out to test themselves on the insane obstacle races! 99.9% of all people who try this event will finish, and 100% will have their thirst for mud & trail racing fully satisfied! 

Do you feel like there is no way you could ever get into the proper conditioning for something like this?  Don't get pulled down by despair!  Spartan Race offers their help to get you ready for an event in as little as 45 days!  With daily workouts, a weekly newsletter, and inspiring blogs you have all the help you need to get you from the couch to the finish line!  It really is as simple as signing up, showing up, and never ever giving up. Sure it will be tough but if you follow the plan and daily tips this will become a life changing experience. Join the 300,000 plus that will participate this year.

Of course you are going to have questions about Spartan Race that I have not answered here on this post.  I just checked out and you will find many frequently asked questions answered for you!  I found answers to the questions that I had.  Check it out for yourself!

Be sure to check out the Spartan Race website for more details on their events and training programs.  This is going to be a challenge for sure, but I want to give an event a try for sure, it looks like tons of fun and a great way to get in shape!  I really want to show this to my fire crew this year and I have hopes of getting them excited as well!  Hopefully we can all go run an event together!  In fact, Spartan Race will be in Utah on June 30th!  Be sure to check out the website, it's worth your time for sure.  Be sure to sign up for an event!  Give yourself a challenge!  What a great way to get in shape and learn a lot about yourself and what you can accomplish!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Southern Utah, "Around the Horn"

Wow, my ears are burning this week!  There's a lot of outdoor news that has found it's way to my phone, email, and on the web lately that I need to share with you.  I'm sure I'll miss something, but I will try my best to highlight the important notes that have come around to me.

First of all, Mike Hadley of the Utah DWR has another optimistic report from a gill net survey he conducted last week on Minersville Reservoir:

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducted a gill net survey at Minersville Reservoir near Beaver on March 23, 2012, and found lots of fat, healthy rainbow trout. These fish ranged in size from twelve to twenty inches and from one to three pounds. The reservoir is completely full, meaning that rainbows will have plenty of food this year and should continue to see impressive growth. 2012 will be a great year to visit Minersville and catch some high-quality trout. Special fishing regulations are in place at this reservoir, so consult the Utah Fishing Guidebook before you go. 
We also caught one seven-inch wiper that was stocked in 2011 at just two inches. Wipers are aggressive open-water predators and are being stocked in order to reduce the reservoir's abundant population of Utah chubs. Young wipers are often difficult to catch in gill nets, so seeing even one is a good sign that these hybrid fish first introduced to the reservoir last year are surviving and growing well. Anglers can expect to see wipers grow to "catchable" size in 2013. 
Minersville Reservoir is a great place to fish if you are an avid fly fisherman, as regulations are set in place for catching fish on flies or lures only.  I have heard a couple of really good reports from the lake already this spring.  Just be careful on the float tube in the spring.  Winds can come up fairly suddenly through the valley, creating very dangerous conditions out on the water.  Expect fairly windy conditions off and on for the next couple of months.  Minersville Reservoir is about a 20 minute drive from Beaver, Utah, just off of I-15.  
The Utah DWR has posted it's proposals on hunting permit numbers for the 2012 season on it's website.  These proposals will be presented to the wildlife board in May, at which time the board can make changes or outright accept the proposals.  For an overview of the DWR proposals follow this link:

One important proposal that I am seeing concerning Utah deer permit numbers is that the DWR is proposing that 14 of the 30 deer units be managed for a ratio of 15-17 bucks per 100 does, and that the remaining 16 units will be managed for a goal of 18-20 bucks per 100 does.  This seems to contradict a decision made 2 years ago that ALL of Utah's deer units (then regions) be managed for a goal of 18 bucks per 100 does.  You should know that most of Southern Utah's units are being managed at the lesser ratio of 15-17 per 100.  Why the change?  Is it to provide hunting opportunities, or was it to compensate lost revenue as we have switched to smaller units?  I think many hunters were glad to see permit numbers reduced on units that were struggling until numbers could rise to meet the 18 buck objective.  Wasn't that one of the big reasons for going to units vs. regions?  Colorado has units that have as much as 30 bucks per 100 does!  Just sayin'...

Do you have concerns about the recommendations?  Each region will be hosting a RAC meeting during April which allows the public an opportunity to comment on the recommendations, and to become more educated on the proposals.  The southern Region RAC will be held in Beaver, Utah on April 10th, 5 PM at Beaver High School.  Follow the link above for locations and dates of RAC meetings in Utah's other regions.

So, now are you curious as to how many permits are being proposed for the unit that YOU applied for this year?  Follow this link, and then click on the species that you are interested in:

Don't temporarily freak out like I did when you scroll down to your unit of choice!  As I looked at the deer numbers I was shocked to see that only 200ish were available on my favorite unit.  After fuming for a bit I realized that the number I was looking at was only for archery tags!  Units will be divided by weapon type.  You will also be able to find the buck/bull to doe/cow goal ratios for your unit.

Finally, I just wanted to post a couple of pictures from my outings this week.  We finally got the boat out on Wide Hollow Reservoir.  After an hour or so of slow fishing, we finally located a good spot and I was able to tie into this great fish!  The success was short lived, as we had motor problems and had to paddle back to shore (sort's a long story for another time).  Additional fish were stocked last week.. Give these little guys a couple of weeks to acclimate, and I bet we start to see some faster fishing!  Water temperature is already in the low 60's!

Shane Woolsey and I also got out to look for elk sheds this week.  No browns found this time, and in fact we couldn't even find the bulls in this area, but Shane was able to find some nice whites.  I was able to score a brown 2 point buck.  Say what you will, obviously mine took more skill to find!  Maybe next weekend will be better!  I'm seeing some great photos on Facebook of shed gathering.  Keep the pictures rolling in, hopefully we can compile a bunch to post towards the end of the week!  Spring is so great, get out and enjoy the outdoors before the busy summer sets in!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Outdoor Places: Escalante, Utah

Yeah yeah, I know!  You're reading the title and thinking OK, now this guy is just writing about his home.  Well yes, I am...and I'm proud of it!  And why not?  There's not a lot of places in the outdoors in Southern Utah that are easy to get to right now with the melting snow, and most of us are tired of winter activities and we're looking for some warm weather recreation ideas.  So, say what you will, this post is all about a great getaway during these early spring months, when you just can't quite get to where you would really like to right now!

So why Escalante?  Everyone knows if you are looking for great hiking, four-wheeling, and warm weather, places like Moab, Kanab, and St. George are the places that first come to mind.  That's exactly right, the first to come to mind...the first to attract the crowds.  Are you looking for a warm destination without the masses...somewhere that you and your family can have a little space?  How about a destination a little cheaper than the others, especially considering gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon?  Escalante may be just what you are looking for!

The past week has been amazing in the Escalante area!  After a brief weekend winter storm temperatures have rebounded to the low 70's in the valley.  Escalante at 5700 feet in elevation (and dropping more as you travel south into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument) boasts more mild temperatures during the cold months than many of the surrounding communities.  March and April can be some of the best months to explore the area, before the temperatures rise to the 90s-100s in the summer.  Conditions are great right now for hiking, site-seeing, and fishing!

There are so many amazing outdoor destinations in the area.  With spring break approaching for younger kids, I wanted to highlight a few places that are great for families to access and enjoy.  For those of you looking for something a little more off the beaten path, or maybe a more challenging adventure, be sure to check out Escalante Outfitters Excursions of Escalante (also known as the Trailhead Cafe) or contact the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) visitor center more details.  These 2 businesses and a GSENM visitor center are all located in Escalante.  Also a "google" of Escalante, Utah will give you DOZENS of leads to destinations, guidebooks, and much, much more.

Destination #1: Calf Creek Recreation Area
Calf Creek is a small tributary to the Escalante River, located right off of highway 12, about a 20 minute drive east out of Escalante.  A stunningly beautiful slickrock canyon, Calf Creek originates from springs near the base of the Boulder Mountain (Aquarius Plateau) and flows a few short miles to it's confluence with the Escalante River.  The box canyon's name originates from pioneer times, as it was used to hold calves that had been weaned from the cows.  The prize attractions of Calf Creek are 2 breathtaking waterfalls.  The Upper Calf Creek Falls is a short hike of about a mile from highway 12.  Lower Calf Creek Falls is accessible by trail from the Calf Creek campground...a two-and-a-half mile hike from the campground.  Along the trail you will follow Calf Creek as it flows through the canyon, as the walls of the canyon tower nearly 1,000 feet above you!  You will find wildlife, spectacular colors, and native American hieroglyphs on your hike to the falls.

Calf Creek campground offers tent sites, a few trailer/RV sites, bathrooms, water, picnic tables, one sweet footbridge across the creek, and information about the area.  Parking can get tight, so plan ahead, or show up early.  The campground area has some great swimming and wading holes for the kids, we love taking our kids there all summer long!  It's a great day long destination for hiking, swimming, and a picnic!

Destination #2: Hole-in-the-Rock
Hole-in-the-Rock is a historical landmark from the pioneer era of the late 1800's.  In 1879 LDS (Mormon)  Pioneers gathered from various Southern Utah communities were called by church leaders to establish what was then called the "San Juan Mission" of southeastern Utah, which today includes the communities of Blanding, Bluff, Monticello, and Mexican Hat.  Looking for the shortest route to the area, explorers from Escalante discovered a small "crack" in the canyon wall of Glen Canyon that they felt could facilitate a crude road to enable passage of the company down to the Colorado River (1000 feet below) and out the other side through Cottonwood Canyon.  The party departed the communities of Cedar City and Beaver, Utah, passed through Escalante, and spent many months in the desert south of Escalante anxiously awaiting completion of the grade through the "hole".

Dance Hall Rock, where pioneers held activities during the trek

The Hole-in-the-Rock story is an amazing tale of hardship, determination, and sacrifice.  As you travel the 60 miles from Escalante, across the unforgiving desert to the canyon rim (where you will now find Glen Canyon filled by the waters of Lake Powell) you will be amazed and humbled that the party was so successful in making it through the trek and eventually settling southeastern Utah.  Along the way you can stop to see several natural sites such as Devil's Rock Garden, Chimney Rock, and numerous trailheads that lead to beautiful canyons and arches along the Escalante River.

In Escalante you will also find the Escalante Heritage Center on the east entrance to Escalante.  Start your trip here, or at the local "Visitor Information Center" to get educated on the details of the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.  The Visitor Information Center is a small pioneer cabin located on main street in the heart of Escalante, right across from Cottam's 66 gas station.

Destination #3 Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulches
 Looking for a fairly easy hike that is far from ordinary?  Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulches are anything but ordinary!  These two amazing slot canyons twist their way through Navajo sandstone that is painted by array of colors and enhanced by what sunlight can trickle it's way into the maze!  In several locations these slots in the sandstone are only inches wide!  The hike is fairly easy (a bit more to the moderate side if you do both in a day) but be prepared to get dirty!  You will find yourself crawling, climbing a bit (not technical) and squeezing your way through these tight canyon walls.

Peek-a-Boo is by far the easier of the 2 canyons, and a down and back trip won't quite be 2 miles, and is fairly easy even on young kids.  Spooky is a bit more challenging!  Here you will find yourself crawling and scooting around more.  If you are claustrophobic, or quite large, you won't want to go into spooky.  If you are looking at doing the loop (which takes you through both canyons) plan on a 3 mile hike.  The trailhead is in the Dry Fork wash, about 26 miles south of Escalante.  Talk to any of the local outfitter/guides services, or the GSENM visitor center for better directions, or check out this site (which is one of dozens you will find with info on these canyons) for more details:

Destination #4: Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
What a way to end a long day down in the canyons!  Escalante Petrified Forest State Park provides a little "green and blue" oasis to your desert experience.  Located on the shore of Wide Hollow Reservoir, this state park provides cooler camping conditions, trees for shade, and waters to play in to top off your trip.  The petrified forest itself is also a must see!  Hiking trails to the ancient forest that range in difficulty from easy to moderate provide a glimpse into the past as you view massive ancient petrified logs!

The park provides many amenities: showers, bathrooms, camping sites, water, picnic tables, and a boat ramp.  Wide Hollow Reservoir provides great fishing for trout, bass, and bluegill.  Check out this post from last week on the great fishing you will find at Wide Hollow right now!  Last week the water was already 60 degrees...a bit cold for swimming yet, but perfect for swimming in the summer months.  Evenings in the park are spectacular, what a great way to end a day of adventure! Check out the state park's webpage for more information:

Escalante City:
So what will you find in Escalante?  This is a great time to visit!  The summer crowds have not quite shown up yet, but local businesses are back open to meet your needs.  You will find about a half dozen restaurants serving a variety of excellent cuisine, gas stations, a grocery store, post office, art galleries, outfitter and guide services, motels, RV parks, bed and breakfasts, and much more!  Don't forget to visit the Escalante Heritage Center (Hole-in-the-Rock information) the GSENM visitor center, and the local Information Center to learn about the natural wonders and deep pioneer culture that make the Escalante area special.  Boulder, Utah only 28 miles east of Escalante offers the Anasazi State Park (native American ruins/cultural exhibits), more excellent restaurants, and lodging.  Boulder is also the gateway to the Burr Trail/Circle Cliffs area, and the lower end of Capitol Reef National Park. Check out these sites for more information on the communities and the area:

Also remember, Escalante is a very short drive from several national parks (Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion).  Escalante also sits at the base of the Boulder Mountain, and the incredible Dixie National Forest.  At this time, most of the forest is inaccessible due to snow, but come back in the summer to take advantage of awesome vistas, wildlife viewing, camping, and great fishing.  There's so much more to do than you could ever fit into a "spring break".  Escalante is a great place to visit throughout the year!

 If you do find yourself in the area, be sure to give us a shout!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good News for Newcastle Reservoir!

I've got to tell you, if you are a fisherman I think 2012 is going to be a great year for you!  We have already received a great report from Wide Hollow Reservoir ( on the fish sampled in the DWR's recent gill net survey, and this week Mike Hadley of the Utah DWR has a very optimistic report to share with us on Newcastle Reservoir.  As many of you are probably aware, the quality of fishing at Newcastle has slipped in recent years, due to an over abundance of golden shiners.  The exploding golden shiner population has robbed trout of their food supply, and to counteract the shiner population the DWR introduced wipers (cross between stripped bass and white bass) in hopes that their voracious appetites would knock the numbers of the unwanted species back.  Here's Mike's report of the gill net survey performed on Newcastle Reservoir this past week:

Biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducted a gill net survey at Newcastle Reservoir west of Cedar City on March 21, 2012, and found healthy rainbow trout and wipers. Rainbows continue to show improved survival and growth since the reduction of the golden shiner population by the wipers. Rainbows observed during the survey ranged from ten to eighteen inches and were in great condition. A number of nice wipers were also collected, with the largest weighing in at almost five pounds. More "catchable"-sized (ie. 10-inch) rainbows have been stocked and Newcastle should provide good spring trout fishing. Fishing for wipers usually starts to pick up with warming water temperatures in April and May.

DWR Habitat Biologist Gary Bezzant shows off a 4.8-lb wiper caught and released during a gill net survey at Newcastle Reservoir on March 21, 2012

With the temperatures we have had, it sounds like we need to head out and give Newcastle a try very soon!  For those of you that may not know where the reservoir is, head west out of Cedar City on highway 56.  Travel on 56 until you reach the town of Newcastle.  If you turn left in the center of town, wander to the southeast corner of the town and you will find brown signs showing the way to the reservoir.  Newcastle is about 30-40 minutes from Cedar City, and the reservoir is a short 5 minute drive southeast from the town of Newcastle.

Wipers are fairly new to southern Utah, although a very popular fish species in a few northern Utah waters.  Checking fish stocking reports from last fall, you will also now find wipers in Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs, where hope are the species will help keep chub populations in check.  You will also now find tiger trout in those two bodies of water, in addition to healthy rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.  For updated fishing reports please follow this link:

The Utah DWR has gill net surveys planned for many more popular southern Utah waters over the next 2 months.  Check back as Mike Hadley fills us in on these reports.  Mike has also invited me to come out and check out the survey process in the near future, hopefully we can share that here soon as well.

Finally, I feel bad that I have not posted in a few days, and to keep up on some recent shed hunting activities I would like to share another sweet set of muley antlers scooped up again by Bransen Jackson of Kanab, Utah.  I think I know who I am following around next year!  This young man and his group have brought in some sweet sets this year!  Congrats on another great find my friend!

Be sure to check back later this week, as we continue with out "outdoor places" theme as we highlight Escalante Utah, and all it has to offer as warm weather, spring break, and Easter approach!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Big Fish and Big Sheds

It's pretty evident that this warm weather has inspired a lot of outdoors enthusiasts to get out and about the past week!  With temperatures in the 60s-70s, who wouldn't want to take advantage of what the outdoors has to offer?  The fishing reports have been pouring in (look for an updated fishing report towards the first of the week) and I am opening up emails or Facebook pictures of big sheds daily.  In fact, I have also had a few elk sheds making their way to my inbox!  Hopefully very soon we will start to see some turkeys.  Which reminds me...did you know over-the-counter turkey tags for Utah are on sale now?  It sounds like not a lot of people do, so go out and get your hands on one!

As spring is coming, make sure you visit our previous post to get in on our Miracle Gro "Expand 'n Gro" giveaway.  When thinking outdoors, this is a good post to read to think about getting your yard/garden ready for summer. Contest ends Tuesday, be sure to enter!

Before we get to the shed pictures, I have some exciting news about a local water, which luckily for me sits just a couple of miles from my house!  Mike Hadley, Southern Region Aquatics Biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources visited Wide Hollow Reservoir to perform a gill net survey of the lake this week.  He found some great results from the survey!  Mike writes:

" Division of Wildlife Resources fish biologists conducted a gill net survey at Wide Hollow Reservoir near Escalante on March 15, 2012. They found that rainbow trout stocked at 10 inches in spring 2011 have grown fast--those fish now measure 16 to 18 inches and weigh 2 to 3 lbs. This exceptional growth can be attributed to the outstanding water year in 2011 in addition to the refilling of the reservoir after dam reconstruction in 2010--an empty, recently-filled lake is very productive and provides a lot of food. Additional 10-inch fish will be stocked very soon, meaning that right now is a great time to visit this reservoir and experience some quality fishing. Spring is a great time to visit the Escalante area and you can put together a unique trip by combining some fishing with sight-seeing at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, which is located right next to the reservoir. Other places to visit nearby include the Escalante canyons, Calf Creek Falls, Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Scenic Highway 12, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Largemouth bass and bluegill are also being re-established in Wide Hollow Reservoir, but it will take another couple of years before they are large enough for anglers to target."

This is great news for our community, and for the area as Wide Hollow has not really been that great of a fishery for some years now.  It's exciting to see this reservoir producing good fishing again.  It's nice to have a place that we can take the kids fishing after school and work, and that visitors to our area can enjoy as well.  The weather has been great, make your plans to visit the Escalante area and include Wide Hollow in your plans!  Anglers have been hooking up quite a few of these fat fish from the shore on spinners and powerbait.  Thanks for providing us the report Mike!

Now onto some more big shed photos that were submitted by viewers this week.  As for my trip, well, I'm not fairing well at this game this year, nearly 12 miles and a friend that went with me, Devin McLemore found one white 3 point side.  I'm glad to see others are having great success though!  Let's start with a couple of nice sides picked up by Spenser Owens, of Panguitch Utah.

Tyler Gower of Cedar City sends us this sweet elk set picked up by his buddy James.

Bransen Jackson of Kanab scored a couple more  massive buck sheds this week!  We hope he can find the other sides to match them up!

Finally, our big story this week as far as sheds go comes to us by way of Michael Duff from Panguitch, Utah.  Michael tell us that he and a friend camped out for 5 days in one of his favorite spots and brought in 52 elk sheds while they were there!  Way to go boys! 

Check out the broad-head stuck in his 6th!

A BIG thanks to all that shared photos and info with us this week!  This post is definitely all about you, and I appreciate what everyone contributes to make Southern Utah Hunt and Fish such a big success!  Keep the photos coming!  It's exciting to see so many willing to share their success.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Preparing Your Gardens for a "Fruitful" Harvest!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

After another cold shot and some snow last week, we are again greeted by spring again this week, although it looks like cold weather coming for the first of next week again!  Well, it has to decide to come and stay before too long!  I have been eying over my garden spot in the back yard, eager to get it tilled up and fertilized.  Why are we talking gardens?  Well, most outdoors enthusiasts share this common love of gardening that I have, the conversation frequently comes up in the summer.  I also use several items from my garden in the recipes I feature on this blog.  I know most outdoorsmen/women are eager to get their garden growing before they hit the field this summer!

EnG Product Shot.png This is will be our third year of planting a garden at our current home.  Each year has been a little better than the previous year as I have found new products and methods to increase the fertility of our garden.  Our little patch of ground is not the best in the world, as many of you are probably also accustom to in your garden area.  Our soils out west can be tough to deal with; too much sand, clay, rock, etc.  I have tried a variety of things to help it out!  First peat moss, then horse manure, and fertilizers of all sorts.  Last year's manure helped greatly, but brought in a lot of unwanted weed seeds in the manure.  So this year I am keeping my eyes open for new options, and Miracle Gro has a new product that may just do the trick!

Our soils are poor, our water can be scarce around here...I am looking for a product that will add fertility to my soil as well as manage my water effectively.  Expand ‘n Gro™ by Miracle Gro may just do the trick!  I'm going to give it a try in my garden and my wife wants to give it a try in her flower beds around the house.  Why try it, what would be the benefits over other methods we have used in the past?  I heard it can work like a charm as it expands up to 3 times when mixed with water AND it feeds plants for up to 6 months!  The all natural fibers hold up to 50% more water than basic potting soil, a pretty nice perk considering our arid climate around here!  This product can significantly improve soil for multiple years, giving you the results of up to 3X the Flowers and Vegetables versus native soil.

Last year it was peat moss that we gave a try.  I spent nearly 10 weeks on wildfire assignments in Texas, so my wife got to be the one lugging the heavy, awkward bags of peat moss around the yard!  The loads of manure were troublesome as well, we spent hours shoveling it into the truck, and spreading it out.  How about something smaller and more convenient?  The small bag size of Expand ‘n Gro™ makes it perfect for anyone to move around and apply to the yard.  A smaller bag means not as much product right?  Not this time!  Expand 'n Gro expands up to 3X when added to water, giving you more product with less hassle than those bulky bags you may be used to.

Check out this short video for more information of how Expand ‘n Gro™ works!

So where do I find this product to give it a try? Well, currently Expand ‘n Gro is available at lawn and garden retailers in the Midwest, Northeast and Texas. Well, I'm not heading to any of those locations anytime soon, so I am going to visit for in-store availability information. I know it can also be found at

I hope we see the product show up on shelves in our area soon!  In the meantime, how about we giveaway a sample to a lucky viewer?  Would you like to give Miracle Gro Expand ‘n Gro™ a try on your garden this summer?  Well, one lucky viewer will get to try it out simply by commenting on this blog post!  That's right, the folks at Miracle Gro will be sending me out a free sample of Expand 'n Gro to give to one of you!  What an easy way to prepare your garden for beautiful results this spring and summer!  Simply leave your comment in the field following this post and tell us why you want to give Expand 'n Gro a try!  We will except comments until 10 PM on Tuesday, March 20th.  That gives you almost an entire week to enter, but don't wait until the last minute!  The winner will be selected using an random number generator, and results will be posted on the blog the following day.

I will be giving Expand ‘n Gro™ a try myself this spring, and I can't wait to share the results of the product with you right here at Southern Utah Hunt and Fish throughout the summer!

I know moisture and air are vital to a plant's root system, and as we look  to face a hot, dry summer I am excited to give this product a test in my garden. In pots or in‐ground, the absorbent coir fibers help ensure that water is used efficiently. Expand ‘n Gro retains up to 50% more moisture than basic potting soils and then releases water as plants need it, to help prevent over or under watering. Since moisture and nutrients must be able to reach plant roots, proper air space and circulation in soil is critical for plant health. Tilling this planting mix into native soil can reduce the soil’s bulk density – making it up to 40% lighter, and creating up to 90% more air space. The result is more workable native soil with better water holding ability, moisture distribution, and drainage, all of which ultimately creates an improved rooting environment for plants.  Sounds like everything I need for a very healthy, luscious and beautiful garden this year!

Be sure to enter our giveaway, and click the link for more information on Expand ‘n Gro™ .  Hopefully we will have a lot more (and bigger) watermelons than these this year!


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Monday, March 12, 2012

Product Review: Vortex Viper HD Binoculars

I am excited today to share another great Vortex Optics product with you!  As many of you already know, I am a BIG fan of Vortex Optics and brag up there products here regularly.  I want to note that I am not receiving any compensation from Vortex for these reviews...I am simply that "sold" on their products!  Crystal clear optics, a great warranty, more affordable than other optics of similar quality, and very durable.  I just can't say enough with how impressed I am of their quality.

Let me give you a little background of my exposure to today's product, the Vortex Viper 10X42 binoculars.  This was the first Vortex product I became acquainted with.  In 2009 we ordered a couple of pairs of these binoculars to aid us in locating wildfires for our crews.  It was a new product for us all, which we chose based on price, warranty, and reviews.  I was skeptical at first, in fact I was pushing for a pair of Nikons that I really liked at my previous duty station.  Well, when you aren't the man at the top of the totem-pole you don't always get what you want!  So whatever, I rolled with it, and I'm glad I did.

Vortex has bounced around the dash of this old truck in some pretty rough county!
We bought 3 pair of these binoculars and nearly 4 years later all of them are still in use, all of them are in perfect condition.  Now, I know what you may be thinking...big deal, it's ONLY 3-4 years!  That can be a lifetime for a lot of products from the abuse we put them through as a part of our wildland firefighting gear!  These things have ridden on the dash, flown from the dash and slammed on the floor, bounced around under seats, been banged around in our backpacks, and survived intense heat, rain, snow and so on.  I can't believe the abuse they have taken, and are still as focused and clear as ever!  We have placed these binos in our packs, hiked into fires, and worked the firelines with these in our packs.  I have also seen them go along for some rough rides as crewmembers have tumbled down steep slopes or tipped over in thick brush.  They can take a beating for sure!

Fire discovered: 19.2 miles!
I think I was most impressed with the Vortex Viper 10X42 this past summer, as I set on a high ridge on the Escalante Mountains glassing an area that was just about as far as I could see, that was being pounded by lightning (I guessed the distance to be about 10 miles at the time).  As I glassed, I discovered a small "puff" of smoke rise on the horizon.  From that distance with these binoculars I could determine that it was just one or 2 trees that were torching.  I started glassing other features to plot the fire on a map to report it to dispatch.  I was amazed at what I could pick up and how easy it was to plot.  The distance?  Well, it turned out to be 19.2 miles!  Amazing for a pair of binoculars!
Vortex performed a major upgrade to to the Viper series binoculars in 2011.  Now, the 10X42 (as well as a range of other powers) are available in an HD model, which I am eying to own for myself!  Vortex has a great line of options to choose from in their new Viper HD series binoculars.  These roof-prism binoculars offer crystal clear vision that is very comfortable on the eye!  I have trouble with a lot of binoculars or spotting scopes if I look through them to eyes get tired.  I can look through these for a long time without fatigue.  Rugged, compact, and lightweight, with twist out eye cups to fit your comfort.  Premium, award winning binoculars that features all you need for a successful hunt...or fire season!  I look forward to trying out more Vortex products in the future!

Check out the Vortex website for more information on all of their products, gear, supplies, and more!

For more information on the Vortex Viper HD binoculars, check out this short video!

You will find Vortex product at most of your major sporting goods stores!