Friday, October 5, 2012

A LOT Happening in Southern Utah This Week

Hello friends!  I'm back at home for a short spell before I take off again tonight to join friends at elk camp, yes, again!  These last 3 weeks have been crazy with all the big bull elk hunting, and muzzleloader deer hunting.  The first weekend in October spells out a lot for those of you that love to hunt, and October is one of the finest months for fishing and hiking around here.  I wanted to focus this post on a few things going on in the area right now.

First of all, if you can't tell by the swarms of people, the 2012 any bull and spike bull elk hunts open tomorrow (October 6th).  These hunts are very popular in our area, second only to the general season deer hunt which begins on October 20th.  There are very few open bull units in Utah, most will be hitting the hills in search of spike bulls.  "Long Tine" hunters may have a bit of difficulty getting into the elk this year.  With temperatures above normal, and the vegetation dry and crunchy, getting into the elk can be a challenge as many herds have headed back into the thick timber under the rims of the mountain tops.  There are, however still many elk in the high country, and they are in great condition after all of the late summer rains.  The bulls went into the rut late this year, in fact I was in the middle of several screaming bulls just 2 days ago, and had no trouble calling the bulls in.  With the heat rising though, the elk are not bugling or moving around like they were with the rains last week.  A cold front will briefly drop temperatures for the opener, before rising again next week.  The possibilities of some showers mid week may be a silver lining to get the elk moving next week.
Remember: an "any bull" tag does not entitle you to hunt and kill any bull on any unit in Utah!  Every year people come into our area with an any bull tag after a big bull.  The majority of Utah's bull units are limited entry!  While you now can kill spike bulls on these limited entry units, there are very few "open bull" units in Utah.  Most are in northern Utah, and we also have Cedar Mountain (south of Highway 14) in Southern Utah.  Check the hunting guidebook to make sure you know where you can and cannot hunt!

Duck Hunting:  The duck hunt also opens in Utah tomorrow.  This year looks very promising for waterfowl.  Drought years usually provide good hunting, as birds have to congregate in areas more, as water is not as widespread.  Duck/goose numbers look good, and this should also improve as cold weather sets in.  Migrations have begun, and several people are reporting the numbers rising on their favorite waters.

He's still out there!
2012 General Season Deer:  The any weapon general season hunt begins October 20th.  This year hunters had to make the change from hunting broad regions to specific units.  Archery and muzzleloader success really varied from unit to unit, but sadly, overall success has seemed a bit lower this year than in years past.  During my hunting time, I noticed great numbers of young bucks, and the numbers of fair bucks (18-22" 3 and 4 points) also seems to look a lot better than in years past.  Hopefully we are seeing a rebound from the bad winter 2 years ago that took a toll on our herds.  As far as conditions, deer are very scattered with so much water available from late season rains.  Good bucks have been taken from the low country, to the high country, and everywhere in between.  I can't say I've seen more deer at one elevation vs another, however I will say the big bucks I have seen are just like the elk, holed up in nasty timber under the rim.  We should hope for cold weather and moisture, as it is about impossible to put a sneak on bucks in that thick timber with the dry litter beds and leaves everywhere right now.  Should we see cold weather and moisture, I think it will be an excellent hunt this year!  Also keep in mind there are a lot of deer lower this year, as the pinyons are full of pine nuts right now.  Deer are hitting these hard, as the acorns in the oak do not have a lot to offer for feed this year.

Check out this link for the Utah DWR 2012 hunting forecast, unit by unit:

Also keep in mind that the dove hunting season may be over, but other small game hunts are in full swing.  Forest grouse and chukar partridge hunts are going on now, pheasant and quail seasons are right around the corner.  I always take my shotgun along on my deer hunts, we have quite often came across forest grouse on our deer hunts!

 October Fishing:  There's no month like October (well, except maybe ice-off) when it comes to fishing in Utah!  I've sampled the fall fishing in some local waters over the last week, and have posted a fresh report on our page: 

As the waters cool, and the warm water from the top turns and mixes with the cool water from deep, algae blooms, and fish go into a feeding frenzy that equals great fishing for a couple of weeks.  This should occur any time, usually the last couple of weeks of the month.  The great part, you can usually find lakes to yourself during that time, as few brave cold weather, or are out hunting.  Keep in mind that some species, such as splake are preparing to spawn, and this means great fishing for species that can go fairly quiet during the summer.

Be sure to share your success!  Remember, it doesn't have to be a record trophy, it just has to be your trophy.  We like to hear about our viewer's experiences more than anything.  Please share your photos and stories!  Email them to us at

Good luck to all hitting the field this weekend!