2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

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JBird
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2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JBird » Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:58 pm

It's a little late but I enjoy hearing/reading stories anytime of the year.

When my dad called me in February and asked what my thoughts were on putting in for the new premium Pauns tag I told him he ought to put in for a muzzleloader tag, knowing he had 11 points I thought there was a good chance he would draw it. He responded that what fun was one hunt when he had a chance to hunt all three? I couldn’t argue with that, but in my mind I was sure that we wouldn’t be hunting the Pauns at all for another few years.

Much to my surprise I got another call from him in late May, he was looking at his credit card statement and had a charge that corresponded to a premium limited entry tag. I couldn’t believe it, and with all the moisture we were receiving here in Southern Utah I knew it was going to be a great fall.

As the summer progressed my dad, brother, friends and family all started game planning and scouting. Hardly a week went by that we weren’t hearing about a big buck popping up somewhere on the unit. As the end of June approached things started to heat up as the bucks were finally developed enough to get a good idea of what we were looking at. We began hanging cameras and making scouting trips as often as possible. The first few trips we spent learning a portion of the unit we weren’t as familiar with. We found some good bucks and one giant. He was a giant typical that I figured was an easy 200”. It was three weeks before the bow hunt, the bad news was my dad has a bad shoulder and wouldn’t be able to hunt him till the muzzleloader hunt.

To be continued…

Here’s a couple of pics, unfortunately I did a terrible thing a couple of weeks ago and deleted everything off my SD card in the camera and I hadn’t backed them up…moral of the story always get your pics/video off the SD card ASAP. Anyway here’s a couple of pics from way early in the summer.
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ridgetop
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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby ridgetop » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:05 pm

That stinks about the SD card.
looking forward to the rest of the story.
There's always next year

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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby ABert » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:24 pm

Let's hear the rest!
It ain't the size of the gun but the placement of the bullet.

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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby MuleyMadness » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:51 pm

This should be good. :)

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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JBird » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:48 pm

So to make things even more interesting I found another pretty awesome buck in another area, he was pushing 30” wide and had a little trash, he probably didn’t score as well as the big typical but my dad was hoping to shoot something with a little trash on it, so we also put him on the hit list. We turned up a few other good bucks but nothing that really had that “wow” factor.

I work as wild land fire fighter and about this time I got really busy and spent a couple weeks in Oregon. My dad and brother kept at it but didn’t turn up anything else that really interested us. One night a couple of days before the bow hunt started I got a call from a good friend of mine asking if we had found anything we were planning on hunting I told him about the couple of bucks we had in mind and he proceeded to tell me that he had turned up an absolute giant buck, and wanted me to go take a look at him, being in Oregon that wasn’t going to happen, and my brother and dad were unavailable due to work and my brother’s bow tag. I told him we’d have to go when I got back and asked how big he thought this buck was, he said “I don’t know, I don’t think I should tell you, but he’s way North of 210” maybe 215” but he’s in the velvet so he’s probably only 210”. I couldn’t believe what he was saying I knew the area the buck was in, a mix of public and private, thick juniper and pinon and one good spot to glass. He also informed me that the buck was on the down low but there were a few other guys around that knew about him and were going to try and kill him on the bow hunt. We chatted little longer and then hung up. I couldn’t believe it. 215? That would be one of the biggest bucks I had ever seen on the unit, that wasn’t on Heaton’s ranch, and way bigger than anything else we had turned up. I called my dad and relayed the info to him. He was excited and worried that we wouldn’t get a chance at him. I told him not to worry, but I was just as worried if not more.

Opening morning came and went every chance I had I was checking the social media outlets for pics of one of our boys but none of them ever showed up. Luckily it appeared they had made it through at least the first couple of days. When I finally got home I got in touch with my friend and checked out some film on the big buck. I couldn’t believe the size, he was big in every aspect, width, mass, tine length, he was a dream buck.

As the archery hunt drew to a close we were excited to see that all of the bucks we were watching had made it through the hunt and were now just waiting for us to take a crack at them. We spent the week and a half between the hunts fine tuning the muzzleloader and keeping track of the bucks, the big buck proved to be very elusive now that he was hard horned and we only spotted him once before the hunt started.
Finally the day came, unfortunately for me I had a biology exam at 10 AM and would miss out on the action, fortunately for me there was very little action that took place. My dad and brother had made their way into the big buck’s home and were greeted with three other groups of hunters doing the same and no sightings of the buck; they did turn up some other cool bucks including a gnarly 3x4 that was just neat as could be. I joined up with them for the afternoon hunt and it was even less eventful than the morning hunt, with only one small buck being spotted. But we weren’t discouraged we knew the buck was there and we had as much chance as anybody to find him.
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Cool little buck, from the summer.
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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JBird » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:14 am

Thursday morning my dad decided that we should go look for the big typical as there were too many people hunting the bigger buck. I didn’t really agree with the decision but it wasn’t my tag and from past experience I knew that sometimes bucks in that area disappeared for a while but had a way of showing back up towards the end of hunt when there was less pressure.

As the sun broke over the hills we began seeing deer, lots of deer. In the first few minutes of day light we had seen 20+ bucks with three that were over 180”. Soon I spotted what I thought was the big typical heading down a draw with three other bucks. We hurried to get in a position to cut him off, but when we got there the group was nowhere to be seen, so we split up to cover more of the draw. I had been working up the draw for about 15 minutes when I spotted another group of bucks. I recognized one of them immediately. He was the extremely tall 4 point from the pictures above. I had not seen him since I took the pic and was impressed on how much more length he had put on. The other large buck in the group was a good buck but I didn’t pay him much mind at first, but after a second look and a little math I decided I better get the other guys on the radio and have them come check him out.

It didn’t take them long to show up and we gave the buck a good look over. It didn’t take my dad long to decide that even though it was a good buck (I was thinking 190”-195”) he didn’t want to shoot him, small eye guards, not enough trash he said. So we kept hunting. I was a little worried about the decision, I knew we had basically two hunts to go, but I knew there were only so many chance to harvest a 190” buck too. The rest of the morning was uneventful.
That afternoon we went back to look for the big buck. We hunted hard for him but with no luck, it was a similar story to the night before, few deer, fewer bucks, nothing big. We ran into a co-worker of my dad’s that was helping a friend of his on the hunt. He has been a guide on and off for years so we asked him his opinion on the buck we had passed that morning. He confirmed that it was a 190-195 type buck but we shouldn’t worry cause we had plenty of time. I was still sick to my stomach about passing that kind of buck.

The rest of evening came and went, and all too soon the sun had set. We were heading out to the main road when we came to an intersection and out of the corner of my eye I saw a truck parked off the side of the other road, I thought I saw antlers sticking out of the bed, but they didn’t appear to be special, we turned around to take a look and offer congratulations. As we turned around and the head lights hit the rack, giant back forks, with matching in-lines and cheaters, my heart sank, there he was, dead. We got out to take a look, he was even bigger than we had guessed. The lucky hunter was Chad Mendez (those of you who follow the UFC know who he is), he and Jeremy Chamberlain of Color Country Outfitters had bumped the buck before first light that morning and had watched him bed, snuck within 100 yards and waited all day till the buck stood up just before dark, and then made the shot. We shook hands and gave congratulations. To say I was disappointed was an understatement; my dad on the other hand seemed to be happy because he “didn’t have to worry about killing that buck anymore”. The buck ended up going 218” and was 31” wide. Congrats again to Chad and CCO.
More still to come.

Video of the tall 4
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByP7-e1_SlJ4WW1jSkxkUV93Qzg/view?usp=sharing

Video of the buck we passed.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByP7-e1_SlJ4dXJxZlhTTUVDM2c/view?usp=sharing

Chad Mendez's buck
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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby MuleyMadness » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:27 pm

Both nice bucks on video and yep that Mendez buck is what dreams are made of right there. Just an amazing stud! A couple of those bucks look real familiar. :)

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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JBird » Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:34 am

Yeah Brett he was a stud, and I thought you would recognize a couple of those bucks. That 3x4 was Instafamous this last fall.

So it was back to the drawing board so to speak, we still had the big typical and the cheater buck that I had seen once this summer and we had yet to hunt him. We decided to give him a try Friday morning. Bad idea. It appeared we were not the only ones looking for him, and it was a very unproductive morning. Being out of ideas and wanting a little break from people we decided to try a spot that afternoon that was either going to produce or make for a very long afternoon. To our surprise it was fairly productive, we encountered more deer than we had planned, we didn’t find a shooter but we knew where we would be in the morning.

As the sun came up Saturday morning we were in position and began glassing, it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the deer weren’t there it was strange, draws that had deer in them the night before, had nothing, an hour and a half of glassing and we only found one doe. We packed up and headed to back to camp a little disappointed. As we were bumping down the road a doe ran across the road followed by a buck. As I threw my binos on him my heart started to beat a little faster. It was a pretty dang nice buck. He had great mass, a couple of cheaters on each side and a big in line between his G4 and eye guard. The only problem is he wasn’t stopping anytime soon, as we scrambled to get out of the truck he made his way up and over the ridge, we raced to a glassing point to try and get eyes on him, but we never could relocate him.
We gave it another try that afternoon but we still couldn’t turn him up, we saw a few other good bucks in the area but nothing great. I found out later that there was a non-typical shot in that same area on the rifle hunt that was just over 200’’ and had a big inline, I don’t know if it was the same buck or not.

Sunday was break day and Monday I had to return to school. My dad and brother continued hunting with the same results lots of smaller bucks and a few good bucks but still nothing that made my dad want to pull the trigger. I was able to make it back over to the unit Tuesday morning and it was decided that we’d go hunt the big typical one more time. As luck would have it we found him. But as is usually the case he was in a bad spot, in the bottom of draw making his way towards some private property. We made a hurried sneak on him but didn’t make it before he made the safety of the fence.
That afternoon we got a tip of a good buck hanging out in a part of the unit that we were not familiar with at all, but decided to give it a try. We didn’t see any deer but there was plenty of sign and zero people. The next morning while I was back in school I got a text from my brother saying they had found the deer and there were a couple of good bucks, a couple 180”+, but still nothing that really stood out. At this point I decided to skip the class the next day and hunt the last day with them. I left Cedar at 4:15 the next morning and at daylight we were glassing to awesome looking country, but to no avail the only bucks spotted were a giant 2x3 and cactus buck that had bases as big as coke cans.
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About mid-day we drove out on a point we were more familiar with and hiked out on the end to glass some familiar country if for no other reason than to look for sheds and see if the deer and begun to migrate yet. I had been glassing for about 15 minutes when I spotted something that got me excited. It was a buck, and a big one at that. The only problem was he was already dead, even from 2+ miles away I could tell through the spotting scope that it was a pretty big dead head. With nothing better to do we decided to get a closer look. When we finally arrived I couldn’t believe what we were looking at. It was one of the coolest bucks I had ever seen. After a few quick pics we GPS’d it and reported it to the DWR, we recently received the head back from the DWR. He scores 218” is 32” wide and has 40” of mass. As for the rest of days hunt it was uneventful, as the sunset we began game planning for the upcoming rifle hunt and hoping for some winter weather to make its way into the area.
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Last edited by JBird on Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JBird » Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:37 am

More pics.
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Re: 2015 Paunsaguant Hunt

Postby JDavid » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Awesome story. I can't hardly wait for the finish
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