We arrived at deer camp a week early to set up camp and to explore Utah with our two kids that were not going to be hunting the next week.
While scouting the area for deer we took the kids to the an old cabin that Youtuber HeavyD explored last year. It is rumored that Butch Cassidy was buried here. We didn’t see any proof of that but finding an abandoned cabin in the middle of no where is always fun.
The next day we played around camp them headed home for a week of work before open day.
On the way home we took a detour off of Zzyzx Road to the old abandoned hot springs hotel. While the hotel and all the out buildings are closed to the public there is a trail that you can walk abound a pond that over looks soda dry lake along the Mojave trail.
Opening Day – 6 Days Later
Friday night Alyssa had her Homecoming dance so we didn’t get on the road until after the dance at 10pm. We drove all night reaching our camp just in time for first light on Saturday – Opening day. We had spotted a buck the week before and went out after it but soon found out everyone else had seen that same buck. Our morning was full of hunters all trying to get on the same deer. The herd was spooked and pushed out of the canyon we were in. We headed back to camp to figure out a different game plan for that afternoon.
That afternoon we went out to a different area. We got onto a tall forked horn but the wind and nerves were a little too much and Alyssa shot too high. We headed back to camp to regroup as a winter storm moved in. Just as we were getting to camp the raining started to fall and continued most of the night and then early morning it went silent.
The next morning we woke up to about a foot of snow. It was cold and still snowing but we headed out anyways hoping to get eyes on the buck we had saw the week before and hoping that he was still around. The second day the storm never really let up. The wind was howling and the visibility was poor. We tried to find areas to get around the storm, but the storm kept moving all around the valley not giving us a break. We ended up getting stuck on a small road after breaking our transfer case and drive shaft leaving us with only 2 wheel drive. We got lucky when another hunter found us and pulled us out to the main dirt road. We tried to get out and almost made it to camp but as the morning heated up the rain from the night before and the melting snow turned the dirt to slick Utah mud getting us stuck one more time right before camp. We came across another hunter that helped us up the last hill to camp. We headed back to camp to see what damages we had and to wait out the storm. The truck was running but only with 2 wheel drive. This left us with only the side by side that had no windshield which made for a very cold ride.
The third day was a beautiful winter wonderland. The storm had let up and the sky was blue. We got up early and headed down the snow covered dirt road to where we had last seen that buck hoping he was still alive. As soon as we reached the valley he was last seen we spotted him grazing with his herd. We headed to the opposite side of the valley to figure out our game plan. Alyssa and Don headed up the hill behind a tree as the herd moved around the hill. They followed the herd keeping out of site putting a stock on the buck for about an hour in knee deep snow. They where almost all the way around the hill when the herd stopped, giving Alyssa a shot on the buck. One shot and the buck was hit. It jumped up and headed up the hill. They lost site of it. They headed towards the bush where they last saw it and there it was only about 2 feet from where it was hit.
Because Alyssa was the only one with a deer tag this year our deer hunt was over. But our trip wasn’t. We decided to spend the rest of our time exploring the area around deer camp. That afternoon we headed into town to drop off the deer at the butcher and to have lunch. After that we stopped by Butch Cassidy’s old childhood home.
The next day we spent the morning exploring Bryce Canyon.
On our way back to camp we stopped off at Bryces Wildlife Museum. The museum is located outside the park on Highway 12. The collection of wildlife is impressive by itself but how the animals are displayed in their natural environment takes this museum to the next level. Don’t miss this stop if you are in the area.
We headed back to camp to enjoy our spot one more night. I found out during our hunt that we were actually camping in the same spot my grandpa had deer camp over 50 years ago. How random is that! We sat around camp enjoying the fire and the stories around it.
Our last day in Utah we hit Panguitch Lake before we headed home. It was cold but the fishing was fantastic.
Check out our video for all the action
Below you can find some of our favorite gear we used with this Hunt:
The Recovery Rope we used was Matt’s Recovery Rope by Yankum Ropes 7/8″ DIA x 30 ft to get pulled out of snow.
We used the Bear Buddy Heated Chair – Red/Black at night around the fire.
The Hand Warmers were a life saver while driving in the side by side. We even found that you can fit a foot inside if your toes go numb.
The Truck and RV Locking Fishing Pole Holders are a must have if you hang your fishing poles in your vehicle or in your RV. These holders lock them in place for those bumpy rides.
My favorite most comfortable base layer leggings are the SITKA Gear Women’s Core Midweight Bottom Pants