Help me decide what to do with 30 Utah elk points!

Umpqua Hunter

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May 26, 2011
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Hi All. It's been a terribly long time since I have been on. As a first time homebuilder, though I have remodeled in the past, I'm trying to build a high quality empty nester home, I have been buried for quite some time getting our ranch sold and working on the project. So far, so good. With a beautiful setting on the North Umpqua River, I keep saying, "I am building this for my great great grandkids".

Other news, my wife killed a very nice desert ram in Arizona in 2022. She spent opening day in the emergency room with kidney stones. It wasn't until midseason until she could hunt. By then I had scouted most of the unit. I wrote an article and never sent it in to have it published, so maybe I can dress it up as a post someday. Not until we get moved into the house though. :)

Soooo the new elk plan in Utah really messed up my elk plan. Having only one tag for the early rifle hunts on the premium units will not let me best utilize my 30 points. Also, the age class objectives on the top units have been reduced, so I want out sooner rather than later. With the tag recommendations recently released here are my options for a tag in 2024.

#1 San Juan Muzzleloader (rut hunt, perfect moon phase, above average moisture, but trophy quality down)

#1 Beaver Late Rifle (trophy quality excellent, lots of bulls, full moon, late season hunting)

#2 Beaver Mid Rifle (trophy quality excellent, lots of bulls, good moon, lots of general season hunters)

#3 Beaver archery (I do bow hunt, but am not avid)

#4 Boulder Muzzleloader (reputation of being frustrating due to heavy cover, if not a strong rut)

#5 San Juan archery

#6 Manti Muzzleloader (share points with my wife for two tags in the next couple years).

Does anyone have some thoughts or advice that can help me decide? Maybe you have an option I've not even considered. :)
 

gonhunting247

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Jan 21, 2014
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Good to hear things are going good. I've hunted a couple of the other units in UT with my MZ. If you're interested just PM me. It's cool that your wife got another sheep, that's awesome! I was thinking you had a NZ tag/tags that you won; how did your hunt go?
 
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Umpqua Hunter

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Good to hear things are going good. I've hunted a couple of the other units in UT with my MZ. If you're interested just PM me. It's cool that your wife got another sheep, that's awesome! I was thinking you had a NZ tag/tags that you won; how did your hunt go?
I'll send you a PM. As far as New Zealand, it is booked for March 2025 with Shane Quinn. :)
 

JimP

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Have you looked at the points required for the units on the Utah statistics page/report?

Personally with the heavy cover I would rule out the Boulder unless you have lots of time to scout it. That mountain is covered in lots of very thick cover.

Manti would be a fun hunt for both of you. While it doesn't contain high scoring bulls it does make up for it in quantity

I haven't hunted the Beaver in a very long time and have very little knowledge of it as far as elk.

Same with the San Juan's I know others who have hunted it and others that gave up trying to draw that tag and ended up going elsewhere.

I don't know without looking as far as points required on the Monroe or the Book Cliffs but I love hunting both units. You will see more elk on the Monroe than just about any other unit except for the Book Cliffs in my opinion.
 

Umpqua Hunter

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May 26, 2011
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North Umpqua, Oregon
Have you looked at the points required for the units on the Utah statistics page/report?

Personally with the heavy cover I would rule out the Boulder unless you have lots of time to scout it. That mountain is covered in lots of very thick cover.

Manti would be a fun hunt for both of you. While it doesn't contain high scoring bulls it does make up for it in quantity

I haven't hunted the Beaver in a very long time and have very little knowledge of it as far as elk.

Same with the San Juan's I know others who have hunted it and others that gave up trying to draw that tag and ended up going elsewhere.

I don't know without looking as far as points required on the Monroe or the Book Cliffs but I love hunting both units. You will see more elk on the Monroe than just about any other unit except for the Book Cliffs in my opinion.
Thank you JimP! I have had my nose buried in the statistics for over a decade and have a very good handle on what I could likely draw. There are two other applicants at 30 points and none above us. So worst case if I go for a hunt with two tags, I have 33% draw odds. Best case, a guaranteed tag. For my points to really work for me, I need to find a hunt with two tags, so one will go to the applicant with the most points. That eliminates a lot of premium tags.

I agree, I don't think I want to hunt Boulder. I've heard too many stories of the rut not being on and it adversely affecting the hunt. For Monroe, I could draw archery or mid rifle. I do hunt archery, but definitely not my preferred weapon. I could have drawn Book Cliffs a decade ago and it's not particularly interesting to me personally. For Beaver I could draw archery, mid rifle (lots of general season spike hunters) or late rifle (best for low pressure). I've been following the bulls coming off the Beaver and it's legit. I know two guys that have hunted it. While it would be cool to average my wife up for two tags on Manti, I know from experience that too many tags can make a hunt stressful, especially when it is just my wife and I trying to get a bull killed, packed out and to the locker then back for the second bull within the timeframe for the hunt.

I think this will boil down to Beaver late rifle or San Juan muzzleloader and what is my priority. If it's staying in a hotel, and hunting for the biggest bull bull in tough terrain, Beaver. If it's a rut hunt, great camping and weather, but for somewhat lower trophy quality bulls, San Juan.
 
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Ikeepitcold

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Feb 22, 2011
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Hi All. It's been a terribly long time since I have been on. As a first time homebuilder, though I have remodeled in the past, I'm trying to build a high quality empty nester home, I have been buried for quite some time getting our ranch sold and working on the project. So far, so good. With a beautiful setting on the North Umpqua River, I keep saying, "I am building this for my great great grandkids".

Other news, my wife killed a very nice desert ram in Arizona in 2022. She spent opening day in the emergency room with kidney stones. It wasn't until midseason until she could hunt. By then I had scouted most of the unit. I wrote an article and never sent it in to have it published, so maybe I can dress it up as a post someday. Not until we get moved into the house though. :)

Soooo the new elk plan in Utah really messed up my elk plan. Having only one tag for the early rifle hunts on the premium units will not let me best utilize my 30 points. Also, the age class objectives on the top units have been reduced, so I want out sooner rather than later. With the tag recommendations recently released here are my options for a tag in 2024.

#1 San Juan Muzzleloader (rut hunt, perfect moon phase, above average moisture, but trophy quality down)

#1 Beaver Late Rifle (trophy quality excellent, lots of bulls, full moon, late season hunting)

#2 Beaver Mid Rifle (trophy quality excellent, lots of bulls, good moon, lots of general season hunters)

#3 Beaver archery (I do bow hunt, but am not avid)

#4 Boulder Muzzleloader (reputation of being frustrating due to heavy cover, if not a strong rut)

#5 San Juan archery

#6 Manti Muzzleloader (share points with my wife for two tags in the next couple years).

Does anyone have some thoughts or advice that can help me decide? Maybe you have an option I've not even considered. :)
Happy to see you back!
 

Umpqua Hunter

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May 26, 2011
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Of those you listed, based on objective 2 and 6 seem like the best option IMO.
My concern with #2 (Beaver mid rifle) is if the rut is early and the bulls are leaving the cows and are in transition, and I think that could make for a much tougher hunt.

I'm leaning to the muzzleloader hunt on the San Juan or the late rifle hunt on the Beaver. The muzzleloader hunt has me a bit concerned because Utah eliminated magnifying scopes this year, and my eyes are definitely showing their age. The late rifle hunt on the Beaver has the advantage that if I find a bull I like and pass, he should be fairly close unless someone kills him.

Burning three decades of points should be totally fun, but it is actually kind of stressful.
 
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mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Beaver -Mid Rifle
or
Boulder- Muzzleloader

I would flip a coin and let fate decide. It got you this far in life.
 

JimP

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Vortex is about to re-release a big run of 1x scopes…..
I've heard that from a couple of sources, it is too bad that they most likely will still be the 24mm objective instead of stepping it up to a 32mm objective for a little bit more light.
 

Umpqua Hunter

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May 26, 2011
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North Umpqua, Oregon
I've heard that from a couple of sources, it is too bad that they most likely will still be the 24mm objective instead of stepping it up to a 32mm objective for a little bit more light.
I am definitely leaning to the San Juan muzzleloader hunt, though now I am toying with archery on the Beaver. What do you think is the best choice for a muzzleloader scope or red dot? I've heard several mention the Leupold Freedom RDS with the bullet drop turret.
 
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JimP

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No experience with them but I like Leopold scopes.

Vortex has a 1x red dot prism scope that would be legal but I have zero experience with it.

My eyes are not the best either. I plan on placing a peep sight on the rear of my Utah muzzle loader that used to wear a scope along with a new front sight. This is a combination that I use on my Colorado legal muzzle loader deer with good success.
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,576
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North Umpqua, Oregon
No experience with them but I like Leopold scopes.

Vortex has a 1x red dot prism scope that would be legal but I have zero experience with it.

My eyes are not the best either. I plan on placing a peep sight on the rear of my Utah muzzle loader that used to wear a scope along with a new front sight. This is a combination that I use on my Colorado legal muzzle loader deer with good success.
I've been shooting peep sights on our Oregon muzzleloader seasons for around 40 years. I even equipped a .22 rifle with the same peeps for practice. I have a VERY accurate load for my two Knight rifles with a 460 grain No Excuses lead conical. I may just go with that. It would be limited to 200 yard since that is where it drops to around 1200 foot pounds of energy.

I also have a .45 caliber "smokeless" muzzy that I load with BH209. It's a Remington action, Brux barrel and 209 ignition. Crazy accurate muzzleloader. My wife shot a sub 2" group with it at 400 yards when she had a muzzleloader tag in Arizona. (yes, she often outshoots me). I could put a 1X scope or red dot on it.
 
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