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Utah outfitter offers backpack hunt for big mule deer

One of the best deer hunters I know finds success by backpacking into some of the most remote and rugged mule deer terrain in Utah. He decided to get licensed to guide in this region, creating an opportunity that you might consider if you want a big muley and are in good enough physical and mental shape to handle a difficult backpack trip.

He took one hunter in 2008, and he got the buck whose rack is pictured above. Please note that he is not holding the rack way out in front to distort the image. These antlers gross 197 Boone and Crockett points and net about 191. I've known the outfitter for 20 years and have hiked with him into the area a couple of times on summer scouting trips. I've hunted bighorn sheep in the area and emphasize that you must be capable to take this hunt.

This unit is composed of huge mesas and ridges, ideal habitat for a muley to get old and big. Deer numbers are low, but antler quality is high, so plan to sit and glass for long periods.

The deer tags are easy to draw. With 10 percent of the tags in the region offered to non-residents you'll almost surely get a tag if you apply. However, there are no left-over tags because any left-over tags in the non-resident allocation are issued to residents. So you must apply for a tag by the early March deadline.

Tim has personally killed bucks to about 190 B&C and has seen some much bigger bucks, including one he hunted a couple of years ago in the 260 class. Tim seldom sees another hunter, by the way. He carries bulky, expensive 15x binoculars known for their high-resolution view. You must apply for mule deer tags by the end early March. Tim sometimes uses llamas to carry gear and meat. -- Rich LaRocco.

Click on photos to see larger images.

Hunt MD4560

Hunt, Hunter:Guide Ratio Price
5-day backpack hunt, 1x1 $6,000
5-day backpack hunt, 2x1 $4,000
5-day llama-aided backpack hunt, 1x1 $7,000
5-day llama-aided backpack hunt, 2x1 $5,000
Licenses Lodging/meals
You must apply for a tag in January. All non-residents who apply usually get tags, but left-over tags are immediately issued to residents, so you must apply in January. Click here for updated prices. This is run like a backpack sheep hunt -- you stay in a tent designed for backpacking, and you eat backpack meals.
Travel Terrain
Fly to Salt Lake City. The hunt provider shuttles you between the airport and the hunting area at no extra charge. Varies from lowland brush to high, rocky alpine terrain. Elevations are typically 6,500 to 9,000 feet.

Tim and I found about a dozen sheds during a day of scouting in July. Here are two antlers we found on one of the remote ridges.