Plan Your 2016 Big Game Hunt Now!

Big Game Hunt Plan

It’s time to plan your big game hunt, because hunting season will be here before you know it. Even if you are hunting with a guided outfitter, you will need to obtain the appropriate permits. Some game permits are very limited in number so it’s recommend you apply for your permit as early as possible. It doesn’t matter when you obtain your permit. You’ll be able to use it at any time during the game season so there’s no harm in getting your permit early.

And you’ll need to start early. Permit applications start being accepted in Wyoming and Utah in January with most deadlines coming up in March. That does not give you much time to choose which animal to pursue and which state to do it in.

Wyoming Permits

Wyoming permits must be applied for online here. Deadlines are midnight (MT) on the last day of permitting. The deadlines listed below are for non-residents.

  • Elk permits are available from January 1 – January 31.
  • Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, and Moose permits are available from January 1 – February 29.
  • Deer and Antelope permits are available from January 1 – May 31.
  • Wild Turkey permits are available January 1-31 for the spring hunt and from July 1-31 for the fall hunt.
  • Wild Bison permits are available February 1-29.

Utah Permits

In Utah, you’ll need a hunting permit for: bear, bighorn sheep, bison, bobcat, cougar, deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain goat, sage-grouse, sandhill crane, sharp-tailed grouse, swan, and turkey.

Most big game permits are subject to a drawing or lottery system. You’ll need to apply for your permits online here between January 28 – March 3, 2016 and then wait for the drawing to find out if you’ve successfully obtained a permit. Drawings will be held by May 27, 2016.

You can increase your chances of getting a permit by applying for bonus or preference points. Those must be applied for by March 17 for the 2016 season.

Utah also offers antlerless big game hunts to help manage herd size. Permit applications for these hunts must be made between May 26 and June 16. Visit the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources website in late May to see which permits are available.

Need Help? Contact R&K Hunting Company For Help

If you don’t have time to apply for a permit or don’t understand how to apply online, contact R&K Hunting Co. for help at 435-655-5484. We can help you prepare for your 2016 season by making sure you’ve got all the correct licenses and permits you need for a successful big game hunt.

Reporting Your Hunt: What’s Required?

Hunt Reporting

When it comes to harvesting and reporting your hunt, there can be some confusion as to what is mandatory and what is voluntary. The fact is that the requirements vary by species, and also by state. The best way to make sure you’re on the right side of the law is to work with an outfitter that provides guided hunts and who can educate you about reporting your hunt.

Reporting Your Hunt in Utah

In Utah, most reporting for big game is mandatory. Failing to properly report your hunt could affect your eligibility to obtain licenses and hunt the next season.

A complete list of reporting requirements can be found on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Big Game Reporting Requirements

  • General-season buck deer and bull elk – Reporting is Voluntary.
  • Bucks, bulls and bighorn sheep – reporting is Mandatory.
  • Antlerless deer, elk, moose and doe pronghorn – Reporting is Voluntary, but strongly encouraged.
  • All limited-entry, premium limited-entry, once-in-a-lifetime and CWMU permits – reporting is Mandatory. Even if you do not hunt or harvest an animal, you still must report within 30 days.

If you’re not working with an outfitter for a big game guided hunt, you can find the rest of the reporting requirements on the UDNR site. In general, most upland game, waterfowl and turkey are voluntary reporting; however, swans are mandatory. Most furbearers are also voluntary, but it is mandatory to deliver bobcat and marten pelts to a DWR representative. For successful hunters of black bears and cougars it is mandatory that you check in with a conservation office for permanent tagging within 48 hours of the kill.

Reporting Your Hunt in Wyoming

Reporting your hunt is NOT mandatory in Wyoming. The Wyoming Game & Fish Department sends Harvest Surveys out at the close of each season and strongly encourages all licensed hunters who receive a survey to complete the survey online.

For all harvested animals and meat, the tag instructions on the license must be followed, and the tag must be in the possession of the person accompanying the transportation of the animal or meat.

Big game hunting in Wyoming requires a species-specific license and Conservation Stamp, as well as permission to hunt in PLPW (Private Lands Public Wildlife) Hunter Management Areas (HMA). It is also important to note that all non-resident trophy and big game hunters must be accompanied by a licensed outfitter or guide when hunting in federally designated wilderness areas.

Hunt With a Licensed and Experienced Outfitter

Because of all of the requirements – both before and after the hunt – many novice hunters find it most helpful to hunt with a licensed and experienced outfitter like The R&K Hunting Company. We offer big game and trophy hunts in Wyoming and Utah and have access to several private hunting ranches for the ultimate hunting experience.

5 Cold Weather Hunting Tips

Cold Weather Hunting Tips

Some specific cold weather hunting tips can make winter hunting trips just as rewarding as warm weather ones; sometimes the results are even better. Your success will come down to preparation and understanding what aspects must be adjusted.

5 Tips to Help you Prepare for Cold Weather Hunts

  1. The Right Gear. Proper clothing is absolutely essential. You need to remain warm while waiting but still have enough freedom of movement to handle your bow or gun and track an animal. Layering is the key to staying warm in cold weather hunting. Start with an insulating base layer. Then add long underwear and, if it’s really frigid, a wool layer on top of that. Finally, top it all with your camo parka, hat, and insulated coveralls. Be sure to invest in good quality gloves or mittens. Wool mittens with flip-open fingertips are a great choice. These can be covered with a more insulating, thicker glove when you’re not shooting. Warm footwear is also essential when cold weather hunting. Liner socks, wool socks and thickly insulated, waterproof boots are a must.
  2. Stay Limber. To stay warm during cold weather hunting you need to keep the blood flowing; remaining motionless is the worst choice. Standing is better for you than sitting. Slowly bend and flex your joints and release muscles while you wait. You’ll generate warmth and keep your brain focused on the hunt, not the cold. If you’re bow hunting, stretch and hold the bow every 20-30 minutes to keep both you and the bow limber.
  3. Test Your Equipment. It’s much harder to shoot accurately with bulky gloves, face masks and thick coats. Practice shooting in full gear to get a feel for the bow or rifle so you can adjust your technique accordingly. Thermal heat pads can help keep your fingers warm while you wait.
  4. Eat and Hydrate. You burn more calories in cold weather hunting because your body is working harder to keep you warm. Pack high-energy snacks like jerky, nuts and dried fruits and take the time to eat them during your wait. Reward yourself during a long wait with a hot thermos of coffee, hot chocolate, or soup.
  5. Understand Your Limitations. You need to understand what your limitations are and respect them. Pushing yourself beyond your stamina or cold tolerance can lead to errors in judgment and poor shot placement. Identify your limits and develop strategies to cope with the cold, and know when to head back to basecamp.

Perseverance and Preparation Pay Off

Just because you’re geared up doesn’t mean it won’t be cold or you won’t be uncomfortable. Although cold weather hunting requires determination and perseverance, the payoff is a huge sense of accomplishment and results in possibly the shot of a lifetime.

What Hunting Licenses and Permits do You Need?

Hunting License

Hunting licenses and permits are needed even if you are hunting on private ranches. Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll need to hunt on the R&K Hunting Company’s ranches in Utah and Wyoming.

Utah Hunting Licenses and Permits

Utah requires all hunters to possess a Basic Hunting License or a Combination License in addition to a game permit. If you’re only hunting game, a Basic Hunting License will do. If you’re planning to hunt and fish at some point during the next year, get a Combination License. Both types of licenses are good for 365 days and are available to residents and non-residents.

Many of our ranches are in the Utah Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) program. This means you can obtain your tags for these hunts directly from us. We participate in the CWMU system for Mule Deer, Elk, and Moose. You will need a special CWMU resident or non-resident species-specific license to hunt in these areas.

  • Mule Deer. Utah has a guaranteed Mule Deer tag.
  • Elk. Most of our elk ranches are in the state’s CWMU system, but any that are not in the system are in open bull elk units. You can get a tag for these units if you book with us early.
  • Moose. Moose hunting tags are guaranteed on our CWMU ranches. Non-CWMU ranches require participating in a tag draw or purchase.
  • Pronghorn. There are a variety of pronghorn permits. The type you need will depend on whether or not you’re in a CWMU and if you are a resident of Utah or not. We have a limited number of guaranteed pronghorn tags available.

Wyoming Hunting Licenses and Permits

All hunters in Wyoming need either a resident or non-resident hunting license for the species you are hunting. You will also need to purchase a Conservation Stamp. If you plan to hunt with a bow, you’ll need to purchase an archery license in addition to your species-specific licenses, but a single archery license can be used across species.

All of the big game species we hunt in Wyoming are subject to a lottery or draw. You can boost your odds using the state’s preference point system, especially if you’re interested in Moose or Pronghorn. Mule Deer and Elk have high draw odds on our ranches.

Leave the Details to Us

Confused by the state licensing and permit requirements? Contact the R&K Hunting Company at 435-655-5484. We can tell you exactly which hunting licenses and permits you need for your hunt and in many cases, help you obtain them.

6 Tips For Bagging The Elusive Trophy Mule Deer

Trophy Mule Deer

Trophy mule deer are notoriously tricky to hunt, but they will likely be your most prized catch, if only for the hard work and thrill that went into bagging it. Although mule deer are common in the west and even stick to open fields and prairies, the old bucks are not found here. To bag a trophy mule deer, you’ll need to head to the backcountry where your physical and mental stamina will be tested.

Prepare yourself as best you can with these 6 tips from our guides.

6 Tips For Bagging A Trophy Mule Deer

  1. Bring your binoculars. Successful hunters spend a lot of time glassing. Use high-optic binoculars and a spotting scope to find the deer. Pay particular attention to shady spots – that’s where they are most likely bedded down.
  2. Be prepared to hike. It’s not uncommon for hunters to walk for hours or even days to find their quarry. You’ve got to be in good physical condition to stalk mule deer as you’ll be hunting in challenging terrain.
  3. Learn to shoot from afar. Chances are, you’ll need to take a long distance shot to bag your trophy mule deer. Invest in a high-quality spotting scope or rifle scope to make the job easier. To avoid scaring the deer off, get only as close as your effective range.
  4. Practice patience. Hunting a trophy mule deer will push your patience. Between hours of hiking, glassing, and stalking, you will need to dig deep to find the patience needed for the hunt. Even if you find one, you may have to wait for a good shot.
  5. Learn to recognize the signs. Once you’ve found a good scoping spot, don’t get hung up on looking for the entire deer. Instead, look for evidence of the deer – an ear twitch, a sliver of antler, the odd shadow. Zero in on these signs, and it will be much easier to spot the whole deer.
  6. Spot early. Mule deer are primarily nocturnal. Get set up to spot before dawn and watch for them to return to their bedding spots around mid-morning; they will likely stay there all day. Spend some time spotting several deer in the morning and then return to stalk them in the afternoon – if you miss your chance with one, you have a few more you can try for.

Book Your Trophy Mule Deer Hunt Today

The R&K Hunting Company offers guided mule deer hunting on our ranches in Utah and Wyoming. Visit our website or contact us to learn more about our trophy mule deer hunts in the Western U.S.

Support Ethical Hunting Clubs to Protect the Sport


Ethical Hunting

Ethical hunting clubs, hunters, and non-hunters alike have been in an uproar this summer after learning of the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The fact that Cecil was a popular tourist draw, a tagged lion, and was purposely lured out of a protected area and thus illegally killed has given the entire incident much more press than most big game hunts. In the Cecil case, the hunter, the guide, and the private landowner upon whose property the lion was shot are now facing legal charges.

Ethical Hunting is Everyone’s Responsibility

If the situation underscores one requirement for hunters, it is the need to adhere to local laws and hunting ethics. Every hunter is an ambassador for the sport; we have a responsibility to each other to always practice ethical and fair hunting practices in accordance with local game laws.

Many big game hunters turn to hunting clubs and guides to help them bag their desired animal. These clubs must be held to the same high standards as the hunters they guide. Which begs the question, how do you know that the hunting club you’re utilizing is ethical?

Identifying Ethical Hunting Clubs and Guide Services

To find out if the club you’re supporting is ethical or not, ask the questions that are important to you, as an ethical hunter yourself, but also be sure to ask the following:

  • Where will we be hunting? Ethical clubs have their own ranches or land or have agreements with private landowners to allow hunting.
  • Do you have guides? Guides will be familiar with the terrain, the herd, land boundaries, and local regulations.
  • Do you abide by the philosophy of “fair chase?” That means hunting the animal in their natural environment and hunting it in sporting ways. No luring the animals to you.
  • Can you help me obtain the necessary licenses and permits? An ethical club will insist you have the appropriate permitting before beginning a hunt. They may even offer to assist you through the application and permitting process.

Protect Yourself from Accusations of Unethical Hunting Practices

  • Make sure you have followed all of the permitting requirements for your hunt.
  • Aim for a clean and quick kill, not an injury. No pride can be found in wounding an animal and making it suffer needlessly.
  • Follow all game laws, including size and limits.
  • Respect the land upon which you are hunting.

Take the time to research ethical hunting clubs for your next hunt and reap the rewards of responsible hunting. Visit the R&K Hunting Club to learn more about our big game hunts in the Western U.S and our commitment to being one of the top ethical hunting clubs.

How the Right Hunting Lodge Can Change Your Trip

Hunting Lodge

Should you choose a hunting lodge for your next trip? While you may automatically assume a hunting trip goes hand-in-hand with tent camping or roughing it, a hunting lodge is an increasingly popular alternative that could change your trip for the better.

A Hunting Lodge Can Have Many Features

The first big question will be just how much you want to “rough it.” Let’s face it, hunting can be some hard work and by the end of the day, your legs may feel like they’re made of rubber or your back may be screaming from the pack you were carrying or even from having a rifle hanging off one shoulder for too long.

While you could be that guy who only needs a blanket on the ground and a rock for a pillow, nothing says this is how you have to spend your nights.

Many hunting lodges have thousands of square feet of comfortable living space with numerous bedrooms, meaning you may not have to share a room with that hunting buddy that snores like a chainsaw. Multiple bathrooms cut down the wait time during that morning rush or at the end of the day when you want to shower.

Amenities and Features

A comfortable bed feels wonderful at the end of a long day and a hot shower will be refreshing and prepare you for a new day in the field, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selecting a hunting lodge. If the hot shower doesn’t relieve your aches and pains, how about a hot tub instead? For entertainment outside of stalking a trophy, high end lodges may have large flat screen TV’s, satellite TV reception, air hockey, foosball and other amenities to help you relax and unwind. You can enjoy large barbeques, beautiful stone fireplaces or even a pool table. Some lodges even provide an onsite chef to prepare meals for you after a long day of hunting.

A Hunting Lodge is Ideal for a Family Getaway

While you may be planning a hunting trip alone or with a group of buddies, the fact remains that often times the only way you can get away is with your family. They may not have a problem with you being gone hunting during the day, but they may not be open to roughing it.

Lodges not only provide your family with all the comforts of home, but usually other activities as well. When you’re not hunting, many hunting lodge properties also feature fishing ponds or streams that provide a nice way to spend time connecting with your family. Some hunting lodges also arrange horseback riding or ATV riding, although your family might be just as content relaxing by the fire pit or rocking on large porches while catching up on the day’s activities. If the kids have are unhappy about the notion of a week without internet access, you will be pleased by the number of hunting lodges that provide WiFi. Some lodges will even handle your transportation from the airport, saving you from needing to rent a car and fight traffic.

If you’re ready to explore everything a hunting lodge can offer for your next hunting trip, contact The R & K Hunting Company. We have hunting lodges and camps ranging from walled tents to luxurious lodges with all the amenities you could want.

Choosing the Right Boots for Your Hunting Trip

Hunting Boots

The right boots can have a big impact on your hunting trip. The wrong choice can leave you cold, wet or with blisters that can keep you from enjoying the hunt. Be sure not to overlook boots when shopping for gear for your hunting trip.

What are You Using Them for?

One factor that will determine the boot you need is whether your hunt will be a sedentary hunt or an active one. If your hunt is going to be active, features like specialty footbeds or Vibram soles may be worth considering. Additionally, the more walking you’re going to do, the more abuse your boots will have to endure, so durable materials should factor in as well.

While a bow hunter may need a more flexible boot that maximizes ground contact for a quiet stalk, a gun hunter in mountainous terrain and might need a flexible forefront. Another factor in some locations may be the need for a snake boot.

What Material Should You Choose?

Leather and nylon are the most common materials for hunting boots. Premium leathers and abrasion-resistant Cordura nylon are usually the best choices for long term durability. The time of year and location will dictate your choices as far as insulation and waterproofing.

If your hunt is in early season, you might consider an uninsulated boot or perhaps up to 200 gram insulation. If the area or weather will be wet, then waterproofing technology like Gore-tex or Dry-Plus is a good idea; don’t forget to consider all types of moisture, including rain, snow and early-morning dew. If your hunt is in an arid environment, a boot with a breathable material that helps wick away moisture will keep you more comfortable.

Midseason hunts will find the temperature going down, so boots in the 400-gram to 800-gram insulation range are a better choice. A midseason boot can also be a good choice for sedentary early-season hunts in northern regions or at high altitudes. They can keep you warm in the early, colder temperatures, but not be too hot later in the day.

When it comes to late season hunts, 800- to 1,200-gram insulation is a good range for spot-and-stalk hunts, while 1,000-gram levels and higher are best for snow and sedentary hunts. If you’re going to spend your day in a stand or blind, more insulation will suit you better.

Getting the Right Fit

Always try on your boots while wearing the actual socks you plan to wear during the hunt. Thickness and sock material is only one issue to be gauged. Location of seams is an often overlooked factor that many people don’t realize the importance of until they’re in the field and uncomfortable. That’s why just guessing with a similar sock isn’t advisable.

Look for a snug fit all the way around and no slippage around the ankles. Allow for a little room for your feet to expand if you plan on an active hunt.

Once you’ve got the right boots and other necessary gear, contact R & K Hunting Company to book a guided hunting trip today.

Hunting Trips and the Importance of Hydration

Hunting Hydration

Nothing takes the enjoyment out of hunting trips faster than an injury. To avoid that, seasoned hunters practice safe handling of their firearms and knives, and learn about the animal’s habits and habitats in order to stay safe. However, one of the most common threats to your safety – dehydration – is also one of the most preventable.

Dehydration can Happen Regardless of Temperature

When you think of dehydration, you think of being in high heat or out in a desert somewhere. While high heat does increase the likelihood of dehydration, you can become dehydrated in most any climate.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is simply your body using more water than it’s taking in. Improper hydration can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, decreases in strength and endurance, fainting and even more serious conditions like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. None of those contribute to an enjoyable hunting trip.

Even in cooler climates, you can become dehydrated if you’re physically active, such as when tracking game, hiking to your camp, or maybe dragging game back after a successful hunting trip. Your clothing can also contribute to dehydration. The heavier clothing you’re comfortable with while you are sitting in a tree stand may now be too warm to you while dragging your trophy back to the camp.

Warning Signs of Dehydration

The first warning sign that you’ll likely experience is the simplest one. If you feel thirsty, drink some water. The best approach is to drink on a regular basis, whether you feel thirsty or not. The fact of the matter is that if you feel thirsty, you’re already beginning to dehydrate. Throw the old wisdom that “you should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day” out the window. That is fine for a sedentary person sitting indoors. An active person should be consuming about a gallon to a gallon and a half of water a day. You lose about 4 cups of water per hour during exercise in a moderate climate.

Other common signs include fatigue, irritability, dry mouth, headache and strong smelling, dark colored urine.

Getting Rehydrated

Popular sports drinks may replace electrolytes better than water, but plain water is still king when it comes to staying hydrated. If your periods of heightened physical activity are less than 1 hour at a time, skip the sports drink and stick with water. As a side note, beer (and other alcoholic beverages) will not “quench your thirst.” Alcohol is a diuretic and it eventually makes dehydration more likely.

If you find yourself exhibiting signs of heat injuries, start with cool or room temperature water. The stomach handles that better than ice cold water. Some sports drinks are ok but fruit juices or sodas with more than 8% carbohydrates are not recommended because it is not absorbed as rapidly by the body.

The professionals at R&K Hunting Company can give you more tips to make your hunting trips enjoyable, safe and successful.

The Benefit of Hunting Trips on Private Ranches

Private Ranch Hunt

A private ranch or hunting preserve is often the preferred locale for novice and avid outdoorsmen alike. With the outfitters who own or manage the property taking charge of many of the arrangements for the trip, hunters of every experience level can have the hunting trip of a lifetime.

Why a Hunting Preserve is a Great Destination for Hunting Trips

Those who book their trips through hunting outfitters gain several advantages:

  • The trip is inclusive of most costs. Aside from travel costs, the fees for the trip usually covers transportation to and from the airport, meals, lodging, the services of an experienced private hunting guide, great fishing and other recreational opportunities, and amenities to suit your style. The cost of your credentials is not included in the price of the hunt package, but you are covered for everything else. You choose the type of accommodations you want, from tents to resort-like lodges.
  • Your likelihood of bagging an elk, trophy mule deer, moose, or antelope is excellent. Hunting lodges of this type assure that visitors get their money’s worth while the wildlife on the property is correctly managed to meet supply for healthy, mature animals without depleting the herds. The number of hunters booked corresponds to the available wildlife.
  • Your hunt respects the environment. Most companies who run ranches are members of the Boone & Crockett Club, a well-respected body of sportsmen dedicated to preserving wildlife throughout North America, and are committed to preserving a culture of conservation, both in the way they operate and in the code of conduct they expect from their guests. Hunters must follow the Fair Chase Policy, which does not give them an unfair advantage over the animals.

How Hunting Outfitters Help You

The outfitter helps get you “legal.” They apply for state licenses and for tags required for each big game animal harvested. For some types of animals, the states hold a lottery to determine who will be issued tags. While the trips are booked with non-returnable deposits, the hunter does get a refund if the state does not issue a tag.

You have access to expert advice. Whether you need advice about what to bring on the trip, the type of weaponry to buy, the terrain in the local area, or the best way to hunt, the guides and other hunting outfitter personnel are available to answer questions and talk to in the time leading up to the hunting trip. For trips with professional guides, you will have access to a pro around the clock during your trip, offering expert advice, hands-on experience and invaluable lessons you can take with you on future hunts.

When you are looking for hunting outfitters that offer one-of-a-kind hunting trips that sportsmen book again and again, choose R&K Hunting Company for your next adventure