As my fourth option, I drew a buck tag for gmu 18, 28, 37, and 371. I've never hunted in this area, so we did a little scouting in the two weeks leading up to the second season.
First we took the county road 21 off of highway 125 north of Hot Sulphur Springs. This road is a bit rough, and there seemed to be a lot of people around. Not sure how this area around Elk Mountain is to hunt, because we never hunted it during the season, but I'm guessing the deer hunting is best around the radio towers.
The next weekend we scouted the area around Meadow Creek Reservoir. We met a game warden on Road 8, and he said he had seen 200 head of deer that day. This got me excited so decided to hunt here there opening day the next weekend.
Opening day I decided to hunt behind Meadow Creek Reservoir. It had snowed the day before, so it was perfect conditions. In fact I almost got my Nissan Frontier stuck just off the road because the snow was so deep. I found a good trail, but it was cold and with the snow Shelz didn't want to continue. She didn't have tall enough boots. I found many sets of deer track and what turned out to be moose track. Finally saw three moose! Very cool.
That afternoon I hunted Strawberry Road. It seemed that the deer would be lower than all the snow and Shelz could go with me. We took the right spur and found a mountain bike trail at the top of the road. We hiked this road but didn't see any deer. On the way out, a warden had a check point set up. He said only three deer had come out of this area today, and only one out of Corona Pass Road.
On Sunday we went back up Strawberry Road and took the left and longer road. We found a great spot and we hiked out across great looking deer country. Again on a mountain bike trail and again no deer. So we decided to hunt Corona Pass in the afternoon. It started snowing but we hunted a spot where a fellow hunter said he saw a buck. Instead we saw three moose! A mother and two young bulls. The one bull was a year older than the other and we watched them sparring and playing a bit. The area looks like good deer and elk country, but the only deer we saw was a buck that some boys from Kansas had harvested at the start of the road.
All in all, the beetle kill is causing an affect on the deer population I believe. This is also very high country, so maybe not the best in general for deer.