They didn't look like bow hunters as they proffered testimony and zealously argued before a 3rd District Judge Thursday. No beards. No flannel. No camouflage.

Rather, they looked a lot like lawyers, which makes sense, because they are.But even with their experience in litigation, L. Grant Foster and his brother, Brett, missed the bullseye Thursday as a 3rd District Court judge shot down their request to hunt on 4,300 acres of publicly owned land in the middle of a privately held hunting unit in southern Utah.

The Fosters, avid lifetime hunters and Salt Lake intellectual property attorneys, appeared before Judge William Thorne pleading for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order that would have prevented private landowners from saying "keep out" of public lands inside the Alton posted hunting unit in Kane County.

Utah statute defines posted hunting units as contiguous areas of private land open for hunting game by permit, issued by the division.

The brothers maintained hunting the more than 4,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property inside the Alton unit would be "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt the crown jewel," an area known among sportsmen for record-setting mule-deer bucks.

But Thorne found the Fosters would not suffer irreparable harm, a condition necessary for the injunction motion, because they would be able to hunt the Alton area in other years with the chance of harvesting their trophy.

"Although there is a genuine and sincerely held belief that they `hit the lottery' and the hunt of their dreams here, this hunt could be had for $6,000 or $8,000 later on. This is not irreparable harm," Thorne decided.

Following Thorne's finding, the Fosters said they weren't upset with the ruling because they wanted to bring attention to the way the Division of Wildlife Resources restricts public access to federally held lands like the 4,300 acres in question.

"The general public will look at this and agree with us," Brett Foster said following the hearing. "We see it as a victory because we got the judge to recognize there are substantial questions."

Even Assistant Attorney General Norman Johnson, who represented the Divison of Wildlife Resources and its board, conceded policies regarding publicly held lands inside 19 of the 55 posted hunting units need to be reviewed.

But that didn't do much for the Fosters' enthusiasm about the hunt, as Grant Foster said the brothers were "high-fiving each other in the office" when they drew permits out of the state lottery to hunt the coveted area known as the Paunsaugunt limted-entry unit in Kane and Garfield Counties.

"We're serious about this sport," Grant Foster added. "We're like what fly-fishermen are to fishing. We have integrity, and we're ethical hunters."

The large parcel of public land is adjacent to the Alton area within the 700,000-acre Paunsaugunt unit. The brothers said they discovered it preparing for their lottery archery hunt when they went over topographic maps of their designated area with Lynn Hunt, a local guide.

Hunt, a longtime resident of Kanab, testified he couldn't believe the area was public as he pointed out that significant tracts of public areas fell within the private Alton unit.

"I just assumed it was unavailable land and no idea the area was actually public," Hunt said. Also, he said he has tried to get a boundary of the Alton unit from the division, but was told the information was classified and not available.

Now, the Fosters could ask the Utah Supreme Court for a review of the ruling before the start of the Paunsaugunt bow hunt Saturday. But Grant Foster said the immediate appeal might be more of a challenge that they'd like to take right now.