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jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 825
My First Wyoming Hunting Trip

I wanted to put this in the Photos and Stories section, but it looks like we can't do that anymore. If so, the pictures would have been in the appropriate places. I'll try to put them in order they would appear, and you'll have to try to match them to the story. Here is the story:
My first hunting trip to a western state – what a blast! Words and pictures can only begin to describe everything that we experienced. The sights, sounds, and even the smells were much different from what we who live east of the Mississippi are used to.
We travelled from southeastern Michigan in a caravan of three 5th wheel rigs. Our party consisted of my wife, Cynthia and I, my good friend Steve and his wife, Donna, one of Steve’s former workmates, Barry and his friend, Jim. On the third day we were also joined by Steve’s nephew, Len and his good friend, Steve, both of whom would be sleeping in a tent. Since we now had two men named Steve, one became “Steve” and the other was “Uncle Steve”. This became very important when we were communicating by two-way radios while hunting.
We spent the first two nights on the road, stopping at a rest area in Iowa and then at Cabela’s in Sidney, Nebraska. Sometime during that second night is when Len and Steve caught up with us, having left Michigan after work at noon and driving straight through.
We arrived at our campsite around 3 pm on the third day, having driven just over 1500 miles. What a beautiful spot! The area was quite sloping, but open enough for us to position our trailers so that everyone had a good view out over the sweeping vista to Wyoming’s famous Red Wall – so named because of it’s shape and color. This is the “wall” of the storied “Hole in the Wall” where outlaws of yesteryear found a safe haven from would-be pursuers.
We had two days before the season opened, so we spent them riding in Uncle Steve’s truck to several different areas where we would be hunting. He has been out there many times since 1994, so he was very familiar with the area, as well as the “roads” (very rocky and rough two-tracks) that provided access back into the interior. This was all BLM land, with some of it having been leased to cattle ranchers for grazing their livestock. There were several fences that divided the individual leases, but they had gates that we could go through, being sure to close them behind us. We didn’t see any cattle there, so I believe they had all been moved to their winter grounds already, but we closed the gates all the same.
The area was a mixture of three basic types of terrain: open, rolling grassland, where we frequently saw antelope; draws that led into the canyons with patches of Mountain Mahogany - a favorite food for the Mule Deer; and various-sized canyons. There were also mixed pine trees that grew along the edges of the steeper terrain, and especially on the higher ridges and peaks.
The season was seven days long, with both Mule Deer and Antelope being legal game. Here is a rundown of each day’s hunting activity. Individual tales may appear as separate stories in the Photos and Stories section of this forum.
Day 1 – Steve took a 10” antelope at 190 yards fairly early in the day. He had thought that he would wait until we all had a Mule Deer, but when this opportunity presented itself, he changed his plans. During the week we saw many other antelope bucks, with several being much larger than this. On this day I learned that between the higher elevation (7500 ft.) and the strong winds, I was definitely out of shape, despite my having spent considerable time on a treadmill and doing leg-building exercises for the past couple of months!
Day 2 – We were greeted by a thick fog that delayed our start for over an hour. We usually left our camp before daylight so we could travel the 2 to 8 miles back to our hunting grounds just as it was getting light. With the heavy fog and wet rocks on the sometimes treacherous “roads”, we decided to wait until it was at least fully light. As we were driving back into the area we wanted to hunt, Len and Steve in the truck ahead of us spotted a buck walking on top of a ridge and called to us by radio. We couldn’t see it through the fog, but Len moved the truck ahead about 50 yards and got out. Leaning against the truck, he aimed and shot the nice, chocolate racked buck at only about 75 yards. This was his first Mule Deer.
Day 3 – We spent this day walking through many hundreds of acres of Mountain Mahogany hoping to push out a decent buck. Several does, spikes and small forkhorns were seen, but nothing that anyone wanted to take. Barry, hunting in another area with Jim, shot a 3x4 close to dark, but lost the blood trail in a draw heading into a canyon. It was decided to leave it alone and come back to pick up the trail the following day.
Day 4 – Some of us were running low on water for our trailers, and we were using up a lot of truck fuel driving back to the hunting grounds – a trip that took up to 1½ hours creeping over the rocky roads – so my wife and I volunteered to make the 70-mile trip into town for supplies. I also picked up a leftover doe/fawn antelope license while there. While we were gone, the rest of the group tracked Barry’s deer into the canyon and found it. It was so far in, and the canyon was so steep, that they had to cut it in two and pack it out on packframes. After returning from town in the late afternoon, I took a nice 3x4 buck in the head of the canyon near our campsite. That was my first Mule Deer.
Day 5 – While driving through an area where we often saw antelope, we spotted a group of them that were 500 yards away. We moved ahead and the distance closed to 330 yards where I decided to give it a try. I picked out a fat doe and dropped her with one shot.
While walking to retrieve it, several deer busted out of a shallow draw, and Uncle Steve shot a forkhorn.
Day 6 – While Barry and Jim were off trying to fill Jim’s tag, the rest of us spent the day trying to move a deer past Steve. We covered many miles, but didn’t find a buck for him to shoot until on our way back to camp. He got a couple of shots at one running, but didn’t get it.
Day 7 – Barry and Jim decided to hunt the morning, and Jim finally got a small forkie.
The rest of us worked at cutting up our animals and putting the meat in our freezers and coolers for the 3-day trip back to Michigan.
It was a great trip for everyone. We all got at least one animal, and I got two. On the way home, plans were already being made to return as soon as we could. In our case, it wouldn’t be until 2013, but that’s another story!

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elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
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Huge Congrats !

jaybe,

A huge congrats on your first trip out west and having a amazing hunt ! Thumbs up Congrats all the way around and thanks for sharing the wonderful story and pics !

Quinton

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4206
It is always nice as the

It is always nice as the application period for western states to start to read such a successful hunting trip.  Yes, when you get up in elevation you really realize just what a lot of us that live out here mean when we tell lowlanders to take it easy and get into real shape, but even thoes of us that live at 6500' elevation suck wind quite often when we are after these animals. 

Congradulations on the great hunting trip along with a great story.  Now you'll need to think about a elk hunt.

BoneCollector's picture
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Location: Ohio woods
Joined: 02/01/2011
Posts: 293
congrats

Nice story! Congrats.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5792
Very nice! That's a great

Very nice! That's a great read, and congrats!

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