Steve's First Mule Deer
It was the first year that Steve had ventured out to central Wyoming to hunt mule deer. He had gone at the invitation of Dale, a fellow worker from General Motors in Flint, Michigan. They headed out from their Great Lakes State home in time to arrive two days before the October 15 opener of the deer season. This gave them the rest of that day to get their trailer camp set up and the next day to do some scouting.
When opening day arrived, they got up well before dawn so that they could drive the 7 or 8 miles to the spot where they wanted to hunt. Because of the rugged terrain, this short distance took almost 2 hours. Steve said that they put the truck in 4-wheel low when they got there, and never took it out until they hit the pavement on the way back home.
It was Dale’s custom to only take a deer that was 4x4 or better, and he encouraged Steve to hold off for at least a few days on anything less. As they hunted the many canyons and draws that dotted the area, they saw quite a few does and several smaller bucks during the first three days, and Steve was sorely tempted to shoot one of them. But Dale promised him that he’d see more, and he might very well see a good-sized buck with a nice rack.
Day four saw a storm moving into the area. The temperature was dropping all day, and as they were down in a canyon it began to snow. The further they went, the more it snowed. By the time they got back out of the canyon. There were 4 inches of snow on the ground. The weather must have sent the deer into hiding, because they didn’t see a thing that day of the storm.
The varied terrain of this beautiful hunting area several days after the storm.
It was now October 19, the 5th day of the season. Steve was starting to think that he had missed his chance to get a buck. So as they once again began to work their way through a canyon, Steve decided that if he saw another buck, he would take it. They were moving along the sides of the canyon, one on each side, with about 80 yards separating them as the crow flies, but much further if one were to go to the bottom and back up the other side. There were many draws that came into this canyon, so as they moved along, they would occasionally have to travel downward to get around the “mouth” of the deep draw before heading back up on the canyon side.
It was the third draw they had come to, and as Steve approached the edge of it, he carefully peeked around the corner so he could see up the draw. With his binoculars, he spotted 4 deer about 140 yards away, 3 does and a buck. He couldn’t tell exactly how big it’s antlers were, but he was ready to shoot a buck. He signaled to Dale that he was going to shoot, so he stopped to watch the action through his binoculars. Steve found the deer in the scope of his .30-06 and pressed the trigger. At the shot, the deer jumped into the air and went down. The does all started running off, and it was then that they saw another buck with at least 3 points on a side making his escape as well.
Dale came across to Steve’s side of the canyon and they both worked their way up the draw to find that after the buck had fallen, it slid down into some thick mahogany. It took them over 1 ½ hours to get the deer up out of the draw to a spot where they could drive the truck to retrieve it. They then walked the 1.5 miles back to the truck, drove back to where the deer lay and put it in the truck.
It wasn’t a 4x4, but Steve was happy. He had his first mule deer from his first “out west” hunt. This would be just the first of many more times that he would pull a 5th wheel camper across many miles to enjoy pursuing these wonderful animals of the western U.S.
This was taken after they returned to their camp after dark.