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Author Topic: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt  (Read 3951 times)

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2020, 10:54:05 AM »
With 7 deer points going in to the 2019 draw, I took a gamble and applied for the regular deer draw and not the special. Early in the year I began a new fitness program designed to make me a better hunter. I've been a gym rat since my late teens, however most of my work was weight lifting. My aerobic fitness was not that great and I wanted to burn some excess body fat. All year long I trained hard doing weight lifting sessions, 2-4 hikes a week with
 a moderately heavy pack, and a good deal of HIIT workouts. I wanted to be in the best shape possible for the hunt and I was doing just that. Another challenge that I faced was that backcountry hunting was something new to me. I've spent plenty of time in the backcountry hunting and hiking, but always just day trips. I realized that I needed to invest in backcountry gear also. I spent most of the year slowly accumulating all the gear I would need.

Soon enough it was June and Wyoming published the draw results. I had drawn G with my 7 points. I breathed a sigh of relief as I looked at the draw odds. If I remember right about 34% of non-residents with 7 points failed to draw the tag! Talking with others I know how have hunted the same region before, one use to be able to draw with just 1 or 2 points. Gotta love point creep and tag demand out west.  :yike: I kicked my training up even higher over the summer. Late in July I wanted to test myself in a real backcountry adventure. I loaded up everything I would need for my deer hunt and packed 5 miles into the GPW for a 3 day trip. It was 4k of elevation gain and I felt I handled it pretty well. The next 2 days was a bit frustrating as I spent a lot of time glassing and seeing just a handful of deer. I couldn't help but wish I was already in the Wyoming highcountry at that moment. I know what awaited me there was a heck of a lot better than anything that can be found in Washingtons highcountry areas. The countdown to Wyoming was on! 
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline 2MANY

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2020, 11:24:09 AM »
Trekking poles!!!??

You had to bring trekking poles into this already...??

Oh my.

Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2020, 12:55:44 PM »
Good stuff keep it coming!
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2020, 06:36:03 PM »
Even after working out hard all year long, I realized my diet also needed improved. I scaled way back on the carbs and ate a lot more clean starting in August. This helped me shed about another 12 pounds before I left for the hunt. In mid August I wanted to test myself again, so this time I packed up and went on a bear hunt in the ALW. I went in 7 miles on trail and another 2 off to get to a ridge that I found on Google earth that afforded views of three different drainages. This time I tested out a few new ideas to save weight like taking a tarp shelter setup over the tent and using all stoveless food. It was a grind getting in there with 5500 feet of elevation gain to get to my ridge. However I had no sooner sat down where I wanted to camp when something caught my eye. A quick glass revealed a small bear feeding on an open hillside about a mile away. Completely exhausted I elected to set up my camp and relax for the rest of the day instead of chasing the bear. To my surprise I spotted 3 more bears that evening. All 4 of them were hanging right in the same area. I was worn down, but excited to get after it in the morning.

The wind screamed on that ridge all night. After a long noisy night without much fitful sleep, it finally grew dawn and I was ready to spend some time glassing. I immediately spotted the same small bear. Within an hour I spotted 5 more working the same area. I fueled myself up with food and began my approach. The distance of a little over a mile ended up being some of hardest terrain I've ever been in. I crossed 5 or 6 boulder fields and made quite the discovery at one point. There was a whole mule deer skeleton stuck in a crevice between two truck size boulders. I've seen pictures in magazines of stuff like that before but never thought I'd run into anything like that myself. After navigating all the boulder fields, I then had to pick my way across a half mile section of steep hillside with chest high wildflowers. It was surprisingly difficult getting through them. I couldn't make it 10 yards without tripping and slipping all over the map. Finally I make it to a knob I had marked after what took me about 6 times longer than I thought it would have to cut that distance. Its nearly noon by this point and I peak over the knob. Aha, perfect, good size bear feeding 200 yards away.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline 2MANY

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2020, 05:24:23 AM »
Sweet stuff.
Nothing beats the high country.

Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2020, 07:38:16 AM »
I am enjoying this so far  :tup:

Online jstone

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2020, 08:37:41 AM »
Great so far

Offline Alchase

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2020, 08:51:52 AM »
Trekking poles!!!??

You had to bring trekking poles into this already...??

Oh my.

Those are "incognito Shooting Sticks" to everyone but the "uninformed"

 :hello:
Only 2 defining forces sacrificed themselves for you:
The American Soldier and Jesus Christ. One died for your freedom, the other for your soul.

My rock,
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.
Psalm 144.1

Offline 2MANY

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2020, 09:50:02 AM »
I thought they were rain fly poles and trail aerators.

Offline ELKBURGER

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2020, 10:13:02 AM »
Tagging.....

Online whacker1

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2020, 10:19:57 AM »
tagging

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2020, 10:55:14 AM »
As soon as I saw the bear, I decided to try to take him. Generally I'll take what I can find when it comes to bears. Any bear is a good bear to me as long as its at least around 150 pounds. This one was mid size, I guessed him to be about 250 pounds. That was more than big enough for my liking at nearly 11 miles back at this point. I struggled to get set up for a shot. I was in a sea of chest high wildflowers and could not go prone for a shot. Not sure what to do, I elected to sneak down the hill a little closer in search of more open ground. I had no more than took 5 steps and slipped on the slick mountain heather and slid uncontrollably over 100 yards down the slope. When I finally stopped and collected myself I was dang near right on top of the bear and somehow he hadn't seen or heard me. Still on my back from the slide, I slipped into a sitting position for what was now only about a 80 yard shot. Too late! In an instant he caught my wind, looked up, and scrambled off into a thick patch of jack pines. I climbed back up the slope a ways and got onto another knob, this one right in the center of where all the bears had been hanging out.

I pulled out some lunch and got situated for an afternoon sit. Only about 20 minutes later I spot 2 more bears, a chocolate and a black, both good size. Still tired from the hike over there, I watched them feed for about an hour, while considering a plan of action. The chocolate was about a quarter mile away and in a good spot to make a stalk on. The black was 500 yards below him feeding in a creek bed. I made my way over to the chocolate and got to 180 yards. I debated moving one knob closer to him that would have set me up for a chip shot, but decided against it after the first bear caught my wind at close distance. It really is amazing how tricky it can be to set up for a shot in the backcountry. After being impeded by tall wildflowers on the first bear, I now faced the challenge of trying to get steady on a steep downward slope. I got my spotter on him and starting recording through the phone skope. After quite a bit of adjusting I finally got into the best position I could muster. It was so steep I had my ankles wrapped around a sapling and my elbows buried in the dirt just to avoid sliding down the hill. I waited for a good shot and touched one off. He whirled out of a little stream he had been standing chest deep in and dashed off into some big timber. It was now 2 in the afternoon. I moved to a flatter spot and settled in to give him plenty of time before starting to track him.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline Onewhohikes

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2020, 06:26:01 AM »
Yea that's a popular area for hikers and peak baggers. Glad you were able to at least see some bears there.

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2020, 10:17:46 AM »
While I was waiting, I decided to check out the video I had took and ran it in slow motion. To my disappointment, I discovered that my shot had gone just high. As disappointed as I was, I'm glad I had recorded the shot. I thought for sure I had drilled him, and probably would have spent a long fruitless search if I didn't have the phone skope footage. With time still left in the day, I hiked a ways up to a stream and filtered some more water and made my way back up to a vantage knob. I spotted 2 more bears later in the evening. One only showed for a couple minutes a good ways out of range. The other was a small black that popped out of the jack pines just below me. Before I could get the crosshairs lined up he popped back into the jack pines and didn't come back out that evening.

That first day was the biggest highlight of the trip. The next 2 days I didn't see any deer or bear. I packed up camp and made the long descent out. Next stop Wyoming!
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline 2MANY

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2020, 11:31:03 AM »
Looks like you grazed the top of his head??

 


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