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Author Topic: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt  (Read 3860 times)

Offline Onewhohikes

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2020, 11:32:40 AM »
Parting a few hairs there!!

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2020, 02:24:24 PM »
Its mid August at this point. I have all my new backcountry gear tested and ready for action. I've created gear lists, weight lists, and have detailed hunt plans and backup plans. Despite my best efforts to cut as much weight as possible my pack weight is hovering between 50-60 pounds based on a 5 day hunt. But its the best I could do in my first real year of backcountry hunting. I've trained with heavy packs all year and felt ready for the challenge. I found one of the most tedious parts of backcountry planning was food prep. I spent most of the summer tweaking and re-tweaking my meal plans. By the time the hunt actually came around I had nearly a whole months supply of backcountry food neatly organized. Gear wise, food wise, and fitness level, I was dialed in and ready.

My plan since the scouting trip had always been to climb into and hunt the basin I had seen the 27 bucks in the year prior. Hardly a day went by I didn't daydream about that basin. I spent countless hours studying every detail of it over google earth, topo maps, Onx, and more. I had my camping spot picked out, backup camp spots, glassing points, stalking routes, and so much more. I printed out color satellite images from multiple orientations and view angles. And that was just for that basin. I did the same thing for about 8 possible different backup plans.
And finally it was September. With an older truck nearing the end of its long distance trip lifespan and a 14 hour drive to the unit, I elected not to do any summer scouting trips, but instead arrive several days early and hope to find a shooter to sit on. The opener fell on a Sunday in 2019. I left WA on Monday night and arrived in Wyoming early Tuesday morning to the sight of a fresh snow covered highcountry.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2020, 09:49:45 AM »
On that first day I mostly hung around the trailhead and did some short hikes, glassing up into the high country. The trailhead elevation alone was around 7600 feet, which is already 6400 feet higher than where I live. I would be hunting between 9500-10500 feet, so I was doing my best to acclimatize and super hydrate myself. There was the slightest skiff of snow down around the trailhead area and what I guessed was 4-6 inches up high. Over the course of the day it warmed quite a bit and the snowline receded quickly. I spotted a few bucks from long distance that day up in my basin and a few other areas. Nothing that got my attention though. That evening I made final preparations to my pack. I was going to be hiking in with all my gear except my rifle the next morning. My plan was to get everything in there and scout the next 4 days, trying to find some shooters. I would then hike back out the day before the season, grab my rifle and some extra food and water.

At dawn the next morning I ate a quick breakfast and made my way up and into the basin. It was a bit of a grind for about an hour as the cross country route I took ended me up in the thick, nasty creek bottom. Eventually I popped out and was able to navigate my way a bit easier on game trails. As I made my way up I noted a ton of fresh elk sign. Several bulls were welcoming me with a chorus of bugles as I kept chugging upward. I was pleasantly surprised when I made it to my destination in under 2 hours. It was over 4 miles and 1800 feet of gain and I made it there much quicker than I anticipated. I set up camp, hung my food, and was off searching for a good glassing spot. I spent all afternoon glassing and turned up 7 bucks. None of them were what I was looking for. The elk really put on a show too. It was constant bugling from 5-6 bulls around the basin all day long. I have yet to hunt elk in Wyoming, but I know where to go when it comes time for that! Around 4 pm a herd of around 70 elk feed out across the canyon. There were 4 satellites and one really nice 7 point bull. I got so distracted watching them I barely remembered I was hunting for deer! 4 other bulls ended up showing themselves around the basin later that evening, all of them good solid 6 points. As the day drew to a close I was hopeful for what he morning would bring. The snow was completely gone by now and the basin was back to its stunning hue of green and red colors. I crawled off to bed excited to see what bucks I could spot in the morning. Sleep came difficult that night. Excitement, nervousness, and what sounded like half the country's elk population bugling their brains out made for a tough time getting any real sleep.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2020, 09:51:41 AM »
If anyone knows how to fix the photos to post regular and not sideways, go for it.  :hello:
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline MooseZ25

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2020, 10:18:37 AM »
I drew a Region H tag this year and will be headed to Alpine next weekend for my first scouting trip.  I have a buddy who lives in this area so I have a good start.  I too am concerned about my physical abilities and have been doing hikes 3-5 times a week.  The plan is 8-9 miles to camp.  This is a great post for me,  Thanks
Live Every Day To The Fullest

Offline jjhunter

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2020, 10:24:10 AM »
I prefer to hunt the deer that motivated folks walk by.   :chuckle:


Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2020, 11:18:30 AM »
This is a fun one, tagging along!

Offline 2MANY

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2020, 11:25:10 AM »
Actually it is a very accurate statement anymore in that sector.

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2020, 01:22:01 PM »
I prefer to hunt the deer that motivated folks walk by.   :chuckle:

With the obsession of most hunters to go as high as possible, I think a lot of nice bucks in the mid elevations get overlooked. I seen a 170 class buck right from the Greys river road the year before the hunt. He was feeding mid day just a few hundred yards off the road around 7400 feet elevation.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline CaNINE

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2020, 10:23:10 AM »
On my way to Alpine for 2 weeks....following along.
The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

Proverbs 12:27

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2020, 11:41:08 AM »
It's been over 24 hours man, we want more!

Offline RightPlace-RightTime

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2020, 08:19:40 PM »
Tag

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2020, 09:29:03 AM »
The excitement I had carried for over a year to hunt that basin faded to disappointment over the next few days. There were only 10 bucks in the whole basin, none of them anywhere close to being a shooter. The best buck in the entire basin was maybe a 140 class 4 point at best. For three days I kept glassing the same bucks over and over again. I was pretty surprised I was not seeing more bucks in there, based on what I had seen the previous year. They were also not hanging out in their normal bachelor herds. The biggest group of bucks was 4, the biggest buck in that bunch just a 3x4 still in velvet. Then there was a group of 2 hanging together, and the other 4 bucks were all hanging solo. The previous year I had seen 4 good size bachelor herds up in there, as well as some smaller groups and singles. And again, that was from a low vantage point that only gave glimpses into about 30-40% of the whole basin.

Meanwhile the elk just kept going about their business in full rut. At that point, part of me wished I was bowhunting for elk in there. The big 7 point and his harem were extremely predictable after watching them for 3 days, and there were satellite and challenger bulls running around everywhere. There was one evening where I saw some 11 bulls out and about, all of them screaming.

I did get to see some pretty cool feats of nature while in there. One of the bucks closest to me was a small 4 point still in full velvet. On the second day I watched him thrash a tree for 2 hours and shred off every last bit of his velvet. His antlers were blood red for the rest of the day, but by the next day had dried and looked like normal hard horn antlers. I also seen a big black bear display some interesting behavior that could have had something to do with fewer bucks being in the basin. He popped out mid day on the third day and was frantically running around over the exact route one of the solo bucks had taken that morning. He almost appeared to be tracking the deer, running with his nose close to the ground on the exact travel route the buck had been on. Later that evening he was back again, and this time he actively chased a solo buck around for a bit and then the 2 bucks that had been hanging together. I certainly wonder if his harassment of the bucks is why there was less in there last year.  :dunno: And of course there was plenty of elk fights going on.

With only 2 nights and one more day till the season started, things wern't looking the best. I jokingly created a hit list of the 4 biggest bucks in the basin, naming them the grand and glorious names of Average Joe, Subpar, Red Hook, and A bridge too far.  :chuckle: At that point I decided I was gonna bail. Some advice I had got from multiple people was that if you were scouting a basin for 2-3 days and didn't see anything good by then, you had probably seen most of what was in there and should move on. I waited till the next morning to get in one last glassing session to see if anything else would show up. It was the same 10 bucks the next morning, so I took down camp and made my way out of the highcountry.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline RightPlace-RightTime

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2020, 10:55:01 AM »
Got to be more :hello:

Offline jstone

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2020, 01:14:31 PM »
Great pictures and story
So far.!!
 :hello:

 


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