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Author Topic: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt  (Read 3970 times)

Offline High Climber

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2020, 01:21:17 PM »
Must have been a bummer hiking out of there before the opener, but I have a feeling you made the right move  :tup:

Offline idaho guy

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2020, 03:20:14 PM »
tagging

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2020, 03:28:48 PM »
I was back to my truck by 11 am and ready to go back to the drawing board. I had a plethora of backup plans, the hard part was deciding which one to go with. I contemplated going to another spot that was all cross country and tough to access, but it was all the way across the unit and would take a long time to drive to on forest roads. I didn't think I could get over there and get hiked in before nightfall. After spending a few hours going over maps and weighing my options, I elected to head to another trail head not far away. I took advantage of being back at the truck to eat some extra food and hydrate as much as possible. The trail head of course, was packed the day before the season. Oh well, I reload my pack and start grinding my way back into the highcountry.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline SemperFidelis97

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2020, 08:00:18 PM »
Fantastic write up so far.

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Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2020, 10:23:54 PM »
The second hike into the highcountry really kicked my butt. This time it was on a trail with about 3200 feet of gain over some 4.5 miles.  What surprised me on this hike was that my legs kept burning out on me. My legs are pretty strong from years of weight training and basically never burnt out on me in all my training. Normally if I needed to stop in training it was always just for a breather, not because my legs needed a break. I supposed the high elevation probably had something to do with that. So the hike in took me much longer than I expected and I got to where I wanted to be with only 45 minutes of daylight to spare. I was in a saddle that afforded views into 2 different drainages, but they did not reveal as much terrain as I thought I could see. I got ready to hike another 800 feet up to a knob, only to spot 2 other hunters already set up glassing there. Unsure what to do, I decided to camp in the saddle for the night. I glassed till dark seeing just does. At last light a buck stepped out high in the cliffs a long ways away. In the fading light I could tell he was big, just not how big. I made a plan to hike up another hill opposite from where the 2 other hunters where in the morning. From the summit I would be able to see the same 2 drainages, plus everything on the other side of the mountain. Then it was off to bed for a night of difficult sleep.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #50 on: July 14, 2020, 06:01:28 PM »
Opening day I was up early to make a vantage point by daylight. Up I climbed, 1200 feet up to a peak that was 10,900 feet in elevation. By far the highest elevation I have ever been on for a hunt. I made it just in time as dawn light revealed the magnificent Wyoming range. I immediately started glassing hard for the big solo buck I had seen the night before. He wasn't there. Soon after first light 2 small bucks appeared on the ridge behind me. After watching them for a bit to make sure there wasn't something big with them, I returned to glassing the 2 big drainages visible from the peak. There wasn't much going on. I could see some does down low and a few real small bucks. I then switched my attention to the country on the opposite side of the peak. I immediately began picking up bucks. In under a half hour I had spotted 6 separate bachelor groups of bucks and a few lone bucks. All of them were a long ways off. I could barely pick out the antlers on most of them, but got enough good glimpses to tell there were some good bucks in at least 3 of the herds. By this point, its about an hour into shooting light and there are plenty of shots echoing throughout the mountain range, but none of them close to my basin. I glassed the entire basin looking for other hunters and could not find any. I knew I needed to cut a lot of distance to get a better look at some of these bucks. I quickly gathered my stuff, set some waypoints on OnX and bailed off the peak.

Getting down off the peak into the basin was a tedious chore as I had to descend 1600 feet down a sheer rockslide. When I finally hit the bottom it was getting warm so I quickly got out of my thermals and extra layers. I began working my way across the uphill slope of the basin. I still need to cover about a mile to get into good position. Just before I was into a good spot, things began to happen quickly. Out of seemingly no where the basin filled up with hunters. Things got hectic as deer blew out everywhere and shots rang out left and right. I couldn't believe it. What had looked to be a great morning was quickly reduced to a bust! I was beyond frustrated. I knew full well that the region gets lots of hunting pressure, but certainly didn't expect the sudden swarm of hunters all showing up around 10 am. Unsure what to do, I looped around to a high point where I could see down into all the basin. Amazingly, no one had killed a deer after all the shots fired and as fast as all the hunters had appeared into the basin, they all disappeared just as fast. Not wanting to climb up any more tall peaks, I elected to sit in the top of the basin the rest of the day. It was very slow and I only saw small bucks down much lower than I saw the other bucks. As the day drew to a close, I pondered my next move. Part of me wanted to climb up another peak in the morning to get into another basin, but I also considered staying in the same basin. I was pretty sure the other hunters had blown out all the deer, but there was one herd that I had lost tabs on during the hectic mid morning action. I decided to stay, and moved just a short distance away into a stand of alpine firs and settled in for the night. Despite it being just day one, I was extremely frustrated on how the day turned out. My biggest fear was that all the bucks were blown out and I was wasting my time staying in there. I called it a night, only to have another tough time getting any sleep.
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2020, 07:42:14 PM »
Youre a good writer.  Im glued!

Offline RightPlace-RightTime

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2020, 07:53:06 PM »
This is a great read.
I'm hooked

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2020, 08:49:26 PM »
On day 2 of the hunt I woke up and walked a short distance to where I had spent most of the previous day glassing the basin. After ten minutes turned nothing up, I felt I needed to check out another draw just out of sight. One of the buck herds had been in that draw yesterday and I never saw them exit the basin the previous morning with all the other bucks. I had a feeling they may have holed up somewhere in there and be back out today. I walked about 2 hundred yards over to a finger ridge and looked into the draw. I immediately spot 8 bucks with my naked eye. A quick glass of the herd revealed at least 3 dang good bucks. Their only 500 yards away. I quickly crept out of there and rushed back to get my pack and supplies. There's a good patch of trees along the finger ridge that provide good cover. After checking for a good wind I hurried along the back side of the ridge to get into position. I can honestly admit that there was a bit of panic going on in my mind. The previous day, no hunters had shown up tell at least 3 hours after light. But for some reason I was worried some hunters were going to swoop in on me again like they had the previous day and bump them out. Either that or some long range hunter may spot them from a distance ridge and start launching long distance shots. My own gun at the time was equipped with long range optics and performance bullets, but I hadn't practiced much past 300 and wanted to sneak in as close as possible for a high percentage shot opportunity. With all that stuff whirling around in my head, I blitzed over to where I could have a chance. I arrived at a spot where a little gap in the trees and brush presented a shooting lane. I hurriedly double checked my optics chart, chambered a shell, and belly crawled up the slope to the top. I peak over and see that the bucks have separated into 2 groups of 4 now. The first group I range at 220 yards and the others are out near 400. In my peripheral vision I see some hunters behind me up on a ridge, glassing my direction. I set up for a prone shot on the closer group of bucks. The lead buck is clearly the biggest in the bunch. He looks like a dandy from my now buck fever stricken, shaky hands holding up my binos. Before settling for him I glass the 2nd group to see if there is a bigger one. But they've suddenly gone out of sight and I am feeling the pressure big time that any second now shots are going to boom across the basin and the bucks are going to bolt! I notice a second group of hunters on a ridge way off to my right. I ease my backpack under the back on the gun with the bipod solid in the front. I'm rock solid on the lead buck and I let one fly! BOOM!! He's hit! He scrambles forward about 75 yards, hurting bad. He stops and is hunched over. I lock onto him again and put another in the boiler room. He explodes straight up into the air on impact and rolls into a patch of alpine firs. Buck down!!  :bfg:
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline idaho guy

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #54 on: July 14, 2020, 09:04:30 PM »
Picture of the buck now!  :chuckle:

Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2020, 09:52:10 PM »
Leaving us hanging for the night???  >:( 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 06:36:29 AM by Widgeondeke »

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2020, 05:40:51 AM »
Yea I had to go to bed, it was a rough day

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2020, 09:29:25 AM »
He had fallen in basically an island of cover in the alpine meadows. I carefully walked around the whole patch and couldn't see him in there. Not wanting to take any chances in case he was only wounded, I sat a hundred yards above the cover patch and forced myself to wait an hour before going and looking for blood. It was the longest hour ever. Finally, I eased up to where he had last stood. Lots of blood and a trail of it going into the cover. I carefully moved into the cover and spotted him laying a few yards away. He was expired. Upon walking up on him I immediately noticed he was quite a bit smaller than I thought he was. I do have to admit, I think I let the pressure get to me a bit to much that morning and I had severely overestimated his size. The whole time I watched him I only really had a side view of his antlers. And from those side views he looked huge. He had looked very wide, moderately heavy, and I could have sworn I saw cheaters on his rack. Later on upon arrival home I scored him several times. He barely made 160 class, checking in at 161. I was definitely a bit disappointed, but also proud of how my first season of backcountry hunting went. I very nearly killed a bear 11 miles deep in Washington and harvested a respectable buck in the amazing Wyoming range. I ended up putting the entire deer and my camp in my pack and took everything out in one shot. The pack was so heavy I ended up on the ground over and over on the pack out. I had 4 liters of water to drink and still ran out with still a mile to go on the packout. It was definitely a good feeling though returning to the busy trailhead with a successful harvest. I can say for sure I love that Wyoming highcountry. I can't wait to go back. I think there were some really good lessons learned for me and the experience should help me in all my future backcountry hunts. Now if only point creep wasn't so bad and those tags could be drawn more often.  :bash: I'll probably try for H instead since its a touch easier to draw still. And then theres those elk to go after. Anything to get me back into that highcountry!  :drool: Thanks for following along.  :hello:
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2020, 09:33:40 AM »
Pictures
Gobblers only, all jakes must walk

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: 2019 Wyoming High Country Deer Hunt
« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2020, 09:35:31 AM »
Fantastic deer, and excellent story.  Thanks for letting us ride along on this one!

 


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