Leaving the Honey Hole Behind

By Cory Gilchriest

Cory Gilchriest
Wyoming, 2007, DIY, Public Land

Ever had one of those spots? You know, the fishing hole that seems to always produce the big one or the duck blind that never seems to fail regardless of how “bluebird” the day is? Perhaps it’s the tree stand that you shot your biggest whitetail out of or that one drainage that always has the gagger mulie. It’s the proverbial Honey Hole. Regardless of the game pursued, every sportsman has that spot.

My hunting partner, Gary Korell, and I had a spot like that. No matter what time of year, no matter what weapon, there were always elk there; and more often than not, big bull elk. Maybe it was the fact I killed my biggest archery bull ever (378-2/8 gross in 2004) in one of its drainages or where Gary killed his 330- class bull on opening day of rifle season less than a year ago. Maybe it was the history of killing five of my seven archery bulls in this area. Whatever the reasons, there was no question where we would be hunting when we drew our tag again in 2007. We were heading back to the Honey Hole, and September couldn’t get here fast enough!

Gary and I backpacked in and hunted most of the first eight days of September and soon discovered to our dismay that the Honey Hole seemed now to be just a hole. The secret was out and there were more hunters in there than elk. One close encounter with a 320 bull that ended with the bull winding us on the fifth day was the closest encounter of the hunt. Elk and people don’t mix and this previously undisturbed elk paradise was no more. The writing was on the wall from day one; encounters with bugling hunters and the multiple boot prints on all the trails spelled it out for us. Being stubborn, and quite honestly, having put all of our eggs in one basket, we spent all eight frustrating days in the “former” Honey Hole.

Coming out to lick our wounds, we were at a loss. Gary decided to call a friend with horses and go even farther into “The Hole”, as we were now begrudgingly calling it, and try to out distance ourselves from the hunting pressure. Armed with some great info from a friend, I decided to head to another public area on the other side of the unit. Gary and I would get together and compare notes in a couple of days and spend the following weekend going wherever we found the elk.

Leaving the Honey Hole Behind

For a full account of Cory's adventure, go to page 40 in the July/August 2009 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.