Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land
Sometimes it is interesting to step back and look at the string of events that lead up to a successful hunt. The genesis of this hunt was April 2008 at an Arizona Hunter’s Safety Course in Kingman, Arizona. My partner Clark Weeks and I had flown from Nashville to Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove down to Kingman for the all-day course. The fact that we live in the Tennessee and Alabama and were in Arizona for a hunter safety course probably tells you a little about Clark and me. There was a good reason for the insanity, of course; we needed the extra bonus point Arizona awards for completion of their course in order to draw the deer tag we wanted. Okay, maybe we are just a little crazy.
It was on a 15-minute break during the course that we met Derek. Derek had driven down from Wyoming for the same reason, so at least we were not alone in our insanity.
In an attempt to start conversation, Derek asked if we were building points for Wyoming elk. Of course Derek already knew the answer to this; if we were crazy enough to travel to Arizona to take a hunter safety course, then of course we were building points in Wyoming.
As the conversation continued, Derek suggested a unit that he thought was a sleeper for some good archery elk hunting. It didn’t take a lot of points to draw, and there were some good bulls that had been taken in recent years. It was the kind of unit that we were interested in. Although we would love to take a record book bull, we were more interested in finding a unit that provided a lot of opportunity with a chance for a big one.
I made a mental note of the conversation with Derek, and over the next few months I began to do some research on the unit. I was able to get in touch with a couple of hunters who had been in the unit before, and I also talked a couple of times with the game biologist for the unit as well as the game warden. The conversations confirmed what Derek had told us - a solid unit that, with a little luck, might provide an opportunity for a big one.
By September of 2009, Clark and I had drawn the tags and were now headed to Wyoming. All the research had said this unit was good, but I didn’t get the feeling it was great. I’ve had good tags in the past, and although I had usually managed to put my tag on a bull, it was never as easy as I thought it would be, so I was cautiously optimistic.
We had done our homework and had several likely looking places identified on the maps and were anxious to get after the elk. However, this is where fate (luck) would enter the picture. Clark had hunted Wyoming a couple of times before for elk and moose and had become friends with a Wyomingite named Brad Daniel. Brad wanted to hunt with us the first few days of the hunt, which was great because it gave us an extra caller.
For a full account of Mike's adventure, go to page 32 in the May/June 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.