Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land
It was Friday, September 28 as I finished the final touches of packing my external frame pack with all the necessary gear and food for the next two weeks of hunting in the high country. Anticipation was running on high as I stuffed everything I could into my pack. Just minutes after that I was trudging my way through the timber, heading higher into the backcountry in search of a gagger buck.
Three months earlier I had drawn a general tag for Wyoming, and with help from a very good frie nd, I was able to narrow down an area to try my luck. I spent countless hours looking over maps and GPS data. I was determined to learn all I could without making a scouting trip into the area prior to my hunt. Although I prefer to see it firsthand, studying of the maps and other data were very rewarding to say the least. I knew the lay of the land well before I ever got there!
It was late in the day when I started and knew I would make it halfway that evening, set up for the night and continue the rest of the way in the morning. I had studied the map and was proactive on which route to take, but it wasn’t the best route. I should have been farther than I was, but must have missed my mark somewhere along the line. Nonetheless, I set up camp and slept hard.
I was awakened by an elk bugle just before sunrise, so I speedily tore my camp apart and was on my way a short time later. By mid morning I was standing in the location I would call home for the next 13 days. After looking around, setting up camp, purifying water, and grabbing a bite to eat and drink, I fell asleep in my tent.
I awoke a couple hours later to a blue grouse making all kinds of ruckus in the brush next to my tent. As I peered outside and looked high up on the mountainside, I got my first glimpse of the mule deer that inhabit the high country. There were five decent bucks 500 feet above me. They dug at the side of the mountain and settled in under the brush for their mid-afternoon nap. It sent me into scouting mode and I gathered my gear in preparation for the couple of days of scouting before the season was to start. My hope was to find a shooter right away and spend a couple of days learning all I could about him before trying to let the air out of his lungs.
The next two days were very rewarding. I saw some of the most beautiful country in the world and saw plenty of animals as well. I watched a black bear and her three cubs berries from some bushes and roll around in the lush grass; a bull moose running around in the water like he was a little kid at the local pool; a blue grouse following me around; a couple of other black bears search for food; and I watched various mule deer bucks and learned all that I could about their routines.
For a full account of Jared's adventure, go to page 14 in the May/June 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.