Try and Try Again
July/August 2011 EBJ (Issue 66)
Wyoming, 2010, DIY, Public Land
- I wondered how long Tommy could carry the rocks I stowed in the bottom of his pack. Not just rocks, more like boulders, buried under his socks. We were now eight miles into the one of the meanest wilderness areas of the West.
The season before, this guy showed up at my house with a whole bull elk in the back of his truck. When I asked him who helped him get it loaded, he said, "Nobody”. He dragged that bull 100 yards uphill, pulled it through a barbedwire fence and loaded it in his truck… by himself. On this trip, I felt it was in my best interest to level the playing field. When Tommy discovered the extra payload, a few well-chosen expletives were flung my way.
Ryan possesses some unique "superpowers” as well. This guy has marched me into country where no sane person would ever venture. His equipment is top of the line for good reason - it has to be to stand up to his extreme ways. I often refer to Ryan as "MacGyver”. What can you do with dental floss, parachute cord and a lighter? Heck if I know, but I watched Ryan re-serve my bow in the middle of nowhere with the skill of my local pro shop. This is a guy you definitely want in your camp.
Our hunting experiences together have been largely spent on public land with general season permits. It’s for this reason that our combined skills have proven to be helpful in finding success. However, I’m still trying to figure out what special skills I bring to the party. As our friendships developed and experiences grew, we began to discuss strategies for drawing a premium deer tag in Wyoming.
I’ve developed a reputation for being lucky in drawing good tags. Tommy and Ryan believed if they rubbed my belly, signed their permits and dropped them in the mail, we were sure to draw. There was no way I was going to let them rub my belly; I thought it better that we research hunt areas. We would soon learn that this was the year it would all come together.
A number of assets contribute to a successful hunt, but no asset is more valuable than time. Understanding that, we shifted our attention to our calendars. The "boys” live in Utah, which meant that they would be able to take their families for the dual purpose of camping/scouting trips. Later, I would travel from Arizona in August for a scouting trip with Ryan.
While much of Wyoming provides a remote experience, this unit is different. Ranching, gas fields and recreation provide access nearly everywhere. However, the mix of pinecovered mountains, aspen draws and sagebrush flats provide ideal wildlife habitat. There were instances where I could see elk, deer, and antelope within my spotting scope field of view at the same time. Our combined trips proved valuable, as we located and photographed a number of notable bucks.
For a full account of Francis' adventure, go to page 22 in the July/August 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.