Bittersweet Success

By Butch Dillon
Wyoming, 2011, DIY, Public Land

Butch Dillon - Bittersweet SuccessJuly/August 2012 EBJ (Issue 72) - It was that time of year again to start applying for those special tags. We all hope to become a successful applicant. This year was no different than the last 26 years of applying for the limited-quota moose and sheep tags in Wyoming. Going into the draw, I had 16 points for moose and one less on sheep with only 15. I knew this year for sheep that I would be able to draw in at least three of the areas I had been applying in. I also knew I would not be able to afford the hunt of my dreams; therefore, I chose not to apply for a license and only applied for a preference point. On the other hand, I would still apply for moose because the area of choice for me has long been less than 10 percent odds of drawing. With those odds, my sights were set on a mule deer hunt in Montana. Applying in the Big Sky state for the second year in a row, my chances were good at a successful draw, especially since the state had increased the nonresident tag allocation. Now the long wait was in store for the upcoming draw results.

Countless days ensued of logging on to the Wyoming Game and Fish website to refresh my mind of the tentative draw date and when the results would post. A week before the draw results were posted, I checked for results everyday, but to no avail. Finally the day arrived that results would be posted.

That day, I started at least 30 minutes before the scheduled post time checking to see if the results were out and every five minutes after until I saw either the successful or unsuccessful page. I honestly had to do a double take to confirm that I was successful at drawing a 2011 moose tag for Wyoming. Immediately, I began to tell everyone in my hunting circle of my good fortune by sending out a mass text message. The hunt really began that day with all the thoughts racing through my mind of what had to take place between then and September.

As my wife called it, "Moose Mode” had begun. I warned her that I would be adding some more items to my hunting gear. I upgraded my binoculars, spotting scope and miscellaneous archery tackle. The next four and a half months would take me on many scouting trips to the Big Horn Mountains less than 45 minutes from home. One of the main reasons for applying for this area, other than being a top trophy area, was its proximity to my home. This would allow me to spend the quality time needed for scouting; and scouting I did. I put 2,500 miles on my pickup that summer and early fall. I reviewed topo maps of the entire area and recalled areas where I had seen good moose before while elk hunting. I also looked for areas with good habitat and scouted places that had been recommended to me.

Butch Dillon - Bittersweet Success

For a full account of Butch's adventure, go to page 14 in the July/August 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.