August/September 2012 EHJ (Issue 132) - With the quality of the general deer season in my home state of Idaho getting worse with each passing year, I jumped at the thought of trying a hunt in Wyoming when a friend from work suggested it. When the friend had to back out due to a conflicting hunt, I called up my uncle Billie who got on board despite the short notice of only having two days before applications were due. Splitting my one point, we were a lock to draw the general Wyoming H tag.
Then came the task of finding a good spot in an area we were completely unfamiliar with, despite having very limited time to scout over the summer. With tips from friends that had hunted the unit before and a lot of Google Earth scouting, we were able to target our few scouting trips in promising areas. As we were planning to backpack in, we were looking for areas inaccessible to horses to limit the competition.
On one of Billie’s solo scouting trips he found some promising bucks in an area that required about an eight-mile pack in due to a road closure, with the last three or four miles getting steep, thick, and nasty. We decided to target this spot on our five-day opening trip.
When we arrived at the point we were expecting to start our hike on the day before the season opened, we were surprised to find that the road had opened. Upon reaching the end of the road, we were a bit dismayed to see several vehicles and horse trailers already parked there. Thinking that at least our area wasn’t accessible to horses we started our now shorter six-mile hike in. The road opening turned out to be a blessing as the hike still took the majority of the day due to Billie feeling the effects of the flu.
After the hike in, the last half hour of which was done in a downpour, we set up camp and headed to the top of the ridge to get a little glassing in before dark. As our glassing picked up spot after spot of hunter orange, as well as some camps complete with wall tents, it became apparent there was another, easier way in. One camp was even set up within 100 yards of the established beds where Billie had spotted the bucks he had seen. As we trudged back to camp our morale plunged even lower when we heard the faint roar of a chainsaw being fired up.
As expected, with the level of human activity in the area approaching that of a shopping mall, any big bucks the area held that summer were long gone. We saw a few small bucks over the next three days, but nothing that got a finger near the trigger. As we packed back out we knew we were going to have to change our game plan.
For a full account of Jim's adventure, go to page 60 in the August/September 2012 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.