February/March 2014 EHJ (Issue 141) - "Why Wyoming?” is what a lot of people asked me when we put in for this hunt.
I just kept saying, "Why not?”
I have never really thought of Wyoming as being one of the best deer states. Yes, it has some places that produce consistently but not like some other states, and from what you hear, it’s nothing like it used to be. Well, you can’t always believe what you hear because Wyoming is now at the top of my list of places to hunt.
One thing that I learned about Wyoming through all my research and even on the hunt was that the people that live in Wyoming are the nicest people I have ever had the honor of meeting. I haven’t been anywhere else where I’ve met people so willing to help and even go out of their way to make sure you’re having a good experience. That was just the icing on the cake of this hunt.
My brother only had three days off at the beginning of the season, so my dad and he went out and set up camp. I couldn’t make it due to some other hunts I was already on. This is a weather-dependent unit and being so early in the season they didn’t have very high expectations. They ended up finding my brother’s best buck ever – a 160-inch 4x5.
My dad and I went back four days af ter my brother’s hunt ended. It’s amazing what a little weather can do to a weather-dependent unit. Over the next couple days we would see more deer and more mature bucks than on any hunt before. We could have ended the hunt at any time on some very respectable deer but being able to hunt together more often has us focused on the experience and not the harvest. We were having too much fun hunting together to end it on the first day!
On the fourth morning of the hunt we were coming down a trail in a big canyon. It was still a little dark to see but I caught the awe-inspiring image of a big set of tines pushing a doe up a ridge in the morning twilight. We both knew it looked like a good buck but it was still too early to be sure. We pulled the spotting scopes out and waited.
As it started to get lighter my dad said. "Jake, his main beam drops straight down on the one side and he’s got dark tines. I think he is a shooter. Oh wait, he’s got an extra on the other side and he is about 27 wide.”
I was seeing all of this through my spotting scope as well and we both knew he was too cool a buck to pass up. I set up for the shot at 381 yards.
For a full account of Jake's adventure, go to page 30 in the February/March 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.