Never been! So stoked for my first elk hunt in Wyoming.....Can't take the wait... Anyway, we are starting in Denver and will be on the road by noon. We are hunting just south of Buffalo. We don't need to be to our destination until 2PM on day 2 of our drive. To maximize the scenic value and get the most out of a day and 1/2 to get there, what would be your route? Also, where would you overnight, eat, drink and otherwise make the most of the drive?
Looking forward to my visit! Please help me make the most of it!
If you take I25 you could stop in Chugwater and get some chili seasoning :)
Avoid the Arbys in Douglas.
Just don't count on buying gas in Chugwater. I still can't believe the station closed.
Rick, doing a bit of fishing sounds like a great idea. We will talk soon...Thanks again for the info. Looks like there is also a brewery in Ten Sleep. Bonus!
Glunt- Arby's always avoided at all costs, regardless of 20. Cant believe people actually eat that reconstituted dog food...
Can't attest to the Brew Pub. I'll be looking for your review and virtual tour.
If you're into history, head up to Little Big Horn in MT and check out the info on Custer's last stand.
My buddy instructed me to watch my step in the canyon because of snakes.
We didn't see any snakes in September...
I always make it a point to see as much country as I can whenever I travel to hunt. Planning an extra day or 2 on either side of the trip is not only a great way to wind down from grown up land, but also allows time on the back end to deal with meat, buy some local swag for wife and kids and see where the locals eat (drink).
On this trip, end destination was Southeast end of the Bighorns with Triple 3 Outfitters. THAT....was an experience and a story for another thread. On the way in, following advice above, we flew into Denver, got a car and headed north. Took a left at Casper, headed north on 20, then back east on 16, where my rental car seemed to top right in front of Ten Sleep Brewery! Like the scene from The Quiet man, where Micks horse knew to stop in front of the saloon, there we were!....good horse. After sampling what TSB offered in the way of nite life and home made beer, we overnighted up the street in a weird little hotel.
Next AM, nice and early, we drove into Ten Sleep Canyon, stopping at a couple places along the way to wet a line. Caught a few fish in the most spectacular country I've ever fished! Thanks Cheesehead Mike!! Headed further into the Bighorns and drove a few miles off the main road. Hiked a couple miles into a creek that looked good on a map, but turned out to be a 4' wide (at most) crik, with very little fishable water. Even so, the schools of 6-9" cutthroats were a blast for awhile. After pulling the size 14 grasshopper out of my rookie flyfisher buddy Tommys' thumb, we headed back to Ten Sleep, ate at the saloon and finished the evening at the Brewery. Disclaimer: I'm really not a big drinker, even though it sounds like that's all we did...LOL
What amazed me, besides the beauty of the country, was the sheer volume of game we saw. Everywhere! We stopped stopping to look at antelope after 3,873. Mulies were all over and the Ag field had goats, Mulies and tons of whitetails. Saw just a few elk once we got into the Bighorns.
Mike, no snakes!
Loved Wyoming! Y'all that live there live in a pretty place. We may have been lucky, but didn't meet anyone that leaned towards the business end of the douche nozzle. All very nice folks. The tamale lady at the brewery was a bit quirky, but very interesting to converse with. Of course the beer helped.
Thanks again to all that offered advice! A few pics to follow
Ok, Steve, now bring us the hunt story!
It seemed that 99.9976 % of the antelope bucks we saw were this age class. Saw just a few bigger, but not a one, even on big private that reminded me of what you see in NM goat land. Looks like a 72" er would be REALLY nice...
So it was with some trepidation that I moved ahead with triple Three after the new owner, Phil Rutt took over the reigns. Turned out to be the right decision...
6:30 AM...1st day. Surrounded by bulls. They're everywhere! Our weapons are useless!
The smaller bulls in our immediate AO begin to move off. The lone bull is still moving in our direction, but no decision has yet been made. Quick, instinctive judgement has him classed as heavy, mature, but narrow & maybe a bit uneven. I keep scanning.
We are sitting in a huge sage flat, interspersed with expanses of 4-5' tall greasewood thickets. A couple meandering creeks are cut deep into the flat, like crooked, overgrown, WWII trenches. Between the greasewood and trenches, this open country is spectacularly perfect for sneaking and covering ground quickly.
We are positioned on a bump in the flat that gives us a view of hundreds of yards in every direction.
The lone bull is now about 600 yards away and still slowly moving in our direction.....
When I turn my attention back to the lone bull, he is now at 350 or so and still moving in my direction. My attention meter has ticked up a few notches.
I am a predator 1st and trophy hunter 2nd. I LOVE to eat elk. Yes, I've paid top dollar and cashed in 9 years worth of points to be here. The evening before, I looked over probably a dozen bulls that were bigger than this one and a couple absolute tanks. I am certain that much of the bugling on the other side of the ridge is coming out of their lungs. I've killed a few way bigger than this lone bull. I've been hunting for less than 1 hour.
All that crap in the last paragraph barely gets a second thought as I begin to plan how I will kill this lone bull.
I guess that he will wrap around a little finger ridge about 200 yards upwind from me and start to work his way out into the sage/greasewood flat. Once there, I guess that he will hit the trail of the smaller bulls from earlier and loosely follow where they moved off to. A leg of the creek with an 8' deep trench meanders in that direction. I quickly discuss my plan with Adam, my guide and before he says 3 or 4 words in response, I rudely ditch him and take off at a sprint, drop into the trench and run for 150 yards.
When I pop up and peak over the bank, the bull is less than 100 yards out and is just picking along, browsing here and there as he goes. I drop down again and move towards him another 20 or so yards and run out of trench. When I peak over, he is still about 80 yards out. I am out of trench...I now have just clumps of sage and greasewood bushes to use as cover. When he moved, I moved. He stopped, I stopped. Then, a gimme. He dropped his head into a greasewood bush and started killing it. I stayed low and sprinted. I made another 15 yards. He stopped, walked 10 more yards and began to slay another bush. I made another quick 15 yards. This may happen!
At this point, I was officially out of cover, but at what seemed like within my shooting range. I was on my knees, beside the last scrawny clump of sage then all there was between the bull and me was a sandy, dead level wash about 40 yards wide. He was now walking on the high side of the opposite bank, moving like had nowhere to go without a thing to worry about.....
I ranged a bush about 20 yards in front of him. When he came to that bush, he would be dead broadside at 50 yards. At 10 steps shy of where I wanted to shoot him, he decided to walk in the wash and dropped off the bank and continued walking and now would pass 10 yards closer. Great!! 40 is better than 50. This was meant to be!
As he neared broadside, I slowly drew. I followed him for 5 or 6 steps, then mouthed a quiet cow call. He locked on me immediately. As his elk brain tried to sort out the deformed sage bush that sounded like a cow but still didn't look right, I released. Just before impact, he started to spin towards me. The arrow still connected, tight in the "V", but slightly angling back. All but about 4" of the arrow was in him, but I was definitely concerned that the arrow was quartering back. At around 85 yards, he stopped, head low, looking rough. I launched another arrow, but missed. He walked back up the bank and into the greasewood and stopped again. I could see just his antlers as he stood there for what seemed like a long time, but was just a few minutes. Adam had watched the entire thing and at the shot, looked at his watch. When the bull dropped from sight, about 3 minutes had gone by.
I love bowhunting elk! There were several other bulls within 100 yards that had no clue what just went down. I had just cleanly killed a spectacular animal after a stalk that could not have been scripted better. Who reading this doesn't live for these micro moments??!! Impossible to adequately put words to it. There is a basal, primal, instinctive drive in us that is satisfied only by these moments. I'm not referring to the killing part. It is the moment when we actually CHOOSE to kill an animal..or NOT to kill! Most of us have made the latter decision of numerous occasions and I would bet, to a man, that you walked from those encounters with a big smile on your face, completely satisfied and good with that outcome!
Walking up on a dead elk with your arrow in him is a cool outcome as well. It was pretty cool to walk up on this bull. He had a tank of a body! On the scale at the butcher, hide, legs and head off, he hung at 486 lbs. I flew 310 lbs. of meat home. He was certainly ancient, showing 1 or 2mm of tooth above the gum line. Good bull to kill. His antlers had a tangle of electric fence wire wrapped around his antlers.The wire hadn't caused him any grief, but I'm sure he thought it made him rather intimidating.
I now had 5-1/2 days to explore, hunt with my buddy Tommy, drink the outfitters beer, etc.
You had him all wired up. :)
Great blades on that old bull!!
Jim- Your bull from trip 3 was a giant!! If I exercised a bit more restraint, I might have killed a big one too!! I consider myself VERY fortunate that I had the opportunity to hunt that place. Phil is booked on the archery hunts for something like 5 or 6 years out....and his prices are reflecting the demand....
Greg, yes, his bladed tops are almost knife sharp! Very cool. I left the wire on for now. It made caping him an interesting project...
Lego man is returning from a big hunt in the next few days. He almost bought it this time!! Report should be posted in next couple weeks!