Round Rocks and a Wyoming Buck

Twelve hundred and sixty three miles is a long way to drive for a bunch of rocks and a mule deer buck, but that's what we did for our Labor Day weekend.

round rocks, crystals, deer antlers, pronghorn shed collected
                  Round rocks, crystals, deer antlers and pronghorn shed we collected


All summer long I had planned to make at least one trip to eastern Wyoming to scout for deer, but one thing lead to another and I never made it. In hind sight, that was probably a good thing. "Why?" you ask. For starters, a twelve hundred and sixty three mile round trip drive is a long way to travel. The cost of fuel when diesel is at roughly $4.00 per gallon isn't cheap. And the kicker...the realization of just how small a one square mile of huntable land becomes when the terrain is treeless.


blue moon over wyoming horizon, archery deer hunt
What was left of the blue moon in the morning. And no, the tree pictured was not on the public land we were hunting...


I knew going into this hunt that the area we'd be hunting consisted of mostly private ground. And I figured that if we had several of these public tracts of land that were roughly a square mile each, we could spend days spot and stalking animals from one stand of timber to the next. I couldn't have been more wrong.


wyoming deer hunt, badger
                  Along the way we had interesting encounters...


wyoming antelope buck
                             The country looked better suited for Antelope


To make a long story short, it was our fourth and last day when we actually spotted deer. From our truck we could see the small herd of deer feeding on a mostly barren side hill at just over 1000 yards away, according to my range finder. The first words from my 7-year-old's mouth were "let's go after them!"


wyoming archery deer hunt, look east toward deer
                                                      Looking east toward deer


I grabbed my bow, binoculars and range finder and we were off. Luckily for us a ravine ran right up the hillside toward the deer. As we slipped into the bottom of the ravine we found a nice sandy moo cow trail that made for a quiet stalk. It wasn't until we were within 120 yards of the deer that we got our first good look at them. I was surprised to see that 3 of them were bucks, even though none of them were big. 

At this point the deer were completely unaware of our presence. There was a fairly strong breeze blowing easterly up the draw, but with the deer positioned slightly north of the ravine the hope was that we could continue stalking unnoticed. Up ahead some 20 yards further, a small gully split off to the northeast and was our next destination. For the next few minutes we eased along, literally crawling on our hands and knees. We stopped. Slowly I raised my head, looking up and out of the ravine. To my surprise no deer were in sight...the ol' wind must have gotten us. As I stood there, I could feel the wind at my back which was in fact hitting me from more of a north westerly direction. Since we were down in the bottom of a ravine with limited visibility, we decided to ease up and around the gully that headed off to our left.


wyoming archery deer hunt, small herd of deer
                             The deer only ran off 100 yards after the shot


We hadn't taken five steps when suddenly my heart skipped a beat, there about 100 yards away I could see the velvet antler tips of a deer! And at that moment the buck looked a little bigger than he really was. I could clearly see 3 points on one side and with the early morning sun silhouetting his antlers against the perfectly blue sky, his rack appeared bigger than I originally thought. Perfect, the deer had moved further north across the arid hillside putting the wind clearly in our favor, with the gully providing us good cover for another 50 yards. The range finder put the deer at 101 yards, so all we had to do was inch our way forward to the end of the gully for a reasonable shot. 

The moment of truth was now; we were near the end of the gully. I knocked an arrow. But before raising my bow for the shot, I peeked up out of the gully for one last look. There they were…all three bucks standing closely together, with two of them offering perfect broadside shots. However, it just so happened that the bigger of the three stood in between both bucks just slightly behind the closest one. By the way, when I say "bigger" I must say that none of them were big. Nevertheless my goal was the 3 point. Slowly I moved forward several more feet until at last the 6 ft. vertical end of the gully blocked my way. Once again I peeked over the bank and there was "my" buck quartering away at 52 yards. With Carson by my side I let the arrow fly. We had our buck!


i went hunting deer, wyoming archery 2 x 3 buck
                                     Only a 2 x 3, but happy to have a buck


wyoming archery deer hunt buck
                                                    Two happy hunters!


In the end, I was happy to have bagged a buck. Yes, I had visions of brining home a nice 4 x 4 muley, but that just wasn't in the cards. In fact, up until I had spent several tough days hunting this particular area, my plan was to use this archery hunt as the scouting trip I never took in anticipation of the upcoming rifle season. Nonetheless, I soon realized that a lot more planning was required, time I just didn’t have, so coming back later this year to rifle hunt in this particular part of eastern Wyoming was out of the question.