We packed the truck and began our trip from Minnesota to Wyoming on a Thursday evening in mid-September. We drove straight through and arrived in Jackson by noon on Friday. We grabbed a quick bite at Dairy Queen, made one last visit to the porcelain pot and headed to our hunting spot in Wyoming’s region G.
We hunted hard Friday afternoon and all day Saturday around Middle Ridge. We saw one decent buck and tried to put on a stalk, but he was nowhere to be found by the time we reached the area where we spotted him. According to our GPS, we had covered 14 miles by Saturday evening, and my legs still felt great.
On Sunday, we met up with Wan Wolfley of Wolfley Horse Rentals to get our four-legged hunting companions. We had planned to hunt Sunday afternoon until Friday afternoon on Grayback Ridge. To make a long story short, one of the horses got away from us while we were packing him up. Cowboys we ain’t, and I just about filled my deer tag with a horse. We finally headed to the top of the ridge on Monday morning.
We set up a pretty sweet camp and were hunting by 2 p.m. that afternoon. I saw a nice deer moving through the timber and had my friend head in that direction. Neither of us saw the deer again. But as we were making our way toward the deer, my friend watched a decent 3×4 for about five minutes. He decided it was early and passed on an easy shot.
My buddy saw another deer he wanted to put a stalk on, and I heard a shot thirty minutes later. When I caught up to him, he said he thought he had hit the deer pretty well. We found a few specs of blood and searched the basin with no luck. We were both really disappointed but tried to remain optimistic.
The horses needed water, so we decided to take them down the side of the mountain. Big mistake. After finally getting them to water, we realized we couldn’t go back up the way we came down. We were forced to find a horse trail that took us several miles out of the way, and we ended up camping out that night with no sleeping bags, tents or warm clothes. That was a long night.
We made it back to our main camp at noon the next day. We ate, napped, cleaned up and were back out hunting by 3 p.m. We were heading to a vantage point that overlooked a couple of basins, as storm clouds rolled in. As we walked to where my buddy wanted to hunt, I looked down this cliff and noticed something looking at me. It took a second for me to realize that a decent buck was staring straight up at me. After the Wild West shootout – he was down.
After taking some pictures and field dressing him, we decided to head back to camp and return the next morning with the horses. We just made it out of the basin and to the top of the ridge when the fog, rain, wind, snow and sleet hit us. It was stressful to say the least. It was more than two miles back to camp, and we couldn’t see more than two or three feet in front of us. Thank God for GPS. We finally made it back with great relief and got some much needed sleep.
The next day was nothing but fog, but we managed to find our way to my deer and quartered and packed him out. After fighting the horses and the weather, we decided to get off the mountain a day early and take Friday off. Some beer, warm beds, a toilet and a shower were just what the doctor ordered.
It’s amazing how one minute you can love the mountain and the next it can scare the hell out of you. Our emotions were all over on this hunt. The highs were high, and the lows were low. I told my wife I would not be applying next year – I already regret that promise.