January 1, 2017:
I moved to Wyoming in March of 2016 and found myself as a “man without a land” since it takes an entire year to become a resident for hunting purposes in Wyoming. However, in 2017 I will become a resident just in time to hunt spring turkeys in April and apply for resident permits in May after I get my Utah draw results.
My wife says that I have a $1,500 budget for tags and gear. So, I am going to buy a new bow and apply for mostly Wyoming hunts. I am going to do my best to stay in that budget.
Wyoming: I will apply for Type 1 bull elk, general buck deer, Type 1 buck antelope, Type 3 buck whitetail deer, and general turkeys. I can not apply for mountain goats, moose, bighorn sheep, or bison this year so I will just buy points for moose and bighorn sheep sometime before the end of October.
Utah: POINTS ONLY IN 2017.
Good luck in the draws and on your next adventure!
January 3, 2017:
In 2016, I helped my brother-in-law get his first buck on day one of a one-day-hunt.
I also helped a co-worker get his first elk. It just happened to be 3.5 miles from the truck on the wrong side of a nasty canyon. Long story short, he missed a small 6×6 bull and ended up shooting a cow shortly afterward.
Furthermore, I had had a lot of time to scout the area where I live and photograph deer, elk, and antelope. The following were some of my favorite bucks that I photographed (Luigi, Yoshi, Straight Eight, Bowser, Tower, and Slash).
January 7, 2017:
I decided to invest in some technology to help me stay out of trouble and find more animals. I bought a micro sd card from onXmaps for Wyoming that has landownership information that has already proven to be useful.
I also started using Toprut.com draw odds and maps to help with my scouting. I used to generate my own maps and draw odds using ArcGIS and Excel, but I don’t have any reason to do that anymore. Plus, Toprut does not charge for their content.
January 21, 2017:
My wife Heather was very generous and gave me a good budget to get a new bow and apply for my 2017 hunts. I decided to go ahead and order a new bow and just apply for points in Utah this year. I have enough bonus points to get a good Utah elk hunt, but I don’t think I will have enough annual leave time on the books at work to do the tag justice.
I will get to hunt general deer and turkeys at least in Wyoming this year, but I will also apply for Type 1 elk, Type 1 pronghorn antelope, and Type 3 whitetail deer. If all my draw plans fail I might get a general bull tag to fill the void.
I decided to go with a blacked-out Hoyt Pro Defiant 34. I might add orange accents later on when I have an extra $65. I was planning on going with the new Buckskin color but I hated the rough texture. I bought a black Hoyt two piece quiver that will hold six arrows. I will keep my five pin Spot Hogg sight, and I am hopeful that I will be able to use my current arrow rest. If not, I will probably explode the piggy bank and put on a Hamskea Hybrid Pro Hunter arrow rest.
My old bow is a Hoyt Alphamax 32 which I will be giving to my brother-in-law who just started hunting. It was a good bow, but it was too short. I really like the Pro Defiant 34 because it has a very smooth draw cycle and shoots like a 37-inch bow. My favorite Hoyt bow was a MagnaTec with a 37-inch axle-to-axle.
February 19, 2017:
Here we go again applying for hunts in Utah. Actually, I only applied for one hunt in Utah. I applied for the any legal weapon buck deer tag on the Henry Mountains, but my odds of drawing that permit are as close to zero as you can statistically be as a hunter with only four bonus points for deer. I purchased bonus points for elk and mountain goats. I chose to get a new bow rather than spend $800 on an elk or $1,500 on a mountain goat this year in Utah. I will have 16 elk and 14 mountain goat points next year.
I picked up my Hoyt Pro Defiant 34 compound bow from the Hoyt dealer in Casper Wyoming. I decided to go with a black bow this round for a change. It is a little different to shoot compared to my 2009 Hoyt Alphamax 32 that I am giving to my brother-in-law. I can hold my draw for a very long time, which is great because I have had multiple deer and one elk out stare me at full draw in the past. I stayed with my Spot-Hogg sights, Quality Archery Design hunter arrow rest, and Gold Tip Hunter XT (340) arrows.
Turkey season opens on April 1st and I will be ready!
My baby really liked my new toy.
March 7, 2017:
On March 7, 2016, I moved my family from Utah to Wyoming. Consequently, I have now lived in Wyoming long enough to obtain residency for hunting and fishing purposes. Also, on March 9th I will be off probation.
I love my job and I love Wyoming. This past year I have been a man without a land for hunting and fishing, but not anymore. Bring on 2017! Turkey season opens on April 1st.
March 12, 2017:
I have known for months which hunts I wanted to apply for in Wyoming thanks to the Toprut.com website. I applied for type 1 elk, type one antelope, and type 3 whitetail deer. I suspect I will draw one or more of those hunts and I pick up a general deer license as well.
I bought my archery stamp, conservation stamp, and general season turkey license. Turkey season opens on April 1st. I have been shooting my new Hoyt bow and I will be ready.
March 27, 2017:
I am sighted in at 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards (70 yards not so much). Those turkey birds will have something to fear this Saturday if I can locate them.
April 2, 2017:
Now that I am a Wyoming resident I was able to get my $16 turkey tag and go hunting. The last time I went turkey hunting was in 2004 in Florida on an FFA trip.
Opening morning I went alone to the only location where I have seen a turkey strutting around so far this spring. It snowed the night before the hunt opened and there were about 3 inches of snow on the ground. I could hear two different turkeys thundering away in the trees when the sun came up, but I could not see them through the fog. I decided to go check another area.
I drove a few miles out of the fog and saw a small flock of turkeys on public land. Unfortunately, some other hunters were also locked onto them. I backed out so I would not mess up their hunt. I talked with them later in the day and they were unsuccessful.
I drove to a new area and saw four hens. They were within archery range. However, I have to shoot a bearded turkey or a male turkey. Next fall I can get an “any turkey” tag.
I came home by 10 am to watch the LDS General Conference with my family.
From noon to two in the afternoon I took my daughter (almost age 6) and my son (almost age 4) with me. They complained about everything, but it was very fun. They love hunting and hiking with me.
My youngest son wanted to go, but he is too small to hike and he is getting too heavy to carry with all my hunting gear. They grow up so fast. It won’t take long and he will be out hiking me.
We made it home in time for the afternoon session of General Conference.
I headed back out at 4 pm knowing I needed to be home by 6 pm. I covered a lot of ground in those two hours. I didn’t see a single turkey, but I saw some beautiful scenery and took a few selfies.
All-in-all I hiked about 7 miles according to my Garmin watch. I am out of shape.
Birds (1) – Dillon (0).
Only 49 more days until turkey season ends.
April 24, 2017:
Long story shot the turkeys don’t want to be on the dinner table.
I took about 10 days off from hunting to take my family on a vacation to San Diego. Upon my return, I had three days of Water Conference.
Then on April 22nd, I finally got to go turkey hunting again. I stalked a group of about 20 birds, 1 tom and 3 jakes. I got a shot at a jake at about 40 yards with my bow and I missed. To be continued next week…
May 7, 2017:
I just can’t win. I have been out turkey hunting several times, but they are really skittish now that they have been hunted for more than a month. I finally got a 50 yard shot on a really nice tom when my wife and kids were with me, but I hit a branch and my arrow went about 100 yards into the forest past the bird. It must have hit a rock or something.
Turkeys seem harder to hunt than deer, elk, or antelope. Mostly they are just a smaller target. I have also been stuck hunting late afternoon and into the evening after work. I see birds almost every single day at work. It is like they know my schedule.
No more excuses! I still have until May 20th to get the job done and there is some cooler weather coming next week.
June 1, 2017:
Today is the last day to apply for Wyoming big game permits. I applied months ago. I know where I want to hunt, and what I want to hunt. Mostly I want to hunt close to home even though there are better areas to hunt in Wyoming.
I applied for Type 1 (any bull) elk, Type 1 (any antelope), and Type 3 (whitetail deer). I will get a general deer tag to go with whatever I draw. I always have the option of hunting elk on a general season tag as a Wyoming resident.
My family members didn’t draw anything exciting in Utah this year so I am going to focus on my Wyoming hunts. My oldest brother did draw a Colorado 3rd season deer tag that I would like to help if I am available and can escape for a few days.
Wyoming will post draw results on June 22nd : )
June 19, 2017:
June 22, 2017:
I drew everything I put in for this year in Wyoming!
My brother-in-law and I drew Type 1 “any elk” permits on Laramie Peak (Area 7), which had a 24% draw odd this year. Last year the 1,500 “any elk” permits holders killed 832 bulls and 104 antlerless elk off the unit. Area 7, has a ton of elk, but they are very difficult to access on public lands and the hunting pressure is off the charts with 4,268 permits issued in 2016 (total harvest=2,118). I will hunt archery season (September 1-30), any elk rifle (October 15-November 20), and antlerless only rifle (November 21-December 31). Luckily, I can be hunting on Area 7 within 30 minutes or less from my house and I have all summer to scout. My goal is to harvest a bull (any size) with my bow, or if I can’t get that done, I would like to shoot a 5 or 6 point bull during rifle season. Yes, there are very big bulls on Area 7, but they are hard to find on public land.
I drew my second choice antelope permit for Area 103, which is right next to my house. I saw a few good bucks out-and-about last year on public land. I view my antelope hunt as my “kids hunt”. I hope they can go with me and have a good experience. They are 6, 4, 2, and a newborn right now. My daughter was 4 when I took her antelope hunting in Nevada and she loved every minute of the hunt. Harvest success for this Type 1 permit was 91.7% in 2016. The unit is close to 90% private lands, but I know I can find the antelope on public land if I put in a little time. My goal is to get a buck with 14″+ horns with a rifle, or a 12″+ buck with my bow. I will hunt archery (August 15-October 4) and rifle (October 5-October 31). I can’t actually hunt archery until after the August 21st because a total solar eclipse passes directly over the park where I work and we are expecting about 65,000 park visitors.
I knew that I would draw a Type 3 whitetail deer permit on Area 15 as my first choice. I know this will be a very hard permit to fill on a buck, but I should have no problem getting antlerless whitetail. Last year 168 bucks and 24 antlerless deer were taken on the 353 permits. I am good with a 54% harvest rate. The unit is right next to my house and there are several sections of state land and a few hunter management areas that I can explore. I can hunt archery (September 1-30), rifle any whitetail deer (October 1-November 30), and rifle antlerless only (December 1-December 31). I’ve never hunted whitetail so I will hold out for a buck until the end of November and then I will harvest a doe.
I will also get a general deer permit, but I don’t think I will have time to focus on it with all my other permits. I would love to shoot a 24″ muley buck or better with my bow. I will be hunting elk, antelope, and whitetail deer on general deer units, so I should be able to find a good mule deer buck in my adventures.
I am going to need a bigger freezer!
July 29, 2017:
I have not posted for a while because my camera broke and I prefer to post more pictures and less text. I picked up a new camera this week so I will start posting more now that I have it and we are getting closer to opening day. My archery antelope opens August 15th and archery deer and elk hunt open September 1st.
I was able to participate in a fundraiser 3D archery shoot at the state park where I work in Wyoming hosted my Converse County Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife. We had 55 archers participate and the funds generated will go toward making a permanent archery range at the state park. I can’t wait to have an archery range 100 yards from my house. I didn’t shoot great, 393/480 on a 40 arrow shoot, but I beat my boss by 1 point, so I am content. The last 3D shoot I participated in was at the Apple Festival in Glendale, Utah, 12 years ago. I forgot how much fun they are.
August 4, 2017:
These are a few of the deer and antelope that I have photographed while I have been out and about scouting the past week since I got my new camera. The big buck deer in the top photo is Luigi. He is at the top of my hit list right now as a 3×4. Unfortunately, the big buck antelope buck in this post is on private land and I won’t be able to hunt him.
August 15-24th, 2017:
Archery antelope season opened on August 15th.
On the 15th, I took my family (wife and four kids) for a long drive to see if we could find a buck on public land. This unit is about 90% private lands, but it is possible to find the antelope on public lands if you are persistent. We saw one buck antelope on public land, and some bison, some deer, and some other things. I thought it was fun, our six-year-old daughter complained a lot.
On the 15th, I took my family (wife and four kids) for a long drive to see if we could find a buck on public land. This unit is about 90% private lands, but it is possible to find the antelope on public lands if you are persistent. We saw one buck antelope on public land, and some bison, some deer, and some other things. I thought it was fun, our six-year-old daughter complained a lot. My wife took pictures of pretty weeds that had flowered along the road, which made her happy.
After the 15th, I didn’t get to hunt until the 22nd, because we had tens of thousands of people come to the park where I work to view the solar eclipse. The eclipse plans that we made worked extremely well and everyone had a great time. We had more than double the number of people in the park at one time that had ever happened in park history.
On the 22nd, I went out in the evening and saw 12 does. No bucks.
On the 23rd, I went to back to school night and on the way home, we saw a buck antelope on a parcel of state land. So, I ran home and grabbed my bow. I came back, got in position, everything was perfect until I missed. My arrow went right over his back. These are pictures of the buck I missed. I found my arrow!
(These photos were taken on the 18th from about 500 yards away so they are a little blurry)
On the morning of the 24th, I took my four-year-old some with me and we went hunting all morning. We saw a lot of antelope, including about 16 buck antelope on public lands, but it was really hard to spot and stalk the bucks with a little boy with me. 13 of those bucks were in a bachelor herd.
We had a lot of fun together and that is ultimately what really matters.
And the hunt continues for the elusive pronghorn antelope of eastern Wyoming.
August 25-28th, 2017:
On the 25th, I went back to where my son and I saw all the bucks on the 24th and I found several bucks on public land. They eventually crossed off the public land and onto private property before I could close the distance. That is the story of my life. I saw several other bucks on private property that I would have easily closed the distance on with my bow.
On the 26th, I decided to go see if I could find the buck I missed the other day and I found him, but I never got closer than 200 yards before he left the public land I was hunting on his way to the waterhole. Maybe I need to invest in a decoy.
So, I hurried to another location looking for Big Boy who had about 35 or so does with him. He has been hanging out on the wrong side of the fence for a few weeks, but on the 26th he was on public land and I was able to get close to him without being noticed. In fact, I got 82 yards from him and 43 yards from his closest does. He was following the does and I had about 5 minutes left of legal shooting light. It was perfect. Then a car full of kids with loud music ran him out of the country. I was irate. But, that is what happens when you hunt public lands. I came home and vented to my wife and sulked because that is what grown men do when a big buck gets away.
(The picture below was taken of Big Boy a few weeks ago from several hundred yards)
On August 28th, I had a day off of work so I slipped out early in the morning to check on Big Boy before the kids woke up. I didn’t want to use up all my “get-away-from-home” permission slips before my deer and elk seasons open in September, but Big Boy has been haunting my dreams since Saturday. So, of course, he was nowhere to be found on Monday morning. I did see three other antelope bucks and a pretty nice muley buck (fuzzy image below). I went hunting, came back to pickup my daughter for school, and went hunting again for a few more minutes. My wife barely knew I was gone.
I might get out to hunt antelope one of these evenings, but my plan moving forward is to focus on elk and deer after Labor Day weekend. Good luck everyone.
August 29, 2017:
I went hunting in the evening really quick to see if I could find Big Boy and he was nowhere to be found.
August 31, 2017:
I made my kids go for a ride with me looking for antelope before I would let them go to the park and play. We didn’t see any antelope, but they had fun at the park.
On a brighter note, I found out that I drew a permission slip to hunt antelope on a Hunter Management Area (HMA) from October 7-14. Rifle season opens on October 5th.
September 1, 2017 (Opening day of deer and elk season):
I woke up early and went looking for one of the nice mule deer bucks I have been keeping an eye on all summer. I saw one little buck.
I had to be at work at 7:30 AM. On my way to complete a project at work I did see a nice 3×3 and a fairly big 2×2 on private land. So, in the evening, I went back to find them, and I did, but they were on private land still. I think if I play my cards right I can catch them on public lands eventually.
The pictures are from over 500 yards away, so they are very pixelated.
September 2, 2017:
I didn’t go hunting this morning, but I did see a few bucks while I was out and about at work. They were small but photogenic. I also had some people stop me at work to tell me that a racoon just ate all their fiery hot Cheetos and they had it treed. I could tell that the little racoon regretted eating the Cheetos.
Then this evening on our way to eat dinner with some friends my wife humored me and drove past the location where I have been hunting Big Boy. Sure enough, there he was, rubbing up against the fence on the private property side like nothing could touch him. He turned and walked away from us, so we continued on and had a great night with our friends.
I have to work on Monday and Tuesday next week, but I will be hunting again on Wednesday for elk and deer. I hope the bulls are starting to talk by then.
September 4, 2017:
For Family Home Evening (something we do every Monday night as a family) we fixed the kids bikes and went and rode them for a while before dinner. Then we drove through the back roads hunting deer. We saw several smaller bucks and one nice 20″ 3×4. I laid down in the road and my wife drove off to see if I could get a shot at the 3×4. Two minutes later someone else that we know drove by and thought I was a dead guy on the road until they saw my bow and the deer. Those bucks smelled me and I could not close the distance, but it was fun to make a friend freak out a little.
A few minutes later on our way home, we saw a buck that I had not seen in about a month. He was huge!!!! My wife locked up the brakes on the car and I jumped out. He was 54 yards from me when I drew back my bow. My wife attempted to take a picture of him from the car and a green light on the camera startled him right when I took my shot, and I missed. I had no clue what spooked him, but now I do. It was totally unintentional on her part. I still love her.
Riding Bikes at the State Park
The untouchable whitetail deer on private land.
The smoke from the Montana fires has been awful for the last several weeks.
The mourning doves love this sunflower patch, but I don’t hunt doves.
I left my camera in the car while I was chasing a buck and the girls played with it.
I have seen this owl flying around several times and I finally got a picture of it.
September 5, 2017:
I went out in the morning to look for my arrow that I shot the night before and shot at a nice 3×3 buck in almost the exact same location. I was so frustrated with myself. It is hard to put in all that time shooting and scouting time in the pre-season only to choke when it really counts. I tried to blame my bow, but in the end, I was the problem, not my equipment. I just missed. It has been a rough year for me so far with my bow. I have missed four animals (2 antelope and 2 mule deer) with my bow.
After work, my wife and kids went with me to make sure my bow was still locked on target. Knowing that my bow was still sighted in didn’t really validate my excuses.
I need to redeem myself.
September 6, 2017:
I work up at 4:10 AM and drove about a half hour from my house to go elk hunting for the first time this fall. I have a type 1 elk tag so I can take a bull or a cow. Unfortunately, I didn’t see, hear, or smell any elk on a 3-mile mile hike. They have been in that area recently, but not today or I would have found them.
I am going to go back to the same area on Friday and Saturday mornings this week to see if I can locate the bulls. I know they are in there because they have been rubbing on all the little trees and my friends have been seeing them in that area several times per week.
On my way home I saw Big Boy and his does, but it would have been impossible to stalk him in that wide open flat so I left him alone and went back to work. I think I can get him with a rifle on October 5th if I don’t push him out of the area with my bow.
There is a full moon right now. I don’t think it is helping me out any.
September 7, 2017:
I was unable to hunt in the morning because I had some things to get done at work and I had several meetings that I have been putting off until after the eclipse. I did catch a small buck on the skyline at work.
After dinner I went to look for the bucks I missed earlier in the week and I only saw one doe and one buck antelope. The buck antelope was not in my unit or he would have been on the menu.
September 8, 2017:
I was back at it first thing in the morning hunting elk, but I changed up my game plan a little bit from what I did on Wednesday. The bulls were bugling at about 3:00 PM so I tried to get above them in the area I thought they would go into early in the morning. They never showed up. I covered a lot of land with my binoculars from the truck and hiking attempting to turn them up without any luck.
I saw a few more deer today that I did in the same area on Wednesday, but no bucks. I found one tiny shed antler.
In the evening I did a quick 30-minute drive, but I only saw 2 does on public land. It was almost 80 degrees at sunset.
September 9, 2017:
I got above the fields early in the morning and tried to catch the elk coming off the river bottoms. They were not in there or I flat missed them. I could see for two miles in each direction from my vantage point. I watched the deer come off the field, but there were not any elk. I headed back to the car and practically stepped on this nice whitetail buck before he bolted. I was able to get a quick picture from several hundred yards away before he disappeared.
I headed back to the car and practically stepped on this nice whitetail buck before he bolted. I was able to get a quick picture from several hundred yards away before he disappeared into the river bottoms that I can’t hunt.
I had a few minutes left before I had to go to town so I went looking for an antelope. These were on private land, but they are definitely starting to rut more this week than last week.
In town, I picked up a few more arrows and a box of ammo for my Tikka T3 Lite rifle. My wife convinced me to switch to lead-free ammunition this year. After doing a lot of research, I went with the Barnes Vor-tx for my 7mm Rem Mag. Hopefully, my Tikka will like them and I can zero in my groups quickly. My rifle hunts start on October 1st for deer, October 5th for antelope, and October 15th for elk.
My rifle hunts start on October 1st for deer, October 5th for antelope, and October 15th for elk.
September 11, 2017:
I decided to give bowhunting hunting elk a break until Thursday when it is supposed to cool down about 20 degrees. We have had several 90+ degree days, where the temperatures are in the mid-70’s at sunrise. This weekend is supposed to have lows in the 40’s, the moon won’t be as bright, and the rut should intensify. It did rain last night, which is a good thing because it has been so hot and dry for the past month or so.
I didn’t see anything at first light where I thought I would see a few bucks, so I drove a few more miles and decided to go on a hike. I was only about 10 minutes into my hike when I came across two three point bucks in an opening in the trees. I decided that I wanted to shoot the three point with bigger forks, so when he passed by me at 45 yards I shot him. I immediately knew I had hit him further back than I wanted, but he bedded up 20 yards away and stayed there. The other three point tried to get him to move but eventually left him behind.
An hour later, I assumed he was expired. So I moved in slowly and bumped him out of his bed on accident. I followed the blood trail until I found him in the really tall willows and stuck another arrow in his neck. Game over!
At 23 inches wide he is my biggest archery buck that I have ever taken. I am happy!
After my steak dinner, I will finish cutting him up. All smiles here.
After taking my biggest archery buck to date on September 11th here in Wyoming I took some time off to catch up at work and spend some time with my family for a few days. Then I dove head first into hunting bull elk with my bow.
September 14, 2017:
I went back to an area I explored last week and sure enough, I found two bull elk. They were both six-point bulls, but one of them was substantially bigger than the other one. I could have easily taken either bull with a rifle, but I was unable to close the distance with my bow. The bigger bull bugled twice, but the smaller bull didn’t want anything to do with my cow calls. Fortunately, I have some great pictures of both bulls that I was able to take when they were about 400 (smaller bull) and 200 yards (bigger bull) away from me. I also found two pretty nice buck deer shed antlers and a silent rattlesnake.
I didn’t push them hard so they should come back to the same bedding area and I will be waiting for them to return.
September 15, 2017:
I went back into the same location where I found the two bulls on the 14th, but they were not there. I found two small mule deer bucks, a coyote, a 3×4 mule deer shed antler set, a spike shed antler, a big 6 point bull shed antler, and a small 5 point bull elk shed antler. A rancher was moving cattle into the pasture I have been hunting, so I decided to move on to new areas for a while.
September 16, 2017:
I went from hunting at 5,400 feet in elevation to hunting around 8,000. I had one bull bugling first thing in the morning, but he would not exit the trees. I went on a hike for a few hours, but I didn’t see or hear any elk. There have been elk in that area recently, but today was just not my day I guess.
I love the fall colors and I had a blast hiking in the 40-degree weather. I love fall. It is by far my favorite season.
On my way home I saw at least a dozen buck antelope, but only one (black and white image) was on public land.
I don’t have plans to hunt a whole lot during the next few weeks, but I sure I will get out a few more time before October. My first rifle hunt will be on October 5th for antelope.