In the middle of October Rich and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to North East Wyoming to hunt Mule deer with one of our RMA Outfitters: Four Horse Outfitters. We got up early on a Saturday; got our kids all situated with the babysitter and started our 8 hour drive. We stopped to see some of the historical sites along the way. We weren’t in a huge hurry because we knew we had a whole week to hunt. We were about 90 minutes away from the ranch house when we got a call from Fonzy, with Four Horse, to let us know that the game warden had just stopped by to let them know that they had changed the dates for our hunt this year from what they have been for the last 20+ years, now, the hunt is shorter by 5 days. When Fonzy told us this information, our hearts dropped a little bit. We went from having a week to get 2 mule deer, to now only 2 days to get it done. Needless to say, we stepped on the gas and didn’t waste any more time getting there!
First, let me say a few things about the ranch that we were hunting on, this place is amazing! The lodging is comfortable and inviting, there is a big gathering room adorned with mule deer, anelope, and elk mounts on the walls, along with success photos of past hunters hanging around the cabin. The meals are all provided and are delicious! The land that we hunted on is 165,000 acre ranch that has been in the family since 1916.
We were hunting one trophy deer and one management deer. I personally had never actually harvested a big game animal, I have shot at a deer and at an elk with my bow but didn’t harvest. This was also my first rifle hunt ever! That being said, we decided that the first decent Mule deer we saw, either management or trophy, I was going to shoot it. The only way to really hunt this wide open grass land is in a vehicle, driving to different areas and stopping and spotting. (I have a new found respect for those soccer mom Suburbans, they can take a beating and just keep on going!!) That first day, we covered a lot of ground and did see one nice buck that looked to be about 160” or so but he gave us the slip and ran off, we did see some more bucks that day but didn’t see anything that Fonzy said we should shoot at. We got back to camp and saw the Garage FULL of Mule deer and Antelope that other hunters had shot that day including one Mule Deer which scored 183”! This place holds some nice deer. I got back to the lodge feeling a little bit worried that we weren’t going to be able to get it done. Rich remained hopeful and positive (as usual :)).
The next day we woke up and headed out. We drove out to a different area than the day before where we had been told there was a big 3 by 4 management deer with brow tines. We spotted and drove until around noon and then “POP”, we got some burned sage brush stuck in the tire and had a flat L. Fonzy put the spare on with the speed of a Nascar Pit Crew and we drove back to the shop to get a better tire put on. I was feeling concerned about the valuable daylight that we were losing with all of this tire stuff, but Rich and Fonzy didn’t seem worried so I remained hopeful too. Finally the tire was on and we were off again. It was now about 4:45 and we were sitting by a cliff edge, I glassed up along the outcropping under the cliff and yelled out “A BUCK!” Rich and Fonzy glassed up there and Fonzy said, “YEP he’s a shooter!” he got all set up as I was watching the deer and right after he was done setting up… bounce, bounce, bounce…the buck ran off. We grabbed our stuff and the hunt was ON! We hiked around the edge of the cliff and looked down. Fonzy spotted the buck bedded down in some sage brush. We hiked up to a spot where I could get a shot on him but it was a little far and the cross wind was blowing 20+ miles per hour, so we decided to take a chance and move around this little hill and get a shot with a direct head wind. We were able to crawl up the top of this little hill and get set up for the shot. My heart was pounding so loudly in my ears and I took a few deep breaths, (I may or may not have used a few Lamaze breathing techniques I learned in labor with my babies :)) and squeezed the trigger. The next thing I remember is looking through my scope and seeing dust flying and the Deer’s legs kick and then I heard Fonzy say “Nice shot!” followed by a loud, cowboy, “WOOOOHOOO!” I knew the deer was down! I was so excited I had just shot my first deer!!
I then immediately looked at the clock and realized we only have one hour of daylight to get Rich a deer so we hurried to look at my deer, we got some pics and gutted him, then we left him there to come back and get him after dark. Off we were again to find Rich a deer. The minutes seemed to pass too quickly as we frantically searched each nook and cranny for antlers. Finally, just as it seemed that Rich and Fonzy were starting to lose some hope, Fonzy yelled “There’s a buck…80 Yards” Rich was out and getting set up it seemed before I could even turn my head to look at him. He took aim and fired, he hit the buck a little far back but the buck didn’t take off. Rich was able to get another good shot on him and he ran down a little hill and expired just as the sun was setting on the horizon. We all looked at each other and started laughing and hugging and high five-ing! We had done it! One 4x4 mule deer and one 3x4 management mule deer all in the last 2 hours of light on the last day of the hunt!
What a hunt to remember! I will never forget this experience, and I will forever cherish the memories and friendships we made at Four Horse Outfitters! Huge thanks to Fonzy Haskell who guided us to these deer and was such a joy to be around! If you are looking for a quality Mule Deer hunt or Antelope hunt, check them out at www.fourhorseoutfitters.com