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  1. #1
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    My 2018 Wyoming Deer and Antelope story (units 20,21,22 regions Y and X)

    I feel bad for taking so long to post this! My new job in the outdoor industry somehow takes way too much time away from important things like hunting and writing!
    I was able to sneak away for another epic trip to the Cowboy state though....

    Back in the spring I hosted my first Western Hunting Boot Camp seminar at a northern Ohio Archery shop. Thanks to some generous sponsors and my awesome employer, we were able to make the event totally free for 40 guys and girls who attended. At the end of the seminar, everyone was invited to apply and hunt with me at my annual camp. The seminar was super successful and we ended up with 13 people joining us on the diy public land hunt in October.



    Most of the group drew region Y deer tags and unit 20,21, or 22 goat tags. I personally drew my 3rd choice deer (region x) and second choice antelope (unit 20). With season for most units opening on the 15th, my goal was to arrive early and set up camp. I decided I'd get a leftover unit 16 antelope tag and hunt 2 days near Gillette before heading to make camp in Kaycee.

    I arrived solo in 16 with 2 hunting days. For an added challenge/stupidity I decided I was only going to bowhunt this trip. Within 15 minutes of entering the unit, I found a 13" buck that was a no doubt shooter for 16. I made a great stalk with the help of my Montana Moo Cow decoy and got to 80 yards. Unfortunately, I rushed my set up and didn't stake my decoy down before drawing. As luck would have it, a hefty wind gust came and turned my decoy into the scene from Wizard of Oz where the cows are flying in the twister (or maybe that's the movie Twister....idk). The goats busted out and off the small bit of public land. Here was my view:

    After retrieving my decoy, I hopped on my bike and road a sloppy 2-track as a snow storm blew in from no where. This picture was taken 30 minutes after the above picture:

    The rest of the day was a bust. I spent more time joyriding on my e-bike in the snow than I did hunting. I had low expectations for the 16 tag and seeing a shooter buck made the tag worth buying.

    Day 2 wasn't much better, but goats were everywhere and hunters were scarce. Around 3pm I found a group of goats on private that were walking towards public. There were 2 nice bucks in the herd and a great overhanging ledge half mile back the draw for a stalk. The problem was, to get there require a 2 mile hike to avoid trespassing and the bike wasn't an option. I parked and hiked in. The hike in was lengthy and steep....and nasty and muddy and frigid. But by 430 I was 80 yards from the biggest buck walking towards me. I drew back when he got to 60 and discovered there were about 25 does behind me seemingly appearing from nowhere. The whole mountainside exploded with antelope and deer. The big buck stopped broadside at 90 just barely on public. Even if I could've made the shot, he certainly would've ran into private. I let down and watched a total of 80+ antelope heard up and cross the ridge.



    That was all the excitement for unit 16. With a rifle, I think there were 5 bucks over 13" on public that were all 100 yards or closer shots. I would absolutely pick up the tag again as a leftover and spend 2 or 3 days there towards the end of that unit's season.

    Now, it was time to head south and make camp for the group.
    Last edited by GOSHENGRUNTER; 12-29-2018 at 09:50 PM.
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  4. #2
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    My 2018 Wyoming Deer and Antelope story (units 20,21,22 regions Y and X)

    I made it to Kaycee and set up camp, a small pack tent on top of a hill. It really wasn't ideal for the wind and weather, but my job requires me to stay in cell service (at least part of the day) so I needed to camp where I could get some work done after dark. Anyway, That night was miserable. I'm sure many of you were hunting in Wyoming on the 13th and 14th of October....if you were near the Bighorns, you know how windy, snowy and nasty that night was. I woke up chilly and frosted over inside my tent. Probably should've sprung for a hotel that night.


    I spent the 14th scouting and found some decent deer and antelope bucks for the guys who would arrive in camp throughout the week. That evening, the first 5 arrived in camp and we planned for opening day. By 4 am, the road heading from Kaycee to Mayoworth was a caravan of headlights. Many more than I've ever seen in 4 years of hunting here.


    I sent a couple of guys behind camp where I saw a good mulie bed the night before and took 2 more guys to the north end of 20. We found a heard of does on public and planned a stalk. I stopped off with my bow and waited above a pinch point at a pond and a ravine. The other 2 guys went 500 yards up from me and stalked towards me. They quickly dropped 2 does and the heard busted out. Just as I was heading to help them, I saw another doe walking my way from the opposite direction. I hunkered down and stuck her at 40 yards. She made it 20 yards before toppling over. Not a bad start!


    That evening, I took a guy after mule deer but we never saw a shooter. the group killed 2 more does and a small buck antelope.
    Last edited by GOSHENGRUNTER; 12-29-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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  6. #3
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    My 2018 Wyoming Deer and Antelope story (units 20,21,22 regions Y and X)

    Day 2 consisted of more doe killing and a lot of frustration. I've never had an issue with Wyoming game wardens, and I still appreciate them....but one particular older officer had quite the chip on his shoulder this year. Myself and one of the new guys planned a beautiful stalk on a buck we found from the road. the Warden watched from a distance but as we got close to 200 yards from the goat we paused to triple check ONX Maps and the property lines. We were golden and comfortable to set up and shoot. As we set up to shoot, the warden revved his engine and came flying down the road. If you've ever hunted 20, you know that a revved engine or a stopped truck will spook goats. The buck took off and we walked back to the truck. The warden, quite angrily said "What do you think you're doing!?" I replied "Stalking an antelope buck until you ran it off." He then told me we were on private land and were trespassing. I pulled up my OnX Map and gps and showed him we were over 500 yards from the property line. He then said "Well I was just checking that you had a good map". I was pretty angry over that ordeal but i understand they are very overwhelmed in that unit. On 2 other occasions, the same warden would fly down the dirt road, lock up his brakes, and glass us from the road spooking goats. we decided not to hunt the north half of 20 anymore so we didn't have to deal with him. Every other warden we talked to was super helpful and downright good people!



    Anyway, enough complaining. We didn't have any new guys coming in to camp for 2 days, so I decided to head west to Region X to fill my deer tag.



    Ah....region X....what a fiasco. Unit 127 is where I decided to hunt because of the vast amount of public land. I scouted that evening and found some does, but no bucks on public. Tons of big bucks of private and many more in downtown Thermopolis, but none on public. The next morning I drove into a big public area. I climbed a small hill and was set up to glass before daybreak. As the thermals rose, the overwhelming fumes of sulfur began to creep in. By half an hour after daylight I could hardly breathe. I covered my mouth, packed up and got to the truck. MY goodness that was awful. During the drive out I didn't even see a cow....a sure sign that the animals weren't putting up with that horrific air in the drilling fields.

    I drove another long public road and found a 140-150" 4x4 on private. Literally in a 2 acre front yard surrounded by public. After about 3 hours, It was obvious he was never going to leave that fenced in yard. I scoured my map and found a place where public land crossed a creek. I decided to hike the creek bed as far as I could and Still hunt. I found a small forky and decided to take him. I center punched him at 60 yards and recovered him shortly after. Only then did I realize how far I had hiked and how far I had to pack this dink out.


    Unit 127/region x was a miserable joke of a hunt. Maybe someone knows a honey hole...and good for you...but there is a reason this tag is 100% draw. Maybe the northern units are better. I can't speak for them, but I can say If you ever plan on unit 127... save your time and money. I won't even put that as a 3rd choice from here out. All that said, I'm pretty proud of my little forky and he sure has been tasty!

    Last edited by GOSHENGRUNTER; 12-29-2018 at 10:24 PM.
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  7. #4
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    My 2018 Wyoming Deer and Antelope story (units 20,21,22 regions Y and X)

    After filling my buck tag and heading back to Kaycee....and stopping at numerous checkpoints...I arrived back at camp and prepared for the next batch of rookies. Oh, there was also a great adventure involving and overturned semi with a load of hay on 10, but thats a story for another day.

    The next day was downright fun! I took 2 guys who were brand new to western hunting to my favorite glassing hill in unit 20/y. They saw tons of deer and a few small bucks, but I told them to hold out for better deer. One key to hunting units like 20,21,22 and region Y is to hunt all day. I've learned this over the years. When you see everyone else heading to camp at 10 am...thats time to hunt harder. And that's just what we did.



    I took my friends up to a gorgeous glassing spot, I'm sure many of you will recognize the pics. From our perch high above the basin, we could see all sorts of activity. There were people exploring the reservoir taking breaks from their hunt, some guy answering natures call unaware we could see him in the spotter, some does watching the same guy and lots birds. After about 45 minutes of picking apart the landscape, we found a nice 3x3 bedded about 2000 yards away.

    After deciding he was a shooter, we spent over an hour dissecting the maps to make sure he was on public. After confirming he was on public, we came up with multiple scenarios and landmarks so if he ran, we knew he was still public. We also schemed a bunch of hand signals. Now, I am dumb enough to bow hunt during gun season, BUT I'm smart enough to volunteer to be the guy who stays on the mountain peak and gives hand signals to the two guys who drop off the mountain to stalk. ;-) I had an amazing view of the whole event.



    The 2 guys dropped down, made a great stalk and ended up putting a bullet in the buck and dropping him. From my spotter, I could see the hunters and the buck in my field of view at the moment he shot. So cool! My friend then called me and told me they'd meet me at camp that evening. I was grateful for the call....I had no desire to hike down and pack another deer! haha
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    Last edited by GOSHENGRUNTER; 12-29-2018 at 10:46 PM.
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  8. #5
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    My 2018 Wyoming Deer and Antelope story (units 20,21,22 regions Y and X)

    Over the next couple days, I got to help a few more people tag their first western animals. I met 2 awesome guys from Georgia on this forum and had the pleasure of having them in camp. They drew tags for 22. I gave them some info where we found bucks last year in 22 and after a couple days and a really cold creek crossing they filled their tags.

    I won't steal his thunder...but hopefully he sees this post and chimes in. I may even text him because he has some pictures that would make any antelope hunter proud (PEER PRESSURE! POST THE CREEK CROSSING PICS!)

    The final group arrived in camp with only one day left for me. I gave them the grand tour of the units (20 and 21) and helped on their first couple stalks. I was confident they'd have a great time filling their tags without me and had to head home. I received these pictures and many more before I even got home.




    Overall the hunt was great. 13 hunters, 9 of which had never hunted the west before, filled 37 tags and every hunter filled at least one tag. All DIY and public land! Wyoming is an awesome opportunity state and I feel so blessed to have gotten to run this camp this year and be a part of so many awesome hunts and memories.

    Now, for those of you reading this because you are debating where to apply...here are my personal ratings.

    Deer-
    Region Y- B- (good unit, lots of deer, TONS of hunters)
    Region X- F- (I see almost as many mule deer in Ohio ;-))

    Antelope-
    16- C+ (i think a good leftover tag, especially later season)
    20- C (Just too many hunters. You'll see goats, but SO MANY PEOPLE
    21- B- (Its a little better, but still tons of pressure)
    22- B (Less hunters and some great spots if you're willing to get wet and work a little)

    Side note- The snow drove the elk down off the big mountains. I've never seen so many Elk in 33 and 34 as I did this year...including some stud bulls!

    Happy hunting everyone! Feel free to ask questions about any of the units. Like most on here, I won't give honey-holes....but I'm always up to help!

    -Jake
    Last edited by GOSHENGRUNTER; 12-29-2018 at 10:59 PM.
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  11. #6
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    Very cool! Thanks for posting this!

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  13. #7
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    I enjoyed the story, thanks

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  15. #8
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    That's a cool thing you do for hunter recruitment. I enjoyed your story!

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  17. #9
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    Did you get any pics of the bulls?

  18. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by troybackman View Post
    Did you get any pics of the bulls?
    None of the big ones. I'll have to figure out which SD card the 340's are on and post them.
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