Lifting my binoculars once again I scanned the large alfalfa field. Two more bucks were making their way into the field via the dry creek bank. As they reached the three strand wire fence that separated them from the lush greenery, they paused. Then effortlessly they jumped the fence and trotted into the middle of the field to join the other fifty or so deer that had already started dinner without them. As I surveyed the field I could not believe what I was witnessing. Perhaps a dozen whitetail bucks were grazing frivolously on this mid September evening. Had it not been for the Bighorn Mountains in the background I would have sworn that I was in the deer rich mid-west or perhaps Alabama or Mississippi. But, I was just miles outside of Sheridan Wyoming, country better known for it's mule deer and elk than these smaller antlered immigrants.
I was bowhunting with Big Buck Outfitters, known for their reputation of putting big bucks in front of bowhunters. I had booked a bowhunt for third week of September. The temperature was a balmy 60 degrees for a high and a chilly 30 - 40 in the morning. This would be a good warm-up for my upcoming bowhunts back home in the mid-west. Arriving the day before, outfitter Brian Biesher had taken me on a ride around his hunting area an hour of so before dark. We had counted over 300 deer and countless bucks. Many of the bucks would score over the Pope and Young Clubs minimum. So it was a restless night as I waited for the 4 am wake up call.
The following morning guide Mike Ross walked me into treestand and with a thumbs up waved good-bye. I was situated in a natural funnel between two large woodlots. As darkness gave way to gray light I began to see deer. By 9 am I had seen over 20 deer including 3 bucks all under 30 yards. The bucks were all year and a half old so I passed. Around 10 am Mike returned and we went back to the lodge for lunch and a much needed nap.
Big Buck Outfitters houses their hunters in a modern two story lodge nestled a mile back from the nearest road. Antelope are viewed most anytime from the lodge windows. We spent the mid day hours shooting our bows, moving stands and scouting. Mike had me in my stand by 3 PM everyday. On average I saw 50 plus deer a day. Two days I observed over 100. Not a bad day in the woods. By day number four I had passed on numerous bucks including 2 nice eight points. Both the eight points were under 20 yards. I hoped I was not going to regret this as the weather began to turn windy and cold. Snow flurries and blustery winds were going to make to nights sit unpleasant.
Mike took me to a new ranch this afternoon. He mentioned that this was his favorite spot and felt confident I would have an exciting evening. As I climbed into my treestand high in a poplar tree, I was awestruck at the view. I had mountains to my left with fingers of timber jutting down into the hay fields that I overlooked. I only wish it had been a sunny day to fully appreciate this pristine view.
As I arranged my pack and hung my bow a doe and two fawns scampered by right under my stand. Huh, this has got to be a good omen. Within a few moments another deer emerged from the timber 50 yards behind me. It was a small buck and he was followed by another buck that could have been his twin. I watched as the bucks fed right past me and then disappeared into the timber once again. Now I really began to like this spot. The light rain switched back and forth between rain and snow. I pulled my cap down over my glasses to keep them dry.
At just after 5 PM a doe and fawn appeared 100 yards up the hay field from my stand. As they began to graze on the protein rich alfalfa another doe came out, followed by a six point buck. They appeared to be feeding towards my position so this was good, I told myself. Movement back in the timber brought all the deer to attention along with myself. Cautiously another buck entered the field. Throwing up my optics I was pleased to see that it was a nice 10 point. As he approached the other deer they all began to make their way towards me. At 40 yards they started to re-enter the timber but the 10 point cut them off and once again they headed towards my stand.
As the lead doe got out in front of me at 20 yards she turned and decided to walk under my stand with all the other deer in tow. I waited with my Pearson 38 Special in hand as they casually marched single file under me. The bucks brought up the rear. As the 10 point walked past, I rotated my body on the stand and came to full draw. The buck was under 20 yards now and offered a quartering away shot. My personal favorite. The ACC 3-39 caught the buck mid body penetrating forward. The mortally wounded buck ran perhaps 60 yards before succumbing to the arrow.
Before climbing down to claim my prize I was shocked to see another bigger 10 point walking down towards me. As he passed by well within bow range I told myself that I would be back next fall to bowhunt the Bighorn bucks of Wyoming.
Wyoming Whitetails by Tom Nelson, well know bowhunter, author, and host of Bowhunter Magazine's American Archer