Wyoming Whitetail Hunt

Chip Shot

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Just got back last week from my first try at whitetail hunting. I didn't draw any good tags this year so I bought a leftover "any" whitetail deer tag in WY and set up a hunt with an outfitter that I elk hunted with last year. He had three ranches we could hunt near Lusk, WY, 100 miles north of Cheyenne. I have never done a rut hunt so decided to go there the 10th through the 15th of November.

The weather was unusually warm with highs in the mid 70's and lows in the 50's, which delayed the rut. When I got there, it seemed that the mule deer were definitely in the rut but the whitetail were not chasing does yet. Luckily, the cold weather rolled in when I arrived and it started snowing off and on. On the first afternoon there, we did not see any good whitetail bucks- just little ones but the mule deer seemed everywhere. They were chasing does around and the big ones were coming out of the woodwork, but the good whitetail were still hard to find. As we were heading in at last light, saw a very large whitetail feeding out in a field about 300 yards away in a snowstorm with the wind blowing in the buck's face and we were behind him. I got out and since he was facing away from us, I decided to move into a ditch between us to get 50 yards closer. I got down in the ditch and when I slowly came up on the other side, the buck was running away. I don't know how he sensed we were there, but he got away, never to be seen again.

I saw small bucks the next 3 days but nothing big enough to shoot. The last day of my 5 day hunt I started the morning on a ridge overlooking a creek bed near a neighboring ranch's alfalfa field. We saw several does coming out of the field at first light and then saw a buck with his head down following a doe at about 1/4 mile away. We slipped down into the creek bed into the high grass to get closer and cut them off. As we continued up the creekbed, we were busted by a doe at about 200 yards. I froze and the doe watched us for awhile. She finally got bored and went back to feeding. I watched her through a small window of view for about 30 minutes and finally saw a buck walk by into the brush. I got ready but the buck disappeared in the trees and high grass. The grass was about 5-6 feet tall and except for the occaisional opening, was very hard to see the deer. The buck finally stepped into an opening and I lined up the crosshairs on his shoulder and leaned on a tree to get steady.

As I shot, I lost the buck in the recoil. I looked back and saw the buck still standing there looking around. I freehanded a second shot and he started slowly walking away, then tried a third shot and he walked down into a depression and lost sight of him. I couldn't believe I could have missed the shot but the outfitter said he was pretty sure he heard the first shot hit the buck. As we started walking over to the spot, all hell broke loose. We saw about 12-15 does running everywhere and saw two smaller bucks running away. I suddenly saw a buck that looked just like the one I shot at run out of the depression where I last saw my buck about 200 yards further away and I thought, "how the hell did I miss the buck?" I fired an offhand shot at 350-400 yards away at the buck but he ran away unscathed.

I really started feeling depressed that I missed a nice buck on my last day of the hunt. I just couldn't believe I missed him with a steady rest at 200 yards. The outfitter said he was pretty sure he heard the hit, but we found no blood at all. Not even a drop. We went to where I last saw him running away at 400 yards and searched for over an hour, with no luck. With the prairie grass 5-6 feet tall, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I finally decided that I must have missed. We walked back to the truck, got a drink and decided to try another area. I shot a couple of rounds at a target at 100 yards and my rifle was still on target. As depression set in and I realized that I was not the crack shot I thought I was, the outfitter started the pickup and began to back up to leave. I asked him if he would mind if we tried one more time and he agreed we should try again if I wanted. I walked back to the tree I shot from and asked him to stand where the deer had been, to get a better spot to start. We located the spot and searched for another 15-20 minutes but found no sign and no blood. I finally decided that we should call it a loss and try a new area. As we started walking back to the truck, I suddenly heard the outfitter say, "Here- he's over here". I thought he was kidding and said that I didn't think it was funny that he was joking around. He assured me he was not kidding and as I walked over to him, my buck was lying there- only about 70 yards from where he was originally shot.

During all the excitement, I saw the other buck running out of the depression and thought it was the same one when in fact it had been another buck that looked very similar to the one I shot. My buck had been hit once in the shoulder and one shot grazed his back; however, there was no blood except for a large pool of frothy blood where his mouth was on the ground. What a relief! We found the needle in the haystack. He was an awesome buck and we had a happy ending!
 

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DEERSLAM

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Congrats on a nice whitetail ChipShot!!
 

Huntducks

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JD

Good you kept looking it's tuff when your hunting that type of terrain.

Bet your glad you did not hit the other one :cross-fingers:
 

Chip Shot

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QUOTE (Huntducks @ Nov 27 2010, 09:02 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=296915
JD

Good you kept looking it's tuff when your hunting that type of terrain.

Bet your glad you did not hit the other one :cross-fingers:



You are right Greg. Persistence paid off. It was like finding the needle in the haystack.
 

swamp thing

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Great Story! I thought, for a second there, you were going to tell us about how you shot two bucks :smiley-yellow: I can't imagine the relief you felt at both finding your buck and realizing you missed the second. Great hunt, nice buck!
 

Calwidgeon

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Nice whitetail Chipshot!!

That mule deer buck looks mighty tempting though too!

Great eight point.
 

jringading

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Nice buck, way to keep looking. Most people would have gave up and went home with their tag in their pocket.
 

goindeep

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Thats a nice looking whitetail! He looks old with all the white around the eyes.
 

madhunter

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Nice job not giving up, he was worth it! I was also worried about shooting two bucks.
 

Chip Shot

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QUOTE (Calwidgeon @ Dec 31 2010, 07:16 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=303305
Nice whitetail Chipshot!!

That mule deer buck looks mighty tempting though too!

Great eight point.



You aren't kidding. There were some great mule deer walking around and they didn't care we stopped to look at them.
 
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