Wyoming Trip #2 Backpacking + Mule Deer Hunt

2:01 p.m. on September 28, 2011 (EDT)
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My fiancé, his dad, a friend and I left the Oregon coast t 8:00am on Sunday the 18th. After a 14 hour drive with four stops we arrived to Wyoming at 1:30am. We slept in our pickup and then went to the local store for the guys to get their conservation stamps for their mule deer hunting tags. We then drove 18 miles into the backcountry and set up camp at 6,300 ft.


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The next morning we went scouting for deer. You just about break your neck looking up to the top of the mountains there. We ended up walking up a canyon in the evening and we saw 6 bucks and 2 does. The wind was ripping like no other. Our hike was about 21/2 miles. Gained about 2,000 feet in elevation. A few of the bucks were monsters, so my fiancé was all pumped up about getting to the top of the mountain at 10,000ft to camp and shoot a monster mule deer. 

Here is a view from the camp:


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Day two we decide to head up the mountain to the "monsters." I'm just excited to do some backpacking and get to use my new tent I made. Here we are about half way into our hike. We started at 6,400 feet and this was at about 7,800 ft. 


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Continuing up the hill we jumped a 4-point buck and my fiancé shot at it, but missed. I was glad he missed, because it wasn't very big and that was the whole point of hiking up the mountain....to shoot a big one. Anyway, this pic is from slightly higher and just to the left of the pic above.


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This is looking even further left across the river and canyon.


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The terrain was quite difficult. We had to do some rock climbing and most of the walking was actually crawling, because the ground was like sand with softball size rocks in it. Kind of the one step forward, two steps back deal. No trails anywhere up here.

This shot is on the backside of the ridge we climbed up. We're on top of the ridge at about 9,400 feet. As we walk the ridge we gain another 300 ft and ended up making it to just over 9,700ft. 


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The mountains and canyons seem never ending. As we walk the ridge we came across 8 HUGE Blue Grouse, but I didn't have my camera out. We also jump a forked horn buck. 

This next pic is further up the ridge at about 9,700ft. 


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We walk about another 50 yards to the left of where this picture was taken and my fiancé spots another 4 point buck. In the mean time I'm admiring the Grand Tetons you can see from where we're at. (I didn't get a pic, because my fiancé shot the buck). 

See the small grove of trees in the middle of this pic below? That's where the deer ended up rolling to and dieing. It rolled down the hill almost 500 yards from where it was shot, that's how steep it was. The pictures don't do anything justice.


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The hike down to the buck was interesting. It was so steep that standing almost upright you can keep your hand on the ground. Now add loose dirt and sheer sharp rock. We couldn't walk without sliding about 20 feet. My fiancé is very afraid of heights, so it took us almost 45 minutes to hike down about 800 yards. Here is his buck:


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It flattened out a bit here, but I still had to cram rocks under its body for the picture, because every time you touched it, it would begin to slide downhill. Now you may be wondering, a four point? I only see two points on the left side. That's correct, because the nice big fork in the back there got broken off during it's 500 yard roll down the mountain. 

We got the deer all cleaned up and hung the meat in a tree surrounded by emergency blankets and glow sticks (works very well for keeping bears from eating it). Instead of going back up to the top of the ridge we walked out the bottom of this one and down into a canyon to a horse trail. It was about a 31/2mile walk. We made it back to camp around 10:30pm. Here is my fiancé packing the head out that night.


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The next morning my fiancé and I hiked back in to get the meat. He packed the back end and I packed the front shoulders, back strap, and neck meat. We made it about a half mile and my fiancé's feet started killing him from walking through all of the rocks in the avalanche slides. (The buck was killed in an avalanche slide and we had to cross three other ones on the pack out). They hurt him so bad he ended up sliding down the 3/4 mile timbered horse trail on his butt. Four hours later we made it to the pickup and back to camp. Then his dad said "guess what?" Well, he killed his buck while we were packing out the meat. So the next day we went to pack out his deer. It was a pleasant half hour pack.


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While packing out his dads we ran across a guy herding his sheep to the sheep trucks to take them back to Utah.


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There were thousands and thousands of sheep, but here are a few:


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Then our friend that was with us, killed his buck. 

Here is my fiancés and his dads:

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Look at the size difference in the heads. My fiancés is 28" wide and his dads is 25". Our friend killed a small four point, all three pictured here:


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And that's it! THREE DAYS and it's all over. We were supposed to be gone until Oct. 3 and I didn't even get to use my new tent and only got one day of backpacking in. LAME!

For those of you who hunt, while we were packing all of this meat, my sister in-law killed this 25" 4-point with her bow in Oregon.


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She also shot a 6 point bull elk and my brother got a forked horn mule deer with his bow and he also shot a cougar with his bow. They didn't find the cougar. He was cow calling for my sister in-law and he heard a twig snap behind him and when he turned around a cougar had layed down 20 yards behind him, so he stood up and made himself big. The cat didn't do anything, it just stared at him in a pouncing position, so my brother wasn't going to mess around and shot him in the chest (He had a cougar tag). It jumped straight up about 8 feet and ran, they followed the blood trail for a while, but never did find it. The entire arrow shaft went up it's chest and they found his fletching, but no cat.

So, since I didn't get much backpacking in, I'm planning a few trips here in Oregon and I will have to post some reports on them.



2:36 p.m. on September 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice TR and pics, THANX.

Ive been waiting for this TR since you first posted about this trip.

Glad you had a good hunt and filled your tags. Too bad you didnt get the full experience you were hoping for, but thats how hunting goes some times. My best and most favorite hunting trips were unsucesfull at filling the tag but were trips to be remembered for one reason or another. Filling your tag early is plus too, just made all the time spent in prep, research, travel and money spent justified.

Hopefully your able to use some of your time left for some other excursions. Looking forward to some TR's on those.

4:00 p.m. on September 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Very cool trip.  My early archery season was unfruitfull this year but its nice to talk to someone who filled their tag. Nicely done!

 

8:07 p.m. on September 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Is that a Cabelas wall tent?

8:27 p.m. on September 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks guys. Even though it was a short trip, it was a fun one!

Tipi Walter - No, it's not. It's a Magnum Tent from Missoula, Montana. This exact one here:

http://www.magnumtents.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=4

Plus it has an additional awning out the front. The awning is 14'x8'. I believe it's from the same company.

1:09 a.m. on October 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Not a hunter, so excuse me if my question is lame, but...

What's the reason you have to go home early, just because you bagged you quota?  Isn't it possible to stash the meat with a local butcher, and go back up and enjoy the remaining time allotted, then pick up the meat on the way home?

Ed

9:13 a.m. on October 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I almost went the canvas wall tent route several years ago when I had the opportunity to set up a permanent camp on Chickasaw Creek in Tennessee.  I found this guy's website to be very helpful:

http://cowboycamp.net/index.html

Since I have black widows and scorpions around here, I decided to go with a sealed floor and got a Cabelas 12x12 outfitter Xtreme weather dome tent with an inside Buddy propane heater for the winter, as pictured below.  But I would really like to explore the wall tent world and use it especially thru the winter with the stovepipe jack and a good woodstove.


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1:01 p.m. on October 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Ed - not a lame question at all. You're right, that's what I wanted to do, but the guys wanted to get back to save the extra week of payed vacation for other trips they have planned this winter.

Tipi Walter - Wall tents are great. They're very warm with the stove going. We took an indoor/outdoor thermometer with us and we learned that the tent kept it 10 degrees warmer than the outside temp without the stove going. On this trip the lowest temp was 24 and we had the tent at about 72. The scorpion thing would scare me. We have a bit of a mouse problem almost every time, but we have storage containers for the food and we set mouse traps if it gets too bad. Not too many come in the actual tent though. For our floor we put down a tarp and then a really light canvas (probably 6 oz) tarp over that. We then set up the cots and put down rugs infront of our cots along with a rug at the entry way. 

We took our friends wall tent and stove on this trip. He just bought this brand of stove here: http://www.kwikkamp.com/octagon-stoves.cfm it's a really great stove. We have had some that will run you out of the tent,  because they're too hot, but this one doesn't do that. You don't have to split your wood as small either and when you pack it full of wood for the night it will burn a good six hours before you have to get up and tend to to it. 

3:11 p.m. on October 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I believe KwikKamp is known for their wall tent frames and most wall tent makers and vendors use them for their tents.  There are also many "portable" stoves that pique people's interest and the list is long, from cylinder stoves to Kwikkamp stoves to Titanium Goat stoves and Kifaru stoves.  My personal favorite are the models from Four Dog stoves.


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Here is one of their stoves.


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And my god here are a couple of their light titanium stoves---at between $600 and $900!!  I support them though because they are doing it right and have the spirit of a small enterprise with heart.  Here's their webpage:

http://www.fourdog.com/index.htm

There are lighter stoves on the market for sure, so these are mostly used in a "permanent" wall tent or tipi basecamp---haul it in once and forget about it.  But the titanium stove on the left is 8lbs and the right is 12lbs.  Wow.

10:55 a.m. on October 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm very familiar with the Four Dogs. I almost bought a Three Dog for a 10x12 tent last year. There was a guy on Craigslist who had one for sale that he had only used once, but he wouldn't hold it for me until the weekend to go get it and he sold it. If I were to buy a new stove right now, a Four Dog is what I personally would go with.

You're definitely on the right track if you end up purchasing a wall tent and stove.

1:23 p.m. on October 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for sharing the follow-up report...I was waiting to see it also. Good stuff...

 

And a reqeust for one more follow-up report.....how did the mule deer taste? Was it "good eatin"?

10:22 a.m. on October 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Patman. The mule deer is good. Where we live on the coast all we have is Blacktail. They are prettier deer, but not as big and aren't as tender as Mule deer. I like mine broiled with either a seasoning or marinade the best. It keeps it very tender and moist. I also like that it's leaner than beef.

Have you ever had venison? You know one thing I really like? Elk hamburger. If you were to eat elk hamburger and then have beef hamburger you can totally tell the difference and I think the elk taste so much better. It's amazing when you cook the two also. You actually have to add fat to the elk meat so that you can cook it and then there's still no grease to drain. 

2:28 a.m. on October 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Elk burger is the best! My last Elk I had processed by a butcher from a major grocery store. He ground some beef fat into it to give it some moisture and hold it together......OMG! want to talk about awesome burgers. If I do go Elk hunting again I plan on having the whole thing ground into burger and sausage.

11:45 a.m. on October 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Elk is amazing. My fiance's mom and I were talking about elk burger last night. It's soooo good.

8:14 a.m. on October 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Over the years I’ve had more than my fair share of game meats although recently I don’t eat much animal protein at all. (I’ve been experimenting with diet the last several years…most of my protein comes from beans, legumes, and fish these days). However, I do love venison and I tend to enjoy the leaner game meats.

My father-in-law was an avid hunter (he actually grew up in the backwoods of East TN having to hunt for the family table), and ate his harvest almost exclusively (as opposed to store bought meats). I admit that I don’t miss the wild shot turkey at thanksgiving. I don’t know where he got those birds but they were NOT butterball..

August 31, 2014
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