I and five other fellas headed out to WY last Thursday, we had 4 goat tags and 4 deer tags between us. We hunted the far North east corner of the state, region A deer, and zone 1 for antelope.
Friday morning we headed straight for the BLM office to get maps, I specifically inquired about the status of a few areas I had hunted before. I wanted to be absolutly sure these areas were still under BLM control. I was given an update sheet and everything checked out as public land. I also inquired about access to BLM lands across private land and was told I would need permission from that landowner to cross his lands.
Friday afternoon my hunting partner Jared and I glassed some deer on state property. There were a few does and at least 4 bucks in the creek bottom. We snuck along a little ravine that got us to within about 600 yards of the creek. We waited there and continued to observe the animals, one buck looked like it would do. Jared really wanted a mulie and these were whitetail so he watched with the bino's, After about a half hour a nice buck had worked to 556 yards, the wind was left to right at about 10-12mph and the buck was facing into the wind. I checked my chart, established my hold, and got behind the gun. When the trigger broke the deer took a step, but it wasn't enough to change the outcome. Before I recovered from the slight recoil of the 260AI Jarod called the buck down. The 140 grain A-max had gone through the deers spine about 8 inches behind the shoulder. The buck was not huge about a 16" wide 4x5. Jared was pretty pumped up because he had never hunted long range and was begining to see some of the advantages in it.
Saturday we decided to try and fill the goat tags, after quite a bit of driving and not finding any antelope on public land I remembered some antelope I had seen on BLM land where we had killed deer the year before. The spot is much more hilly with tree covered ridges looking over sage and grass vallys.
We parked the truck and headed down the hill walking slow and glassing. As I came to the lip of a little depression, I saw about 30 goats feeding no more than 150 yards away. I told Jared to drop his pack as did I and we would crawl into position for a shot. I had reached a spot behind a piece of sage that I could just scoot to the left and shoot. I glassed the animals and found 4 bucks only 3 had both horns. Jared had to move forward a little more and I slid behind the gun to get ready. We were gonna try the old 1,2,bang, the antelope had different ideas. Just like that they spotted us and started up the ridge running broadside to us. This was not at all what I wanted to happen but seeing as we were there I told Jared that he should shoot if he could. We both singled out a buck, may-be the same buck, and shot both of us called a miss as we seen dirt fly. I was struggling to get the sight picture where It should, as I needed to hold 2 mildots down from my 500 yard cross wire zero. I took a second to gather myself and swung on a buck established a lead and pressed the trigger. Jared called the hit as he was following the same buck in his scope. The bullet puched through the rib cage and the goat ran about 40 yards before going down. It wasn't the way I wanted to tag my antelope but I was happy none the less.
We watched the antelope run up and over the ridge out of sight, then again, then again, and again, I told Jared if they stopped over the last ridge and we walk the mile and a half to them its gonna be a long hike out if he shoots one........... "ok lets go after them." was his reply. When we reached the last ridge, to my suprise, was the herd of goats. With the animals about 250 yards out I suggested to Jared that he use my gun. He declined, layed out prone, (no bipod) and missed.
Sunday one of the older fellas rode with us, his partner had shot an antelope on Friday and they had no luck on Sat., so to save on gas he rode with us.
After a short stalk through some trees, Al made a nice shot (w/bipod 25-06) at 380 yards. This day also included a couple of misses at a very nice Mulie.
Monday was very windy but Jared was now seeing the light, he had done some dry-firing drills with my gun, and I was coaching him on responding to my mil calls. The first time he got behind the gun w/bipod he said "Wow this is really steady".Later, we watched a large herd of goats at 450 yards but passed at taking a shot because of the strong wind and Jared being new to this.
That afternoon, we found the set-up we were after, a nice buck at 350 yards down wind. I told Jared the hold and he put the buck down with one very nice shot.
Now the ugly;
I understand the ranchers point of view when hunting season rolls around. The normally quiet countryside is filled with hunters, many of whome ride around in trucks all day. I asked for permission to cross private land to access BLM land, and was turned down by 3 different ranchers, yet they would tell me stories of people driving all over there land. Yet I am denied for asking. One time I was asked if I had $200, one dollar for every foot of land I had to cross. One was nice and went out of his way to try and find us a place to hunt, just not on "his" land.
One pair in our group was kicked off of state land by a rancher who claimed to have it leased? for grazing rights I assume.
The evening I shot my antelope we were confronted by two out of staters, who were acusing us of tresspassing because the rancher that sold them a hunt told them that he had the hunting rights to that BLM land we hunted. They had wrote down our plate number and were going to call the CO. Deffinatlly two of the biggest a$$holes I ever met. More worried about us than going out and hunting themselves. I was to the point of lossing my temper with these two. In short order I settled the main disspute.
Another rancher followed me for a mile, I pulled over to see what he wanted, He asked why I was road hunting his land. I very politly told him we were glassing the state land that layed a half mile out from his land. He then told me it wasn't state land anymore, I said "the mapps..... "Them damm maps are wrong!!!!" I showed him the map, he looked, and said "well this looks right, I think". We left on a very positive note.
All in all I had a good time, we seen lots of game and passed quite a few bucks. Most agreed It was the last trip to Wyoming. Vacation is not as much fun when somebodys waiting to chew your ass.
Coyboy, while I totally share your frustration with landowners, part of the problem was the region you picked to hunt. It's the most leased up, outfitted part of the state. If you venture more towards the south-central to western part of the state you will discover far more public land and less hassle. The only draw back is that tags are a little harder to come by.