A few weeks ago Grant Jacobs and I had a great time hunting with fellow pro-staffers Dustin DeCroo, Dan Schafer and John Herrmann in Wyoming. Grant and I left Minnesota bright (or not so bright) and early on a Tuesday morning at three o’clock and after a 10 hour drive, we arrived in a small Wyoming town just in time for an afternoon waterhole hunt. As we walked out to our stand, we were greeted with the sight of 30 goats staged directly above what would quickly become our new honey hole. After setting up our blind we waited with high hopes of spotting a good buck. While we certainly glimpsed plenty of does and fawns that first afternoon and evening, day one left us looking for a good shooter buck. Nevertheless, we went into day two with high hopes.
Grant Jacobs waiting patiently with his Mathews Z9 ready.
On Wednesday, we sat the entire day at the waterhole with action on and off throughout much of the afternoon. The clear highlight of our second day in Wyoming was when a good buck sauntered straight in for a shot at 40 yards. I was filming and Grant had the buck in his sights. Unfortunately, a combination of warm temperatures and a long distance (especially for a Midwestern hunter) coupled with inexperience and resulting nerves on both our parts, Grant shot just over the back of that buck and missed him, what an awesome opportunity!
This shooter buck watered at 30 yards… check back to “Bowhunt or Die” to see all the action.
It wasn’t until day four of the hunt (our final day) that we decided to take a doe if the opportunity presented itself. Having spent the three prior days waiting for shooter bucks to come along, we agreed that a mature doe would be worth taking as opposed to taking nothing at all. It took all day, but around four in the afternoon, a big group of does and fawns came to water and with the camera rolling, Grant made a great 20 yard shot on a mature doe.
Grant and I with our last day Antelope Doe
Getting the doe down was definitely the highlight of our Wyoming hunt; it was truly the culmination of a whole load of new and exciting hunting experiences. Throughout our weeklong hunt, we saw plenty of other wildlife, picked up on some distinctively Western hunting strategies and techniques and were challenged daily with the new terrain, weather and game.
We had all kinds of visitors at the watering hole including this Badger.
Overall Wyoming was an incredible experience for Grant and me and we have Dustin DeCroo to thank for most of it. He set us on great spots and we had unbelievable encounters and chances. Western hunting is not easy: long shots, tough terrain, hot temperatures, and goats with excellent vision definitely made for a challenging hunt. I have a newfound respect for Western hunters; the experience was humbling and I feel grateful just to have been able to spend a little time with the pronghorns of the sage dotted plains of Wyoming.
See you in the woods,Neal McCullough