Wyoming Outdoes Itself Again
Over the last eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to hunt Wyoming for mule deer, antelope, and turkeys with great success. Out of all the states, I've hunted, Wyoming is probably my favorite. The overall landscape, quantity of game, and quality of game are hard to beat. To be honest, though, it never entered my mind as a destination for excellent whitetail hunting, but a hunt last fall changed that opinion.
As the beginning of November approached, my anticipation for a whitetail hunt with my friend, Tim Locker, in east-central Wyoming with Heart Spear Outfitters was through the roof. We planned the trip to coincide with when we thought the whitetail rut would peak.
We arrived in Wyoming on the afternoon of November 8th to much colder temperatures than the eighty-degree weather that I left behind in southern Louisiana. Kody Glause, who owns and operates Heart Spear Outfitters with his wife Jordan, picked Tim and me up from the airport. We made our way to the range before dark to make sure that our rifles were finely tuned and then grabbed a bite to eat in preparation for an exciting morning.
The next morning we awoke to temperatures in the low twenties and cloudy skies. We made our way out to a 60,000-acre ranch just south of Glenrock, WY, and the three of us set up on a hillside overlooking some thick brush and alfalfa fields along a creek that ran through the ranch. There were plenty of deer moving but nothing that piqued our interest. The rut did seem to be showing signs of heating up as we saw a two and a half-year-old eight-point chase several does around the thick creek bottom below us.
After a couple hours of glassing, we decided to make our way back to the truck and head to a different area to see if we could find a mature buck. As we headed to our next destination, we drove slowly along the edge of the creek and checked for activity. We saw several deer along the way, and we caught a glimpse of a nice deer for a split second as he followed a doe into a thick patch of red willows.
As we pulled up to our next destination, we spotted several bucks chasing a doe. We quickly picked up our binoculars and took a detailed look at each deer. Three of the bucks were young deer, but one of them looked to be mature. Kody swiftly pulled out his spotting scope and took a closer look at the deer. “He’s a definite shooter. He has a split brow tine on his right side,” Kody remarked to Tim and I. Before we could make a plan of attack, the younger bucks chased the doe into a thicket, and the big deer followed.
Not willing to give up yet, Tim and I decided to sneak our way into the area and try to rattle the deer out of the cover while Kody made his way back down the creek to see if he could find any other bucks. We quickly grabbed our gear and made our way over to the area. We found a spot to set up around 100 yards from the last place we had seen the deer. I pulled out my rattling horns, grunt call, and estrus bleat and started a sequence to try to entice the bucks out of the thick cover. I could hear the bucks chasing the doe, but the lure of a hot doe was more appealing than my calls. After several minutes, the chasing died down. We camped out for another hour or so before we decided to start making a slow walk towards Kody’s location.
As we walked, I figured we would try some rattling if the right spot presented itself. After about an 800-yard hike, we found a small dip that would provide some cover about 200 yards from the thick creek bed. I again began a rattling sequence as Tim readied his rifle for anything that may come to our setup. Within two minutes of rattling, I caught a glimpse of a deer running through the brush. I could make out that it was a buck but couldn’t tell how big it was. Before I knew it, the deer was standing ten yards from us. He was only a small eight-point, but it was definitely a rush to watch.
With no other candidates spotted, we broke for lunch and discussed our strategy for the afternoon. We decided to glass some alfalfa fields in the early afternoon and then split up in the late afternoon to cover more ground. The early afternoon glassing ended up producing very little deer activity, so we decided to start making our way to our late afternoon posts.
We wanted to try to find the split brow tine buck that we had seen earlier in the morning. Kody thought the deer would feed his way out to the alfalfa fields on the opposite side of the creek from where we had seen him earlier in the day, so we headed that way. As we arrived, neither Tim nor I could make a decision on who wanted to hunt the alfalfa field, so with a little pressure from Kody, Tim grabbed his gear and made his way to a spot with some cover a couple hundred yards into the field.
By that time, it was getting later in the afternoon, and Kody and I quickly drove around to the other side of the creek. Kody thought that we should hunt down the creek from where we had spotted the split brow tine buck in the morning, so we parked the truck, grabbed our gear, and hiked in to set up for the afternoon.
We slipped up the fence line that ran down the side of the creek, being careful not to bump any deer along the way. We rounded a small point and noticed a spike feeding by himself. We knelt down to watch him, and out of the corner of my eye, I caught the flash of a doe running towards us from the top of a small hill to our right. I leaned over to Kody and said, “They’ll be a buck right behind her.” Sure enough, a small eight-point topped the hill within moments followed by two other small bucks. We watched the bucks harass the doe for a few minutes before they chased her out of sight into the creek bottom. As they disappeared, we made our way up the fence line toward the small hill. When we reached the bottom of the hill, Kody stopped me. “There’s a buck feeding right there,” stated Kody. I pulled up my binoculars, and as soon as I laid eyes on the deer, I turned to Kody and said, “That’s a really nice deer!” Kody, still looking through his binoculars, whispered, “He’s okay.” I was kind of shocked, so I took a second look. As I pulled my binoculars up to look again, Kody said, “There’s a really nice deer to his right. He’s a shooter!” What neither of us realized was that the first deer that Kody spotted was a different deer than I was looking at.
From the vantage point that I was at, I could only see the buck’s horns and the top of his back, so we slowly crept our way up the fence line. When we got to a higher spot on the hill where I could see better, I rested my rifle on the side of a T post. Kody ranged the deer at 216 yards, but he was walking straight away from me with no shot available. After walking about ten yards, the deer turned and gave me a quartering away shot. I positioned the crosshairs on the buck’s side so that the exit wound would break the opposite shoulder. After calming my breathing, I slowly squeezed the trigger. As the shot broke, I heard Kody say, “You hit him!” The buck ran about twenty yards, jumped a fence along the creek, and toppled over within sight.
Kody and I shared a moment of celebration before he headed back to get the truck. I promptly made my way over to the buck. I really didn’t have a good chance to look at his horns before I shot, so I wasn’t exactly sure what I was walking up to. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. He wasn’t the split brow tine buck we were after, and in fact, he was bigger. The buck ended up being my biggest whitetail to date. He taped out at 151.25”. It was a tremendous deer and a great hunt.
I hunted the rest of the week with Tim, and I’m happy to report that Tim also took a very nice buck. We had an awesome hunt and saw tons of whitetails, mule deer, and antelope, along with some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Once again, Wyoming did not disappoint and has left more great memories etched into my mind. ~ Brett
Brett Frey is a lifelong hunter and shooter from southern Louisiana. He is the Director of Purchasing for Lipsey’s, a national wholesale firearms and shooting sports distributor. He and his wife, Kate, are the proud parents of three young children, Douglas, Lizzy, and Anna Jane. His passion in life is spending time with his family and being outdoors chasing game.