Personal Essay: Hunting Trip to Wyoming

On October 8th and 9th, my dad and I drove 24 hours to Lusk, Wyoming for a hunting trip. We hunted for 4 days during the 2nd week of Wyoming’s antelope season; we were mainly hunting pronghorn antelope, but I also had a mule deer buck tag.  

Wide open Wyoming plain
Wide open Wyoming plain

The first day that we hunted, we didn’t kill anything. Our inexperience was evident as we hiked through the hilly and barren terrain trying to stalk some antelope that were too far away for a shot and eventually spooked. The second day, my dad shot both an antelope buck and a doe. These were both running shots and were definitely earned because that day we had hiked a total of 14 miles.  

Rugged Wyoming landscape

Antelope hunting is much different from whitetail hunting because antelope will lay down or get up and move whenever they want; whitetail usually move during the morning and evening hours, and after dark. Because there are no natural predators fast enough to catch them, antelope just plop down in the middle of a wide-open plain instead of finding a thicket to lie down in like whitetail do.

Scoping out the scene

As a visitor in Wyoming, it is difficult to know what is public versus what is private land, so we used a handheld GPS that showed us the property lines. On the morning of the 12th, we were driving past a patch of public land when we saw a group of antelope lying right out in the open. We parked the truck, put on all our gear, and hiked in to get closer and hopefully get a shot. After a half mile stalk, we had a doe and mature fawn at 160 yards, and I dropped her on the spot with my 270!

Antelope doe

Up to this point, we hadn’t seen any mule deer bucks on public land, and the only one we saw on private land was a four point. On the 13th, our last day of hunting, we were driving past a river bottom when I spotted a little buck on public land. We parked the truck, threw on our gear, and stalked up to the spot where he was standing. He popped up out of the river bottom broadside and completely unaware we were less than a 100 yards away from him. I missed the first shot, but the second shot made him jump and run 10 yards before crashing. He was only a small four point, but we were thrilled!

Mule deer buck

That same afternoon, we were driving a dirt road scouting another area, when we spotted a group of antelope, led by a buck, walking across public ground. We once again parked behind a hill, put on our gear, climbed up the hill, and got ready. When the lead buck stepped out from behind the hill, I got my scope on him and shot. My first shot was a bit back, but the second shot was perfect and put him down.  

Antelope buck

On October 15th, we started home with plenty to fill our freezer, stopping along the way to check out the wildlife and beautiful scenery at Custer State Park and Badlands National Park. This trip was amazing and even better that I got to spend every moment with my dad.

Wild buffalo at Custer State Park

Big Horn Sheep in the Badlands

Senior. Hunter. Flutist.

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