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​​​Wyoming Mule Deer Hunts

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​​Survey

We took a Hunters Survey to find what type of hunt was in the most veteran hunters bucket list and answer it in 10 questions/Responses. We took all ages, all level of experiences, across the US. We wanted big Mule Deer bucks but not a hunt that required you to be a recent 25 year old retired Marine Sargent to be successful, or just survive. The survey showed that most hunters are ok with horses they just didn't want to ride all day. They wanted a rut hunt, a migration hunt and a spot and stalk hunt. They wanted a Plan A and a Plan B with two different areas because if something went wrong they wanted another place to hunt. They didn't want to see blaze orange all over the mountain like it looked like a pumpkin patch just short of Halloween. When I shot a deer I didn't want to have to drag it out 5 miles, I want it to be my guides problem, oh did I mention that I wanted it guided? Yes, 2 on 1 would be fine, but guided. The wanted a warm place to sleep, no drafty tents while you listen to the tent flaps to play in the wind all night, to rob you of the few precious hours of sleep that we available each night. They didn't want to have to take turns cooking meals or washing dishes each day, come in early from you evening hunt, just when you should be out there to at sundown when the biggest of the big buck show themselves. Also licensing, no expensive vouchers or 10-20 points to draw a coveted license for this once in a life time hunt.

No 60 miles of rugged dirt road to drive just to get to the contact location. We wanted to provide a hunt that would fill the most bucket lists but not break the bank. Oh and yes if it was meeting all of these criteria, even though it was a bucket list item, could they do it again if there was enough they wanted it unlimited so they could bring their buddies next year to show them what a find this is, and shoot another big buck!​

I sat down with the outfitter across a small table and laid out what I wanted. He laughed and said, yes and people in Hell want Ice water, you have an impossible list there. Or one that would be so expensive it would cost you you're first born. Since my first born had long since move out, I had a bargaining chip that even if cashed in wouldn't be worth the plastic it was made of. My goal was to provide a big mule dee buck hunt with bucks ranging from 160-205 for everyone's wall after a 5 day hunt and meet as much of the requirements above as possible. You will be hunting either The North Fork camp in units 111 or for Non-Residents the whole Region. If you are hunting the South Fork camp it is  112 and 113 or for non-Residents you are able to hunt the complete Region F. The residents put in by the unit for deer and the while the non-resident just put in the alpha letter for the complete unit, in this case F no matter what camp you are in.​


The Hunt And Option On The Hunt

1. They wanted big Mule Deer Bucks but not a hunt that required you to be a recent 25 year old retired Marine Sargent to be successful, or just survive.

This hunt was developed as a Low to Medium impact hunt so you could select your level of physical ability that is required. There are actually two way to hunt these big bucks. The ride there is not difficult about an hour to an hour and a half on good mountain horses with padded saddles. The endurance is not much more difficult then riding the 25 cent pony ride outside of Walmart and burning a whole $ 1.00's worth of quarters. These horses and mules have traveled these trails all their lives and their eyes in weak morning or even light are much better than ours would ever be. They are large mountain horses with big muscular legs from traveling these mountain trails. Once you are in the deer concentration area then things differ depending if you want a Deer Migration Hunt or a spot and stalk hunt. Both are guided and successful in this deer concentrated area. You will be hunting east of the Yellowstone Basin and east of south western Idaho in the Bighorn Mountains west of the deer final destination the Big Horn Basin.​


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A. The Mule Deer Migration Hunt

This hunt you will be taken to a travel corridor where the deer migration from Yellowstone National Park and South West Idaho us to get from those summer grounds through the big horn mountain passes, and down canyons to where they will winter in the bighorn basin. This "funneling down" of the thousands of Mule deer is what this hunt is all about. It is not weather dependent like to the degree of most deer hunts, They have a mission and even though they are getting into the pre-rut, that is secondary, they need to get down to their wintering grounds as soon as possible.

You will see your give provide you with the best estimate of size of your buck while it is on the hoof and moving through your range and view. Stopping isn't always and option, they have a mission and know that if they just keep walking they will get there before the snows do. You decide which one you want to pull the trigger, and who shoots first is decided before the sun comes up. You have your binoculars around your neck and your rifle on your lap with a 200-400 yard shot in front of you of the migrating big bucks.

Once shot the buck is pulled downhill from the migration corridor so theta the deer quickly continue migrating again. The deer is bones and packed out, no dragging deer on this hunt. Depending on the migration you could see 25-100 Mule deer per day traveling through your gun sights.​


B. The Mule Deer Spot and Stalk Hunt

This hunt can be more physical since it is more like the standard way to hunt deer and for those that don't want to sit in the blind all day but want to put some wear on the boot, spot a buck at a distance and make a stalk with their guide this is the one for you. The deer concentration is high because they are all migrating this part is just focusing more on the deer that have laid down on a ridge to rest or have decide to take a break and eat. Again this is usually 200 to 400 yard shots with your guide field judging the buck before you put the trigger if you wish.​

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2. The survey showed that most hunters are ok with horses they just didn't want to ride all day.

They wanted a rut hunt, a migration hunt and a spot and stalk hunt. They wanted a Plan A and a Plan B with two different areas because if something went wrong they wanted another place to hunt.

It is only a short ride in the morning to where the deer concentration is the highest in the area. Otherwise you would be walking and the 3-4 miles uphill and this way it is over before you know it. Remember while you are riding you are hunting. Your rifle in the scabbard with no rounds in the chamber but the clip or magazine can be full. If you have a special scabbard for your rifle by all means bring it and the wrangler will hook it to your saddle. The wranglers take care of the horses while you and your guide focus on getting a big buck. The rut has started, but their bigger mission right now is to travel. Mule deer and bed down and easily disappear. The beauty of this hunt, they don't want to bed down they want to be up and moving making spotting these deer much easier as some bypass the main corridor and pick their own route, and even hunting on horseback on the way in. Sometimes these are bigger bucks that have grown to take a different path, sometimes it is a buck just looking for a new road home, but the spot and stalk is always full of excitement. The season begins 10/15 and runs until 11/10 but we key in on the last 2 weeks when the have rut and the migration presser is strongest on the deer with a sense of urgency.​



3. They didn't want to see blaze orange all over the mountain like it looked like a pumpkin patch just short of Halloween.

You will be hunting a large designated Wilderness area. This means foot or horseback. No roads, no vehicles, usually only the group you rode in with. This lack of people pressure also makes they seem much calmer that you would normally have to deal with where the hunter pressure is much heavier. That is why we selected the wilderness area and because of that the average bucks you are dealing with live longer and are much bigger. Even our own group will be small. The hunt dates are 10/30 to 11/03/03 and a second group of hunters in 11/6 to 11/10. There will be 5-10 hunters going up two different drainages. The deer you see one day most likely you will never see again that is a trait of the migration. The moving deer may move them 3-5 miles in a day. When you see a big one you like, take it don't plan on seeing him again the next day. You don't want to say I should have shot that big one I saw yesterday. You, your partner and your guide will break from the group and hunt on horseback in the morning checking draws and honey holes in the drainage on the way in.  Once spotted you will tie off the horses and stalk within range and put your buck down. You have a pack horse with you that your deer will be packed on for travel. Later in the morning you will arrive to your pre-arranged locations to watch the migration pass. The wider the area you are watching the longer the shots can be unless your migration location has some way of shorting the gap.

As far a blaze orange you will only require in Wyoming to 1 blaze orange garment, hat or coat. And different from many states it can be in a camouflage blaze orange pattern, not just straight blaze orange which people can see but is less visible to deer.     ​


4. When I shot a deer I didn't want to have to drag it out 5 miles, I want it to be my guides problem, oh did I mention that I wanted it guided? Yes, 2 on 1 would be fine, but guided.

You will shoot deer, if you don't we will put a number 1 on your forehead because you are the first that didn't. There is no deer dragging on a traditional deer hunt. The horses and mules have been trained to be able to be a meat pack animal or a saddle horse for riding. The deer will go back down to your cabin that evening. You will be guided 2 hunters for 1 guide. As hunters quickly fill you may have an opportunity to be guided 1 on 1 depending on the outfitters needs to make everyone successful.​

The wanted a warm place to sleep, no drafty tents while you listen to the tent flaps to play in the wind all night, to rob you of the few precious hours of sleep that we available each night.

If you have ever spent a night in a sleeping tent while a windblown blizzard howls outside it is very easy to spend a sleepless night. You can't be at your best when the shot opportunity arises unless you sleep at night. Because of this we provide cabins down off the mountain every night.



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5. They didn't want to have to take turns cooking meals or washing dishes each day, come in early from you evening hunt, just when you should be out there to at sundown when the biggest of the big buck show themselves.

This is your trip, your vacation, your bucket list this is your time hunting with your buddies and having the time of your life. There is neither washing dishes nor missing the evening hunt to get back to camp to make dinner for everyone. There is a full time chef that has breakfast ready for you in the morning, a sack lunch with hot food for lunch and greets you with a warn dinner when you come off of the mountain each evening. You will all be talking about this hunt and the big bucks you came home with for years to come.

​6. Also licensing, no expensive vouchers or 10-20 points to draw a coveted license for this once in a life time hunt.​​

Simply put I will apply for your licenses for you and it has been a 100% draw in the past as long as the applications are in before the end of May, it is in an area called Region "M". The non-resident license is only $325 and you don't have to pay the extra $200 special license fee like you do in most areas. No point required nor vouchers to worry about. I just need to have you height, weight and so forth with hunter safety card number and they mail the license to your front door.


7. No 60 miles of rugged dirt road to drive just to get to the contact location.

Great roads to get here to the ranch and Cabins…. Paved. You will be about 1 hour drive south of Cody, Wyoming.​





8. Oh and yes if it was meeting all of these criteria, even though it was a bucket list item, could they do it again if there was enough?

That may be the only problem area. This hunt is limited due to the length of the hunt and the short season. We will try to get everyone in and scheduled but for those that done call and put down a 50% deposit we can book them for next year if they. Like Please call and find out all the deals. We have a huge area that the big bucks are migrating out of to where we have the optimum concentration of big deer and the opportunity of a life time to bring home a wall hanger of a life time.​


 

9. We wanted to provide a hunt that would fill the most bucket lists but not break the bank.

A fully guided 2 on 1 high hunt in a concentration Trophy Mule Deer honey hole Hunt with 3 meals a day for 5 days and lodging on a Traditional ride in with horses taking you back into wilderness area and out every day is usually around  $ 6000 per person. This hunt has been discounted down and to show you how much it has been discounted down.

A word on horses vs Mountain Horses, along with riding an hour vs all day.

These mountain horses have walked this trail most of their lives, if not all of it. They are heavy legged with excellent foot control. They are so well trained that each horse can carry a rider or a pack saddle full of deer. Not just riding on flat ground like many horses they have learned that the edge of the trail may be thawed where the inner edge maybe frozen. They will walk where they have the best grip. If the horse starts to slide, they just sit down stopping the movement immediately. Just stay on your horse he will secure a good grip and stand up again. This is as automatic as automatic braking in automobiles and these are the newer models. These horses are the best you have ever seen and they pretty well run on autopilot so you are free to watch for deer. Don't shoot off of your horse. Just dismount and hand you lead rope to the other hunter or guide. The deer don't spoke when they see the horses so if they spook it are you that spook them. Talking can also spook them, dismount and stay low with your guide as you go to a spot for a good shot. Separate about 20 yards or more and take the shot. They are fed oats at arrival to the camp; your horse will never get lots. I take a GPS but have found the horses have a built in GPS is better and the batteries never go dead. Cell phone signal is text at best. If you find an area that you are not comfortable on a horse please feel free to dismount and walk holding you horse by his lead rope. You guide will assist you on this just let him know what you pan so he can dismount and assist.​


In this case it has been discounted down to only an unbelievable $ 2995! This is without the, meals and lodging package at the ranch in the cabins. The 3 meals per day and the 5 days of lodging is $ 1000 but has been reduced down to only $ 495, less than half. I looked at the alternative of driving to Cody, Wyoming an hour each way spending close to an hours driving tome to Cody Wyoming staying at a motel and eating in town.

Almost $100 a night for the motel, $50 a day for meals and a sack lunch, $ 20 per day in fuel totaled        $ 170 per day. What I felt cost me even more is 1.5 hours of driving windy mountain roads to me each way made the nights shorter and driving in the night after a day of hunting is  probably the most costly to fall asleep at the wheel, was just not worth it. Financially it came out to about $ 800 so I felt to stay on the ranch in a warm cabin having meals ready when I needed them without waiting in lines was the only way to go.

The outfitter advised it would cost him almost the same if it were 1 hunter or 8 hunters and I asked him to lower the meals and lodging package from $ 1000 to and even $ 500. With special diets for health/allergies reasons catered to and he agreed. I look at meals as something that you have to do every day of your life, so eat here or eat at home, you need to hunt.

Ok, what's the bottom line on the discounted? $ 2995 for the day hunt and $ 500 for the meals and lodging at the ranch all rolls out at a total of only $ 3495 on a hunt that would usually be in the $6000 range means you are getting it for almost ½ price ! This hunt is perfect for the Cody Hunter.

My only apologies are that we can't handle many hunters so the first one that book will have the advantage of getting in the hunt they choose. The later ones will get whatever is left or get the option of waiting and hunting next year.  See you there. Bring a gun… you will need it.​



10. We are a little different than the other hunters. We have shot whitetail and mule deer all of our lives. 

We have always wished for a big wide timber buck, looked for them, and we know they are not behind every tree, but they are the King of the mountain. We know we will have to get off the beaten path and have a guide that has years of experience searching those monsters out on a regular basis.

These bucks are hunted in September when the weather is usually nice and these big bucks are fat and lazy from a good summer. They have a 6 sense that you would swear is part magic, that is why many avoid hunter for 7,8, 9 years and finally die of natural causes just to have someone pick up their bleached antlers a year or 2 later, showing this massive set of antlers found in a pocket above the canyons. These are the ones that grow those antlers. The deer density is lower because the habitat is less favorable for deer, then down below. This could be call a poor man's sheep hunt because you will definitely see bighorn sheep while scanning for these giant Muley's. The cabins that you stay in are higher up on the mountain to cut down on the uphill riding. This is for the hunter willing to go the extra mile to find the buck of his dreams, the one he has looked for all of his life. The Jackson hunt is for that hunter. This separates the trophy Mule Deer Hunters from the, "Want2B" trophy hunters.​


This booked quicker than expected so the outfitter provided 2 more days of hunting.

The license application even though they don't require any points which is unusual for this quality if deer anywhere is the west, it does require applying for the deer license with the Wyoming Game and Fish before the end of May. These regions seldom if ever have any leftover license because of the quality and the low number of licenses allotted.

6 openings: Jackson Hunt

Jackson, WY Traditional Horseback spot and stalk deer hunt in the high bowls for the big timber bucks

that you don't usually see until late November when they come down because of weather and they are targeting on the does. You always hear in November about 2 huge bucks down in the hayfield that no one has ever seen. These are what we are targeting here; they are the very last deer to migrate down into the valleys in the winter. This has the highest average score of any of the hunts. Most are single monarchs living a solitary life where few people ever get. This hunt has a lot of high point glassing then ridging on until you see the buck that you want.



Deer Region E – 0 preference points

September 15th – 19th (6 openings)………………………………………………………. Open

5 day / hunt/ we provide meals at the but there is no lodging / 1 guide on 2 hunters / spot and stalk only $3,995

9 openings Cody Hunt

Cody, WY SF Migration hunt catching deer from Yellowstone and SE Idaho heading across the bighorn mountains passes and dropping down in the steep canyons heading to the agricultural land and sage brush hills of the Bighorn Valley for the winter.

Deer Region F – 0 preference points

October 30th – November 3th (5 openings)…………………………………………. ½ full for 2016

November 6th – 10th (4 openings)………………………………………………………. Open

5 day / cabin hunt / 1 guide on 2 hunters / spot, stalk on the way in but mostly set up on a migration trail select a migrating buck for your wall.

$3,495

 

Note: It has become a proven fact that on Ancestries.com there is a tree stand in my family tree.




Greg Merriam

Senior Hunt Locator & Hunt Planner
Master Hunt Broker
Master Land Owner Voucher Broker

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Conference Phone line 305-848-8888, room number "1117461214#"
Web Page for Vouchers This is the Link to the land Owner Voucher List
http://www.coloradoelkhuntingoutfitters.com/styled/index.html​​​