September 13th, 2007

We flew Southwest into Denver, Colorado and our flight took off out of Baltimore(BWI) and we had the pleasure of being the last two folks on the airplane so we got sat well into the back of the plane but as luck would have it we were surrounded by pretty girls from the Loyola college of Maryland,  Girls Soccer Team .  We had a few questions about what we were going to be hunting and where we were headed.

Th quote of the flight was “OAKLAND?  Is that a state or a city?”, the young team mate shall remain anonymous but her team and we all kind of laughed at her.

Upon arrival in Denver we got over to Alamo and we had an SUV scheduled to be rented but they had these beautiful Toyota Tundra Double Cabs sitting there.  I was drooling so I asked Dennis if we could get that truck instead and as soon as they pulled up, I grabbed the keys and never let them out of my grasp for the entire week.

In Denver we had to locate some of my favorite ammunition so we headed over to Sportsman’s Warehouse in Aurora.  In the west these shops are some of the best in the country and I dream of one being moved here to Virginia.  After being able to easily find my favorite Federal Premium with for the 270 in stock we got out and headed over to look at some bikes.

We had a quick stop by Mile High Harley Davidson for some t-shirt shopping and drooling over some really nice bikes.  The team at Mile High was wonderful to talk to and it was a lot of fun to visit their shop.  We got a couple of shirts for ourselves and a couple for some friends and then we were headed North to Laramie.  We had a good dinner with Zach after we checked into the Hampton Inn in Laramie , got a drink at the local bar and then got a great night of sleep.

I had some unfinished business to attend to so after an early morning round of phone calls we packed up the truck and headed over the Village Inn where we got some breakfast.  It has come to my attention that Dennis is a magnet for soccer girls. At the Village Inn the University of Wyoming Lady Cowgirls Soccer Team was loading up on carbs for game day.

We headed out into the back roads around Laramie to see if we could see some good bucks and take some pictures.  We saw about a 100 antelope in two hours of glassing and we headed off to the West Laramie Fly Store to purchase our Conservation Stamps and meet the outfitters.  Raymond, Troy and Seth showed up on time and we headed off to camp watching herds of antelope all around us.

When we got into camp I got to see one of the coolest set ups I have seen in a mobile camp in years.  The camp consists of 4 trailers with one for Raymond and his wife Chris(Chris is the camp cook and one very very accomplished hunter in her own right) and one for a cook shack and then two trailers that are custom outfitted for bunkhouses with comfortable beds and hot showers!

Raymond has a great bench that every hunter sets up on and sights in their rifles on and each of us got set up and did some shooting.  I was not anywhere near as tightened up as I would of liked but good enough and Dennis was dead on with his rifle.  We had a great dinner and I was in bed by 8pm which is the earliest I have been to bed in about 9 months.  We got up at about 5am and got a wonderful breakfast and then headed out into the field.

3 groups of hunters took off and we had the pleasure of being with Troy.  The morning started in a rush about 4 miles from camp we pulled into a pasture and saw a shooter buck in with a group of does.  We pulled up and Dennis & Zach jumped out and they proceeded to stalk but something went haywire and the whole herd spooked out.  They came back to the truck and we pulled forward about a mile to the herd and the does jumped under a fence and the buck went the other way and they proceeded with a stalk again but the buck spooked and the camera and scope were due east directly into the sun so we bailed on that buck and took off for another pasture.

Entering the next pasture we watched a couple of big herds but they were very skittish and so in order to gain some better visibility we hopped up on the hill and began to glass and as we were viewing Antelope at over a mile away, right behind us a large buck jumped up at 100 yards as they are often apt to do.

Dennis jumped out as our shooter and Zach was filming him and he just could not get comfortable with the rifle and as he busted under the fence he broke right in front of me so I fired one quick round and it was well in front of the buck as he ran and then slowed up and began to mosey on down to the bottom of the hill.  I got to watch him in the spotting scope and he was absolutely beautiful.  We pulled down to watch him as he crested over the hill and we got to a better vantage point.  He was about 3 miles away and for over an hour we watched him as he went left, south and then came back towards us.  We dropped the truck back over the hill and pulled right and the buck potted out right on top of us.  Dennis jumped out and pulled up with his rifle and shot directly into the dirt.

We pulled the truck up about 10 feet and the tire was blown so I got out and broke right and Dennis and Troy went left.  They buck broke right and then left and ran about 200 yards even further left.  Dennis and Troy used a cow as a diversion and moved into about 100 yards.  Dennis pulled up and shot and the buck ran west up the hill.  I sat and waited for the buck that was never to come my way and then saw the crew moving towards the truck.

The truck had all of the gear required for a great hunt except for a small key to allow the spare to drop down so we could fix the tire.  We decided to stalk and walk our way back to the camp to pick up our Tundra with gear to fix the tire.  It took us about 45 minutes to make the couple of miles back to camp and we got a cool drink and then jumped into the truck and headed back to the pastures.  As soon as we got back into the pasture we saw the same exact buck bedded down at about 400 yards.  We drove up again using the truck as a decoy as Dennis got out and took a shot at the buck again and missed.

This boy was the TEFLON buck because just about every shot was close but no cigar.  4 shots so far and he was still very safe.  The buck then stopped running at about 500 yards and began milling with 4 yearling does and fawns.  We pulled the truck up closer and Dennis looked at me and said, “Kevin, Take this shot!”  I don’t think there was much hesitation as I grabbed my rifle and jumped out of the truck.

I threw my pack on the ground and pulled up the rifle jacked in a round and pulled up the first shot was about 200 yards and I am not sure where I was aiming but I pulled the shot and missed and the buck began to run.  At about 240 he was still running I shot again and then he slowed and turned to me and I calmed down and steadied myself as the buck was now about 280 yards and pulled off the shot on the buck and he dropped immediately.

We did the great high fives and hugs and went and took a look.  Dennis and Troy broke off to get the truck fixed and Zach and I watched the cows and had a nice break.  We took the buck back to camp after some great pictures and then camped him out and went back to find a buck for Dennis.  We put a couple of great stalks out but just could not close the deal.

The next morning we were up early and we pulled into the pasture and at about 7am we had our first encounter at about 180 yards and Dennis took a shot at a really nice buck and missed again.  He was a bit nervous the scope power was off a bit and we proceeded forward to look for another buck.  We made a few adjustments and a really nice buck pulled up and Dennis got another shot and missed again.

We decided it was time to re-sight in the rifle and we time to eat a sandwich.  Antelope hunting always gets better after a sandwich.  We hopped up on the bluff and watched out over the entire valley and about an hour later Dennis spotted a really nice buck on the way back.  We drove down into the pasture the buck broke right to us and stopped directly in front of us.  Dennis broke out of the truck, steadied himself and took his time for the shot of a lifetime.  The buck just dropped in its tracks.  This buck is over 15 inches wide and heavy with mass.  Two great days and two great bucks among two great friends.  What a trip!

Monday we broke out of camp and headed to Estes Park, CO for some sight seeing and boy did we see some animals.  Elk, Elk, and more Elk.  Not a deer on the mountain anywhere but elk and high mountains everywhere!  We got back into Denver around 5pm and got some dinner and passed out for an early morning get up for our flight home.