Scouting- Western Wyoming

robby denning

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Just got back from scouting for a hunter who will be headed out this fall. As most know, the winter of 2010/2011 hammered those deer. However, buck numbers did look better this year, which they should be coming off the extrememly mild winter we just had.

If you saw the article I did for Christensen's Hunting Illustrated a few years ago,(Bad Winter Bucks, probably Fall issue of 2009) my research over the years shows that a few years after a hard winter there can be some great bucks around. Several research biologists have shown this over the years and I've observed it in the field.

I scouted several familiar ridges and basins this last weekend. While I didn't see any toads, the bucks I did see were pretty nice. Most where 4 points in the 3-4 year range, with very few small bucks. As I said in the article, basically a hard winter takes out your young and your old, leaving the prime age bucks (2-4 years) to survive. These bucks then enjoy less competition for feed on summer and winter range, might not have to rut as hard (does survive hard winters on average better than bucks) and these bucks were genetically better deer or they wouldn't have survived.

Anyone hunting W. Wyoming should find fewer bucks than in a while (there aren't many right now), but if they do find them, should be looking at some decent bucks and there is even a chance at a hog, just as Rob Wiley from Non-Typical outfitters showed us last year when he scouted and killed the biggest buck to come out of the Wyoming Range in many many years. Killed it right on the heels of a devastating winter. Could happen again.

I saw this same thing after the brutal winter of 92/93. Very few bucks out in 93-96, but I saw some giants in 94/95/96 and killed the best buck of my life in 96 from a winter klll unit. I had him lab aged and he was five years old, meaning he was born in June of 1991 and was 2 years old when the winter of 92/93 wiped out many many of his cronie bucks. Obviously he had better body weight and genetics to survive that winter and sure enough, a few years later he was a 234 7/8"(official gross score) buck.


I expect to see a great buck in the next few years, just hope he's in my scope or in front of my pins or one of you get one and post him on here.
 
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2rocky

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Nice buck Robby. I'm hoping my 4 points will give me a shot at a Limited Unit, with a certain region as my second choice back up in 2013. Truth be told, every year I keep drawing a General elk tag I just put in for deer points...

What is your feeling on unnamed units that are known as good migration hunts, as an early season archery hunt? Do these migration units hold enough resident deer to make an early season hunt productive?
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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2rocky,
that is a tough one. Migration units I've spent time in are just that, migration units with few deer until the migration starts. Since every unit is different, you really just need to scout it before archery opens and see if the bucks are there.

Some units the migration just brings more bucks in to mix with resident bucks (like Idaho's unit 69) while others have hardly any bucks until the migration starts like some of the units in Nevada's area 7 north of Wells.

If there are at least some resident bucks, you could find a good one, as sometimes low deer density areas have great bucks because not many guys want to hunt a place they see few deer.

Hope that helps.
 

flatlander51

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Thanks for the update robby. I'll be hunting region h for my first time this year. So I'm glad to here there are still some shooters around.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Yes, there are some. Just don't get discouraged, as it will likely be discouraging up there, but they are around.
 

chas

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Robby,
What do you think of the 110 unit out side of Cody, producing decent bucks this year? We are heading there the last week of the rifle season for a pack in trip. Trying for a decent buck if possible.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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chas
that country is out of my circle, so I can only generalize. I don't think that part of Wy got the big winterkill that W. Wyoming did, so you should have more bucks in each age class. Bucks are like crops, though, and every area can have a different "yield" from year to year- that is why scouting is so essential.

If you are new to the area and can't scout, it will still be a learning experience the first year. Hopefully you know someone over there and are going to exact places big deer have been seen. That is the next best thing to scouting it yourself.

God bless your hunting and keep us roksliders posted.

bearguide- good to hear from you! Thanks on the buck. Still have never seen a better one in 16 years anywhere.
 

dpetersen

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Wyoming
Good read, Hope this winter is good to us, there is not much growth this year, Too dry.
from my scouting and shed hunting in western wy. this year, I would say that a hog will be tough to find.
Thanks
 
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