This hunt takes place on a 28,000-acre ranch that is managed to produce trophy-quality elk and mule deer. Bulls and bucks have been getting bigger, and now most hunters should be able to take a real wallhanger. The ranch is managed as a Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit, meaning the landowner gets an extended hunting season in exchange for giving up 10 percent of his tags in a public lottery.
The bigger bucks score 180 to 200 B&C points, while the bigger bulls score 330 to 380.
"We put our hunters up in RVs and camp trailers," the outfitter said. "We were orginally going to use large wall tents, but what we ended up using them for is for meals. We hire a full-time cook, who prepares three meals a day. "
The ranch uses some of its tags to take management animals in an effort to maintain good genetics for antler growth. Hunters typically see several mature bucks and bulls a day. The ranch features mostly sagebrush ridges separated by quaking aspen forests.
"We're leaving camp in Jeeps and driving across the ranch to points, bugling and locating bulls and then moving in on them," the outfitter said. "We don't shoot a lot of bulls from the road, but there's not a lot of hiking. A lot of clients are 65 years old and do just fine. We're trying to call and ambush bulls. We're trying to call bulls in the thick aspens.
"As for hunter success, usually we're 100 percent. We had one deer hunter go home empty in the past five years, and he wounded a buck. We had an elk hunter two years ago fail to fill his tag, but he had opportunities. These are wild animals. This is not a game preserve. But there are enough animals that we can usually show you a lot of bucks and bulls."