Bowhunters across North America have their favorite broadheads, bows and tree stands. And they also are quick to share the best places to bowhunt in the U.S.
I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel across the country these past 19 years in search of whitetails and deer hunting opportunities far from my home in central Wisconsin. After experiencing what Wyoming has to offer these past two hunting season (once while rifle hunting last November, and now bowhunting in September), I must say that this state has few rivals when it comes to early season bowhunting action.
Ralph Dampman’s Trophy Ridge Outfitters is a hidden gem. It is nestled way up in the northeast corner of the state. Just a stone’s throw from Rapid City, SD. Ralph and his wife Lenora not only have the “ground” to hunt on — 300,000 acres to be exact — they know what it takes to bring bowhunters back year after year. Mainly, that is outstanding bowhunting opportunities.
As darkness settled around my tree stand on Day 1 of the hunt, I couldn’t help but wonder how my camp buddy and new friend Chad Drawbaugh had fared. Chad was hunting over an alfalfa field just a few miles up the ridge from where I was hunting. If the action near his stand was anything like mine, I knew he would have been covered up in deer all afternoon.
I soon learned that he was.
When hunting guide Mark Allen pulled up near my stand in the darkness, I didn’t have to wait. He rolled down the window, asked if I got one, then informed me that Chad had broken the ice with a dandy 10-pointer. We hurried back to the base of the draw to meet Chad and check out his deer.
When we pulled up, Chad and his guide Jim Potteiger were admiring a beautiful 10-pointer that was maybe a day or two from shedding his velvet. The velvet deer was one of many firsts for Chad … his first velvet buck; first clean 5-by-5; first time hunting in Wyoming; and shot on Sept. 1!
What a cool way to start the hunt. I don’t know who was more excited — Chad, or his wife, Billie Jo, who is just as much of a bowhunting addict as her husband.
Here is Chad’s recap of his exciting hunt, along with a first glimpse of that dandy Wyoming buck he arrowed.
Earlier in the day, I experienced a few firsts for myself. Well, firsts for the 2013 bowhunting season, anyway.
I saw my first buck in bow range for the year; my first sunrise and sunset from a tree stand; and had a deer blow at me for the first time while using an Ozonics ozone generator.
I started using Ozonics last year, and I can do nothing but rave about this new technology. It is almost foolproof. Unless the fool using it is me. I hunted October, November and December last year and, on several occasions, purposefully set up in stands where I knew deer would approach downwind of me. I never once was blown at on those hunts, and I had deer walk right up to my stand during each of them. This experience was a bit different. The temperatures in Wyoming were HOT. 80+ degrees on this first day.
But, as you will notice from the doe in this clip, she did blow, did run off, but suddenly stopped. It did not ruin the hunt because none of the other deer were alerted. Strange. Maybe it’s because she had already seen me and knew something was there but wasn’t quite sure exactly of what it was.You will also notice that she tries several times to “wind” the odor. I think it was the Ozonics that prevented her from getting a full whiff of my human scent.
Whatever the reason, I was happy that she didn’t take all of the deer with her. The deer you see in the background is a nice little 10-pointer. Had I been hunting here at home, he would have gotten a ride in my truck this day.
Would you have shot him?
Editor’s note: Dan Schmidt’s Wyoming bowhunting blog will run in five installments this week.
TOMORROW: DAN CLIMBS INTO A KILLER BOWHUNTING STAND
DAN’S GEAR PICK OF THE DAY: Ozonics Ozone Generator. Save $73 on the same model of Ozonics generator that Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt uses to help fool the noses of wary whitetails.The Ozonics HR-200 gives you two modes: a boost mode for treestand hunting (the entire human profile is presented to the wind and requires more ozone) and a blind or standard mode. It also comes with mounting systems for both versions.
Supplies are limited order yours today.