Or, should I say hunts – plural. I must say, when I originally signed up to hunt with NTO, I was just checking off one of my bucket list hunts, but now that I have actually hunted with Non-Typical Outfitters, I can’t wait to do it again. My opinion is that Robb Wiley, co-owner of NTO, has surrounded himself with some great guys and that also includes Robert, the cook.
I arrived at camp the day before my Antelope hunt with NTO, settled in and met my guide, Nick. I informed him of my health issues concerning my feet and he told me that it shouldn’t be a problem. He explained that we would just drive around, glass for antelope, spot them, and then stalk them. As you can see from the photo below, after finding and stalking several antelope, I finally connected with a nice buck at around 3PM. After dropping my antelope off at the butchers shop, I had to gather my things from camp and then drive up the mountain to the camp where my elk hunt would take place the following day.
By the time I drove into the elk camp, it was after 9PM and all the hunters were already in their tents dreaming of their elk hunt with NTO. But as I drove in, Robb Wiley and my guide, Johnny Helton, were there to greet me. Johnny introduced himself to me and informed me he had heard about my health issues and assured me that he understood what I was going through and it wouldn’t be a problem because his dad was going through the same thing.
As I was talking with Johnny, Robert, the cook, introduced himself and said that he had some ribeye steak for me and insisted that I eat some dinner. Even though I was concerned about how late it was, I was actually glad he convinced me to eat. It was the best tasting steak I had eaten in a very long time. Johnny briefly told me what to expect for the morning hunt and was off to bed in a nice wall tent. At 3:45AM, we woke up to rain and by 4AM, we were off on our horses. It was a great experience for me; I had never been on a horseback hunt before so I got to experience riding in the rain, nighttime riding and trudging through snow, all before it became daylight.
Thank God I had gone through NTO’s Shooting Class the previous Summer. During that valuable experience, Robb Wiley covered some of the clothing and layering issues that they use in the mountains to protect against a variety of weather and environmental conditions. I am so glad he went over that, because I can say I was never wet or cold and my foot problems didn’t become a problem.
As daylight came on that first morning, Johnny and I continued to ride our horses for another half-hour. As we got to the spot that Johnny had picked out, we discussed what I was looking for in an elk. I let Johnny know that I was more concerned about enjoying the hunt with NTO than passing up on a bunch of elk, hoping for a bigger one. So, as we snuck around the saddle to peak off, within a couple of minutes, Johnny spotted a couple of nice mule deer bucks. As we were glassing them, we found elk next to them in the aspens. We then moved another 50 yards down the trail and paused to glass some more. After only 10 minutes, a bull I liked walked into view. Johnny told me he was only a 5 pointer, indicating I could do better. But I told him this bull was plenty good enough for me, if he thought I was in a good position to shoot. Five-minutes later, the bull walked into place, I took careful aim and shot him. That hunt with NTO was then over.
Even though my hunt was short, I enjoyed every minute of it. Both of my guides, Nick and Johnny. were awesome. As a hunter it’s easy to get along with fellow hunters, but I can honestly say that even if I had not harvested an animal on this hunt, I would have still enjoyed myself because of the companionship I felt with Johnny and all the other guides and cooks connected with Non-Typical Outfitters. Both guides were great, knowing and understanding that I had some health issues with my feet, and because of their effort and knowledge of that area and game, I had 2 successful hunts that year. After foot surgery the following year, I returned to hunt with NTO with much success again, as witnessed by the photos below.