The 2016 Mule Deer season was, all in all, a very successful season. We had favorable weather patterns throughout the winter, spring, and summer months, for average or slightly above average antler growth. We had one of the most successful scouting seasons we have ever experienced to date here at NTO. Our booked clients received a very impressive line up of scouting pictures.
We have noticed one change in our hunters recently: More and more of our hunters are coming to the hunt with very high goals in the trophy department. Most of our clients are not interested in harvesting young bucks or smaller animals. We wholeheartedly support the decision to “go BIG or go home” with an unpunched tag if that is what the client’s goals are. The success of the hunt is not just in the measuring tape, though. The real success is having the ability to come to western Wyoming to hunt in some of God’s finest high alpine mountain country, riding horses while hunting a place where, every day you saddle up, you have a chance to make your wildest trophy mule deer dreams come true. It is hunting in a place where the big bucks live and spending that time with a crew that truly cares about you, a crew that will strive to push you harder than you’ve ever dreamed, to achieve the goals you came with.
The Challenges of Mule Deer Season 2016
Our first mule deer hunt this past season was one of the most challenging hunts we have experienced in the last 20+ years. We had a group of very classy and dedicated mule deer hunters who set high goals for their trophy objectives, which were greatly respected. We all were hunting bucks over 190″ and often times over 200 inches. We had the right hunters with the right mindset for the challenge. We had a full moon and the weather was extremely dry. The dust on the trail was up to 6 inches deep. It had not rained in weeks, which is a rarity for western Wyoming. Needless to say, the old mature bucks were not moving much.
During the hunt everyone gave their ALL, physically and mentally. Some had chances and sightings of the giant bucks from scouting, some had no sightings at all. None of these hunters left without success. Everyone could have killed bucks during the hunt, but only one deer was actually killed that first week. All hunters and guides from that first week gave it their all and left it all on the mountain. Each having given HUGE effort, ALL were successful!
That challenging weather pattern followed us most of the way through the second hunt. On day 4 of the second hunt the only buck killed for the season was the one deer from the first hunt. But nobody had lost heart; we were still in the fight. We killed our second buck of the season on the afternoon of the 4th day. Then we were like a fire from God, rewarded for staying respectful of His gifts, rewarded for staying positive and focused on our goals.
On day 5 of our second hunt we killed a buck that gross scores around 220 with a client and guide who truly laid it all out on the mountain, with a terrific attitude to the end! We also killed a buck measuring 34 inches on the main frame scoring in the 190s. The hunter who killed the mainframe 34-inch buck had an opportunity earlier in the day at young buck that was in the 170s. That would have been his largest mule deer ever, but he passed because he remained positive and confident in our scouting and efforts to get to those pre-scouted bucks. This is proof that the key to trophy mule deer hunting is believing in your goals long enough to make them happen.
God’s blessings continued, once we were lit on fire and they continued through the rest of the season. We had one week that we were 100 percent on harvest, getting some incredible bucks with a really good group of guys. We ended up killing a good number of the bucks from scouting. Even though those pre-scouted bucks were killed by one hunter, multiple hunters were successful in having the opportunity to chase them throughout the season. We had some giant bucks that got away due to missed shots, which might have been avoided if the hunters would have taken our shooting class. We can’t stress enough how valuable this could be to your hunting future.
The Success of Mule Deer Season 2016
There were several shooting class participants on our hunts this season. Each of them found huge value in participating in those classes. Not only did they learn valuable shooting positions, they also had a chance to try out their gear on the mountain, in the setting they were going to be hunting in and were able to make valuable adjustments prior to the hunt. We hear all the time from first time hunters, “I wish I could do this over.” Those shooting class participants harvested some incredible animals with us. One of those magnificent trophies is an old mule deer buck with a drop tine scoring in the 200 inch range. The importance of being prepared for short range, long range, high angle, high altitude, quick set ups, off hand and more cannot be stressed enough. It can make the difference between an amazing harvest or not. If you have never hunted with us, come and get to know us. Practice your shooting system at altitude, during a shooting class. This could be the best decision you have ever made for your personal success!
This western Wyoming mule deer hunt remains one of the most rewarding hunts on the planet. You had better come ready to be tested mentally, physically and emotionally. Your shooting skills, physical abilities and a positive mental attitude are going to be essential to your success. The adventure on this hunt will stir you deep into your soul. Warning, this hunt is not for everyone! If you need a guarantee of a punched tag, do not come on this hunt. If you think because you have hired an outfitter with a proven track record you just simply have to show up, select which buck from scouting you are going to shoot and take it, then this is not the hunt for you. If you do not like to go out and earn your trophies, please don’t come on this hunt. But, if this message stirs you deep in your soul, taps into your warrior spirit, and you love high alpine horseback/backpack hunting some of the west’s best mule deer, then come on. We look forward to sharing one of the most rewarding hunts ever. You will get to hunt with a group of guides who truly love what they are doing and care about you. We will give you 110% of our effort. Together we’ll continue to humbly respect God’s gift of hunting western Wyoming!!!