column By: Brad Fenson | January, 18
Cindi Baudhuin is the first to admit that she is a lucky lady to live in Wyoming. She feels fortunate to live in a state where general season tags are actually a good thing! Cindi also plays the odds, and after putting in for a hard-to-draw deer tag and not being successful, she hunted with a general license. It was opening morning when Cindi caught the first glance of the big mule deer buck. She knew patience was in order and watched it bed just off the public land being hunted. The weather was painfully hot, and from sun up to sun down Cindi remained vigil and glassed that deer. The buck did get up a few times to stretch, but immediately laid back down in the same spot, on private land. With the excitement of opening day, and extremely hot temperatures, Cindi hadn’t planned on being out the entire day. Thirst and hunger soon ate away the scant supplies she had brought. Hot, sunburned and tired, she eventually left, not knowing when she would see the buck again.
With a hectic work schedule, the hunter was only able to get back to that spot a few more times to look for the buck, but with no success. Her lack of success did not dissuade her, and dreaming of the tall antlers helped fuel her resolve to put in extra effort. Finally, just a few days before the end of the season, she left work early to put in one last try to find her dream buck.
Cindi returned to the vantage point where she had previously spotted the buck on opening day, and in a split-second her binocular passed a break in a ravine, she saw the deer drop down to the bottom of the deep draw. The buck was close to a half mile away and the sun was setting fast. Cindi dug deep and headed toward the deer, making sure to stay out of sight.
With little cover other than low sagebrush, the excited hunter had to crawl the last 100 yards to get in position to take a shot. The positioning of the deer and the terrain made it next to impossible to take any type of long-range shot, so Cindi had to move to within archery range. At 40 yards, she got into prone position and waited for an opportunity. Settling in behind the riflescope, she saw the buck turn and look at her. At this range, a straight-on shot was the only option before the buck bolted. Cindi clicked off the safety, took careful aim and anchored her buck with a single, well-placed shot from her Montana Rifle Company Extreme X2 6.5x284.
“This buck meant so much to me because I put in so much time glassing and hunting him,” Cindi said. “And to have it all come together at the end of the season made this hunt one I will never forget. This was a DIY, public-land hunt in northeast Wyoming, which made it all that more special.”
Doubling Down on Public Land
Growing up in southern Illinois, Andrew Coleman has always hunted white-tailed deer. His love for whitetails continued when he moved to Wyoming. When the Wyoming Game and Fish Department allowed for the purchase of an additional general white-tailed deer license, it was a no-brainer. Using maps and Google Earth, Andrew identified a piece of public land with river access, but he would have to be willing to hike a couple of miles. Looking over the specific area on satellite images, a clear set of trails became obvious as his hunt destination.
Upon arrival at the new hunting location, it became clear there would indeed be a serious amount of hiking in order to hunt. With a GPS, he set off for the maze of trails he had identified on satellite images. Arriving at the river bottom, he realized the area was incredibly thick with willows and Russian olive trees. After nearly an hour of checking out trails and vantage points, he decided to walk to what he deciphered as the best spot. When Andrew was within a few hundred yards of the target location, deer began to stand and move off.
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