By: Bears Butt

November 28, 2011……

Yesterday, Nov. 27, culminated Dry Dogs Dream Hunt in the Crawford mountains.  His goal was to take a very nice buck out of the Crawfords and that he did with much excitement!  My side of the story goes like this:

Ever since his announcement about successfully drawing the coveted Crawford Mountain tag, back in the Spring of the year, preparations for this hunt have been being done.  You see, a hunt like this is more than just another hunt.  It is an “event”.  Events take much preparation, planning, organization and staffing.  This one was no different in any regard.

When you really think about it every player has a task they must do.  Whether called to do it, or do it on their own, they migrate to that task and get it done.  There are vehicles that must be made ready to operate without incidents in the inclement conditions that the Crawfords can dish out.  Trailers need to be gotten ready and stocked with everything imaginable.  Backup materials need to be brought in case of problems or just plain old running down of battery power due to use.  And then there are the luxury items and memorabilia things.

Months of preparation are brought to bear as the hunter and the support staff begin the last leg of the journey into the mountains.  We say that is when the fun begins, but as for me, the fun began at the first announcement of successfully drawing the tag!  As I proceeded to make the dream catchers and the many steps involved with each of them.  I had lots of time to ponder the upcoming hunt and the fun involved with it all.  Remembrances of past dream hunts continually came to mind.  And lots of “what ifs” also played a big part.  But the bottom line is, it was a fun and trouble free time while I made those tokens up and to each of you who have one in your possession, believe me when I say, they come from my heart and I am very glad you were there to receive one.

At the camp site came the work of setting up everything to make ourselves a home away from home.  The dining fly, the trailers, the cooking area and least of all the “standing of the sharns”.

And even though it is a lot of work to accomplish all of this in the shortest amount of time we still find lots of time to have fun.  Like “pole dancing”!

Watch out for the slivers Wapiti!

And when it is all up and ready!  We can now head out to see if there is a big old buck waiting for Dry Dog.

Even with camp set up, we can not head out in search of the big buck until we have made sure all of the vehicles are ready for the task ahead.  We anticipate some deep snow and slippery footing and so we must put chains on our rigs.

When that is all done, we are ready!  Load up the coolers boys, it’s time to go see if we can find Dry Dog a big buck!

We are off about 2 p.m. or so in pursuit of the big buck.  And it does not take long to begin seeing animals.  Of course most of the animals are doe and fawns, but we also see some small bucks.  Well, what constitutes a small buck to you?  On this hunt, Dry Dog has the call as to what is going to match his dream.  Our support job is to make sure he sees all his choices.

During a hunt like this one, usually when you see does, there will be a buck close by.  The larger bucks like to hide out of site and so, if you look really close behind that cedar tree, a very large buck is standing.

Sometimes they are standing right out in the open.

And sometimes they are laying down.

On this hunt there seems to be bucks almost everywhere.  It does not take us long to realize that Dry Dog is going to have a very tough choice to make.

At the end of the first day our accomplishments have been to safely drive into the mountains, set up the camp, reconnoiter the area and assess the fact that there are a LOT of bucks on the mountain.  We also see that blowing and drifting snow could be an issue if it keeps up.

Luckly for us this year, the wind stops and the clouds roll on toward Wyoming just about dark.  As we drive back into camp, we quickly see that the high winds have taken it’s toll on our camp.  The dining fly has a large tear on one corner and the opposite corner has lost it’s metal grommet.  Also, the EZ-up style canopy over the cooking area has been totally destroyed, even though it was being held down with stakes and rope.   Does this destroy our fun?  Not at all.  It is just a part of the ride.

We have some very good meals planned in the schedule and the first night finds us enjoying a fine steak, hash browns with extra onions, garlic bread toast and cold drinks of choice.

Our busy day has now taken it’s toll on our bodies and by 9:30 almost everyone is fast asleep.  At 5 a.m. the alarm goes off, signaling the beginning of our day two.  What is in store for us this fine day?  The temperature has dipped to 10 degrees, which we consider rather warm for this area and this time of year.  The sky is clear and filled with 10’s of millions of bright stars.  The air is calm and ones nostrils tend to freeze together when you breath deeply through your nose.  As the morning light begins to brighten, more support crew participants arrive.  This is all good and all a part of what makes this hunt so very special.

Morning snacks of fortune cookies are handed out and the fortunes are read one at a time.  Every one lending itself to assisting Dry Dog on his journey.  When the light of the morning allowed Dry Dog to be able to see the sights on his rifle, off we traveled in caravan style, up to the top toward the Big Windy Ridge!  The wind had drifted snow in most of the low places in the roads, but only one had to be shoveled in order that we could pass.  As it turned out, that was the only drift that caused us any concern at all on the hunt.

We had been seeing lots of does and fawns and smaller bucks along the way, when suddenly the radio barked out “Any Willow Creek Free Trappers have a copy on No Grimace?”.  Yes, it was No Grimace, Baby Boy, Fat Duck and Hunter in Ducks rig, Zeek that had made it to the mountain to join the Chosen one and his staff of supporters.

As it turned out, Zeek and crew were climbing up the backbone of the ridge we call “Tipi”  and at the same time we were descending a hollow  we call “Jones”.  Both roads join at the bottom of the hill.  We were soon parking along side of Zeek and crew.  Greetings were had and Hunter showed a picture he had taken no too far down the hill of a buck with 5 points on one side and 6 on the other.  Not a wide buck, but it sure was a tall buck.

Dry Dog suddenly changed his countenance…he transformed from a calm and collected Dry Dog on a dream hunt, into a Dry  Dog determined to kill a big buck!  We had to descend Tipi Ridge toward the bottom of the valley.  This is the place the crew in Zeek had seen the 5X6 buck.  Hunter was walking around among the cedars between Tipi Ridge and Jones hollow.  As we again found ourselves ascending Jones Hollow, we saw the movement of a big buck!  It was the buck hunter had the picture of and Dry Dog was even more determined to take this buck home with him.  We passed the point we last saw the buck standing in the cedars, as Dry Dog and Tracker would come down to the buck from above.  Part of the support crew had stayed down low where they could see the buck.

The radio signaled to Dry Dog where the buck was, but the thick cedars kept him from seeing the buck even though it was only about 70 yards from him.  The buck made its escape with Dry Dog in hot pursuit.  Big bucks don’t get big by being dumb and this one should live to be quite large.

When we all met back up Dry Dog had a cold foot and needed to rest up from his long trek.

Perhaps you should look into the purchase of another pair of boots Mr. Dry Dog!

When Dry Dog was ready, we headed back to camp for some lunch and to decide what to do next.  Dry Dog was still very much in “kill mode”, but it would have to be the “right buck” at the “right time”.  He had already seen the caliber of buck he wanted.  Dry Dog is into tall antlers not necessarily wide antlers like most folks are.  Make mine tall to fit the wall!  Show Clyde the hide!

During our lunch break we were visited by the local game warden.  He was most interested in seeing that Mr. Dry Dog had his license and was in good standing with the law.  Dry Dog passed the screening and was given the go ahead with the rest of his dream hunt.  At the same time, the warden showed us a buck that he had picked up off the side of the road near Logan and asked if any of us wanted the meat.  Crock took him up on the offer and off he went to clean it out.

As with most things “Free”, this bad boy came with a very ugly surprise for Crock.  Frozen and very stinky innards!   YUK!  Later (two days) Crock found out the meat from this supposedly one day dead buck, was most likely a two week dead buck.  Nothing could be salvaged.  Sorry about that Crock.

Well it was now time for the afternoon/evening hunt.  We refreshed the coolers and headed for Hidden Valley.

As we proceeded along the way, I was always asking for the direction of travel from Mr. Dry Dog.  Any time there was a junction in the road the question was asked.  As we came off the rocky pass, again I asked “Straight or Right”?  Straight would take us toward Hidden Valley, Right takes us up passed the Buck Cliffs.  Right was the answer!

We started seeing deer immediately after making the turn.  Smallish bucks seemed to be everywhere.  It was quite a neat experience as we continued up the narrow valley.  We were just about to another decision point when Dry Dog came on Point!  We stopped to glass another group of deer that included three fairly large bucks, Dry  Dog took one look through his binoculars and said “It’s a Shooter!  I’m goin after that one!”  And he bailed out of the vehicle, gun in tow!

The buck knew it was in trouble as Dry Dog slowly walked forward to get the best angle for his shot.  The does that had been surrounding the big buck slowly dispersed, leaving the big boy out in the open for the shot!

I won’t go into all the particulars of the shot as I don’t think it is my place to tell everything about Dry Dogs story.  But in the end, Dry Dog came off the mountain with one fine animal.  One anyone would be proud to have taken!   Congratulations Mr. Dry Dog!  Fine animal!

As tradition goes in our hunting camp, Dry Dog had been presented with a personal bottle of liquid refreshments, normally called “Grimace”.  After a successful hunt, the hunter is asked to take a horn off the Grimace jug in celebration.

And after the horn off the bottle, sometimes a guy just has to yell out….


And the night goes on and on.  Until we find ourselves faced with the morning.

This particular morning was going to find us once again getting up at the usual hunting time, but it was a morning hunt to “re-enact” the episode that unfolded in real life the day before.  This day is for the camera-man, Tracker, and his good friend “The Director” (The Editor plays a later part, don’t piss him off).

So, back we go to the place where Dry Dog got his buck.  Lots and lots of audio was being recorded as folks reminisced the events that lead up to the taking of the big buck the day before.  For sure the director and cameraman were in their element.

It was a very cold morning for this activity, but well worth every moment spent in and around the area where Dry Dog made his kill.  The temperature when we left camp was 6 degrees.  Plenty cold to get the dew on the sage nice and frozen.

And when all of the re-enactment had been recorded and the Director and Camera man were indeed happy, the crew broke out in a fine feast of kipper snacks, vienna sausages, crackers, chips, pickled pigs feet and summer sausage!  MMMMM.  Can it get any better than that?

Well Dry Dog, look over your right shoulder.  That is where your big buck met his demise.  A fine hunt!  Fine friends!  Good weather and the best of all, the mighty Crawford Mountains!

Oh, I guess this story just wouldn’t be ending right if I didn’t post up a picture of two of my friends in similar poses.  Of course the one hanging on the door was a much younger version of Muskrat.

And of course, since we had to travel through Wyoming to get back home, the law says you need to secure a permit to transport game animals through Wyoming.  In order to by pass this law, Dry Dog did a very good job of hiding his animal.

It was a most enjoyable hunt and we sure do hope others get the luck of the draw in 2012!  There is just something special about the Crawfords that gets into the blood!  Thanks for the dreams everyone!

Bears Butt

Nov. 2011

Written on November 28th, 2011 , DREAM HUNTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man

Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.