By: Bears Butt


I’ve been enjoying the Crawford mountain mule deer hunts for many years.  Before the DWR made them a draw only hunting area we enjoyed a few good years hunting in that area during the late muzzleloader hunts and got to know the country pretty well.  The bucks would either “Be There” or “Not”!  But no matter if they were there or not did not deter us from hunting the place.  I recall one of the last hunts we were there, Dry Dog and I had work obligations we had to attend to and so could not come to the camp until three days after the hunt had opened.  When we arrived with my camp trailer in tow, the guys who had been there hunting were very disappointed (not disappointed that me and Dog had shown up).  They had not seen even a track in the three days they had been hunting.  That is very disappointing to say the least.

They did not want us to unhook the trailer as they had already decided to move camp to somewhere else, perhaps across the valley and into the high country with pines and quakies.  Well, Dry Dog and I had been dreaming about hunting this area and so we were a bit taken back by their suggestion.   The two of us proposed an option and wanted to have a morning hunt just down the draw from our camp.  As I recall….”Let’s hunt till about 10 and if things are the same as you say they are we will come back and move camp”.  To say those guys had to give up a lot after not seeing anything for 3 days is really giving them credit.  Had I been one of them I would have insisted the two of us go on our jaunt and when we came back they would have camp ready to move.  But they didn’t, they went out for the morning hunt.

Dry Dog and I took a high road while the rest of them went on down the drainage to get into shooting positions.  Dog and I would push down to them and then we would drive back up to camp and pack up.

As Dry Dog and I were moving up the drainage to get into our positions for the push, I stopped about half way to the top.  He was to continue to the top and when the signal came we would make our move down the side of the ridge to the others.  As I stood there waiting in the early morning light of that day, I heard the noise of rocks rolling behind me.  As I turned around two giant bucks were coming down a slide out area on a dead run…straight at me!  Two of the biggest bucks I had seen in a long, long time!  The biggest of the two was either a very big heavy horned 4 X 4 or an equally large 5 point.  I can only guess and he was the one I wanted to shoot!  I was on it with my sights but it kept trees between himself and me, while the other one came on my side of the line of trees!  I remember thinking to myself…Heck, that’s a nice buck right there!  Go ahead and shoot it!….Which I did!  A very respectable 4X4 with long eye guards (long for mule deer anyway), heavy, wide and tall!  At the shot the bigger buck turned on the after-burners and made a trail straight to where Dry Dog was waiting!  After the buck disappeared over the ridge I heard Dry Dog shoot!  BAM!

I felt great to know that 5 minutes into this hunt I had one of the biggest bucks I had ever taken with a muzzleloader down on the ground and Dry Dog was probably proudly standing over an even bigger buck!  However, that was not the case!  He had heard me shoot and thought the worst…I had fallen and the gun went off by accident and so he was coming back toward where I was when the big buck showed up suddenly right in his face!  His shot was quick and off mark.  The big buck went on to live another day!  Dry Dog was eye popping by the time he got to me to see the big buck I was dressing out.

Well, long story short!  The bucks had moved into the Crawfords during the night.  Big bucks seemed to be in every draw and on every ridge!  Just like the saying goes…they are either here or they aren’t!  We ended up with 4 BIG 4X4 bucks and 2 2X2’s before that hunt was over.  AND to add to that, Fat Duck had to leave camp to go to Japan or somewhere and a big buck chased him out of the mountains right past our camp.  That gave the guys a fun time shooting at that big old bugger!  He too lived to see another day.

Ok, now to the point of this writing!  You thought the story was the point?  Not this time.  Just some fun times to share.  The point for this writing is where do the deer come from that winter in the Crawfords?


I have been told by some very reliable sources that most of the deer that spend their time in the Crawfords during the winter come from as far away as the Wind River Range near central Wyoming.  A long distance to travel, but not un-heard of for animals to migrate that far.  I recently discovered on line, where the fish and game of Wyoming have been conducting some extensive studies on animal migrations.  They have teamed up with local folks, oil interests, hunters, livestock people and more, collared a bunch of deer, antelope, elk and moose and followed their travels for several years.  Their study is far from over and what they are finding out is amazing.  Some of these animals, especially deer and antelope are moving extremely long distances between their summer and winter ranges!  BUT…closer to home…The Crawford Range, the migration map shows those animals come almost straight South down the border between Idaho and Wyoming and then into Utah.


(Deer are purple, Antelope are yellow)


That puts their summer ranges in and around the Star Valley area of the Bridger Teton National Forest of Wyoming and the Caribou National Forest in Idaho.



So, what’s the point in all of this?  I guess just to clarify what I’ve been telling everyone for years was not true!  I’ll admit I did not do any research on my own when told what I was told, I just took it as fact and ran with it.

Bears Butt

November 23, 2015

Written on November 23rd, 2015 , Hunting Stories

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>

    Mike commented

    Hey bearsbutt, that is some great info. Thanks for sharing! I live in northern utah and have been on the Crawford range only once but really liked what I saw. I wonder what time of year they start their migration.

    October 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm
      Bears Butt commented

      They actually begin coming in during the general any weapon deer hunt, but the big migration is in early to mid November.

      October 24, 2016 at 5:56 pm | 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.