EAGLE CAP OUTDOORS
So, to catch everyone up, I won the lottery. Well, I should say I won the archery elk tag lottery. I drew a coveted archery elk tag in Wyoming.
We drew Unit 7 in the Eastern section of Wyoming, near Laramie Peak. To give you a sense for what that means…we had a 0.5% chance of drawing the tag! We were blessed to get such a coveted tag on the first draw. We still cannot believe we drew it so soon. I went in with a party of seasoned bow hunters from Eagle Cap Outdoors. It was my first year to bow hunt since back when I was 16 years old. I had been out of the bow hunting game for 36 years due to a wrestling injury to my shoulder. Surgery a few years back helped a ton. It was also my first year putting in for the Wyoming tag, so I was extremely lucky, since I had no accrued points. I put in with Chris Woodburn who was actually the person who drew the tag.
However, since Chris’s cousin John and I put in with him being the party leader, we benefitted! I learned a ton in that year. Chris took me through the entire process and helped me get ready for the hunt over a six month period. I dedicate this story to him and appreciate all he did to guide and mentor me in getting prepared for the hunt. I learned so much that I want to share. I will do so in other posts. I plan to write additional posts regarding getting into elk hunting to share in my journey from drawing the Wyoming Unit 7 hunt to purchasing a bow, to preparing, and getting ready to hit the road.
After much planning, downloading maps, talking to biologists, and paying for a “boots on the ground” scouting service we headed out on our hunt. We had seven guys going on the trip, but only three tags. Three of the other guys were there to assist with calling, running cameras, and helping locate elk. They are all avid hunters and wanted to go along to see what this unit had to offer. The seventh guy was there to hunt deer. We filmed the hunt and the film will be published soon on our website. I was super excited about the hunt and I look forward to sharing my experience with you.
Headed to Wyoming Unit 7 Elk Hunt, First Leg of Two Day Drive
It’s Friday morning, September 6 and I took my boys to school, hugged my high school senior daughter who was on her way out the door to school, and I had coffee with my wife. I was up at 5:30am that day getting things packed up and getting the new enclosed trailer loaded. I arrived at my friend Chris’s house at 9:45am. Chris is a co-founder of Eagle Cap Outdoors. The plan was to take some group photos and be on the road around 10:00am. When I got to Chris’s house, he had his quad torn apart, and Brian, joining our hunt to help with capturing video content, had his gear sitting next to the trailer. There was no way we were leaving at 10:00am, but I was stoked, so I didn’t care. We spent the next couple hours getting Chris’s trailer loaded and hooked up to the truck. Chris had spent the evening before making arrows for me…on top of a hundred other last minute details. Josh pitched in and mowed Chris’s lawn that morning.
Around 10:30am Austin sent a text saying he was running a couple hours late because he was wrapping up a project at work. He had started work at 5:00am Friday. Chris decided to hang back to wait on Austin. Josh, Brian and I left Chris’s house around 11:30am in route to Baker City, Oregon. Josh was driving his truck and I was following him in my truck, pulling the enclosed trailer holding gear. We had two vehicles because Josh planned to hunt the Keating unit outside of Baker City on his way back through Oregon. The trip to Baker City was a quick five hours. I dropped my truck off at Les Schwab in Baker City to have some work done on it, and because I needed a safe place to store it while we ventured on to Wyoming in Josh’s truck. Jake, the manager at the Baker City Les Schwab is a great guy! He’s the kind of guy you meet and instantly want to get to know better.
After hooking up the trailer to Josh’s Ford F150, we grabbed groceries and then stopped at Bi-Mart to grab pellets for Brian’s Traeger. By that time Chris and Austin were only 30 minutes out from Baker City. We rendezvoused at Barley Brown’s for a Kobe beef burger and a microbrew. I highly recommend Barley Browns if you are ever near Baker City. It is on Main Street; they serve one of the best burgers in Oregon and they have a great selection of microbrews. Beware, the Hot Blond beer there has a jalapeno kick!
We then set out in caravan style to hit a campground a couple hours East of Boise. About 20 miles before Boise we took exit 44 on a surprise side venture. By surprise, I mean a surprise for Austin. Austin’s parents lived in Kuna, Idaho which is right on the way to Wyoming, but Austin would never ask us to stop on his behalf. His dad was fighting cancer and Chris arranged in advance for us to swing by for a visit. Austin just thought we were headed to a remote campground in Kuna. It was great seeing Austin hug his parents. Seeing family is always special. Austin’s parents were wonderful and they had a beautiful home in a very peaceful country neighborhood. What a great way to end Day 1. After visiting for an hour or so we ventured on to a campground in Delco, Idaho. We pulled in around 12:30am and threw our sleeping bags on the ground and slept until 5:15am. Josh slept in his truck. You could actually see the freeway from our campsite and each semi-truck that drove by sounded like it was about to run over our heads. I might have slept an hour or two at the most.