|After not drawing an Antelope tag for
3 years, finally in 2014 we were able to draw a tag in our favorite limited
quota area near Casper. So in September, my brother and I and our wives
headed north to Wyoming with game tags in hand. Ron's wife Sandy was going
after her first big game this year, so three of us would be hunting. We met
with the landowner, and visited the Game & Fish department, and both advised
us that hunting might be tougher than usual because of several years of
drought, but that if we hunted well there was game to be found.
On opening morning, it really didn't take long for us to start spotting the Antelope. I took this buck at about 200 yards with my .338 WinMag, and the hunt was over before 9AM. After the shot, as I was looking for my buck on the ground, two trucks approached me. The landowners agent and the Game & Fish Warden were headed my way. That's always good for a little apprehension, but I was pretty sure that all my shit was in order so I went ahead with my field dressing. The landowners friend took a quick look and headed on his way.
The Warden came over and offered to help me retrieve my buck, help which I quickly accepted. He helped me drag it a couple of hundred yards to his truck. He doesn't drive across the land either, but he is allowed to drive the 2-track roads which we are not. We loaded my buck in his truck and he drove us up to my truck on the county road. Saved my wife and I a good bit of dragging. We transferred my buck from his truck to mine. He did some kind of blood test on the carcass, and of course he checked my documents, all of which were in order. He couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. We later joked that we got "Valet Game Retrieval" services in Wyoming. It was clear to me that he considered us customers, and that he and the department were glad we were there. A very pleasant experience.
The picture below is of my buck. I didn't get field shots because of the Warden being present. I would wager that the Warden would have gladly snapped some pics for me, but he is working while I am recreating, so I didn't want to impose on his time.
We headed down the road to see how Ron and Sandy were doing and to see if they needed any help. They were only a short distance down the road, and Sandy had her first buck down. In the pic below I am helping Ron drag Sandy's buck toward his truck. The photo shows the vast expanse of prairie that was ours to hunt. It is beautiful Antelope country.
I mentioned above that we had met the landowner, as we always have in the past, to pay a trespass fee and get hunt permission on his land. For the first time ever he turned us down, but only because he had turned the management of hunting over to the Game & Fish as part of their Hunter Management Area system. He told us where to go, who to see, and what to ask for when we got there. They have a newly created area, called Bolton Creek HMA, so we headed back to town to get that piece of permission registration. The area was newly formed, and the Warden told me I was the first person to take an Antelope on the new area. Later we learned that Sandy was the first woman to do the same. I'm pretty sure we had the entire area to ourselves on opening day. Ron hunted later in the day and took his buck, also on opening day. The game numbers were better than we had expected, and on the first day were 3 for 3 in the win column.
We chose to pull our RVs to Casper for this hunt. We stayed at the Fort Caspar Campground, which is next to the Fort Caspar Museum. That spelling is not a typo - the town is officially Casper but the original spelling is Caspar. The museum and campground have kept the original spelling, which honors Lt. Caspar Collins, a cavalry officer who died in an indian ambush in 1865. Fort Caspar Campground worked fine for us, and we enjoyed the close and easy access to all the stores and restaurants in Casper. The campground is rather spartan, but it is reasonably priced and really had everything we needed for a comfortable stay.