By Mark Kenyon
Just last week we featured a great buck killed by Mike Hunsucker of Heartland Bowhunter, and I thought to myself “they’re off to a great start again”. Well I had no idea it would be this good. Just days after their North Dakota trip, the HB team headed to Wyoming and ended up tagging three gourgeous whitetails! Read on for the details of this terrific trip. – MK
“The trip to WY was absolutely incredible. This was going to be all of our first times hunting WY, although Shawn had been to the ranch previously filming for Randy Birdsong, so we did have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
We were invited by Mike Schmidt, the owner of the Solitude Ranch and his partner in Intrepid Outdoors, Bob Lott. The Solitude Ranch consists of roughly 8,000 acres of the Black Hills Forest that has been intensely managed for 10 years. This area is known for its high deer densities, but on this particular ranch the age structure and deer size is second to none. They have everything elk, bear, mountain lions, whitetails, muleys, and even antelope.
This year Mike S was wanting to focus on harvesting mature 8pt bucks due to the high numbers of 8’s. Over the course of the 5 day hunt we saw numerous 10 pointers with a TON of potential, but let them walk holding out for a mature 8.
They had a bad drought this year causing the food plots to be less than ideal, but had some late rain which produced a huge acorn crop. This had the deer spread out a little more across the ranch than normal, but we were still seeing a lot of deer each sit.
After a miss on the first evening, Shawn was ready to redeem himself. Before he had an opportunity though, Rex and I had a great 5+ year old 8pt come in to range on the second evening of our hunt. Rex made a perfect shot on the buck which was slightly quartered to, and he only made it about 150 yards before we heard him pile up.
The following couple of hunts we had some close calls and then Shawn had a big 9 feeding in front of him. Knowing that this buck was at least 6 years old and probably would never amount to anything much more than he already was Shawn decided that he would shoot him, given the opportunity. The buck fed in front of him for almost an hour before working his way in to 50 yds. Shawn aimed low, assuming the deer would duck, but he barely moved as the arrow blew right through his heart. The deer ran off and barely made it into the timber before crashing.
The next morning Shawn and I headed to a spot where Mike Schmidt had hunted the morning before and seen several mature 8s. We had 3 different bucks out in front of us right at first light. Two of them (mature 8s) sparred out at about 100 yds for what seemed like an hour. Luckily for us they decided to come down to the foodplot to browse a little instead of heading straight up into the pines to bed. The big browed, double throat patch buck fed to 25 yards and gave me a perfect quartered away shot. I put the arrow right through the buck into his opposite shoulder and he took off into the woods and only wen’t about 100 yds before we heard him fall over.
All together, this hunt couldn’t have went better. It’s rare that we fill all of our tags on a trip given time constraints. This hunt in WY was different than anything I had ever experiences before. The scenery is beautiful and the terrain rugged. Not to mention the deer density…one night we saw over 80 deer in an alfalfa field.”
– Mike Hunsucker
To see more from the HB TV crew, visit HeartlandBowhunter.com