Wagonhound Outfitters exceeded all of our expectations with their first class accommodations, top notch hospitality, and incredible quality of elk hunting. It is now February 8rd, 2016 and there has not been a day since last fall’s elk hunt that I have not sat for a few minutes to reminisce about the experience of those 5 days of hunting and socializing with friends, guides, and staff.
It all began 8 years ago when the 4 of us hometown friends decided to begin purchasing preference points in Wyoming for elk hunting. We had no idea when or where we were going, but knew that we wanted to experience a bull elk hunt. It was December of 2014 that we decided that we were not getting any younger and it was time to think about going. That began the process of searching for an outfitter. This was going to be the trip of our lifetime and we wanted to find the best. After researching, I made a phone call to Dax McCarty at Wagonhound and had a 45 minute conversation with him. We collectively decided that this was the place to go!
With 8 preference points, Dax was pretty certain that we would draw our tag. Once we found out we were successful in the draw, the preparation began. There were dozens of phone calls between us and even a countdown of “sleeps” before we left. Our plan was to arrive in Douglas a couple of days early to acclimate ourselves to the altitude and relax until the hunt. The 5 day hunt was to begin on Friday, October 30th so we were going to check in on Thursday and get ready for the next day.
We arrived shortly after lunch on Thursday, got checked into the lodge, unloaded our gear, shot our rifles, and went out to glass/hunt for the rest of the day. My guide was Dax and his apprentice Cougar. We drove to the spot for the start of our hunt for that afternoon. The first leg of the hike up the mountain was not an easy one. Once I caught my breath, the remainder of the hike was easier. Within the first hour, we spotted a bull elk at 275 yds. It was a mature 6 x 6 that looked awesome to me since it was the first bull elk I had ever seen in the wild! I had my 7 mm wsm on him and ready to hear the word from Dax when to shoot. After Dax sized the bull up, he whispered to me that he thought we could do better. I looked back at him and responded that I have been waiting for 8 years for this moment and this size of bull and his response was “That’s why I’m not going to let you shoot that bull”.
Keep in mind this was estimated by Dax to be a 310 inch 6 x 6 bull and he thinks we could do better? My desire entering this hunt was to have an opportunity to harvest a mature 6 x 6 bull elk and we are passing on this beautiful one! We then moved on and saw several elk but nothing that was large enough to look at further. Then we were walking and glassing when we saw HIM. Without any hesitation, Dax said this is the one. We moved into my comfortable shooting range of 300 yards. With the assistance of Dax and Cougar watching and helping me to relax and squeeze the trigger, I was able to put 2 shots into the bull. Once they determined that the bull was down, the celebration began. We then had the difficult walk down and up the steep, rocky mountain to see the bull. I came upon the bull and could not believe my eyes. It was a mature 6 x 7 that Dax estimated would be around 350 inches. My dream came true! While watching them cape and clean my bull, I realized that it was the day before the first day of the hunt and it had only been about 2 hrs into the hunt. We had seen 8 bulls in that short time and the 9th one was going on the wall in my house! It is really difficult to put into words what I was feeling. It was surreal.
The rest of the week was spent enjoying the incredible accommodations, assisting my friends on their hunts, and absorbing the best trip of my hunting life. All 4 of us were successful in harvesting our bull elk. However the true enjoyment of the week was not only measured in size of our bulls, but in the overall experience. Not enough can be said about the professionalism of the people of Wagonhound Outfitters. We were each matched with a guide that fit our personalities. They catered to every one of our needs and desires.
We are already making plans to return to the majestic Laramie Mountain Range and Wagonhound Outfitters to experience this again. I would recommend Wagonhound to anyone that is looking for the best elk hunting adventure imaginable.