October 2, 2012
Re: Bow Hunt
Dustin and all staff and Management at Wagon Hound Ranch & Outfitters,
My name is Troy Ruiz, I was fortunate enough to spend Sept 21-26 with Dax McCarty, Jamie Anderson and John Savage bow-hunting for elk in tent camp with all mentioned. I just wanted to pass on my experience for the 5 days of hunting, hiking and chasing elk with all above.
I can imagine how many letters and emails you all get by customers either truly happy with their experience are those that are so unsatisfied they cannot find anything good to say about their hunt. I for one understand how hard it is to be a professional “baby sitter” in the world of outfitting, especially as an elk outfitter…
But I have to say, for my second trip to Wagon Hound my experience was by far one of the best trips of all time. I have been fortunate to hunt all across the west with many outfitters in the past and that’s where it stood after each trip, they were just outfitters. I considered this trip to be a hunt with friends, just to say the least.
Our first evening Jamie decided that since we were in camp early we should go out and do a little scouting for the following morning, needless to say within :30 sec of stepping out of the truck 2 bulls began bugling a mere 300 yards from our position. Within 15 min of hearing those 2 bulls, one of them of which we now call “Cleatus” walked to within 40 yards of our set up and put on a show for our cameras that will be etched in my brain forever. Needless to say while “Cleatus” was trying to figure out his next move Jamie was pinned down by another bull that walked right to his calling position causing him to have to quit calling. This caused “Cleatus” to loose attention and walk back in the direction he came from. Now this all went on for some 30 min are so. After both bulls walked away Jamie walk up to my position and we discussed the encounter. Jamie suggested we circle around and try and head these bulls off in a clear cut.
We wanted to get some epic elk footage with one of our DSLR cameras, so Jamie said let’s do it. 20 min later “Cleatus” walks in chasing a cow at 10 yards. Now the footage was a little dark, but the audio was absolutely incredible. These 2 encounters on the first evening were a beginning foundation to what the week was going to be like for our cameras and all involved.
Now I would love to share the total 5 day experience with you but it would take me hours to write of all the encounters, close calls, sights, sounds and memories that unveiled before our eyes through the next 5 days. But I will tell you this, Jamie, Dax and John went way far above and beyond their call of duty as guides, they made us feel like we were right at home with friends. Jamie was truly doing all he could in trying to get a bull in front of me and the camera, and at times was working himself into a frenzy for trying so hard. I witnessed a man doing all he could in helping this southern boy fill his tag, but I assured him all he was responsible for was being sure we got back to camp each night. A bull on the ground would be a bonus, are at least an opportunity.
Well on day 4 the opportunity presented itself, needless to say I had a swing and a miss, clean miss which will be viewed by millions on national TV, but hey we are all human right. Jamie handled the miss like a true professional, he said Troy, don’t let it bother you, heck you’ll forget about it in 2 are 3 years. Jamie, there are 2 million comedians out of work and he’s trying to be funny, but I did deserve it. We had one more shot at a bull the last morning but (Stephen our camerman) called me off of the bull due to not having the bull on camera, so we let him walk at 20 yards. Jamie had him right in our lap……………..
After all this excitement I had a chance to reflect on the week while walking out on that last morning back to camp. Now don’t get me wrong, the hunting, food and accommodation in tent camp were 5-star in my book, but the thing that kept my attention was the sheer manner that Dax, Jamie and John both upheld, 100% pure professionalism as outfitters but as men of character they get the Grammy in my eyes.
In the week that we were on Wagon Hound I did not notice any negative attitude towards one other nor the horrible language you normally hear in and around elk are deer camp, and there was always a positive feel from the time you woke up each day to the time you turned out the Coleman lantern at night. Now after 3 days of hunting I could tell of the genuine respect these guys have for the lands and wildlife in and around Wagon Hound, not to mention their position on the ranch as well. They never once took who they are, or what they did on a daily basis for granted.
I have been with several Outfitters in years past out west and it seems a large percentage will do all they can to run you through like a heard of cattle headed for slaughter, fast in and fast out. But for these guys I give the utmost respect for who they are and the image they reflect of a great place like Wagon Hound Ranch.
I can only hope that in the near, and very near future I am so lucky to draw a tag for the same unit, because Dax, Jamie and John you will be getting a phone call from this little Ol Coon-ass from south Louisiana telling you to get the tents ready we coming up for a visit…………
With all do respect to the owners of Wagon Hound and to all the staff, may God’s grace be upon you all this fall and winter and in years to come. Thanks for being a great steward of a place that He has entrusted to your hands,