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R.U.T. Adventures: Wyoming Public Land Mule Deer Hunt

AJ Gall

Sitting around the bar in my buddy’s den, we had just wrapped up the application process for a Wyoming mule deer tag. Now, we wait. Our laptops were deployed amongst the coasters as we scoured OnX Maps and Google Earth looking for where we someday might step foot in pursuit of these elusive Wyoming public land mule deer. We discussed target areas, travel plans, and gear . . . lots of gear.

OnX Hunt App was by far the most important tool on the entire trip

This was a new trip for us – six of us to be exact.  Six guys, two trucks, two ATV’s, two chest freezers, a wall tent, and all of our guns and equipment.  “Man, if only we had an enclosed trailer for all this stuff,” we thought.

The idea trickled away as none of us had access to an enclosed trailer. The planning went on, and so did the need for a trailer. It was time to pitch a project to Legendary Whitetails upper management team.

The timing couldn’t have been better as photographer and industry friend @SamSoholt just started a project of his own. And it was awesome. He was flipping a 1993 Bluebird school bus into the ultimate mobile hunting base camp.  Every day I’d look forward to his Instastories to watch the transformation take place in real time.  This was captivating stuff.

You can check out his story and photos of the build in our blog: School Bus Gets Turned Into Incredible Mobile Hunting Camp.

Hunter converts school bus to ultimate hunting cabinSam’s Public Land Bus

After a successful pitch, the R.U.T. Wagon Project was born. It was time to buy a company trailer! The trailer was purchased, cut open, insulated, wrapped, and finished in two short months and we were off to Wyoming. You can watch the transformation of the R.U.T. (Recreational Utility Trailer) take place phase by phase.

Hooked to my 2004 Chevy Avalanche was a beautiful mobile hunting trailer, complete with everything a guy could need on a DIY backcountry hunt. Scent Crusher totes, Cam-O-Cots, a Grizzly Cooler, and a Camp Chef stove filled the trailer on the way out, while the other truck hauled the ATVs and additional freezers. Seventeen hours and 1300 miles later we found ourselves setting up camp on a small corner of BLM land in north-central Wyoming.

The R.U.T. loaded up.

DAY 1 of 8

We arrived in our target area at daybreak and were met with heavy snowfall and sloppy red clay roads. We ditched the trailers and set out to scout the rest of the morning. The early snow had the mule deer moving everywhere.

 We were met with near whiteout conditions the first morning.

  Deer were everywhere.

Not a bad view from camp.

Glad to finally be out of the truck.

DAY 2 of 8

It’s opening day.  Game plans were established the night before using our OnX apps and it was time to explore the unfamiliar terrain.  Lots of miles, deer, and pronghorn sightings, but no bucks for our six-man crew.

Glassing the hills…lots of time was spent behind the binos

Lots of hiding places out thereSomeone is tired

DAY 3 of 8

The second day of hunting was off to a slow start, but a few of us had some close calls. A lunch break stroll across from camp on some BLM land yielded a somewhat unexpected giant for Justin. He shot the “camp buck” just a mere 250 yards from camp. We named him that after spotting him the first night while we were setting up camp. The big boy was bedded on a side hill of a steep cut just 30 yards from where Justin and Jared stood. He had plans of letting the two walk by as he stayed bedded behind a cluster of sagebrush, but Jared spotted the tall tines and Justin tagged out. A fun celebration at camp ensued. 1 of 6 tags filled.

Camp Buck is Down!

Congrats Justin and Jared!

Testing out the custom game hoist. Worked perfectly.

Celebratory beers at camp for lunch.

Some extra treasures

Venison backstrap for dinner!

DAY 4 of 8

Josh, Jared, Allen, and Justin went in after a group of three bucks they saw during Saturday’s scouting mission. They gave Jared and Justin the slip on day 2, but this time the guys had a better plan and it worked out.  Josh and Jared connected on two of the bucks, while the third slipped out unscathed.  Ben and I had yet to see a buck. 3 of 6 tags filled.

Jared with his dandy mountaintop muley

Josh with his nice muley

 Doubled up! Good morale booster for the rest of us.

Awesome sunset photos are easy to come by out here.

DAY 5 of 8

Doe sightings galore, but no buck tags filled. Two more days of hunting left. Oddly enough, the further in we’d go, the fewer animals we were seeing. 3 of 6 tags filled.

Shoulda bought an antelope tag…

A.T.L.A look inside our tent with our Cam-O-Cots setup.

DAY 6 of 8

Allen, Ben, and I each had tags left, so we teamed up with someone who had already tagged out to maximize the opportunity.  Maybe this would be the change of luck Ben and I needed to finally see a buck. After driving to a completely new area, Jared and I found ourselves belly crawling our way into position at daybreak as we waited for a group of three bucks to feed their way off private and onto the public BLM. Everything worked out perfect and the deer cooperated. Buck down! 4 of 6 tags filled.

The buck that stood at the end of the most memorable stalk of my hunting career. Crank it up

Butchering goes real quick with 6 guys and a setup like this.

Deboning

Vacuum packaging all the meat before putting it in the freezer.

A successful trip so far. Let’s get the final two!

DAY 7 of 8

It was the last day to hunt, as tomorrow we’d pack up and make the seventeen-hour trek home to Wisconsin. The weeklong hunt had already far surpassed our expectations, but no one would complain if we came home tagged out. By 8am we were dragging Ben’s buck out when we got the call that Allen had put one down also. We were TAGGED OUT on our first ever public land muley trip! The rest of the day was spent butchering and relaxing around the R.U.T. Wagon. 6 of 6 tags filled.

Ben strikes on the last day!

Celebrating the Hunt just moments before we got the call that Allen also tagged out.

 Allen punches the final tag of the trip.

After butchering the two bucks, it was time to sit back and relax before the long drive home.

DAY 8 of 8

We packed up the R.U.T. Wagon and headed home. Wyoming was good to us in every sense of the hunt – the weather, the wild game, and the beauty.  Adventure hunts like this are what it’s all about. I highly encourage anybody that’s ever thought about heading west for a hunt to just do it. Find a partner and go, it’ll be well worth it especially if you’re used to sitting in a treestand all the time like we were.

The Wyoming crew

Headed home. The maiden voyage of the R.U.T. was incredible.

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About The Author
From Woods to Table

AJ Gall

AJ Gall is Legendary Whitetails Community Page Manager.  His prior hunting and wildlife experiences began long ago and make him the perfect in-house deer hunting guru.  As a habitat consultant under Dr. Grant Woods, AJ has worked on properties in 13 different states, amassing over 25,000 acres of quality deer management. He now uses that knowledge to help clients find their dream hunting properties as a licensed real estate agent in Wisconsin.  

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