September 26: Jeff Propst

“Return to Solitude”
Jeff Propst

Well, here is it is finally, hunting season! On Thursday after the annual Drury Outdoors Fall Meeting which was held on Sept 18-20, Chris and I were chomping at the bit to hit the field and start our 2009 hunting season.

Last fall when were producing for Dream Season Redemtion, we had the great fortune to win a hunt to Solitude Ranch and Outfitters near Devils Tower Wyoming, and Chris was able to kill a beautiful 151’’ Whitetail with a TC Muzzleloader. This year were invited back by ranch owner Mike Schmid to once again hunt one of the most beautiful areas you could ever hunt for Whitetail deer, Solitude Ranch.

We arrived at the ranch on Friday September 25th, and after meeting up with Mike and his crew, we are off for our evening hunt, Mike and Bob Lott, took us to a gate gap setup, on an alfalfa field, where they had set up a blind in the middle of some big round bales. The evening was awesome, we saw deer movement all evening long, well over 100 deer and approx 25-30 bucks poured out of the hills and into the alfalfa where we were set up. We saw some really nice bucks that evening but ran out of light before they could make it to our location.

Saturday morning and evening we saw a lot of deer and several bucks, but the weather had gotten hot, and the movement was a little slower than Friday, but there was a cold front on the way for Sunday and we were excited, the weather forecast was calling for highs in the 50’s, just what we needed ! Sunday morning the wind was really blowing hard ahead of the cold front, and the deer movement was very slow, we hunted a short time and climbed out of the stand to return for breakfast and get ready to set some stands up for the evening hunt.

We spent the middle of the day Sunday setting a couple stands with Mike, Bob, and J-Bob (one of Mikes guides) the temps continued to drop and we were excited for the evening set. We all set up a stand on a small foot plot they call the Doughnut plot, it is a really cool spot, it was in the bottom of a long canyon, near a water hole and spring branch, in the middle and around the edges of the plot there were several big oak trees and they were raining acorns! The deer had a buffet of acorns and turnips to eat right in front of our stand. We got set up in the stand about 4:45 that evening and about 5:30 the deer movement started, we had does, and small bucks coming to the plot first, and as the evening wore on, the bucks were really on the move, about 6pm we had 8 different bucks in the food plot feeding a couple of them really nice up and comers, but no big shooters as of yet.

About 6:20 I looked up the hill to the east and I spotted a big shooter headed directly to the food plot and I whispered to Chris, “here comes a definite shooter” The buck walked straight into the plot and fed for a few minutes about 45 yards away and Chris had one branch blocking his view of the camera so I waited, and the buck finally walked right down in front of the stand to 25yds and I made a good shot on him. The buck ran out of the foodplot and only went about 100 yards to the east, Chris and I were so happy! We had made 2 trips to Solitude Ranch and we both had killed great bucks .

After the guys picked us up at the stand after dark and we ate supper, we all went back to the location and retrieved my buck, he is a great representative of a Wyoming Whitetail, he was 5.5 years old (jawbone aged) and grossed 146 3/8’’ I could not have been happier!

Thanks so much to Mike Schmid and his crew at Solitude Ranch and Outfitters in Devils Tower Wyoming, they are a great group of guys, and the Whitetail hunting is awesome!