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September 1: Rick Malik

I couldn’t believe it. The 2009 archery season had arrived! It has been 4 long years since Gregg Day and I last hunted in Wyoming with Mike Watkins of Trophies Plus Outfitters ( www.trophiesplusoutfitters.com ) . During the Eastern Outdoor Sports Show, I met up with Mike again. After some catching up, Mike invited us back this fall for opening weekend! It took all of two seconds to confirm! Unfortunately, Gregg couldn’t make the trip this year, so I invited good friend and Drury Outdoors team member Dan Thurston to come along. We spent the spring and summer getting ready and before we knew it, we were headed to Wyoming! Dan was driving from Kansas and would pick me up in Rapid City, SD.

We were coming in a few days prior to the season starting so we could do some scouting and hang stands. I was also excited to know both Mark Drury and Kyle Lamore were going to be hunting not far from us. As well, we would be sharing the camp with Stan Potts and the North American Whitetail crew. After the first two days of watching the alfalfa fields and seeing hundreds of bucks, we hung both morning and evening stands where we were seeing the best deer. We also put out our Reconyx camera on a water hole where we saw a great full-velvet 10 pointer. After a couple days we checked the camera and we had hundreds of pictures of him! We felt real good about our spot.

Unfortunately opening day brought northwest winds and we couldn’t hunt him. We had a lot of great sightings, but nothing close. Day two, Dan was behind the bow and I was filming. We went back to the morning spot where I sat on opening day. Just after daylight an awesome full velvet 140 class 10 point walked right in at 20 yards. Well, I wish I could say old Kansas Dan smoked him, but unfortunately he cut the hair on his back and watched him run away! We were depressed! Well, now I was back in the saddle. Before our afternoon hunt, Dan, Stan Potts and I met up with Mark, Kyle, Rick Kruter, and Cory Knochel for lunch. We had a great time together, wished each other luck, and headed back for our afternoon hunt.

We went to the spot where we had the pictures of the other velvet 10 point and moved a stand so we could hunt the northwest wind. It wasn’t long after we got in the stand we started seeing deer. Several bucks jumped the fence that were traveling with the velvet 10. Twenty minutes later he jumped the fence and started feeding. It was awesome to watch all of these bucks slowly make their way towards our stand. I just hoped they would get there before dark. Of course, the big 10 was last in line and taking his sweet time. We had almost an hour of pre-roll of him working in. Finally, he stepped broadside at 20 yards. Dan gave me the green light and I put a Rage two-blade right behind his shoulder. He ran 60 yards and went down right in the alfalfa field!!! I was pumped! I had my first ever full-velvet buck! The rest of the week Dan passed on several good bucks but never had another chance at a shooter. All-in-all we had a fantastic trip. I want to extend a big thanks to Mike and Ester Watkins of Trophies Plus Outfitters. We saw thousands of deer and tons of awesome bucks. I can’t wait to go back!