Correspondent Kathy Etling has written about Gene Carrico of Out West Safaris in these pages before (See January 1999 issue, pages 1-2), but mostly in connection with his trespass-fee antelope hunts in the Rawlings, Wyoming area. Well, Etling just got back from a successful mule deer hunt with this outfitter and offers this assessment: "Wyoming's 1999 mule deer season went extremely well, thanks to six mild winters, slowly increasing license allotments which have allowed herds to build up again after 1992-93's disastrous winter, plus enough spring and summer moisture to make a noticeable difference in this year's antler growth. I've been chasing trophy mule deer for more than 25 years now, mostly on on-your-own hunts, and I seem to keep going back to Wyoming. This year, my husband and I were joined on our annual Wyoming hunt by our daughter and son-in-law on lands leased by Gene Carrico's Out West Safaris. I wrote about Carrico's trespass-fee antelope hunts this past January, but this time we bought mule deer trespass tags ($1,000 each, as opposed to $300 each for antelope tags). These tags gave us unrestricted access to over 300,000-acres of checkerboard ranch land. All gates leading onto this land are padlocked, and only authorized hunters and ranch hands know the combinations. Guards patrol the land, helping to ensure a quality experience for Out West's clients. I guess I'm in a rut, going back to this same area year after year, but the experience is just plain enjoyable. I like hunting on a trespass tag. True, that leaves us responsible for booking our own rooms, buying our own meals and for our own transportation. But it also means we can plot our own hunting strategies and hunt at our own pace. If we want to goof off and go to town, we do. If we want to sleep in, we do that too. The hunt can be as grueling or as relaxing as we want it to be.
The landscape south of Rawlins is extremely barren. It's characterized by rolling sagebrush hills, steep red rimrock, barren canyons and deep, sagebrush-choked creeks. Our daily hunt routine........(continued)