Most outfitters tend to specialize to some extent on one or more species, but not Jeff and Deb Smith of Seven J Outfitters in Sundance, Wyoming. They offer everything from trophy mule deer and whitetails to elk and antelope; moreover, they can accommodate both archery and rifle hunters. Their hunts currently take place on about 310,000 acres of private land in northeastern Wyoming, and Jeff Smith is constantly prospecting for additional leases. A native of Pennsylvania, Jeff Smith first came to Wyoming as a visiting hunter, so he knows first-hand how traveling hunters think and what they expect. He and Deb, a Wyoming native, have been outfitting hunts since 1993, and I have had my eye on them since about 1995. At this point, between 25 and 30 hunters a year re-book to hunt with the Smiths and their guide staff every year. Most bring hunting partners. This volume of repeat business speaks for itself.
Turning to specific hunts, Seven J's mule deer outings take place on two properties of 125,000 acres each near the town of Gillette. The genetics in these areas generally produce typical configuration racks with good forks and mass that spread the tape between 23 and 27 inches. Every year, bucks are taken here that exceed the magic 30-inch barrier. Over the past two seasons, seven of Smith's eight archery mule deer hunters were successful in harvesting bucks, all of which qualified for the Pope and Young record book. Archery hunting methods include spot-and-stalk and hunting from ground blinds located next to agricultural fields. Rifle hunters can expect to see at least one buck that will gross over 180 B & C points during their hunt. Two seasons ago, Seven J rifle hunters took 13 mule deer bucks that grossed over 180 points; last season, 12 bucks exceeded 180 points. Archery hunts take place throughout September and cost $2,650 for six days on a 1 x 1 guided basis. This price includes ranch house accommodations and home-cooked meals. Rifle mule deer hunts run throughout October and cost $3,150 for five days of hunting on a 2 x 1 basis. Rifle hunters........(continued)