At year end I like to check in with outfitters I profiled throughout the year to report on their seasons, new leases, price changes or any regulation changes in their hunting areas that may affect your upcoming hunting plans. For example, I recently checked in with Jeff and Deb Smith, owners of Seven J Outfitters, who I profiled in the September 1998 issue of this newsletter (see pages 3-6). As continuing subscribers may remember, the Smiths offer archery and rifle hunts in northeastern Wyoming for mule deer, antelope, whitetails and elk. When I spoke with Jeff Smith last month, he said he was extremely satisfied with the results of his 1998 hunting season. Some highlights of the year include harvesting mule deer bucks that scored in the high 190s on the B & C scale, not to mention whitetail bucks that grossed over 150. Smith attributed this year's success to good weather, good physical conditioning on the part of his clients and six years of careful habitat management.
He says he was particularly pleased with the results of his whitetail hunts, which take place on approximately 45,000 acres of private land near Sundance. For the first time in six years, Smith says all of his rifle whitetail clients - a total of 28 this year - were successful in harvesting mature bucks. Several bucks scored between 145 and 155 B & C points, with the largest typical buck grossing 175 points and officially netting over 168 points. Smith also described one heavy-horned 12-point buck estimated to score over 185 B & C points that a client didn't kill even though he was only 25 yards away. The client froze while the massive buck presented numerous broadside shooting opportunities before wandering away. If they continue to have a mild winter in eastern Wyoming, Smith expects next year's whitetail hunts to be the best ever. He charges $2,600 for a five-day, 2 x 1 rifle whitetail hunt. In addition, Smith offers a unique "deer-stand only" hunt for only $1,650. This hunt is unguided and limits the hunter to established tree stands overlooking prime deer habitat. Clients........(continued)