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You don't have to ask me twice!

Growing up, I would often listen to my uncle, Todd Sholly (co-founder of Red Rock Precision), tell stories of an “incredible place” where he would hunt for mule deer each year. Being an avid hunter myself, I was always left wondering about this place and why it was so amazing. After years of painting pictures in my mind of what I imagined this place to be, I finally got the call. My uncle invited me to Wyoming to film his hunt. He did not have to ask me twice! I could not wait.

I spent months planning, purchasing gear and training for the physically and mentally straining experience I knew was ahead of me.

Road trip to hunting camp
The time finally came. On a September afternoon in Ogden, Utah, my uncle, my cousin and myself packed up the truck, loaded the llamas in the trailer and began our journey to Wyoming. We arrived at dark, and with the opening day of the rifle hunt still two days away, we decided to sleep in the truck and begin the trek to camp first thing in the morning.

Riding in on horseback
At dawn, we loaded down the llamas and began our 12-mile hike into the backcountry. Up until that point, most of my hunting experiences came from the small mountains and hills near my childhood home, or weekend hunting with friends and family. I had no comprehension of the adventure that awaited me.

Mountain scenery
I was immediately struck by the sheer beauty of this place and I couldn’t wait to keep going. A few hours, miles and 4,000 vertical feet later, we made it to camp. I already felt a sense of accomplishment and we had only begun.

Llama
As we got into camp at 10,000 feet, we hoped and prayed Mushi the llama hadn’t been eaten by a bear and shockingly enough, he was waiting for us when we got back. We unpacked the llamas, set up camp and made our way to the nearby fresh spring to hydrate before the 1,000-foot ascent to our scouting point.

Great group of guys
As dark clouds rolled in, we made sure to seal everything before leaving, and then we were off, hoping to get some quick scouting in before the nasty weather reached us. While hiking up the last 200 yards of loose rock, weather was the last thing on my mind. All I could think about was finding a giant mule deer on my spotting scope.

Backcountry weather
We spent about 5 minutes behind glass before the storm was right on top of us. We had no choice but to take cover, so we each hunkered into what shelter we could find. There was not much to choose from.

Quality gear
I quickly learned the importance of good, light and high-quality gear and was grateful I had it to keep me warm and dry.

Break in the storm
Once the storm moved through, we had a couple hours of daylight left so we made our way back to camp.

Mountain food
With one day left before the deer hunt opened, we spent most of the next day near camp trying to stay out of the 24-hour-long rain storm and preserve energy for the long day ahead of us.

Steak and potatoes
One of the many advantages of hunting with llamas is being able to pack a lot more supplies into the backcountry, including steak and potatoes.

Glassing for bucks
On opening day, we were up first thing in the morning and immediately made our way through the dark to the vantage point in hopes of finding a shooter buck.

The search continues
It was a windy, but beautiful morning. We were able to spot and film a couple nice bucks, but not exactly what my uncle was looking for.

Mountain scenery
As we spent a couple hours glassing in this area, I couldn’t help but soak in the incredible scenery around me.

Spotting scope glassing
After spotting a few more decent, but undesirable bucks, we decided to move and check-out a promising canyon a couple miles below us.

Steep canyons
When my uncle pointed to where we were going, I laughed in disbelief, but as I watched him lead the way down what I would call a cliff, my laugh quickly became a quiet and somewhat-nervous chuckle. Nevertheless, I trusted him and followed suit. In that moment, I realized the passion my uncle has for hunting and the lengths he will go to in order to find “the one.”

Glassing continues
When we reached the canyon, we began glassing again.

Bighorn sheep
We spent the rest of the day searching for a heartstopper, but had little luck. We did however, see some other cool wildlife in the process.

Rugged backcountry
We were losing daylight fast as we wrapped up day one, and we still had a long way to go until we were back at camp. There was no doubt we would be hiking in the dark with headlamps and climbing back up the spine we had originally come down earlier in the day seemed too dangerous. Considering this, we hiked to the base of the mountain and side hilled most the way back. Of course, as we began our crossing, two very impressive bucks jumped up in front of us just after shooting hours. Sometimes, that is just how it goes.

Evening camp life
With an unsuccessful first day, we were as motivated as ever for what day two had in store, however we knew that we could not stick around to experience it. With obligations back home, we made a group decision to pack up and leave with the hope of returning in a few weeks for the last few days of the rifle hunt. It was a sad day to say the least.

Locating mule deer
Todd was back again two weeks later. Unfortunately, I was not able to tag along on this one. He and his Red Rock Precision business partner, Curt Pilcher, loaded up the llamas once again and headed back into the high-country of Wyoming in pursuit of a worthwhile buck.

Mountain peaks
This time, it was different. After countless hours searching this season, they finally found him! The type of buck my uncle used to tell me about growing up. There he was, over 1,000 yards away feeding on a side hill. My uncle knew he wanted to take him as soon as he laid eyes on the mature warrior, so he quickly set up to take the long-range shot.

Todd with his Wyoming mule deer
After getting a solid rest, acquiring a range and adjusting the turret; with a slight exhale, Todd slowly squeezed the trigger from 1,235 yards away. His vapor trail led directly to the front shoulder of this giant mule deer and at last, he had put him down. Words cannot describe how ecstatic I was to receive the text with a picture of this amazing animal. Having shared the first few days of the hunt with my uncle, I knew the immense amount of hard work he had put in during the off-season in preparation for this very moment and I could not have been happier for him.

At last, I finally got to experience the “incredible place” I had heard so much about as a child. It was everything I had imagined and I am forever grateful to Todd for letting me tag along. From the day I left those beautiful mountains until now, the thought of returning has been in my sights and when that time comes, I can only hope the rifle will be in my hands.

4 Comments

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Colby K. - posted 5 years ago on 09-02-2014 08:16:15 am
Ogden, UT

Thanks Robby! That's completely understandable, everyone has there different ways of hunting. We also love to archery hunt where we can get up close to the majestic wildlife. Hunting is hunting, and we love it all! Although Red Rock Precision does specialize in long-range rifles, they pride themselves in accurate, consistent, high-quality built rifles no matter the distance the customer chooses to harvest their animals from. Thanks for your comments, glad you enjoyed the article.

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Robby P. - posted 5 years ago on 09-02-2014 06:57:11 am
Lake Havasu City, Az

Very cool article and awesome photos of some beautiful country. I really enjoyed it till the end then was very disappointed that you chose to take a shot at such a wonderful animal so far away. I understand you and your company specialize in long range but in my opinion i'd rather stalk in to a much closer range to experience a more up close and personal hunt. Congratulations on a great buck though.

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Colby K. - posted 5 years ago on 08-27-2014 07:27:27 am
Ogden, UT

Thanks Nate! It was a blast!

Nate P. - posted 5 years ago on 08-26-2014 11:28:52 am
Mesa, AZ

Cool article! Todd is a great guy. I had the chance to get to know him pretty well. Great buck and great experience!