Dear Hunters, Family and Friends,
I will pick up where I left off this past August. After returning from Alaska, I rallied my guides together and we began the task of setting up the Hazel Park archery elk camp, putting up numerous water hole blinds on the TTT, Little Fork and T-Up T-Down ranches. Temporary horse corrals were built, cabins cleaned out, firewood was cut and hay was hauled to the Flying "E" Ranch and Hazel Park elk camps. I managed to get porches built on the TTT guest cabins and electric lights were added via generator to our TTT Cook house. A new outhouse was erected at the TTT camp--its first class all the way with a million dollar view! As a final touch for my 2015 guests, new rugs and mattresses were also added to all of the TTT cabins. This all sounds like a lot of work and expense, but it is really a labor of love.
We hosted archery antelope hunters from Georgia, North Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Maryland and our guides, John Auzqui, Raoul Morejohn and John Martin, guided the hunters to 100%. The antelope were plentiful and most of our hunters were filled out in two or three days! My Hazel Park archery elk camp was having similar action as the bulls were bugling within a mile of camp every night! Myself, along with Mike Painter and Bob Thuesen guided our elk hunters and two nice bulls were arrowed. Other elk were either passed up or missed. Hunter Chris Bretz from Florida and I scouted the high country on our sure footed mountain horses. Mid-September we moved down to our TTT camp Kaycee, WY. I had the pleasure of guiding my lifelong best buddy, Mike Friedland, owner of French Creek Outfitters in Pottstown, PA, on his quest for a trophy bull elk. Mike had taken a rutting 6x6 bull out of my Hazel Park camp several years back, and after building up his preference points, he managed to draw a difficult tag on the TTT. The hunt was over before we knew it the evening of his first day. After wading waist-high up a creek bottom, we managed to get a big non-typical 7x7 bull within 23 yards! Mike made a perfect shot putting the bull down in less than fifty yards. I sure wish he had remembered to turn on his GoPro camera!
The elk are really coming on strong at the TTT. One day I counted over 45 different 6x6 bulls! Our antelope and deer archery hunters continued the high success we are known for. Mike Painter (Mr. Muley) managed to get his hunter a 4 ft shot on a 186" buck. Yes, I said 4' and a clean miss! It turns out the 60 yd pin would have been a killer. I know this buck was 186" because Mike, guided rifle hunter Paul Winch from Washington State to him in October. Bow hunters and rifle hunters alike should practice these crazy close shots as they do occur from time to time. This same bow hunter, Branden from Ohio, redeemed himself later in the hunt with a dandy P&Y muley.
Rifle deer and antelope season opened up in our Powder River units on October 1st. The guides were John Auzqui, Raoul Morejohn, Aaron Wuerker, John Martin and myself. John Auzqui guided father and son, Dennis and Stephen Hass from Ohio, to outstanding buck deer and antelope on his home ranch. Raoul Morjohn guided Rick Hudon from WA, and Richard Barham from TN, to two of the best mule deer bucks of the season. My good friend, Vic Vassaluzzo from PA, hunted with me and apprentice guide John Martin. We spent the entire week pounding the hills with Vic and Mark Halverson from Wisconsin. Mark tagged an awesome buck on the Hepp ranch and Vic went to the bitter end tagging a great 4x4 mule deer and a monster pronghorn. Vic's pronghorn hunt was one of the best of the season after a long arduous stalk in 40 mph wind sorting out dozens of antelope and making a precise shot. We must have looked at over a dozen bucks before finding this monarch of the plains. Vic's antelope won the Pyromet silver bullet award! Vic also killed an awesome mountain lion with me this past February. Vic should just move here and save all the travel money. The Cimino party from California arrived at the Triple Three camp on October 7th. John, Aaron and Raoul guided them to another 100% week on deer and antelope. They needed to rent a U-Haul to get all their meat and horns back to California!
The entire month of October was unseasonably warm with temps in the 60s and 70s. The weather never really affected the hunting. Both our Triple Three camp and TTT camps had 100% success. Our mule deer hunting during the second season in October turned out to be one of my best ever. The Mahogany Ridge on the T-Up T-Down ranch had nice bucks in every draw. I personally guided long time friend, Louis Vitrano from New Orleans, to the best buck of his life on Mahogany Ridge. Guides Aaron Wuerker and Raoul Morejohn were getting their hunters into trophy bucks every day. Father and son hunters, Jack and Pat Callanhan, from NY State guided by Aaron were back on their second hunt with me. Both Pat and Jack scored on nice trophy bucks. Pat's buck won the Pyromet Silver Bullet award for the best buck in camp. Guide Mike Painter proved once again why he is Mr. Muley. Returning for his 5th hunt with me, Dan Hagy and three-timer Paul Winch, guided by Mike. scored on two world-class mule deer. You might have noticed that Mike put three of our hunters in the WYOGA record books in 2014.
The Flying "E" elk camp went 100% on bulls during opening week. Troy Ehrmantraut manages this camp for us and does an outstanding job for our hunters. Our pack horses and wrangler Don Buxom, never sit idle very long at the Flying "E" Camp. Bob and Walt from Texas, guided by Bryce Burnett wasted no time in filling their elk tags in just two days! The TTT camp once again went 100% on 6x6 bulls! I had the pleasure of guiding Pennsylvania hunter John Kraft to a beautiful 6x6 trophy Bull of a lifetime. Mike Painter and Bob Thuesen guided father and son team Leroy and Dean Miller on the TTT and two trophy 6x6 bulls went back to Oregon with Leroy and Dean.
The Jorgenson family from North Dakota returned (4th trip) for a Mule Deer and Cow Elk hunt on the TTT. Joining us that week were Jeremy and Jim from Ohio. These hunters took some of the finest bucks of the season! One whopper Muley Buck taken by Jeremy Dotson sported a rack measuring an impressive 33.3 inch spread rack (coincidence?) Both Rick Jorgenson and Doug Darling filled out their first day. Doug tagged an awesome 28" buck, while Rick took a massive 25" mossback. The crew was guided by Mike Painter, Ray Ludwig and Bob Thuesen. The guides were getting a real work out this month nonstop guiding, packing and skinning. I can't forget Beto of the TTT camp who keeps the bellies full, fires burning and always has a smile. You will not find a better cook or human being anywhere.
One of the most enjoyable hunts for me was a group of hunters from South Dakota. Mike Rusten brought his dad Dave and his close friends Lavern and Larry--all retired ranging from 70 to 84 years young. We had more laughs and jokes all week with these guys than anyone could imagine. The weather went sour dumping snow and cold on us. I had to call on my lucky charm to save the day. When the snow finally quit, we had a full game pole and our ribs hurt from all the laughing. That, my friends, is what hunting trips should be all about! Good friends, family and laughter.
In closing, I want to thank my fine staff of guides, cooks, managers, ranchers, landowners, U.S. Forest Service and BLM personal who continue to make Triple Three Outfitters Ltd. the best outfitting business in the west!
I'm wishing all my past, present and future guests, a Happy and Healthy New Year. Don't forget to take a kid hunting and fishing it is the best thing you can do for them. I think hunting and fishing are two of the most precious rights we as Americans are lucky enough to have at our finger tips. We as Americans need to fight everyday to protect our 2nd Amendment. Don't ever take this right for granted. Be proactive and get involved!
Craig and Donna Smith and the Triple Three crew
Triple Three Outfitters Ltd.
Available Trips for 2016:
Most of our 2016 hunts are full.