Trophy Mule Deer,
Antelope and Elk Hunts
Montana Trophy Mule Deer,
Antelope and Elk Hunts
Cole D. Benton
Wyoming Outfitter #BG068
Montana Outfitter #7296
1921 Passaic Road · Clearmont, WY 82835 ·
Telephone: (307) 736-2277 · E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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2017 N E W S
This past year the Benton family lost the senior member of the
family when Cole’s father, Al passed away on February 5, 2017 at
the age of 90. Al was the first guide and cook for Grizzly
Outfitters along with his son-in-law Pepper Neustel over thirty
Al was born July 22, 1926 in Guthrie Center, Iowa.
He graduated from Guthrie Center High School with the class of
1944. After high school he joined the war effort and worked in
an aircraft plant in Omaha, NE building B-52’s. He was drafted
into the U.S. Army in 1945.
During WWII he served in the occupation of Japan following the
bombings and also in the Korean Conflict. He was in active duty
for eight years. Receiving an honorable discharge in 1953.
was a seventy year member of the American Legion and served as
the Buffalo Post Commander and State Commander from 1973 until
1975 and also a member of the VFW. He was a lifetime member of
WY Wild Sheep Foundation, he was a member of Masonic Lodge #7 AF
and AM, and the Kalif Shrine where he was a member of the
He built his first rifle at a young age and continued his
passion for gunsmithing throughout his life.
He was an avid
hunter and fisherman who loved the outdoors and spent time
working with his son Cole as a hunting guide and helping with
the ranch cattle.
He loved spending time at the Benton cabin located in the
Bighorn Mountains. He will be missed by family, friends, and
past hunters with Grizzly Outfitters.
On what would have been his 91st birthday, July 22, 2017 the
family had a gathering at the Benton cabin. Pilot Tom Malyurek
and Cole scattered his ashes over the Benton’s property in the
Bighorn Mountains from the air with a super cub.
Kale Showing Beef
In the fall of 2016 my brother Kade and I
acquired a small flock of club lamb ewes. They were bred when we
got them and they lambed in January 2017. We had been buying
show lambs for 5 years and this was the first year that we
raised our own. The little business that my brother and I
started is called KNK Livestock and we were able to sell a few
club lambs to some other 4H kids from town. We showed some of
our own and also purchased a few ewe lambs to show. We were busy
all summer long going to prospect shows with them. We attended
the Riverton, Sheridan and Billings shows through June and the
first week of July. Along the way, I was champion showman twice
and Kade was Reserve champion twice. We placed many times in
market classes. I won two classes in Sheridan and Kade had a
second in class in Sheridan.
The next show we participated in was our
County Fair. I was third in Intermediate sheep showmanship and
Kade was the Champion Junior Sheep Showman. Kade was also
Reserve Champion Junior Beef showman. Kade was third in the Cow
Calf phase of the Supreme Cow Contest. I won the yearling phase
of the Supreme Cow Contest and the highlight of the week was
that I showed the champion black face market lamb and also the
overall market lamb for the Johnson County Fair.
A week later we attended the Wyoming State
Fair. I was lucky enough to show in the Champion of Champions
show and although I did not place it was really neat to be in
that elite class.
Besides all the livestock that we raise and
show we are also very busy with sports. I ran cross county for
the first time this year and really enjoyed it. I also play
soccer in the Spring. My brother plays football in the fall and
soccer in the Spring.
The end of March I will be going on a trip
to Costa Rica with my Science teacher and 20+ other 8th
graders from my school. We will be helping at a turtle reserve
as well as going zip lining and hiking up to a volcano. In
December of this year I will be going to San Diego to march in
the Holiday Bowl Parade with the Buffalo High School Band.
The Promise of New Life
By Jen Sieve-Hicks
Buffalo Bulletin, March 22, 2018
There is nothing quite as heady as being on a ranch in the
springtime – anything seems possible. The earth, after a long
slumber, slowly comes back to life. Lambs and calves arrive,
signaling new life and new opportunity.
At KNK Livestock, just
east of Buffalo, that optimism is palpable as two young
entrepreneurs usher in new life and a new business.
Kade and Kale Benton didn’t necessarily start out to be sheep
men or to launch their own businesses – it just kind of made
It all started when Kale, now and eigth-grader, decided to
show lambs for 4-H. His parents didn’t grow up with sheep, so
they sought a lot of advice from their neighbors, the Rives. “We
call them a lot,” Kale said. “You have to learn how to take care
of them and take care of them a lot.” Then Kade, a fifth-grader,
got in on the action too.
Each spring, the two bought their show lambs from the Rives,
and then those lambs would be sold. But they knew they were on
to something. The lambs, Suffolk-Hampshire crosses, were winning
awards – lots of awards – at prospect shows all over Wyoming, at
the Johnson County Fair and the state fair.
“These guys were blessed to start out with proven ewes, so
they started with really good genetics,” Jackie, their mom,
Last year, the duo decided it was time to go into business
for themselves. With the help of their parents, Jackie and
Tyler, they were able to hold back some of their lambs and
purchase some additional ewes. Now they’ve got nine ewes, 15
lambs, three more lambs on the way, a 50 percent share of a ram
and a lambing barn.
They will raise the lambs until mid- to late April, when they
will sell them to other 4-H’ers for their lamb projects.“We will
keep some to show, and we’re also going to sell some,” Kale
It’s a sound business model, but the lambs aren’t cash cows.
Compared with the boys’ 4-H steers and heifers, the two have
found that lambing is a lot of work.
“We have the sheep all year long. The steers you don’t have
all year long,” Kale said.
“And the heifers raise more money sometimes,” said Kale,
referencing their 4-H beef projects.
Tyler and Jackie handled the night lambing on school nights,
but on weekends, the boys took turns walking out to the barn in
the middle of the night to make sure no ewe was having trouble
delivering and, if there were new lambs, to get them dried off
and under heat lamps.
“We help each other with it,” said Kade. “If there’s a
problem with the sheep or heifers, we help each other.”
When each lamb will sell for hundreds of dollars, it’s an
investment that deserves careful treatment.
In addition to caring for the animals, they boys have learned
about managing their own business. There are feed bills to pay,
and some of the money has to go back into the business.
The two aren’t sure what the future holds, but they’re pretty
sure it involves livestock.
“We want to have our own lambs that we can show by
ourselves,” Kale said. “I’m saving money for college, too.”
My first cow elk was shot in Wyoming on the property of Grizzly
Outfitters. My elderly grandfather wanted to make sure he was
there when I shot my first animal, so he decided to bring me to
Wyoming on a guided hunt so he could be there. I woke up really
early about 5:30 a.m. to get ready for a hunt I would never
At 6 a.m., we headed out with my guide, Colby. We
drove about a half-hour when Colby said “Look! There’s elk on
the hill!” I could feel my heart start to race.
Colby started to back up so the elk couldn’t see us, when
suddenly the truck went “thump” into a three-foot deep hole. It
took us an hour to get out because the truck had high-centered.
Finally, Colby told me to grab my gun and follow him. My dad
followed. The elk had gone over the ridge and down into a
pocket. Two bull elk were bedded down and two yearlings were
feeding above them. Earlier when we had seen the elk, there had
been at least one cow elk. We decided to go around a hill that
blocked a field from our sight. A huge cow elk walked over the
hill just when we were about to get to the other side of it.
“Line up on her,” Colby said.
Carefully, I pulled off my gloves. (It had just started to
snow). I took two deep breaths. Then, “BANG.” The sound of the
gun going off was so loud my ears were ringing.
“A little high, but she’s hit,” Colby said.
We waited about 10 minutes and then started to walk toward
her. She was lying down at this point. She jumped up and I hit
the ground and lined up the gun on her again.
“BANG!” A second shot and she’s down. This time, I hit right
behind her front shoulder blade.
Hunting has never really been my thing until that day. I
would go hunting with my dad all the time, but I had never been
the one who was actually hunting. Once I got that elk, I got the
bug and now I can’t wait until next year’s hunting season.
2016 N E W S
Left to right: Cole Benton, Elaine
Benton, Bob Sundeen & Josh Martoglio
The biggest news for us at Grizzly Outfitters, LLC was
partnering with Josh Martoglio and purchasing
Trails West Outfitters from Bob Sundeen and Janice
late 2016. This purchase has been in the works for a few years
now and we were able to finalize all the Forest Service Permits
to be transferred in Cody in December. Josh will be the working
force behind the new
Trails West Outfitters and he plans to continue Bob’s
legacy as he has done in the past.
Some might remember Josh Martoglio when he started out as a
guide with us when he was just out of high school. The
continued with Grizzly Outfitters for seven years and also
working for Bob at
Trails West Outfitters for about ten years. Since
then, he is the outfitter of record for Shoshoni Lodge and has
been doing a tremendous job for them sheep, elk, and deer
hunting. In fact, Josh has become one of the finest sheep
guides in Wyoming.
Not only will Josh be outfitting sheep, elk, or deer hunting, we
can offer wonderful summer pack or fishing trips on the Greybull
River. Josh and Cole are looking forward to helping out all of
Bob’s past clients and starting a new friendship with them and
many new clients in the future.
Select an image below to
view a larger photo.
This antelope was spotted by guide Pepper Neustel along the
county road where someone tried to poach him. We tried
unsuccessfully to have an archery hunter finish this animal off,
but we were unable to do it. Cole contacted Game Warden Dustin
Shorma about the animal because we knew it has to be suffering.
Mr. Shorma gave Cole permission to kill this animal with a
rifle. It took three weeks to locate him again. Cole destroyed
the antelope, but salvaged the meat which was given to the Game
& Fish. The arrow went in the face and came out the back of the
jaw which made it impossible to eat. The cape and horns went to
Trophies Unlimited Taxidermy where he will be mounted to be
displayed at the Sheridan Regional Game and Fish Office. This
failed poaching attempt caused this animal three weeks of
suffering which he did not deserve. I hope the person that
attempted this poaching sees this website and what he or she did
to this animal.
Grizzly Outfitters donates several youth hunts each year to
various organizations. We feel getting kids involved in
hunting, nature, and the great outdoors is very special. One
such hunt was donated to the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation for
their fundraiser June 2016 in Casper. A young lady by the name
of Taylor Fazio won a completely donated cow hunt with us. Cole
had a great day with Taylor and her dad Peter. She did
harvest her elk and this is her story on how it all happened:
This was my first time out hunting and I was equally as nervous
as I was excited. We headed out that night and made it to the
ranch just in time for dinner. We ate with Mr. Benton, his
wife, some of their guides, and a few other hunters that were
there. When we had finished dinner, it was straight to bed. We
had an early morning. The next morning we got ready and took
off. We had been driving for a bit when we caught sight of a
small herd of elk in a large dish, but there was no way to get
to them. We drove a little further, and saw a huge herd of
around 140 elk on the side of a ridge, bedded down. We snuck
over to them, up and down cuts in the mountain, through a few
basins, and got up on the ridge across from them. There were
some big bulls. Mr. Benton and I lay prone on the top of the
ridge while my dad and Ed (our other guide) stayed behind. Mr.
Benton had me set on a nice group of a few smaller horned bulls,
cows, and calves bedded down off to the side. We laid there for
45 minutes waiting for one to jump up. Suddenly a cow got up. I
followed her across the ridge with the scope, but by the time I
was ready to shoot, she had made her way into the larger herd.
Then the bulls got up and the others began to follow. Mr.
Benton then pointed out a cow tailing the others. I got ready to
shoot, and she gave me a great broadside shot. I slowly
squeezed the trigger, and BANG, I shot. I was shaking so bad I
hit her in the neck. At first we thought I had missed her
because we saw dirt fly behind her. It turned out the bullet
had just gone straight through. Everyone was ecstatic, I had
just gotten my first animal, and it was an elk! We then went to
retrieve it, and it was amazing.
Taylor, Age 12
Grizzly Outfitters, LLC has some spectacular guides and want to
spotlight a couple this year.
Pat Monroe started with us in 1999, other than Pepper, he has
been with us the longest. He is a great guide in the field and
works very hard for his hunters. Pat always pitches in whenever
there is work to be done and always with a smile. His everyday
job is with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy
Sheriff. In an article in the Buffalo Bulletin not long ago he
was quoted: “We are very fortunate to live where we live. We
have the support of our community and the respect. I appreciate
the community for their trust in us.” Pat and wife Jera have
The newest addition to our staff is Adrian Keeler, who started
just this year. Guiding is not a new occupation for Adrian as
he has guided many years near Casper. He is also in law
enforcement with the Buffalo WY Police Department. He and his
wife Kathy have three sons. Adrian has become one of our Grizzly
family and does a fantastic job.
2015 N E W S
We had an exciting 2015 year. Grizzly Outfitters had its first
wedding held here at the ranch. This was a very short notice
wedding! Two of our archery antelope clients, Tim and Annie
asked one afternoon if they could hold their wedding ceremony
the next morning with us. Their original plan to be married on
the mountain had to be scratched due to not having the required
witnesses. Being an hour and a half from the nearest bakery,
Janet and I went to work to bake what might be called a wedding
cake. Made from two sizes of bread pans, it started to take
shape. Tim and Annie went in search of the ideal location for
the ceremony the afternoon before. We had just had a rain shower
so they went down the draw following a rainbow. Finding their
location amongst the pine trees, sagebrush, and sandstone rocks
was their first witness, a rattlesnake. Luckily the next morning
he was gone, but we did have a nice group of mule deer bucks
standing quietly above us to watch the ceremony. Pepper served
as best man and I as maid of honor. Annie was beautiful in her
wedding dress, hunting boots, and bouquet of sagebrush! After
the vows were said and pictures taken, the newlyweds returned to
the lodge aboard the Polaris Ranger. What a true Western
wedding. Congratulations Tim and Annie Mead!!
Tim and Anne
harvested a buck and doe antelope with archery equipment. They
had them mounted together for a beautiful souvenir of the
This year we lost our pack mule Roy at the age of 35. He went on
all the sheep hunts over the years and was such a valuable
asset. Roy never needed to be haltered or picketed as he just
followed along with the horses. Quite a site to see him packed
down with gear just wandering along loose! One year Cole was
sheep hunting up on Stewart Creek in area 5 when Roy decided
that the black bear which wondered into camp needed to leave. He
proceeded to run him off all by himself. So brave! If you have
experienced being around mules, you know they are so intelligent
and he was very mild mannered and never got into trouble. Roy
has been retired from the work force for many years now, but was
still an important part of the family. We will miss him
Roy, and Cole on Chief
Roy and Black Bear
Cole and our Sheridan County Predator trapper Alan Plummer
discovered the carcass of a large bull elk which had succumbed
to an untimely death last spring. It appears he got wound up
into some electric fence wire. In his struggles to free himself
, he continued to get more tangled.
Grizzly Outfitters hosted a group of wounded warriors from the
Healing Road Foundation last fall. We had three veterans, two
of their boys, and the sponsor. They all harvested doe antelope
and our guides Pepper and Brad B. had a blast helping these
veterans and their families have quality time in the
outdoors. This was also a chance to encourage our youth to get
involved into hunting. Thank you Pepper and Brad for donating
your time for this worthy cause.
The Whole Wounded Warriors Crew
Dave, Dave Jr. and Guide Brad
Jason and Guide Brad
Casey and Dad
At the WYOGA (Wyoming Outfitter and Guides Association) Awards
Banquet in April, 2015 Grizzly Outfitters took three awards for
animals harvested in 2013. In typical rifle mule deer category,
client Randy Lewis took 2nd place. He was guided by Pat Monroe
and the deer scored 186 5/8 B&C. In typical archery mule deer,
client Marc Murfitt placed 1st with his deer scoring 174 2/8 and
guided by Brad Peacock. Our third client, Mike Bright took 1st
place in non-typical archery mule deer with a score of 165 0/8
B&C, he was also guided by Brad. Photo is of Cole and Brad
excepting the plaque awards.
2014 N E W S
Cole went on a stone sheep hunt the fall of 2014. Our friend
Keith Stansel accompanied him to British Columbia to hunt with
Bluestone Guiding and Adventures with Billy and Devlin Oestreich.
After a grueling eight days, Cole harvested a beautiful
ram. This was the best sheep he has every taken.
On the fourth day of the hunt, they came across a black wolf
trying to take down a cow caribou. Of course it didn’t take long
for him to put this wolf down! This trophy made the hunt
view a larger photo.
Elaine took a vacation this year to California. She and Cole’s
dad’s wife, Jenny visited with several clients in route. We
learned so much about large scale dairies, almond and walnut
growing, orange groves and seeing firsthand how California’s
several years of drought has affected the agriculture industry
as a whole. Then we drove on north to Mendocino and stayed at a
resort near the ocean. Believe it or not this was my first time
seeing an ocean, fascinating! We visited Napa Valley, botanical
gardens, train ride though the Redwoods, and a personal tour
through the Narvarro Vineyards. A long 1,800 miles, but saw much
diversified types of landscapes and we were amazed constantly.
Select thumbnail image to
view a larger photo.
This 7x6 bull was found by Tyler Benton and Colby Richens while
guiding hunters for Grizzly Outfitters in October 2014 in
Wyoming. If you will look at the base on the back of the left
antler, you will see where another bull drove a horn into the
skull of this unlucky 350+ bull. The broken horn was still
imbedded when found. This had to have been a terrible death. The
two guides recovered the bull and notified the Game & Fish.
Tyler is having a European mount done with our taxidermist Tom
Our grandson Kale and the whole Benton family were saddened with
the loss of his beloved horse Ladybug. She was unable to
recover from a bad case of colic in May. Ladybug taught both
Kale and Kade so much about horsemanship in their young lives.
She will be greatly missed.
2013 N E W S
We lost two very close friends and clients in 2013.
Gary Ploeckelmann of Brookfield, WI starting deer hunting in
Wyoming in 1974. We were employed for Kendrick Cattle Co. at the
time when he and three buddies arrived to hunt. He immediately
became part of our family. He traveled countless times to
Wyoming to visit, bringing almost all of his family members one
time or another over the years. We in turn visited Wisconsin
many times. Gary had a heart of gold and would always be there
to help a friend. He traveled to Africa frequently and
discovered a great love of that country. Gary battled many
health issues in the past years, but always seemed to rally. He
found eternal peace on September 25 at the age of 60. Gary was
one of a million you could really call a true friend and he will
always remain in our hearts.
Jerry Crone of Prosser, WA hunted with Grizzly
Outfitters with his wife Jacque. They traveled to Wyoming to
hunt five times, always harvesting great animals. Jerry
succumbed to a stroke shortly after Christmas. We will miss
Jerry, but hopefully Jacque can once again come and join us at
This fall an elderly neighbor was having trouble
harvesting her cow elk in Montana. Cole worked for Mary Jo
Reavis and her husband Joe when he started working for Kendrick
Cattle Co. at the age of 17. She has remained a close
neighbor for over forty years, still running her ranch by
herself. When our client Jim Digiandomenico from PA heard of
her dilemma, he donated his cow elk for her freezer. Our
guides Pat and Pepper along with Jim set out one morning to
accomplish this task. Shortly that morning they found the
perfect cow to harvest. They delivered the cow to her door and
loaded it in her pickup for the trip to the locker plant. Thanks to our hunter, he made one woman very happy to have
wonderful elk meat to enjoy for the coming year. Thanks
We received this wonderful letter from Bill Tatum,
father of a donated youth elk hunter in Montana.
Dear Mr. Benton,
I can't thank you enough for inviting John
and me out to your ranch to hunt elk. I was in a training
session when my wife called and told me you had spoken with
Kathy Widdicomb and there was an opening. I had a hard time
concentrating on the rest of my training. When I got home and
told John he said this was better than winning the lottery!
Suffice it to say John and I didn't get
much sleep Friday night. He was just too excited and I was
afraid I would wake up in time. We met up with Pat, who I have
to say is a true professional. I could tell he loved what he did
and was passionate about getting John on some elk. Hunting with
him was like hunting with a good friend. He was very patient
with me and John and about as nice as they come.
Later that morning Pat got John an
opportunity for a shot at 224 yds and unfortunately he missed. I
was surprised as well as John because he's put in a lot of time
shooting and is a better shot than I. Pat and I thought he may
have hit a branch or maybe John succumbed to "buck fever" and
pulled the shot. John wasn't sure. We checked the area and
found no blood. On the way back to the pickup we found the same
bunch of elk and the cows all looked fine. We also saw a great
mule deer buck with nice kickers off the back. Pat knows of the
one. Pat reassured John on the miss and told him we would find
some more elk.
We had some lunch and continued hunting.
John really liked the sandwiches; his compliments to the chef!
Pat spotted some elk on top of a far away ridge and we were on
our way. As we were sneaking in on the herd, Pat saw three
public land hunters down below the ridge. The elk were in a
small park and we were getting John set up. We heard a shot and
the elk were off to the races. After they cleared out Pat went
to check to make sure the hunters were on public land and John
and I backtracked to see if we could find the elk. Sure enough
John spotted about 30 elk on a knob approximately 900 yds away.
We snuck to within 264 yds. We saw the Big Six bull in that
group Pat had told us about and both John and I were just
amazed! As John was setting up for a shot on a cow, I had to
remind him he could only take a cow after seeing the big bull:},
the elk saw the other hunters and spooked over the knob. We met
back up with Pat and tried to catch the elk crossing in the
flats below. We didn't catch up with them, but on the way out
John spotted a big heard way out across the flats. That heard
had the Big Seven Pat had told us about. Awesome!
We thanked Pat and said our goodbyes and
went on our way. I thought John would have slept all the way
home after having been up since 2:30 a.m., but instead couldn't
stop talking about the day we had! Sure, he was a little
disappointed he didn't get something, but I think it was
overshadowed by the experience of the day. He even commented
that being outdoors and hunting and seeing all the animals was
way better than any video game or watching TV! I have to agree.
On a side note week prior I had taken the
rifle John used to check zero. At 100 yds all three shots were
touching. At 200 yds it was within a 50 cent piece and at 300
yds I was hitting a 10" gong with no problems. On Sunday we went
back to the range. John shot at 100 yds and didn't hit paper. I
shot and didn't hit paper. It turned out to be 8" high. I
readjusted and then it shot low and then all over the place. I
couldn't pinpoint the exact problem, but we both felt better
knowing it was something with the gun/scope and not John. Please
pass that info on to Pat. I know he felt bad for John too. I'm
also kind of thankful John didn't get a shot the second time
around for fear of wounding the elk or missing again .
We will never forget this experience and
the memories associated with it! You have a beautiful piece of
Montana. Thanks for sharing! As a token of our appreciation I've
enclosed is a gift certificate for Jake's Steak House here in
Billings. I hope you and your wife can use it if you ever make
it up. If not, I'm sure Pat would use it on one of his trips to
Scheel's. Thanks again Mr. Benton!
The 2012 season
was one of the best for Grizzly Outfitters, LLC in 15 years. Our
clients went home with some great animals taken in both Wyoming
and Montana. We had a wonderful time visiting, hunting, and
showing them our operation. Our goal is try to treat all our
clients like family and make them feel at home. We had clients
from all around the U.S. from Hawaii to New York and Canada to
Fire Chief Fritz Bates
This past year could be called the summer
of drought and wildfires for our property and leases. We had
eight fires on our large block of leases. The largest was on
the Montana side, north and west of the lodge. Hundreds of acres
of pine forest and rough sagebrush were destroyed. The closest
to the lodge was the “Boarder Fire”. Cole spotted this fire
within minutes of starting, just a few miles NE of the Cabin
Creek lodge located on our neighbors September 21st. Yes a
wildfire in September. Cole had just finished harvesting two
bull elk for two clients from Hawaii. I was asked if I would
provide food since I was the closest person in thirty miles with
a fully stocked pantry that time of year. We were all put to
work within a very short time, even Mike and Vince our hunters,
helping me deliver food for the over 50 firefighters. I also
called in guide Pepper and wife Ileta. It takes a lot of help
the produce meals for three days for that may firefighters!
There was another fire on July 12th called the
“Passaic Complex Fire” located on our neighbor Russ Green’s just
east of the Squaw Creek Camp and south of the main lodge. It
was in a very rough pine forest area. Firefighters had a very
hard time even getting into the area to fight. I was asked to
feed these hard working guys also for three days also.
Many of our watering holes became very low and some dried up
completely. This coming spring we will be praying for lots of
moisture. What would really be nice is a very wet snow with lots
of wind to blow the draws full of drifts. This would melt down
and really give the reservoirs a good drink.
Select a thumbnail image to view a larger photo.
|We built a new Lodge,
the Squaw Creek Camp, to replace the old Hanging Woman Camp.
Desert Sheep Hunt - Cole's
|On March 12, 2009 a 28 year quest
has ended for me. I took my first Rocky Mountain bighorn in
September 1981 in Wyoming with the help of a great friend and
neighbor, Glenn Green (deceased).
The sheep bug took over from
there. Since that first hunt I have taken another
Wyoming bighorn, two Dalls in Alaska, and a stone
sheep in British Columbia. Garth Carter’s Hunting
Services has been putting in for a desert sheep tag
for me in every state that has non-resident licenses
except California. Like everyone else, each year you
hope it’s your year to draw one of these coveted
desert sheep tags.
Having attended each GSC/OVIS conventions
since their first one, I always take time to visit with a lot of
the outfitters. On Saturday the 21st of 2009 the
convention was almost over when friends of ours, Bob and Cindy
Finn, came over and was visiting with my wife and me about a
desert sheep hunt he was about to book. Bob said this agent he
was working with had one other tag available on another ranch
with a different outfitter.
Bob introduced me to Les Ezell of Sierra
Grande Adventures, Inc. and the outfitter Ubaldo Lopez with El
Rodeo Hunting. It wasn’t but a short hour later, with dozens of
questions, and my wife’s permission, the hunt was booked.
I met Les Ezell and one of the guides on
March 6th in Hermosillo Senora Mexico. We drove
until midnight to get to the hunting area. Ubaldo Lopez was
there with another sheep hunter when we arrived. We began
hunting immediately the next morning. Over a three day period,
we saw several rams, but none quite as good as I wanted. The
third afternoon we left this ranch and drove 2 ½ hours to
another ranch closer to the coast. That evening we saw eight
different rams, two that were exceptional, but it was too late
in the evening to get on them. The next two days was spent
trying to find the two largest rams. On the fifth day of the
hunt, two of the guides and I were walking one mountain range
while Ublado was glassing another range. Ublado spotted a very
good sheep but had no way of getting a hold of us. That evening
he told us of this ram and the following morning we went after
him. He was near the same place as the evening before. During
the hunt we had quite a few problems with the wind changing and
today was no exception. We tried every angle and after half a
day, we were finally able to crawl within 244 yards of this
ram. When he dropped with the shot, and we were walking toward
him, the realization hit me that today was the end of a 28 year
quest for the Grand Slam of North American Sheep.
can not say enough about what Les Ezell did to make this hunt
happen. His knowledge of Mexico the people, their language, and
hunting in Mexico is what made everything possible. Having Les
with me on the hunt just put the icing on the cake. Ubaldo and
his staff were superb. The ranches we hunted had plenty of
sheep with little hunting pressure. The ram I took was ten
years old, heavy broomed, and the best sheep I have taken in the
28 years of sheep hunting.
My Second Dall
On September 8th, 2007 I flew into Anchorage,
Alaska where I met up with my outfitter Bill Stevenson’s wife
Kelly. She drove us about 100 miles north to their home where
we got our gear ready, shot rifles, and Bill immediately made
two trips with one of his Super Cubs flying us part way up the
mountain. Due to bad weather, he could only fly us a short
distance and had to set down on an old strip. My guide Cash and
I walked on into the night until coming to an old one room
mountaineer shack. Bears had been there before us, so it took a
little house cleaning before eating supper and spending the
The next morning we continued climbing then
spent the rest of the day crossing a huge glacier. This glacier
averages two mile wide and is 25 miles long. Reaching the other
side in the evening, we set spike camp up and had a quick bite
to eat. Cash then left me and walked back out on the glacier
looking for a route into a basin behind camp. There was
supposed to be some rams hidden there.
We were up at 3:00 AM the next morning and
stared climbing to a spot overlooking this basin. This climb
took several hours in the dark. At 7:00 AM we reached the top
just in time to see the rams go down and out into the middle of
the basin with no cover between us and them. We spent the day
waiting for the sheep to make the next move. Part of the time
was spent watching a black bear and a goat on the far side of
In the late afternoon, the six rams started
grazing toward us. With the wind in our favor, we made a rush
to a chute and started down it. Within just a few minutes, we
were at the bottom of the chute crawling out for a rest across a
rock for a shot. The wind changed and the rams made a run for
it. They paused once and I was able to put two shots into the
largest ram with my Browning single shot 30-338. He went down.
With some quick photos, caping, and deboning, we loaded
everything and started back to our spike camp. We got there
just at dark.
The following morning we reloaded everything
including camp. Dropping onto the glacier, we strapped on our
ice cleated clamp-ons and walked out across the glacier. Bill
was able to land his Cub on the far side of the glacier and
picked us up there for the flight back to his home. The
following day we checked our ram in with the Game and Fish in
Palmer. He was 11 ½ years old with an outstanding cape and will
have a life size mount done. I was then headed back to Wyoming
with my second Dall ram the other was taken in 1995. I can not
say enough about the hospitality shown me along with Cash being
an excellent guide. Bill Stevenson’s flying ability is second
The Six Man Ram
As many of you will remember, this story started
in May of 2006 when Russ Green drew an Area 5 bighorn sheep
tag. After 38 years of applying, Russ was ready for this hunt.
Nothing could go wrong, could it? No one would ever have dreamed
that a large portion of the Greybull River would be burning from
July though August in 2006. This fire was large enough that the
Wyoming Game and Fish gave all Area 5 tag holders an opportunity
to turn their tags in with a guarantee of receiving one in
2007. Russ was one of 18 other tag holders who did turn theirs
back. Now a year to wait.
August 28, 2007 Russ along with his son Travis
and good friend Bob Sundeen took camp in and set it up. They
immediately started riding and glassing for sheep. Early the
morning of August 30th, I met my son Tyler and his father-in-law
Wayne Nelson in Buffalo. We drove to the Jack Creek trail head,
saddled horses and headed up the Greybull trail. Bob had
already taken most of our gear in, so we only took one pack
horse. Four and a half hours later, we were in camp. There is
a lot of history with this hunt as Russ’s dad started me sheep
hunting many years ago. Now, I’m one sheep away from my grand
Arriving in camp, we were greeted with stories
of a ram, one of several Bob, Russ, and Travis had been watching
on the mountain above camp. While eating supper, we discussed
several options on how we might try to have an opportunity at
this one impressive sheep. With plans made, we hit the
Awaking early, we saddled horses, made lunches,
and ate breakfast. Taking horses as far as we could, Russ,
Travis, Tyler and I started climbing. Bob and Wayne stayed low
and went out the other side where hopefully they could keep an
eye on this ram. He was not in a place we could get to. The
ram needed to come out to us. As the day wore on, we saw around
25 other rams, but none as good as the one in the cliffs. Lots
of exercise, but no luck today. Returning to camp in the dark,
Bob and Wayne said the ram was still there. OK, plan B.
The following morning, the four of us started
out again with Bob and Wayne once again staying behind to watch
what this sheep may have in mind as we could see him from camp
again. There was an area in those cliffs that he certainly
enjoyed more than we did. After two hours of riding, we tied up
and started climbing. If we could get above him and if he would
come out to us, we had a chance. We spent several hours of
glassing and working our way to the end of the mountain. We
immediately found the two smaller rams that were part of this
group of four right where we wanted them. Bad news though, as
the ram we wanted and his other running mate would not show
themselves. There we lay for the next two hours. The sun was
getting lower, but the ram we wanted still held out from showing
himself. If something doesn’t happen very soon, we were going
to spend the night up here as there is no way of getting off of
this mountain in the dark without getting someone hurt. We
waited, and now could see the horns of the two biggest rams, but
they would not show themselves. It’s going to be dark soon.
Time to throw some rocks. After rock upon rock, they finally
moved, but the wrong way.
I grabbed Russ and said “let’s go.” We made a
run for a spot below us that I thought we might get a shot.
Tyler and Travis stayed high to follow the sheep as they moved.
As we got into position, there was no doubt everything we had
worked for was about to go down the drain. We had one chance at
about 300 yards and then they were going to be gone. I said
“can you make that shot?” His response was “yes”. One shot from
the 300 H&H with double set triggers handed down from his dad.
The bullet went home; the ram made three lunges down toward the
cliffs and then started rolling. That was the last we saw of
him until almost dark.
Following the rolling blood trail for almost an
hour, I found the sheep where he had crashed into a crevice. A
few quick photo’s with the four of us and I radioed Bob that it
looked like we would be here for the night. We cleaned the
sheep, and dug into the side of the mountain for what was going
to be a long night. We made use of the space blankets we packed
and kept a fire going until light finally started showing the
morning of the 3rd. We quickly caped and quartered the ram,
split up the load, and started crawling out of the hole we were
in. The next four hours were the worst climb I’ve ever had to
make sheep hunting. When we finally topped out, Wayne and Bob
met us with food, water, and our horses. It was an enjoyable
trip back to base camp. We all agreed on one thing, if it
wasn’t for all six of us working together, this ram probably
would not be headed for Russ’s wall.
BullBy Cole D. Benton
On September 29, 2005, two of my guides had been out scouting for deer for the season
opening the next day. Pat Monroe and Josh Martoglio came in to our lodge very
excited about a large bull elk they had just been seen north of us about two miles.
The three of us went back to where he hade been so I could look at him. Although
only a short amount of time had elapsed, the bull had moved into the timber. We
waited him out. Both guides knowing I had a license for this area wanted me to take
the bull. I still had two elk hunters coming in yet and I said I wouldnt shoot
an elk until they were filled. Suddenly the elk came out of cover along with several
cows, calves, and younger bulls. It was hard to believe what we were looking
at. His right horn was a beautiful 7 point. On the left were two full size
horns! One good look and they were gone. It shouldnt be too hard to find
this bull again as all of these elk stay here all year. We filled two elk hunters
along with our deer and antelope hunters. We saw a lot of game and never saw the
three antlered bull again. Should I have shot him when I had the chance?
One year and six days later on
October 5, 2006 my son Tyler had a half day break in between guiding deer and antelope
hunts. Tyler asked to take advantage of the short few hours and hunt an elk for
himself. We only had one elk hunter yet coming in, but not until October 20th.
There seemed to be plenty of elk around, so I told him to go ahead.
Tyler was accompanied by another
one of our guides, Curt Shatzer. They said when the elk were located, that there was
a cow in heat and bulls were everywhere! They had their attention on a large bull
and went after him when out of nowhere came this same three antlered bull that we had seen
over a year ago! Tyler said it didnt take long to change his efforts to this
bull. Two great things happened. Tyler was able to harvest this wonderful elk
and Curt filmed the entire hunt!
After a closer look, there were
definitely three individual antlers. The bull gross scored almost 370 BC.
Another Chance At
More photos below
|On October 10, 2005 all of our hunters from our second hunt
had departed by noon. Immediately following, our guests for the third and final hunt in
Wyoming started arriving. Included in this group were three gentlemen from California. Two
of them, Ron Toste and Steve Schaad, were repeat clients of several years. The third
person, Dave Graff, was hunting with us for the first time. I never take over two hunters
at a time to guide, but this time they asked if I would take all three of them as a group.
Ron and Dave had deer tags and Steve had an elk tag. Everyone wanted to be involved with
the elk hunt. We take a very limited number of trophy elk clients each year, so it is very
special to get the opportunity to hunt this unit.
It had rained then turned to snow the
third of October then rained again. We received over three inches of moisture out of this
storm in NE Wyoming. Due to the mud, our vehicles were at a stand still except traveling
on the shale county road. I explained to the entire new group of hunters that all hunting
would be done on foot and ATVs would be used only to retrieve game, no hunt would be
done off of them. We require all rifles to be checked before heading out into the field
and begin hunting that first evening. Due to the mud everyone waited to start out the next
morning so a full day of hunting could be done.
Our first hunting day started out with the wind from the wrong direction. I had chosen
a large roadless area to hunt where we had previously spotted some elk. I knew there would
be some big buck deer also in this area, so I explained to the hunters due to the wind
from the wrong direction, we would have to walk north to the Montana state line, cross two
drainages to the west, and then hunt back to the south. No problem, these guys were fresh
and couldnt wait to get started. They would feel very differently about seven
oclock that evening! I knew this was our best chance because of the mud.
We unloaded from my pickup just at light. The march north went well. We glassed several
nice buck deer which one was exceptional. I wanted no shooting until I knew if the elk
were here and where they were located. When we hit the state line, the walking became
easier as we headed west. This timbered country was sandy and we did not have to deal with
the gumbo mud. As we reached the bottom of the second drainage, where I wanted to start
hunting south, two things happened. First, the wind took a 180 and was now out of the
north. Exactly what we didnt need. Secondly, this country is full of old
homesteads and history. We were just passing within about 100 yards of one of these
homesteads and Steve wanted to look around. I said go ahead Im going up higher
on this hill and start glassing. We just got separated when Steve started hollering
at me. This is not setting very well with me! We had just walked several hours to get
here, then the wind changes, and now this guy is making enough noise to empty most of
northern Wyoming of anything with four legs. I ran back to him as fast as I could to tell
him to be quiet, but he was making all kinds of hand signals of which I understood none.
When I got to him he was saying something about elk and pointing at the homestead. In the
back of my mind Im thinking this guy has gone goofy and may need to be put out of
his misery. After getting Steve settled down he starts to tell me what happened. All of
these old homesteads had cellars. When Steve approached this one to get a better view, the
cellar exploded with activity back at him. During or right after the snow storm we
received several days ago this large 6x7 bull elk had walked out on the cellar roof which
was covered with dirt and fell through. With his large antlers all he could do was stand
up and lay down. His left horn was hooked in a supporting post and a lot of the hair was
gone off his back from part of the roof.
We all agreed that saving this elk was now a priority. We quickly hunted our way out,
passing up several nice deer. Reaching the county road at 4:30 that afternoon, we raced
back to the headquarters. I loaded up an ATV, rope, chainsaw, shovel, chains, and
dehorning saw. Leaving Ron and Dave behind, Steve and I went back to the elk knowing
darkness was close and that this poor bull had little time left...
As I started shoveling dirt off the supporting timbers of the remaining roof, I told
Steve to be very careful as the rest of the roof could cave in and I did not want either
of us to end up on top of that set of antlers or under his hooves. As soon as we started
working, this guy started grinding his teeth and never quit. After removing the dirt from
the timbers over the cellar hallway, I broke off the rotten boards and chain sawed the two
big supporting timbers off to give him an opening out.
There was an old ladder in one corner that he couldnt get his horns by, so we
ripped it out right in front of his face. This was very difficult to do while still trying
to keep our distance so he couldnt get us with hose horns of his. We then shoveled
more dirt off both sides so the hallway would be V-shaped to allow for his horns on the
way out. Where this elk was standing, he had to make a 90 degree turn to get in the
hallway to leave. We thought that everything was just right to allow his escape, but he
wouldnt move. Maybe a little persuasion would help. We got the shovel and an old 4x4
behind him and pried on his hindquarters. I learned something new real quick. Elk can kick
quicker and more repeatedly than any mule, horse or cow. Now all he wants to do is look
over his shoulders at us instead of the escape route. I put a rope on one tine of the left
antler and pulled his head around so he would look at the opening. With the rope on only
one tine, it would come off by itself if the bull headed out. Again with his head pulled
around and facing the right direction, we pried on him again. Same result, all he wanted
to do was fight us and kick. He was also starting to paw the ground now with a front hoof.
This is not a friendly sign! Steve mentioned that maybe we should leave him for a few
minutes and maybe he would go out on his own. We tried this but all the elk did was tried
to figure out where we went.
I thought maybe if I removed more of the roof this would allow him more moving room. I
caved a bunch more off around the elk while staying clear of his horns. While I was doing
this, Steve asked me what to do if the bull got out and instead of leaving, turned on us.
I said Kill him! If you dont he will try to kill us. That was a terrible
thought, but those horns would be deadly if he attacked.
After caving more of the roof in it looked like he had plenty of moving room. Once more
we got the shovel and 4x4 and pried on him. Hes definitely got plenty of moving room
now, because he made a lunge at us with his big antlers and almost got turned around in
the cellar. Thats enough, he sees the opening. He is terribly mad and dangerous.
Before one of us gets hurt, we let him stand and get his bearings. When he calms down and
it gets dark, maybe he will leave on his own.
We returned to our hunting lodge about 8 PM that night. The local game warden Alan
Osterland was called and the story told. We talked about tranquilizing the elk the next
day and drag him out of the cellar if he had not left on his own and arrangements were
made. The following morning at daybreak we returned to the homestead. We were very happy
to see that the bull had walked out on his own during the night and he was nowhere to be
seen. Good luck big fellow!
I would like to express a very special thank you to our three California hunters for
giving up precious hunting time for the sake of saving the life of this majestic animal.
Select a picture below to view a
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