The desert sunrise looks like a burning campfire. It is a little cooler this morning. I know that my dad and brother are just as excited as me, however a word is not spoken. The dirt is kicking up behind us, a cloud you could see forever. We are on the hunt for a Wyoming mule deer. Rumbling down this road, all three of us sipping our coffees, listening to the music, enjoying the moment.
360-DEGREES OF PUBLIC LAND
To our west, off in the distance you can see Little Mountain and to our south, Pine Mountain. We are in some of the most open landscapes in the state. Most of this is Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land which is home to many different species including sage-grouse, rocky mountain elk, and pronghorn, to name a few.
THIS IS MY HOME
As I look around, I do not see another person. I see memories with my family, laughs with friends, and occasionally heartbreak from chasing allusive big bucks.
As we continue our quest, chatter opens in the truck. We all begin to laugh about stories from the previous seasons or discuss where we saw some deer earlier in the year. The conversation switches to Wyoming Cowboy football as they are going to play in a few hours. This is the perfect morning.
We finally get to the ridge we wanted to be at. As I situate myself to glass this ridge, I think about how privileged I am to live in the Rock Springs area.
All my life, I have been able to spend time in the great outdoors with my family and friends because of the accessibility to it. I can go for miles without opening a fence, without seeing anyone, and more importantly, roam free because of all the unencumbered BLM land here. I have learned out here. I have grown as a man out here. I have laughed and cried. Some of my greatest and not-so-great memories have been fishing, hunting, or just driving around on public land.
Having gone to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, I realized, this area around Rock Springs is special. South of Rock Springs has some of the best mule deer hunting in the state. Just north is a trophy elk hunting area. This area also has some world-class fishing. Not to mention the Red Desert is home to the world's largest herd of desert elk, living dune system, and the largest migratory herd of antelope in the Lower-48. And the best part is right now, we all have access to it.
THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD
I have benefited from the wild open spaces in Western Wyoming. As I pull my binoculars up to my face, looking for the grey ghost of the West, I realize I want the next generation of outdoors men or women to enjoy this land and area as much as I do. More importantly, I want my future kids to be able to have these opportunities so I can tell them stories and create memories with them. While we only saw a few deer and nothing made us say “wow,” that day and those days to come will always stick with me. Nothing beats driving down a dirt road listening to a Wyoming Cowboy Football game on a cool fall day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Ryne Grossnickle spent countless hours fishing or hunting with family and friends as a kid.
Over the years, his passion and love for the Wyoming outdoors has grown. Recently, he started a Wyoming outdoors podcast, The Exit: 142 Podcast presented by Bitter Creek Outdoors, where they talk all things Wyoming hunting and fishing with special guests. The goal is to promote conservation, hunting, and fishing.
We are very fortunate to live and work in this state and Ryne wants to make sure the next generation has the same opportunities that he does and did, like scouting big game in Western Wyoming.