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Postcard from the Past - Valley Produces Record Big Game

Written by Dick Perue


As hunting season approaches, this writer’s neck begins to swell, he is pawing the ground and is under a permanent restraining order to prevent him from sniffing the air. He also remembers great hunts of past years when he did a lot of bragging about the quality and quantity of big game in south-central Carbon County Wyoming surrounding Saratoga and Encampment. 

An article in the hometown newspaper in 1968 notes:

“When you want trophy mule deer, bear or pronghorn antelope, the upper North Platte Valley is evidently the place to hunt.

“Anyway that seems to be the conclusion a reader would draw from the results of the second annual big game records program competition conducted recently by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“In the mule deer non-typical antlers class, the only two racks to qualify for the record book were harvested in the valley. First went to a set of horns taken by the late Sam Whitney in 1946 near Encampment, and the other was antlers entered by Alfred Hoffman of Mankato, Minn. The Minnesota man harvested his big buck near Saratoga Oct. 6, 1967.

“In the typical antlers category for mule deer, a buck killed on Blackhall Mountain by Richard L. Coose of Encampment placed fourth and a rack taken near here by Burton C. Bliss of Anchorage, Alaska was eighth.

“Big antelope were also harvested in this area. Bob Herbison of Cheyenne entered the fifth largest buck in the contest. The animal was shot north of Saratoga in 1955. The 11th place buck was harvested by Doyle Thompson in Sage Creek Basin Oct. 2, 1967.

“Last season was a record year for bear hunters in this area. The top four skulls entered in the contest came from the surrounding mountains. Don Nichols of Cheyenne killed the biggest bear on Kennaday Peak Oct. 14, 1967. The second place entry was harvested by William D. Behrends of Laramie near Crater Lake Oct. 12, 1967. Linda Serdiuk of Torrington bagged the third biggest bear on Kennaday Peak Oct. 14, 1967, and Joey Pirrung of Mesquite, Tex., shot the fourth place entry June 14, 1967 in the Encampment area.

“A total of 56 big game trophies scored high enough to be eligible for entry in the Boone and Crockett Club’s Record Book of North American Big Game. All of those listed above are now entered in the record book.

“Other valley hunters also made the record book with animals taken outside of the valley. They were Kenneth Swanson who bagged a big antelope south of Wamsutter and Paul Herring of Encampment who harvested a record mule deer Nov. 10 near Kemmerer.”