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So I posted a story on here back in 2008 about how I had missed a couple mature, heavy horned mule deer on an archery hunt. The story consisted of having an incredible opportunity at 2 great bucks within 5 min. of each other and missing them both, and how that missed opportunity haunted me.

Since then I have taken some nice deer and had some really great experiences. But nothing compares to this year....

Opening morning was pretty slow, saw a couple skin heads and that was about it.....the evening hunt produced about the same. The following morning I headed out with my step dad, walking up the hill side in the dark, listening and walking slowly. We spotted 4 deer, stopped and waited for a bit more light to come out. All 4 deer were bucks, three 2 points and a 2x4. My step dad wanted me to take the 2x4 but I just wasn't ready for the hunt to be over that quickly. We went back to camp, he headed home. Around 1 in the after noon I decided to pack some food and water and head in pretty far and spend the rest of the day/night in the woods. After getting in a ways I laid down for a bit of a nap, woke up and continued to watch a small clearing while sitting in some pines. Behind me was a game trail scattered with elk tracks. While sitting with my back to this game trail watching the clearing for about an hour, I hear the cracking of twigs and quake leaves, LIKE A FREAKIN MORON!, I leave my gun on my lap and turn my head 180 degrees. There was about a 3-4' hole between where two pines came together, as I looked back this hole became framed by an awesome buck with a huge drop tine! I could have spit on him he was so close! Needless to say I made one tiny movement and he was gone......Getting back to camp frustrated and upset with myself beyond belief I waited for my brother in law to get to camp after coming up from work. When I told him about the buck with the drop tine I could tell he was a bit skeptical......that night I pondered while looking at Google earth pictures my brother in law had printed out on where this big buck was living. He had brought up 3 of his kids, 1 of them it being his first year, and like dad of the year spent most of his time teaching them how to be quiet, be mindful of the wind etc........Anyway, I go out in the morning by myself, plan in mind. I sit the first 20 min. watching clearing, and head off to where I think this drop tine buck is bedded. Within 2 min. of getting there I jump something, I can't see it, but its alone. I know its my buck, I know it. So I continue to walk slow, but the quake leaves are like potato chips on the ground making it hard to sneak. Out in front of me, every 2-3 min I'm hearing twigs breaking like something is circling me back up the canyon. This was a smart buck, I take a gamble and circle back the other way up the canyon to watch a small clearing in the pines close to where I had original seen him the day before to see if he was just making his way back. I take a seat, and let the forest settle if that makes sense. After about 45 min. I hear something up the hill, I get up slowly, and peak around the big pine I'm sitting in front of. Its the drop tine buck! Shaking his rack in a branch. My heart reminiscent of a humming bird at this point I range him at 148 yards. The wind directly in my face and plenty of cover, I try to make up some ground. Range him again, 124 yrds, whispering to myself as I pull my hammer back and put my gun to my shoulder "make it count Jon, your gun is on, make it count" I take in a breath, put the cross hairs behind his shoulder and slowly let my breath out........BOOMB! A cloud of white smoke fills the air, as the smoke clears I see my buck has dropped where he stood! Wahhooooo! I yelled to myself! I could not be more happy.

This was a hunt I will never forget, always fun being with friends or family in these moments. But it was pretty neat to get in there and do this all solo.
 

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