O.k I'll start off cuz. man do I want that knife. :lol: Last year my wife and I both lost our jobs the month before the archery hunt started. Well we looked at this as a positive. We had a little money saved so we dicided to take the entire hunt off before we dicided to look for jobs. *()* We bought a camp trailer and made it our perminate residance a week before the archery hunt started, for some scouting. And stayed in it untill the very end.
Here is a picture of my home for 36 days.
After several days of hunting I hadn't had much luck. I had a treestand set up I bought from a fellow forum member. (thank you sagebrush i've had a blast on that thing.) Several small bucks, and cows came well within shooting distance but I just couldn't shoot, knowing there where still two weeks left in the hunt. One night a cold front came through bringing rain and cold temps. So I took the wife and kids up high, so we could play in the snow. We found none however, just a few flakes. We did a little fishing and decided to head back HOME, with a little shooting light. Well on the way back this nice little 4x3 jumped right in front of us. I jumped out and the wife drove off and the rest was history. He presented himself with a 40 yrd shot, after a little stocking under the cover of my 7.3L, powerstroke driving of in the distance, I , made this beautiful shot. *()*
Here is the shot placement, he didn't even take a step. If you look closely you can see the broadhead going through the spine. We had to drag him 12 yrd.
Here are some pics of me and the kids enjoying.
One more pic, believe it or not by the look on my face I didn't start celibrating for another 2 hrs.
I will tell you a true story that happened to me last weekend while Antelope hunting in Wyoming.
If I win the knife with this story, I will give it away to a young hunter on this forum that needs a good hunting knife.
Last Saturday I was hunting with a buddy that had two doe Antelope tags. I was showing him several areas where there were lots of Antelope in the area. We found a few feeding early on Saturday morning and decided to put a stock on them. We came to a position where he could make the shot and let her fly. I think he flinched a little because the bullet grazed the underside of the Antelope opening her body cavity with a hole this size of a softball. Of course some of her guts were hanging, and she bedded down. So I told him to go get the truck and meet me at the road, and I would start dragging the Lope. When I approached her, she exploded from the brush and ran out in to this meadow. I could see her bleeding really well and I found a huge blood puddle where she had bedded, but still could not see exactly where the bullet had entered and exited. She was headed toward the road that I would have to drag her to, so I continued to walk behind her as she headed to the road. Finally after about a minute, she started to do the chicken dance and fell over. (I should have taken my friends rifle, but I figured she would have finished quicker than she did.)
Anyway, here is where the story gets good...
As I approached her on the ground for the second time, she had expired. I touched her eye with a stick and there was no blink, flinch response or breath left in her. I had about 100 yards to the road, so I grabed her back hind leg and began dragging. I got about 30 yards when I came to a dry river bed. There was about a 2-3 foot drop into the river bed, so I jump into it, and pull the Antelope in with me. As soon as her body hit the ground, SHE CAME BACK TO LIFE!!! She started digging and jumping. I had a hold of one leg, and she was trying to get away. I kicked her legs out from under her and was getting ready to cut her throat when she went lifeless again. I figured it was a weird second wind or something, so I holstered the knife and continued dragging. When I got to the road, there was another drop down to get to the road. When I jumped off, she came with me, and AGAIN!!!! SHE CAME BACK TO LIFE!!! This time, she came completely back to life and was kicking and baaaa'ing and you would have never thought that she had been shot. It took all I had to wrestle her back to the ground and get the knife out again, and again...she went lifeless on me. Dead as dead could be. I have never in my life seen something so crazy. All I can imagine is when she hit the ground from those two small drops it was enough to jolt the heart back to life or something.
To say the least, I now have a torn pair of camo pants, a huge bruise in my leg and scratches to go with it. Never underestimate a wild animal like that...they are incredably strong!
If we could have had this on video I think I could have made a small fortune from it.
I hope you enjoyed the story.
When I got my cow elk last year I was so excited telling the story to my mom, dad, sisters and then it was cousins, aunts, uncles, in laws and so after telling it for the umpteenth time somebody suggested I write it and email it to everybody cause they got a kick out of how I told the story.
I didn't post the story because the first shot as you will see below was so close that I nicked her and I was scared I would get some negative remarks which is not exactly what you look for when sharing a great experience so here it goes.
I got my elk on Thursday morning. It is kind of funny, we slept in that morning and were drinking our coffee and watching the end of Price is Right when Ed went to let Kai out on her leash and he came running back in saying "GET YOUR GUN, GET YOUR GUN" so we found the keys to the truck (guns were locked in there for the night) and unlocked it got out the guns. Right across from our camp was a big 5 pt bull elk with about 35 cows so I picked out a cow down low maybe 30 yards and nicked her I thought she was down so I started scanning the herd for a spike for Ed to shoot when we see this black blur go flying up the mountain....yep Kai was going to retrieve my elk until she got up to them and they started stomping and snorting enough to scare her back down to us. I had a heart attack then and there. I know, big no, no. She doesn't chase deer, horses or cattle that come through but when momma shoots then baby will retrieve...she's a lab, that's what she does and she will never ever have an opportunity to do that again cause I know somebody could have shot her had they felt the elk were threatened. We had a long talk and she understands to only retrieve if it has feathers.
Well, I run (I think it should be ran, deal with it I am now officially a hillbilly or ******* and proud of it) up the mountain to find my elk and there is a tiny bit of blood and tracks going up the mountain, that sucker had got back up and joined the heard. A guy watched it all happen and told us she's fine so we jumped in the truck to head down the road to catch back up with the herd, they were boxed in and the only way out is back the way they came so we went down a ways and then turned around when another guy who knew I had a cow tag and that I was trying for one in the herd, he pointed way in the hell up the mountain and there were elk all over on a ledge with a 200 foot drop off so we found me a gun rest real quick and my husband just told me to take my time and to take a breath and shoot when I was ready.
Well I picked out a cow turned broad side and shot and then I heard "you got her, you got her" then I was trying to find her again in my scope to make sure I killed her when Ed and this other guy could see her kicking so I looked up the mountain and she reared back and fell down the dang cliff and then the next thing I heard was "Holy %@*#" it was the stranger who had just stopped to watch. He said he had never seen anything like that in his life and could not believe what an awesome shot that was and that if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes he wouldn't have believed it.
That guy went and unloaded his quad and helped us get her off the mountain.
I have to say yeah, I got a trophy all right.
All my husband kept saying is I am so proud of you, you did everything perfect. He did ask a little later why I didn't shoot the one with the collar and I said I hadn't seen her in all of the excitement and all I was looking for was one that would give me a broad side shot.l I stood and watched the herd head back out and there was a little cow with a silver coller on that was standing out like a lighthouse once the adreniline was out I could focus on more details.
I was going to leave this part out but you should know the next day we went for a long quad ride and I took my shotgun so I could shoot a grouse for dinner and when I finally found one I got off of the bike and walked back in to get it up and shot right behind it and it flew into the trees. I had no excuse for that one. I think we ate chili that night.
As for Kai we need to not let her watch any more hunting shows because she seems to think that she is so versatile that she can retrieve anything I shoot including an 800 lb cow elk.
So there's my story, it is a memory I will never forget.
Talk to you soon
Wow, a miracle happened and my picture posted. Hopefully I am posting a picture of my spike elk I get this year.
My Cow Elk
3 point buck 2006. He was a job getting out of the bottom of the canyon
I spotted a great buck a couple of weeks before the season opened, and got a lot of great pictures and got to watch him and a few other bucks feed and bed and feed and bed and escape. This was about a 185 class buck with three cheaters and plenty worthy of going after. We did not hunt this area on the opener, but after that I have spent most of my hunting times after this buck. Even once when I joined 22 on a hunt that we had a near hit / miss experience, we were close enough to this bucks 'area' that I journeyed to a spot I could get a peak, and even though I did not see him, I started to get more educated on his possible hang outs. The big buck brought me into the area, and the few good bucks running in the same area, and on occasion with the big one, had me hopeful for a run in with one of these 'shooter' bucks. One of my trips allowed me to sit down and spot a hill side about 80 yards from this buck and two others that were very respectable as they were already beaded up the hill from me. When I was done spotting (not seeing anything) I broke down my tripod and the noise jumped these bucks out of bed and into the next continent. They went along ways away from me. On another trip, I caught this buck I finally killed, feeding in the evening about 150 yards away and slowly moving toward me as I was in a great ambush spot. He bedded instead of finishing his walk toward me and I waited him out until dark and when I had to move to get back to camp, I bumped him and watched him for the next 10 min as he picked up and moved out of dodge, and just kept going. Well about a week ago, I decided to hike a tree stand up the very steep and knawrly ridge these bucks have been known to be at, and set up a stand in what I thought was a very good spot. (Make note to self to move stand up the hill and a bit north, better spot.) Any way, I sat that stand the night I put it up and the next morning and saw...................... nothing. I came back up into the really tuff to get to spot and sat taht stand this last Friday night, and saw........................ lots of grousse. So I hiked out and set the alarm for very early the next morning, had some dinner and hit the sack. Waking early and getting on the trail so I could get there before light, I couldn't help but think of how cool it was when I was young and my knees didn't hurt and I could easily recover from the last nights hike. Anyway, I got to my tree stand and got set up a bit before light and started talking myself into staying in the stand until 9:00am. I have a very hard time just sitting. Anyway, for some wierd reason I used a technique the makes this story a bit odd. I said, "8:12 is going to be the magic hour." And each and every time I checked my watch, I would say, only so and so more min. until 8:12. And at one time when it was 7:48, I litterally said, "24 miniutes until magic hour." Well, at exactly 8:12am the first buck came into my little area and was about 80 yards away, and kept going, so, no shot. The next one came in and it was my buck, the one that brought me into the area. He stood there at 75 yards and just beyond some trees, and I set my pin to 75 and drew back and could tell that the flight of my arrow would have had to thread some trees, so let down and let him go as he followed the others down the hill. I then saw this buck and four others come into the area and three of them cam a bit closer, but was sort of on the same trail as the others, and I thought this is how this morning is going to end when................... this buck headed over toward me and stood on a pre determined distance of 40 yards. I set the pin and drew back and held as far right as I wanted my arrow to hit, (I had shot perfect the day before, but when I got into my tree, my pin was a bit bent to the left, and as I straightened it, I worried that I should not have as that might have been the way it was the day I was center punching vegas three spots.) So anyway, I set up for a bit of a left shot and let her go. At my release the buck was already turning to go with the others and even though his front legs moved down the hill, his heart must have stayed where I was aiming, because, my arrow entered dead center chest and burried itself out of sight, right thru the heart and where the lungs join together. He slowly and then slowlier went up the hill about 25 to 30 yards and stopped. I thought, that looked like a good shot when he forgot to use his legs to balance his body and did what you do when you catch on fire, he stopped, dropped and rolled a ways down the hill. I saw exactly where he stopped rolling and knew I did not have a tracking job ahead of me. Well to get to the end of it, I went aways to a ridge that I thought 22 might be hanging out and radioed his attention. I got one of his nephews and eventually got him. They were on some bucks and were in the middle of trying to get in their way, so I waited for them to get their job done and went down and got of few of my belongings and went back to my buck and got to work quartering and caping. 22's group sort of didn't put it together that morning and he and one of his nephews showed up at kill zone on September 22, 2007 his wedding anniversary and loaded 95 pounds of deer meet into his pack and then made his nephew pack it out. I took the head and cape, we did all of the obligitory tagging and permission stuff, and they packed out the meat and I packed out the cool part. Fun year, fun hunt.
I don't have any photos as the camera got wet and frozen from this hunt. But here is my story. I hope you all enjoy.
Due to our expected long hike, we needed to leave early so I loaded the Suburban the night prior to my hunt. At 3:45 AM Saturday morning, my alarm woke me from my December slumber. A light snow was falling and the roads were covered with a skiff of powdery white. I drove to my good friend David’s house and rose him from his slumber by knocking repeatedly on the door. Hopefully his wife will forgive me sometime in the future. David didn't have a tag but was fulfilling his friendship dues by accompanying me on this hunt.
As we headed toward the highway leading up the canyon, we saw the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Due to a jackknifed semi, the canyon was closed and I had to change plans. We headed up a different canyon that took us 25 miles out of our way so that we could hunt our predetermined spot.
Arriving at the trailhead nearly an hour later than planned, I quickly changed my tactics. I decided to hunt a ridge closer to the trailhead, hoping the herd of elk had moved lower on the mountain due to the new snow. Slowly, we made our way up the steep snow in the dark. With about 8 inches of fresh snow, we were able to move quietly, although slowly.
We arrived at the saddle and looked into the large canyon right at first light. On the opposite side hill, a herd of elk fed their way up the canyon. I had them. I knew it was a really long shot from there, so I decided to drop back behind the hill and race to the top of the peak where the opposite ridge joined the ridge I was on. I knew that if I could get there quickly enough, I would have a great chance to harvest my first elk.
Nearly 30 minutes later, completely out of breath and legs burning, David and I crested the ridge slowly, just in time to see the last elk go over the ridge into the next canyon too far away for a shot. So………
About two hours and three canyons later, we had pretty well decided to give up on the elk. We were now near the private property that skirted the forest service land. The tracks in the snow suggested that the elk were enjoying the comforts of life on private land. Moving over to the ridge overlooking the private canyon, my thoughts were confirmed as nearly 50 elk were milling around and bedding in the protected canyon. What to do? We worked our way out one more ridge and decided to stop to eat an energy bar. While sitting in the snow, we enjoyed watching the deer below us in the trees. While watching them, I noticed a heavy trail in the snow just above the deer and about 250 yards below us. Only a herd of elk could have made a trail that heavy in the fresh snow. Maybe, just maybe, a small band of the original herd of Wapiti had split from the main herd and bedded in the head of the next canyon, on public land.
We decided to go one ridge further up the mountain and see what was in that canyon. About twenty minutes later, David and I crested the ridge slowly to look for our herd. We saw nothing, but the heavy trail left evidence they had been there. We sat down to drink some water and watched a nice four point buck move from the trees below. Where had he been two months earlier during the ML Deer hunt? Oh well, now we could just watch the deer work his way into the canyon we had just came from.
We heard some noise below the deer and noticed a couple of men and their hounds. They were working the canyon below us looking for cougars we assumed. It was interesting to see the dogs work their way back and forth through the thick quaking aspen. Soon they crested the ridge 800 yards below us and went in the same canyon the buck had moved into. Looking at our watches, we realized that it was almost 12:00 Noon and we tried to decide how much more to push it for the day. As we discussed our next move, Dave noticed some dark spots at the head of the next canyon. After looking at so many “log elk” or “rock bucks” I was really surprised when my 10x42s gave away our herd of elk’s location. Now we had a decision to make. Did we have enough in us to keep going? One more canyon and we would have a good chance at taking my first elk.
As I said, Dave did not have a tag and was literally there just to help me and act as a pack horse if needed. He carried no rifle and we were now 3.5 miles from the Suburban and nearly 1 mile away from the trail in the bottom of the main canyon. I turned to my great friend and said, “David, if you tell me let’s be done, I will hike out of this canyon and go back to the truck, but if you are willing to work your guts out to help haul a large elk, I will go after them”. Deep inside, I hoped he would tell me it was time to go home.
He looked at me and said “Let’s go get her”. We shouldered our packs and we headed to the next ridge. We were now getting close. We could see that there were about 20 elk milling around at the head of the canyon, some bedded, some up feeding, unaware of our presence. I tried to range the elk as the snow began to fall again. I just couldn’t get a reading. I decided I had to get closer. I asked David to stay behind as I slowly stalked closer to the herd of elk. I found a small tree that would provide a “screen” of sorts for me as I stood out against the snow. That tree should get me close enough for a shot.
Arriving at the tree, my Bushnell Compact 800 read loud and clear on the large lone cow at the edge of the herd. She was 382 yards out nearly straight across the canyon from me. I set up the shooting sticks, settled in behind my Model 70 7mm Rem Mag and eyed my prize. The second hash down on the ballistic plex scope, which performed perfectly during practice sessions, now found its way to the front shoulder of my cow elk. I gently squeezed the trigger, and watched as my prize fell and slid in the snow down the steep slope. Two more 160 grain Accubonds found their way to ensure she was down for good. I had been taught a long time before, that with elk you “Keep shooting until all four legs were in the air and the tongue is hanging out”. All three shots were kill shots and the last two were certainly not needed, but she was definitely mine now.
I picked up my shooting sticks and headed over to my fallen prize. The snow was really starting to fall now. I arrived at my animal and realized the dilemma I was in. I had killed what I figure must have been the lead cow. She was ENORMOUS! We were a long way from the trail and even further from the truck.
After an hour or so of hard work, we had the cow cut down to two hind quarters, two front shoulders and a couple large bags of boneless meat. It was now 2:30 PM. We each loaded a hind quarter in our packs and then drug a game bag loaded with the front shoulder and the boneless meat through the snow down the slope. After going about 75 yards down the trailless canyon filled with blowdowns and other obstacles. I felt like I was spent and didn’t know how I could go much further. I was absolutely ecstatic to look down and see my brother Bill and my friend Jared hiking up the hillside with two plastic sleds. My wife had let them know we had a cow down after I called to inform her of our situation. I literally sat down right there and waited for them to get to me. After loading the meat up in the sleds, we hiked out. We arrived at the Suburban at 7:30 PM.
THANK YOU David, Jared and Bill. I owe you a lot.
My brother killed a smaller cow last year literally 20 yards from where I killed mine in 05’ The two of us were able to get her boned out, loaded in the packs, and down the tight canyon to the main trail. From there, we went to the truck and got a sled which was loaded with the meat for the fun ride out. Jared, my brother, and me each have this tag for 07. I hope that this was fun for you, as it was really fun for me to relive this hunt again. My goal for 07’: Shoot the elk lower on the mountain and take GOOD pictures.
it was 4:00 a.m opening morning when a 1972ish purple ford f250 without a muffler came roaring into our camp. he sat there and revved his engine for about 5 minutes because from what i could hear if he let it idle by itself it would die. after about five minutes he honked the horn about 3 times then proceded to back his piece of crap trailer right next to my tent. he turned off his truck and started to yell at his hunting partner because he did not like where the trailer was at. the truck fired up again and the trailer moved to another location within close proximity of my wall tent. this happened a grand total of 3 more times. by this time myself and the other 2 with me had had enough and were up getting dressed to go out and have a confrentation with the guy. to our surprise the zipper of the tent was being opened and the guy walked into the tent and looked around for a moment. noticing that we were all dressed and not looking particularly pleased he anounced that he must be in the wrong camp. our reply was not rehersed at all at the same time all three of us said no ****. he just backed out of the tent and must have sprinted to his truck and fired it up and took off like a bat out of hell camp trailer bouncing along behind. we ran into him a couple of times during the week and he just could not look us in the eye. one evening on the way back to our camp he was sitting in his lawn chair over by the devils arm chair so i pulled into his camp put my 4 wheeler into nuteral and reved the engine a couple of times. there were some laughs all around.
my deepest apologies if this is one of you on this forum but it really was an interesting experience.
This was a hunt I will never remember. It all started 4 years ago when I found a monster 260" lion-killed buck while I was shed hunting in Southern Utah. He had 8 points on one side, 10 on the other, double drop tines, 38" outside spread, over 50" of mass. I mean he had it all. This was my dream buck and I just knew I had to have him.
I joined the dedicated hunter program, which lets me hunt during the archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons, and spent the rest of that summer and fall looking for him. But I never found a single track. I scoured the hills the next spring hoping to find his sheds, but, again, I was disappointed and never found them. However, I am not one to give up easily and visions of this monster buck haunted my dreams and most of my waking moments, especially when I looked at his rack mounted on the wall in my bedroom every day. I was becoming obsessed with this buck and dedicated almost every free minute for the next two years trying to outwit him one more time. No other buck would do.
After spending three complete hunting seasons searching unsuccessfully for this wily old buck, and passing up several other monstrous bucks during that time that would have easily scored over 200" (including one that I am pretty sure would be the new typical world record), my hopes began to fade and I had to come to grips with the reality that I would probably never find him.
And then one crisp morning with traces of snow still on the ground from a recent storm, my luck changed.
I had decided to try an area I hadn't visited in quite some time. As I got out of my 2007 Chevy Silverado Heavy Duty Truck with the Duramax 6600 V-8 Diesel delivering 360 Horsepower of driving pleasure, I felt a tingle run down my back and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. There was something in the air, and I had a feeling that today might be the day. I slipped my Swarovski EL 10x42 Binoculars with their patented Swarobright coatings over my neck, strapped on my Badlands 2200 Backpack with Molded Foam Suspension, Full Hydration Capabilities and an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty, picked up my Bogen 3050 Tripod with Individual Leg Release Levers topped with a Grip Action Ballhead carrying my Zeiss Diascope 65 T* FL 2.6"/65mm Waterproof & Fogproof Spotting Scope with 45-Degree Angled 15-45x Wide Angle Zoom Eyepiece and headed up the well-worn trail.
After hiking for what seemed liked an eternity and not finding anything, I finally came to a nice place to take a break and set up my optics for some serious glassing. A quick scan of the available terrain with my binoculars didn't yield anything, so I created a mental grid and made a more thorough pass. When that still didn't produce anything, I switched to my high-powered spotting scope and repeated the process. My piercing gaze studied every bush and rock and nook and cranny in the rugged canyon for anything that seemed even slightly out of place until my eyes began to water. Finally, I had to take a break to give my eyes a rest and answer mother nature's call.
As I was pondering nature and life and the eternities during that moment of unbroken solitude surrounded by unmatched beauty, I felt a tingling sensation on the back of my neck again. But, instead of going straight down my spine, it veered off a little bit and started to work its way around the side of my neck. I raised my hand up to my neck and felt the unmistakable legs of a creepy spider. Yeeeeeeyuuuck! With one quick stroke of my hand, I immediately crushed the devilish arachnid and smeared what was left of him across my neck as I drew my hand forward and wiped it disgustedly on my pant legs. Dang, I hate spiders! Gross. I shivered involuntarily a few times, quickly put myself back together and returned to the task at hand.
I sat down again with a renewed determination and almost immediately something caught my eye as I looked through the eyepiece of my scope. Could it be? Yes! It was the tip of an antler protruding from a sagebrush on the edge of a shady patch below a Juniper tree. My refusal to give up long after most others would have quit was starting to pay off. As I focused on the bush, I was slowly able to make out the end of two long tines with a healthy cheater point coming off of one of them. My best guess was that it was the right, front fork a giant buck, but I couldn't be for sure based on the partial view I had. I had to get a better look.
I continued to watch closely for several minutes, trying to formulate a plan of attack. I was hesitant to take my eyes off of the fragment of the antler I could see for fear I wouldn't be able to find it again. I knew I had to do something fairly quickly because the sun was starting to begin its descent towards the western horizon and the shifting shadows would soon swallow up what little of the protruding antler was currently visible. I estimated the distance to be just over 300 yards away, but I would have to get much closer before I would be able to see much more of the antler and determine what I was really dealing with. Finally, I decided the best thing to do was make a direct stalk on it. I took off my hiking boots and slipped on an extra pair of wool socks. I looked through the scope one last time to make sure he was still there and then looked all around me to make sure there weren't any other animals or people around that might spoil things. Satisfied that the conditions were as good as they were going to get, I began my approach.
I slowly worked my way down the hill and through the sagebrush field, stopping occasionally to glass and confirm that the old monarch was still there. Everything was going perfectly and, before I knew it, I had closed the distance to a mere 40 yards. By shifting slightly off to the side I was able to see around the bush just enough to confirm that I had indeed been looking at the huge front forks of a giant rack…and the backs were just as impressive! Holy cow! His back fork had an inline cheater on each side of the fork, plus another cheater off to the side and what looked like a drop tine to boot. This was absolutely incredible. With six inline tines, plus the two stickers and drop tine, he had nine points and I couldn't even see if he had eyeguards or not. And talk about length! Oh my gosh!
My heart was racing so fast now, I have to admit I probably wasn't thinking very clearly at this point. It seemed like everything was falling into place and nothing would stop me from obtaining my prize.
And then the squirrel appeared.
Apparently, the squirrel had been in the Juniper tree behind the sagebrush watching my approach all this time. Right about this point, he decided to get territorial and scampered down the tree and started to chatter like the world was ending. He knew I was there. He didn't like that fact. And, he was letting the entire world know about it as loudly as he could. Dang those squirrels! I hate them, too! Squirrels and spiders! The bane of my existence.
Fearing that he would ruin everything, I froze. And waited. And waited. After what seemed like an eternity, he gave one final, angry shout, turned around, flipped his tail at me and scampered off. I continued to wait for a few minutes, amazed that the giant antlers hadn't moved an inch during this entire episode. When I figured the coast was clear I continued my stealthy stalk until I was close enough to reach out and touch the massive rack. And so I did. I carefully reached down and picked up my prize. The biggest shed I had ever seen. Wow! What a beauty! I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins and felt my knees start to shake. This was by far the best find of my entire life. After basking in the glory of this find, I decided to push my luck by trying to find the match to this incredible antler. It really must have been my lucky day, because after several hours of intense searching, I did indeed find the match not five yards from where I found the first one. At this point I was about ready to pass out. Both sides were almost mirrors of each other and they were both in perfect condition. I estimated a 40"+ outside spread and a score of close to 300". He made the buck I had hanging in my bedroom look like a mere giant. My passion for finding the lion kill was instantly replaced. I had a new fixation to focus on.
So that brings us to this year. Still feeling as lucky as a lottery winner after my incredible shed find, I put in for as many premium, limited entry hunting units as I could this spring. As the draw dates began to approach, I would anxiously check my mailbox each day for what I had been hoping for. It was mostly the usual stuff…Muley Crazy magazine, Eastman's Hunting Journal, letter from Doyle Moss, another offer to produce a hunting show, stuff like that. But one day I hit the jackpot. The envelope said Utah Wildlife Administrative Services. When I opened it, I found the beautiful letters SUCCESSFUL next to the best mule deer unit in the state. They only give out 5 tags for this unit each year, so the quality of bucks is incredible there. I couldn't believe my luck at drawing this tag with only 1 bonus point. Sorry to all of you guys that have been putting in forever and still can't draw a tag. Since I don't want to ruin the odds for the rest of you that are trying to draw a tag in this unit, I won't mention the name here. (But, if you're good with a map, I'll give you a hint where I was. Just find the place known as the "square" at the foot of the Red mountains, take the nearest exit and go right for about 10 miles. You can't miss it.)
This hunting unit was just above where I found my gigantic sheds, and I had a pretty good idea he might be spending his summers and falls there. I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be squandered, but things got really busy at work and home and I wasn't able to get out and scout until the day before my hunt started. Luckily, I got some good tips from some guys on a message board and I was feeling pretty confident as I set up my camp. I was planning to stay for the entire 9-day hunt, if necessary, and I was willing to eat my tag if I didn't find a buck that lived up to my standards.
Opening morning of the hunt found me perched on top of a ridge looking over a saddle that would naturally funnel deer from below as they were pushed by other hunters. I like to get away from the roads, so I had hiked back in as far as I could on my 4-wheeler. Confident that I was in the perfect location, I settled in to wait for the action.
It was a long morning. I guess 4 other tag holders don't create that much pressure to push the deer around. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I silently tiptoed through the dry, crunchy leaves, careful not to make any noise. Putting myself in the shoes of the quarry I was chasing, I slowly fed up the hill, keeping a constant lookout for any slight movement or twitch. It wasn't long before I detected a slight movement-or was it a twitch?-out of the corner of my eye.
In one fluid motion, I turned my head and brought my Remington 700 ADL .270 caliber rifle topped with a Leupold Golden Ring VX-III scope and loaded with 140 grain Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullets to my shoulder. I looked through the scope, but, instead of the big buck I was looking for, I saw another hunter across the canyon from me. As I was watching him through my scope to see if he would scare any bucks towards me, I saw him raise his rifle and point it right at me. That freaked me out, so I fired a warning shot over his head and then dove for cover.
I decided to find another place to hunt that wasn't so dangerous that afternoon. I started hiking in the pines straight up the steepest, nastiest hill I could find. 2 hours and 15 miles later I found myself looking over a low, sagebrush valley surrounded by beautiful, snow-capped peaks and alpine basins. I worked my way across the valley and up through the oak brush on the other side until I had a good view looking back down into the valley. I knew if I was patient, something good would happen.
I glassed until it was almost dark and saw 10-12 really nice bucks. There was one buck that was pushing 200", but the rest were all bigger so I focused on them. Although most hunters would have been happy with any one of these bucks, I've killed my share of monsters and I knew this area held some really big ones, so I was being really picky and passed on all of them.
Finally, just as the legal shooting time was almost over, I saw something that required a closer look. As I focused my Swarovski ATS 65 mm High Definition spotting scope on the sagebrush valley below, the massive buck of my dreams materialized out of nowhere. One look and I knew he was the one. There were too many points to count, but I quickly field-judged him at 302 3/8" non-typical with a 42 1/2" outside spread. I estimated he was almost 2,000 yards away and I knew I would have to hustle to get within range in the precious few minutes I had left. I quickly worked my way down a shale rockslide, across a ledge and around a brushy knob.
My Leica Rangemaster 1200 7x Roof Prism Laser Rangefinder showed the buck was now 592 yards away. There was a group of trees between me and the buck that would conceal me until I could get within 100 yards, but a quick glance at my watched revealed I only had 30 seconds of legal shooting time left. I firmly believe it's unethical to take any shot unless you're absolutely sure you will make a quick, clean kill (you owe it to the animal) and I wouldn't recommend this shot for most hunters, but I practice on the range every day for at least 4 hours at distances well beyond this, so I knew what my abilities were and I knew I could make this shot. With time running out, I found a good, solid rest and found the buck in my scope. He had a small red X just behind his shoulder. I centered my crosshairs on the X and squeezed off a shot just before my watch alarm went off, indicating the end of legal shooting hours.
The bullet raced along its trajectory and dropped the buck in his tracks. He was dead before the bullet even hit him. I walked up to this majestic buck and admired him, knowing he would be a buck I would never remember.
Finally, I just want to thank my wife and children for allowing me to pursue my passion. I know I'm never there for them, but they're the most important things in my life and I think about them all the time while I'm away from home enjoying time with my hunting buddies. Without their support, I know I wouldn't have been able to make this dream come true.
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