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Hey guys, sorry for the delay but you know how the week after hunting season can be. First off, what an amazing journey this hunt was. It started with a quick text to my wife to check the account (again) to see if the CC got hit. When she responded I thought she was kidding. Until she sent a pic of the 75$ hit. I was like a kid on Christmas times 100! I couldn't believe it! It was only my 9th attempt for this tag and I hit the jackpot! I know it's no Premium unit but it's a lot of fun and close to home so you can scout like crazy. After gathering myself and calling my long time hunting buddy, it was on. We scouted hard. I mean really hard. I was on a quest for a giant. My first scouting trip was at the end of may, I wasted no time. I took just me and the boy to kick off scouting, and it was a good first trip. To my surprise the first morning I slept in a bit, opened the door to my trailer and spotted 12 bucks feeding a couple thousand yards away. It was a good start. After that, I was out there virtually every weekend leading up to my hunt. I had 20+ scouting trips in. The bad part? Let me back up a bit and just say that my wife drew this tag in 2010. With that being said, the unit isn't the same fellas. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of deer out there. I mean alot. But I put the miles on my boots and scouted long and hard and can honestly say the amount of 180"deer out there isn't very high. I can honestly say I didn't see anything over 180 out of all my scouting trips. Saw some 170's but they were few and far between. That being said, I know they're out there and I do realize those big mulies are just smarter than me. But I did tell myself I wasn't going to shoot anything unless it was huge. I've shot plenty of small bucks, I want a trophy out of this tag. Opening morning we found ourselves hiking over the top of the sheep rocks in the dark to get to the backside before light. If you've been there then you know this is a hike no matter where you do it from but that's how you get the big boys. As it started getting light we were right on time. We crested the skyline and quickly moved to a glassing point. Before we could get there we spotted a deer right off the bat on the ridge across from us. It was still too dark to shoot but I quickly tried to see what it was, and of course, by the time we realized it was a shooter, it was trotting over the next ridge. But like clock work, 2 more bucks popped out right where the first buck did. One of them was a decent 4x4, probably about 160". I elected to pass being opening day in all. As it got lighter there was bucks everywhere. We spotted a 3x3 way across the canyon that looked to be well over 30 wide. But he was out of range and I wasn't about to wound a beautiful big old buck like that so we just continued on. All in all we saw about 25 bucks on the opener. Didn't see another hunter but keep in mind we hiked away from the road. The weather moved in that day and the high country was socked in for the next few days so we decided to hunt lower. We were definitely seeing plenty of bucks, just nothing I wanted to hang my tag on. As the hunt went on, we hunted harder and harder with out going back to camp, we stayed on the mountain all day just to try to get a glimpse of my dream buck. On day 5 we found ourselves hiking to the tops of the sheep rocks again to get a look at the back side from a different canyon. I believe we saw over 150 deer that day. But the best part, as we were making our way back to the wheelers we decided to take a small detour to look into a canyon. We snuck in nice and quiet, sat down , got the optics out and immediately we had deer, not just one or two, but several deer all over this huge canyon, and not only were they deer, they were almost all bucks, nice bucks. We had found ourself a hidden canyon that couldn't be seen from any road and the only way to get to it was some big foot work. We spotted a really nice 4x4 in shooting range but being day 5 I just wasn't ready to kill an average 4 point. Sad part was this buck was injured. He was limping pretty good. It appeared he had been shot low in the front leg. We ended up bumping him on our way out of the canyon and he sure ran fine when he got bumped. Really shows you how tough these big mulies are. Anyways we backed out and headed back to camp make a plan for morning. We had found that canyon from the top of the range, so we decided to kill a deer in that canyon we would have to hike in, in the dark from the bottom. And it was definitely a big hike with a big plan. When it started getting light we were a little behind. We got about 500 yards from our wheelers when WW3 began right underneath us. But they were road hunters, so we continued our trek up the ridge. When we finally crest the ridge, we started spotting a few deer, couple 2 points and some does, but, there was a hidden canyon in front of us we didn't see from the top and we just had to cross one more canyon to be in the huge hidden canyon. So, now it's day 6 and I haven't even considered shooting a deer. I just knew that when I saw him, I'd know immediately if he was the one. As we crest the next ridge into the hidden canyon, we weren't sneaky enough, deer started to bound out of the quakies and buck brush in every which direction. It was chaos. Then my buddy says, "there's a buck, he's big". I turned and looked down the canyon underneath us and the buck was trotting up the ridge quartering away from me. I set up my Stix, got on him, zoomed in, and immediately said to my buddy, I'm going to take a shot. As soon as I saw him I saw mass and deep back forks. He was only about 200 years away when I squeezed one off. As soon as I shot he did a 180 and ran straight back into the quakies he had just ran out of. After he disappeared our attention was drawn to all the other deer still scattering. There was a huge 2 point right above us with a smaller 4 point. And several other bucks and does getting the heck out of dodge. We then made a plan to find the buck I had just shot at. But before we did my buddy stopped me. He said before you take another shot, I want you to know that buck only had 3 points on one side but he's real heavy. I acknowledged and we proceeded. We started hiking down the ridge, him on the left, me on the right. He was watching left and I was watching right. I was honestly thinking at this point, "we just blew this whole canyon out of deer and I don't even know if I hit this deer". I remember telling my buddy I felt good about the shot but I wasn't 100% sure. As we started walking down, does started jumping out left and right. I was still thinking to myself, that buck is gone....you'll never see him again...he's too smart. But we continued down anyways. When I got to the end of the finger of the canyon I knew that buck either pulled the sneak out on us and ran straight down the gut through the thick stuff or he was laying right underneath me in the quakies. So, I reached down picked up a hand sized rock and chucked it into the trees right under me where I saw him run in. As soon as the rock hit he instantly jumped! I almost hit him with the rock, he was that close! He bolted straight away from me heading up hill. I quickly sat down, got the sticks up again, zoomed in, looked at the rack and said to myself, YUP! Boom!!! My 162 grain Hornady Superformance 7mm rem. mag was doing work! The bullet hit him high in the neck or kind of the bottom of his skull and exited his snout and unbelievably the exit wound was the same size as the entry wound.the impact actually made him flip so he was almost facing me. My buddy was still about 60 yards above me and didn't get to see it all go down. As soon as I hit him I gave a quick yell...DROPPED HIM! And just like that, my quest was over. As the buck lay there motionless, I zoomed in on him and could see he only had 3 points on the side that was sticking up. Then I thought to myself, "a 3 point???" When I saw him in my scope all I saw was his backs and they were incredible! As my buddy caught up to me there was a small celebration. But really, we both wanted to see this buck up close. We quickly ranged him just to see how far the shot was. He lay 172 yards away, on the other side of the canyon. We gave him a minute to assure he was expired then proceeded to go get a better look. As we got close my buddy started filming. Here I am wondering if I screwed up and shot a small deer or did I get the one I wanted? As soon as he started filming I knew we were close, as we continued, I wasn't seeing my deer, that story of the buck being dead, you go to get him and he's gone started playing in my head. Then after a frantic search, there he was. As I got closer, he got bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER! As I wrapped my hands around his rack I believe I said holy crap he's huge! Yes he's only a 3 point but he's beautiful! He has a ton of character and a ton of mass. He's not going to score well but he scores really well on my wall! He's my biggest buck and I couldn't be more proud. I can honestly say I didn't see a deer on the hunt with bigger forks. And it wasn't lack of effort. We hunted hard. All in all, my opinion, Vernon is a great unit. You could kill a 200 inch giant, you could kill a beautiful 140 inch deer. They are all out there just like anywhere else. I spent thousands on this hunt and can say it was worth every penny and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And I'd pull the trigger on my buck 100 times over. I absolutely love this buck. He's a keeper. I want to thank everyone on the forum that has helped me. I appreciate it and I'm always willing to help people in the future. I may not share all my info publicly but I will share it. Here's a few pics. Packout has him until April....which I anxiously await. Hunt of a lifetime in my opinion. PS....I'm switching to Bow hunting now ;).
 

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Here is my Vernon buck from 2007. I saw bigger bucks scouting but shot this one on the second morning because I loved the character. He is a 6x7 counting eye guards, he has an extra between the G2/3 on the left, and has kickers coming off the back on both sides, 4" on the left and 7" on the right. The taxi gave it a rough score of 169, never cared to have it officially scored. It's a fun unit for sure, and there are some giant bucks out there.

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Sounds like you had a great hunt. That is a beautiful buck.
 
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