2013 shaped up to be one of the best years of bow hunting that I have experienced. Once again I decided to head into the backcountry to look for that special bull or buck to bring home, and after spending 4 days sleeping outside my partner and I decided to pack it up and head back to the truck. Activity was slow and even though we saw some nice bulls and a couple nice bucks no opportunities ever presented themselves.
Due to the treacherous way that we had hiked into our backcountry spot, when we hiked out we had to go a completely different way which put us about 9 miles from where we had parked our truck. After a quick phone call to one of my good friends asking him to pick us up, we decided that we would finish out the days hunt by looking for some antelope. When we got picked up it was still early in the afternoon, and we felt that we should have a pretty good chance at finding some antelope to chase around for the remainder of the day.
Before we left the mountains to go search for the speed goats I told my partner that I wanted to check out this one particular area for some mulies, since we were close to the area. The area I had in mind has proven to be a great summer range for some good bucks, and occasionally a bruiser can be found in the area. As we drove the county road stopping every now and then to glass for some deer I suddenly found two deer off in the distance. We could tell that both of them were bucks, but at over 700 yards away, and looking with only our binos I decided that neither of the bucks was what I was looking for. We continued our way through the area and did not find any other deer that caught my attention so we decided to head out in search of the speed goats. As we came back across the two bucks we had already spotted, we decided to get a spotting scope out and take a closer look at the bucks.
As soon as my partner put the spotting scope on the bigger of the two bucks, his tune suddenly changed and he suggested that I come and look through the scope. He tried to tell me that the buck was much nicer than either of us had thought, and he said that if he hadnít drawn a special mule deer permit he would probably go after the buck. When I got behind the spotting scope I couldnít believe that I had almost passed up this buck, and soon realized that the buck would definitely be my biggest buck with a bow.
The buck was in a perfect area for a stalk, the wind was perfect allowing me to get above the buck and try to stalk down on top of him. We quickly worked out our hand signals and I was off heading up the hill. Once I was above the bucks I slipped my boots off and pulled the wool socks up over my pants to try and quiet the loud noises of the dry grass scraping my legs. Once I was directly above the buck I had a small stand of large pine trees to conceal my approach as I descended upon them. I made one last check of my partner with the binos, and all of the sudden I saw my partner doing leg squats over and over again. For the life of me I couldnít figure out what he was doing, as this was definitely not a signal we had worked out.
I cautiously continued moving down through the pine trees and soon found myself at 30 yards from the bigger of the two bucks, and to my surprise the buck was up and feeding. It was clear to me now that my partner was trying to signal to me that the bucks had gotten up. As I stood behind a large bull pine the buck stuck his head into a berry bush and I took advantage of this by stepping out from behind the tree into the wide open. This caught the bucks attention and we had a stare down for about 10 seconds until the buck decided that I was not a threat. I stood there waiting for him to turn broadside, and as soon as he did I drew my bow back. This time the buck pegged me, but little did he know that it was too late and I let the arrow fly. The arrow was true and I pin wheeled the buck right in the boiler room. I was able to watch the buck expire within view, and to say I was elated is an understatement.
The buck ended up being my biggest buck with a bow by a long shot, and I was happy to have the opportunity to take such a great trophy. Itís funny how we worked so hard hiking 26 miles in the backcountry looking for animals, and now here we were only 700 yards from the county road with a great buck on the ground. When my partner came up the hill he had my video camera with him and he told me that he was able to get the whole stalk and shot on video, which is great to be able to go back and watch the film over with friends and family. 2013 goes down as being a great year of hunting, one I will not soon forget.
Great story JJ!
Very cool! I like the hat too!
Great buck and story congrats!
My buddy, Chase, and I had been planning an archery hunt in South Dakota and set our sights on the second week in November to be out chasing deer. As I began to finish up my harvest in Kansas, we started to grow a little more nervous about making our November hunt with bad harvest conditions in South Dakota. Luckily, Chase finished picking corn right at the end of October and as the weeks seemed to drag by we finally made it to our hunting grounds in South Dakota.
We were met with windy weather and semi-warm temperatures reaching into the middle 50s during the day. This seemed to make deer sightings a little harder, but with the rut getting started, we knew it was only a matter of time before we started to see deer. The first few days were met with many miles, small bucks, and too many does. We couldnít seem to find a deer over two years old and were starting to look for other places to hunt.
On the fourth morning of the week long hunt, we woke up to a balmy temperature of 7 degrees, calm winds, and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Our luck was about to change, just like the weather.
This morning we decided to start hunting in a different spot that we had not hunted ever before. It didnít take long for us to realize that any sort of breeze at 7 degrees is extremely magnified, but we were seeing deer so we pressed on. By the end of the day, we had seen 3 shooters and knew where we were going to be heading in the morning.
The next morning, we found ourselves right in the middle of all of the deer. One network of draws we glassed had over 20 deer in them and two potential shooters. After waiting for the deer to bed down, we made a stalk in on the best deer we had seen. The deer had bedded down with a few more deer that we could see in a very deep cut full of buck brush and hardwood trees. We crept into position with the cover of some scraggly looking sage and waited for the deer to get up for an afternoon snack. After about a 30 minute wait the smaller yearlings began to get up. The first, a spike, stood up 30 yards from us straight downhill. The next, a small fork horn stood up at about 40 yards with a small doe. After a few minutes of milling around, they started to make their way downhill and we knew the big guy had to get up soon.
Within seconds, Chase motioned to me that he could see the deer, but didnít have a shot. I couldnít see the deer because of the sage I was behind, but decided to get my bow ready for the shot. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the deer slowly working its way down the hill to us. I didnít even look at the deer as I kept my eye on my shooting lane between some yucca and sage. As the deer dropped its head to grab a bite, I drew my bow, and held for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the deer stepped into my shooting lane and I let my arrow fly. This is my second deer with a bow and I couldnít be happier with him.
Very cool! Thanks for the entry.
Colorado is known for trophy mule deer and lots of elk, and muleys are definitely my main interest. This year I picked up a tag in an area that has good public access but high hunting pressure and many of the top bucks are taken each year.
Opening morning found me exploring an area that I learned would be along a migration corridor, but had several roads. The area wasn't as glassable as I had hoped, but I managed to spot close to thirty bucks by the end of the evening hunt. The second day was much the same, although I missed the evening hunt to meet a buddy that was willing to sacrifice his vacation time for my hunt.
We started the third day with coffee and cinnamon rolls and were out on a good vantage before daylight. It seemed like every high spot and point was decorated in hunter orange. Throughout the day we talked to other hunters and the common theme was that most of the buck tags had been filled opening weekend so efforts could be focused on elk.
Learning that, and knowing snow was coming, I had a feeling this already good hunt was only going to improve. If that wasn't enough, it seemed like somebody flipped the rut switch to "on" and that evening we found a number of decent bucks chasing does.
Tuesday was another early start, and we decided to focus on an area I had scouted that was more open and with more country that had to be accessed on foot. Several inches of snow greeted us, and by shooting light it was apparent that glassing through fog and falling snow wasn't going to work. Faced with the decision of whether to hunt with low visibility, we decided to at least explore the ATV trails until the fog lifted. The deer were active and we cut tracks moving into the oakbrush. Visibility was only 200 yards, but I knew a spot where we could glass that short distance to the brushy hillside.
With fresh snow as a backdrop I picked out a nice buck right away. I set up and made the shot just as he was disappearing. Neither of us heard the "whop" of a solid hit, but I felt like I had done my part. After a short trail, I had my buck in hand.
Most people are able to appreciate nature's beauty, but there's something about walking up to an animal you've just killed amid falling snow and stunning scenery that can't be fully described in words or caught on camera. The hunt hadn't gone exactly like I planned, and the buck wasn't the giant deer I had dreamed of, but in the moment it was just right.
Persistence Pays off!!!
By Geno Savini
This year started out the same as the past 4 years. I drew my junior Nevada deer tag. I found this new hunting spot from tips and scouring Google earth. Opening evening I found myself searching the draws and drainages. I did end up finding over 40 bucks, and several 160-170 class bucks during the trip. On the last day of my week long excursion, I had got in position to get an arrow into my first buck. The bucks were on the trail no more than 20 yards away. I decided to take a 3x4 instead of trying to wait for the 5x4 that would land somewhere in the 170’s. I drew back, but the buck moved. He was broadside, I decided he was around 35 yards and put my 30 pin right on the top of the lungs. I guessed wrong, I sent the arrow right through the flesh on the top of his back, and was never seen again. I tracked him for 5 hours, searched every water source, and with no blood, I knew it was a non lethal hit above the spine. I went home empty handed for what seemed to be my 4th year in a row.
I was able to go back over Labor Day weekend. I knew the groups pattern, and was hoping I could still arrow 1 of the 2 bigger bucks. I did find the 5x4, but each afternoon it rained, putting to what seemed like an end to my hunt. I was truly disappointed, because I had blown 1 opportunity at a very respectable buck earlier in the hunt, and would have had my first archery animal.
I kept watching the weather, and archery season ended on September 10th. I saw a break would be in the storm system, and convinced my parents to go out on Saturday, September 7th for one last try. And one last try was all I needed. I found 5 bucks, which were part of the 11 bucks that I had chased the previous 10 days of my hunt. It was just light enough to see, and I knew it was now or never. Knowing that one was a solid 4 point, I wasn’t going to leave this mountain without him. I only could get 250 yards from them, but they went to one of the 5 water sources on this mountain. I was just watching them from about 250 yards out, in an aspen stand next to a pine tree. I can’t believe what happened next. 1 of the 5 bucks, walked to my tree, and was only 18 yards away!!! 2 of the others headed north, and the 4 point and another small buck came my way. Finally, he came to 32 yards. I took 1 step back, put my sight on him and executed a marginal shot. After giving him 4 hours to die, I was able to harvest a 155” gross, Nevada mule deer, and he was only 2 years old! I finally ended my 4 year drought of not getting my first animal with a bow, but all the training and effort finally paid off.