The hunt started last Friday after driving to the trailhead in the east humbolts. I brought my kids baseball coach with this year because he has always wanted to do a backpack hunt. I warned him how hard it is to hike in almost 10 miles with a 3000' ascent to about 10,000' at camp. Anyways we stayed the night in the truck Friday night so that we could get up early Saturday and hike in. We finally reached camp about 2:00pm and my buddy was dying. I thought he might turn back but he powered through it. The day we got there everything was looking promising as we seen close to a dozen bucks, with a few of them shooters. The opener started out slow with only two bucks spotted butted one of them was a beautiful B&C 4 point typical. Since my buddy spotted him we put a plan together for him to set up an ambush the small patch of manzanita he bedded in. Well things didn't pan out with the buck sneaking out. Monday was great as I spotted the big four with 10 other bucks feeding just below camp at the bottom of the basin. There was a 28" 4x5 buck that I wanted in the group and I guessed he would score close to 190". He made the mistake of leaving the herd that bedded in the manzanita and headed to a mountain side to bed. Once I put him to bed I devised a stalk after making landmarks. Once I got to 100 yrds above him, I dropped the pack and boots and got to with 20 yrds on his side (oops!). I was behind a rock trying to range his tips when I saw his rack turn my way and start to raise. I stay hidden behind the rock and slowly nock an arrow. My mind starts racing and winding if he is ready to bolt so I gradually peak over looking to make sure his antlers are facing forward then I stood up real slow ready to draw. All I could see was his head and neck behind the thick brush. I start having buck fever rushing my thoughts worrying he is going to take off and I don't want a great buck like this to get away so I put my top pin right on his head and let it fly. OOPS right over his head, with the shakes and my first pin being my 30 yrd. WTF I always practice shooting a fist low for 20 but the buck fever and patience got me. Well guess what he stands up with a perfect shot but when I went to get another arrow, you guessed it, bye bye never to be seen again the rest of the trip. Late Monday the weather started to get bad. When we wake up Tuesday the weather was cold and started to get lousy with afternoon showers and no bucks to be seen so we played horseshoes with a horseshoe that we found and buried a long skinny rock. Wednesday the weather had us tented up most of the day with nasty thunderstorms. Thursday looked promising with weather and bucks spotted but nothing worth going after. Friday we decided to go seperate ways with my buddy still hunting down low and I went high where I usually see bucks every year. The morning turned up nothing and I was starting to get concerned that I might be going home unsuccessful again. I decided to make my own luck and side hill up high around the mountain while glassing down all the while looking for antler tips. Wouldn't you know it, I spotted some nice looking tips so decided to make a stalk on him. The only problem was that Fridays weather was great without any wind at all. You could hear a pin drop fall in the basin it was so quiet. Because of this I had to take off the pack and boots at about 200 yrds. I found a landmark that I needed to get to that would give me about a 75 yrd shot. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get any closer with no cover and the ground is completely covered in dry brush. This was going to test my stalking abilities being very steep and crunchy. When I finally get to about 120 yrds my leg brushed a bush just a little to loud and the buck snorted twice. I thought it's probably over but I just laid low for about a 1/2 hour hoping he would settle thinking maybe it was just a bird in the bush. I finally peak over and still saw antler tips so I began moving again at a snails pace and my muscles were shaking like crazy from holding myself from slipping up. I finally get to the 80 yrd mark when I hear the buck stand so I start to stand as he fed behind a bush. I began to start ranging the bush and got 79 yrds a few times so I dialed in to 80. He finally stepped out, I drew, settled my pin and let it fly and watched it fly true. As it hit he bucked and snorted then ran off. I went and looked for blood or arrow to make sure I hit and found blood right away.
Because of never recovering my buck last year I went back to camp and broke it down giving him time to expire. As soon as I got to tracking blood was everywhere and found him piled up less than 150 yrds from where I hit him.