“There He is, you ready to shoot?” Travis asked. “Yes,” I responded as I leveled off the crosshairs of my .300 Weatherby Mag just under the top of the big bucks’ shoulder. The rifle cracked and he jumped hard, bounding fast into the trees in front of him. “ You missed! Why did you rush the shot?!” Travis responded to the failed shot. “I didn’t, I was leveled off and steady on the top of his shoulder.” I responded.
David, Wendi, Dalton, and Carson Pond 2013 Oregon A familiar story to new and old hunters alike, those long evenings at the kitchen table before the application deadlines planning the next seasons hunts. The question for most people , do I have enough points to hunt where I want to, and who do I want to partner up with. For me that's easy, my family are my favorite hunting partners and we've paid our dues at the kitchen table.
Sleep wasn't going to come easy knowing the buck of a lifetime wasn't coming home with me. The buck I placed all my bets and scouting efforts that season was taken by a friend. All of my hunting plans changed for the rest of the month, what would I do with the rest of my deer season?
Sometimes the pursuit of one animal can and does consume a hunter. The animal becomes ingrained in the imagination, even creating sleepless throughout the season. Moments in time, wondering where the animal is and most importantly, where he will be found on opening day. The year 2012 would introduce me to not just one of these animals but two. Two mule deer bucks that would be everything I was looking for in a buck. I won't make any apologies for it, when it comes to deer I am a trophy hunter. My standard for pulling the trigger is a big bodied, mature animal. I look for mass in the antlers, a white face, and in most cases a big frame.
Although it has been three years since this hunt has taken place, I remember it as if it were just yesterday. I am sitting here now, admiring the beautiful mount of this gorgeous buck and reflecting back to the awesome journey that I was so fortunate to be a part of that rainy October day. A hunt filled with numerous ups and downs and twists and turns, yet by some last minute miracle turned out to be one of my greatest adventures to date, an unbelievable adventure that undoubtedly won't soon be forgotten.
I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked through my binoculars at the monster muley that was feeding on the opposite side of the basin. I couldn’t have scripted the opening morning glassing session any better had I tried. My hunting partner, Scott Mansor, and I both judged the huge buck’s typical frame right at the 190 B&C mark and with his long cheaters extending out from his G2’s on both sides, we figured his outside spread was pushing 35 inches wide. He also had a couple of other really small points and he was in full velvet. The buck was about two miles away on the opposite side of the extremely large basin we had been glassing and would require a very lengthy stalk.
I felt a sense of relief as I peeked over the edge of the rim rock cliff and saw the lone buck was still lying comfortably in his bed. The buck was perched on a long, narrow bench at 12,000’ where he was very contently overlooking the large alpine basin below him. His velvet covered antlers protruded well above the stunted willows as he laid there next to a lone rock on this cold and wet September day. Thankfully, the rain and snow mix that had been falling all morning, had kept the buck bedded during our entire 3 hour stalk.
It all started on Sept. 15, 2009 when my friend A.J. Angelovic and I were stalking a nice buck we had spotted in a deep alpine basin. In route we were spotted by 4 or 5 bucks that were bedded at around 250 yards away. We stopped and glassed each and every one of them and I remember taking a little longer looking at a young 3X4 that had a pretty good mass. I remember saying he would be a pretty good buck in a few years, but it seemed like we said that about almost every buck we looked at.
The 2010 archery seasons started out like many others. Anticipation was running on high and my senses told me that it was going to be another great year! While putting final touches to my packing list and stuffing it all into my external frame pack I once again realized how nervous I get before going into the backcountry. I reminisce about the year prior and try to think about what I had learned and use that knowledge to improve the next year. With each passing year I learn more and better ways to hunt the backcountry.
I couldn’t help but reflect back on my successful archery hunt from a month earlier as I made my way through the predawn darkness. I still had to headlamp for another hour and a half before sunup, so I had plenty of time to keep playing the events of the hunt through my mind. Even though over a month had passed, I still couldn’t believe I was fortunate enough to have taken the archery buck of a lifetime with my bow. The buck gross scored 200 5/8 and was extremely massive.