Devin Beck’s 127 inch Coues
This adventure started this spring. My father had found a spot that had good numbers of bucks including one that caught my interest. He watched the buck all spring until they dropped their antlers. We spent hours talking strategy at what would be the best way to hunt this particular piece of country. We were always glassing from below looking up, so one day I loaded up my wife Jody and we made a killer hike, pretty sure we almost died, to get above the country and see what some of the upper vantage points looked like. We left the truck, with plans to hike the big ridge end to end and have my father pick us up at the opposite end. Our leisure hike turned into about 12 or 13 miles when it was all said and done! I had carried a few motion cameras with me that day and I placed a few of them in some awesome looking saddles. My excitement was high, of course that was until we finally made it to the meeting point with my father. I was not sure if I would ever retrieve those cameras! HAHAHA Two are still out as I type.
After my wounds heeled I could not take it, and Jody, myself, and my friend Jason made the hike to do some glassing and check the first two cameras. We stopped and glassed prime time for an hour and actually turned up three really nice bucks! I was excited and had some high hopes for the cameras. The first camera was a serious let down. It filled the card in three days! DANG GRASS. We proceeded on and finally made it to location number two. The camera was dead as well so I figured I did not have much on there, man was I WRONG. I was flipping through pictures when this buck appeared dead center of the picture. Instantly I knew, I had finally found the buck I was looking for. He was a true monster. I was shaking so bad I had to have Jody hold the camera so I could look at the picture!!! The next month was filled with lots of boot miles. Glass, glass, glass. HIKE HIKE HIKE. I spent every free moment I had looking for this deer. Time seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, Archery season was half way ever. I really had no intention of trying to harvest this deer with my bow. I am not a huge fan of fuzzy antlers, and I new this buck was going to be one that I wanted to let get to his full potential. One day while I was scouting I actually ran into another guy who was obviously hunting, about ten minutes before I ran into him I had found a big salt lick that was getting hammered. When I found this spot I was thinking, “man this has to be one crazy individual because it about kills me to come in here.” He had his bow in tow and I had this sick feeling by the look on his face, and I am sure I had the same look, that HE KNEW about this particular buck. We exchanged kind words and pretty much BS-ed each other that we had not seen anything good in here blah blah blah. My whole attitude changed instantly. Now someone else had found the same deer. I did not have him all to myself like I had originally thought.
Three days later I packed in a small camp, bow in tow. My first day was pretty exciting. I sat a small saddle that I thought the buck used regularly, and late in the afternoon I had three bucks come through a bed down in the saddle. The closest one was 32 yards away. As darkness approached they got up a fed away! It seemed a good sign so I decided the next day I would glass for an hour in the morning and return to my little spot for the rest of the day. There was about 10 minutes of light left and I headed back towards my camp. As I crested over the hill ahead of me I heard a female lion bawling her head off. I set up my tripod and managed to spot her across the canyon. I watched as she laid there calling for a mate until dark! The next morning I glassed, saw a few does and two little bucks, they were headed right for the same saddle!!! As they went around the corner towards the saddle I made my way down there. I followed their same path and looked down the back side towards the saddle. To my amazement, the BIG BUCK was feeding broadside down the hill in front me!!! I could not believe it. I ranged him, drew back my bow, and thought to myself, “this is too easy!” or so I thought. The bow went off and I watched this big old fat buck go from relaxed and feeding to pulling a move off the MATRIX. He seemed to dip and lurch forward and I just caught a glimpse of my arrow clear his back maybe an inch high. I could not believe it!!! After the shot he ran down the hill about 20 yards, and suddenly I realized there were deer everywhere. Six other bucks and two does were scattered out. Amazingly they all had no idea what had happened and went back to feeding. With so many eyes I was sure I was not going to get another chance that morning. As they fed down the hill I could only get within 80 yards of the big buck again! Rather than spook them again I let them feed away. I figured they would return through the saddle again that evening. I got comfy and waited. During the course of the day I heard the same lion calling a couple of times only now she was on the same ridge I was but way down past the saddle. As the evening approached she became more aggressive with her calling until she was calling every 10 to 15 minutes. I sat there listening wondering if the deer would be spooked or what the rest of the evening had in store. I suddenly caught a glimpse of a deer making its way towards me. It was one of the big bucks buddies and my adrenaline shot threw the roof. He passed by with a couple little guys in tow at 52 yards!!! I knew it was only minutes before the big buck was going to show himself again. 30 to 45 minutes past with no sign of him. This whole time that dang lion was slowly making its way my direction. It was getting later and later and I knew something was wrong. I got my gear together and snuck through the saddle where the other bucks had went. when I rounded the corner I looked up the hill and standing there he was feeding with the other bucks. I could not believe it. He had slipped by somehow. I snuck up the hill to within 90 yards when an old doe busted me. I was pinned. I sat there just hoping that she would forget about me but now the lion seemed like it was breathing down my back. She had to be on the other side of that saddle 100 yards away. Suddenly some deer behind me blew and I knew the lion had scared them. Once that happened the old doe in front of me had enough and she bolted up over the top of the hill, bucks in tow of course. I raced around the side of the hill hoping that I could catch them on the other side. There were three draws on the back side and I thought I might catch them in one. Looked down the first, nothing, second….nothing……third…….nothing. I had been foiled. Not sure where they went I turned around to look up at the top of the knob and standing 38 yards away, was the BIG BUCK!!!! He just stared at me. He had some brush in front of him but I thought I could make the shot. I drew, anchored, and the bow went off! He jumped forward and plowed right into a tree. I watched in amazement as he backed out of the tree, then jumped down the hill out of sight. I just knew I had drilled him and I ran up to where he vanished. I could hear crashing down the hill and thought, “IS HE GOING DOWN???” I watched and suddenly a small buck appeared on a bench 140 yards below me, then another. They were his two buddies and I thought well he is not with them. 45 seconds later he appeared behind them. A million things were going through my mind. What just happened? I looked him up and down, not a mark. I watched as the two bucks stared up at me. The BIG BUCK did not seem to have a care in the world and started feeding on some bushes! They finally made their way around the corner and I went back to camp. At first light I was right back a glassed every inch I could. I looked and looked for my arrow but never found it. Followed his tracks down the hill to the bench, NO BLOOD. I was sick, only thing I can think of is that I clipped a piece of the brush and my arrow sailed up into the air and lies at the bottom of the canyon somewhere. We were leaving for Jody’s moose hunt and I had to pack back out not knowing if I had hit the buck he was laying dead somewhere or if I had actually missed. We returned from the moose hunt and I had ONE thing on my mind. The rifle hunt was fast approaching. Was he alive??? I called my father and he informed me that he had checked the camera and there were pictures of him alive and well!!!!! Talk about relief. The next few weeks we were looking for him with every second of free time we had. He rubbed off his velvet and I finally managed to get some awesome video of him.
Monday before the season opener was here. My Father and I packed in two camps. The plan was for him and Jason to stay on the ridge across looking at the front side of the hill, and I would stay on the backside in what I hoped would be shooting distance for opening morning. Tuesday morning we found ourselves watching the big buck from 375 yards away from my camp. I had a huge boulder pile that we hid the tent behind and you could sneak up the backside of the boulders and see the entire hillside in front of you. We watched in amazement until they fed out of sight. We hiked out because we could not carry everything in one trip, and I returned Wednesday afternoon. My Father and Jason would arrive Thursday morning at their camp. Wednesday evening the buck fed out 300 yards in front of me!!! I watched him until I could not see anymore. Thursday morning I glassed him up at first gray light bedded 250 yards in front of me. He got up and fed most of the morning, then returned to his bed for most of the day. In the afternoon he got up again and fed and I watched until dark again. Needless to say I did not sleep Thursday night. I climbed out of my tent Friday morning at 5 and sat glassing in the dark for an hour until I could start making out shapes. The race was on!!! I glassed for what seemed like eternity and could not find him in any of the spots he was the days before. I was wigging out!!! Finally, which was probably 15 WHOLE MINUTES, I spotted one of his buddies feeding clear at the top of the hill. I ranged him, 500 yards. Then the big bucks rack popped up out of the brush. I was thinking to myself why can’t they be close like they had been all week. I had my rifle preset up the day before to shoot at the middle of the hill. I got down on my gun and messed around with various jackets. I was frustrated. I finally got settled and looked through the scope up the hill. He walked out into a small opening but did not stop. As he disappeared I focused on the next opening. It was probably 30 yards across. He appeared on the left side and proceeded to walk across the whole opening. I almost fired but I just did not feel steady enough and with having to wait for him to come out there buck fever was getting the best of me. He disappeared behind the next tree and I tried to calm myself down. Slowly he fed behind the tree coming closer and closer to the next opening. His head made the opening and I thought to myself, ok here we go. He is going to feed out there and I will shoot. Then he picked up his head a walked through that opening. It was like he know I was watching him!!! As he disappeared into the next thicket my heart sank. From all the scouting I knew that he usually works his way down through those trees off the side and beds out of site with no way to glass. I sat there for a minute thinking, should I wait and see if he comes back out. NOPE I grabbed my binos, rifle, and tripod and pretty much ran across the canyon. They were above the same saddle I had sat with my bow and I had a good feeling I could get back on them like I did with my bow before they got away. About 3/4 of the way there I slowed down and tried to catch my breathe. I snuck along and rounded the corner looking up the hill from the saddle where he had disappeared. Immediately I found one of his buddies. Then the other, and just to his right was the big buck feeding broadside. I knelt down behind my tripod and looked through the scope. 1 buck, 2 bucks, where is he. I could not see him. I guess the change in angle from standing to kneeling blocked my view. I picked up my tripod and took four big steps to my left. Knelt back down, set the gun on the tripod and looked up the hill. His one little buddy had spotted be and was trying to figure out what I was but it was too late! I found him in the scope, cranked the power up to 25, held on him and squeezed the trigger! BOOOOOM, the sound of the gun seemed to be the loudest I had ever heard. It almost seemed slow motion as I felt the nudge in my should from the recoil. I looked up over the scope and saw him run down the hill towards me about twenty yards. He stopped front legs spread wide head hanging low and I knew he was done, but I cranked another shell in a fired again. After I recovered from the shot I looked over the gun again and he was gone! Down in the grass I knew it! I was shaking so bad I almost could not eject the empty shell. I ran up the hill as fast as I could! It seemed like I would never get there. I later ranged the distance, 150 YARDS!!! I got to him and could not believe it. I honestly did not know what to do. I remembered my father was supposed to turn his radio on that morning in case things went wrong to communicate a plan. I called him and he answered right back. I simply said, “I GOT HIM.” He replied, “BE RIGHT THERE.” I called my wife on my phone to tell her, and then I just stood there looking at him. I don’t think I touched him for 15 minutes. Just starred in serious RESPECT of what a true monster he was!!! I finally grabbed his antler and lifted his head up, I just giggled like a little kid and set him back down. It took my Father and Jason a good 20 to 30 minutes to get to me. The rest is history as you all know!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy as much as I did writing. I am still completely humbled by him and thought that you all would like to hear my crazy adventure on how it all came together!