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My archery season came to a quick close this year, quicker than any other year I have hunted. For the first time in four years my girlfriend Angie was not hunting beside me this archery season. Normally we sit our treestands together but Angie fractured her foot and the doctor has her in a big boot so hiking into our treestands was out of the question for her this year. Being that I recently started a new job I knew that I wasn't going to be able to take as much time off for this year's archery deer season as I have in years past. In fact, as hard as it was to accept it, I was only going to be able to hunt weekends this year. Even with limited time to hunt I was planning on holding out for a buck that would reach at least the 90 inch mark. After shooting a mid 70's 3x3 last year I figured 90 inches was a good goal to set. Plus I had two very nice bucks on camera that would meet my goal if I was lucky enough to put a tag on one of them. Friday was a LONG day at work as it was the first time in four years that I missed opening day of archery deer season. As soon as I got off work I headed home, loaded my truck with all my gear and was on the road by 7:00 PM for two days of hunting coues. Saturday morning the alarm rang early and boy was I tired from only getting a few hours of sleep. After getting dressed and drinking my morning coffee I could feel the excitement building in me as I headed out for the days hunt. I climbed into my stand just after 5:00 AM and sat in the dark anticipating the day ahead. I wasn't in my stand 15 minutes when I could see a doe feeding down the trail below me at about 30 yards. I was growing very nervous as I felt a slight breeze hitting me on the back of my neck. “This is all wrong” I thought to myself as I watched the doe waiting for her to catch my scent. After the doe fed around under my stand for over 30 minutes I knew my scent must be going over her as she showed no signs of being alarmed. Just as I started to feel confident that my scent was not an issue the doe lifted her head up and stared very intensely in my direction. She wasn't looking up into the tree at me but she was staring directly under me. I was certain that she had finally caught my scent. I sat there watching her, expecting her to take off running at any minute when I heard a twig snap behind me. I slowly turned my head and looked over my right shoulder. I could see a deer body moving toward me in the dark timber. As the deer got closer I could see that it was a buck, a really nice buck. I could not take my bow off the hanger as the buck was heading right in my direction and approaching me from the up hill side. He came down the trail feeding slowly and passed by me at less than 10 yards. Being that I was on a steep slope, even though I was 23 feet up in the tree when the buck came by on the up hill side of me he was almost eye level. He was standing with his head down feeding at 15 yards but I still did not have my bow in hand. He was so close I was afraid to move at all. I was even squinting my eyes because I was afraid the buck was going to see my eye balls. The forest was so silent and my heart was pounding so hard that in my head it felt like everything within miles could hear my heart racing. As the adrenaline shot through my body I kept telling myself over and over in my head, “calm down, take deep breaths”. Finally the buck passed by me and as he fed slowly behind a thick patch of trees I slowly took my bow down off the hanger. I hooked my release and continued to coach myself in my head. I knew the next challenge was to get my bow drawn with out getting busted. I waited patiently with my heart still beating at an insanely rapid pace. As the buck approached the opposite side of the thick patch of trees I slowly started to draw my bow. An immense sense of relief came over me as I came to full draw undetected. The buck slowly stepped out from behind the trees at exactly 20 yards. As I settled my pin low behind his shoulder all I was thinking is “I can't believe it, this buck is mine!” I followed through with the release and heard the loud WHACK of my arrow hitting its mark. The buck bounded out of sight and then reappeared straight in front of me at about 60 yards. I was whispering as I watched him through my binoculars, “go down, go down!” I then realized that I didn't see any exit wound on the buck as he stood with the off side shoulder facing me. He slowly walked away and out of sight. My heart sunk and I immediately started to question the shot. All I could think is “how could I have possibly missed that buck at 20 yards?” I sat there in my tree stand with my mind racing a million miles per hour. I had to know if I hit the buck so I decided to climb down out of the stand so I could inspect the arrow. Once I looked at the arrow I felt very confident that I would recover the buck. The arrow was covered in blood and the bubbles in it were a sure sign of a lung hit. I gave the buck almost an hour and a half before starting to track him. The blood trail was very good and easy to follow for the first 100 yards but I started to get worried when it started to get thin and lead up hill. I followed the blood up and over the ridge and back down the opposite side. I knew I had my work cut out for me as the blood led down one of the steepest, thickest hillsides I've ever been on. There was nothing but thick vines and berry bushes that were 7 to 8 feet tall that I had to maneuver my way through as I continued to follow the blood. After making it about 40 yards off the top of the ridge I jumped the buck out of his bed. My confidence hit the floor as I listened to him tear through the thick jungle of bushes. I could not see more than 10 yards through the vegetation but I could tell that the buck did not go far as I heard him stop below me. The thought entered my mind to back out and give the buck more time to expire but after hearing him stop not far below me I decided to try to get another shot on him. I slowly moved through the bushes to a cliff edge and when I peaked over I could see the buck standing broadside straight down below me. My rangefinder said the buck was 58 yards but the angle compensation told me to shoot for 34. I drew back and split my 30 and 40 yard pins on the buck's shoulder. I released and watched my arrow go inches under him. The buck just stood there. I knocked another arrow and this time shot for 40 yards and my arrow went right over him. These shots were extremely difficult because the hillside was so steep that every time I leaned forward to shoot down my feet would start to slide as my weight was now more forward. I shot for 35 and again right under him, 40 and again right over him. With the unbelievably steep angle combined with my nerves I could not get another arrow in this buck to save my life. Finally with the last arrow in my quiver I hit the buck, punching through the front of his shoulder. He tore through the brush and out of sight again. I climbed down off the cliff edge and worked my way over to where the buck had been standing. The amount of blood that was pooled up where he had been standing was unbelievable. I cannot believe this buck was not dead. I picked up all my arrows and sat down to clean them off. With my arrows back in my quiver I started off in the direction that the buck had gone. I was in complete disbelief as the buck jumped up again and took off. Again I could hear that he didn't go far. I slowly moved in the direction of the buck and came to a small rock outcropping. I could see a pretty open area below me about half an acre in size. I spotted the buck right below me. He was 11 yards from me in the tall bushes and all I could see was the top of his tines sticking out. I hooked my release and the wait was on. I sat above the buck at 11 yards for over 30 minutes until he got up and tried to move down the hill. When he stepped into the clearing I anchored him with one final shot which put him down right where he stood. FINALLY the buck was mine. Unfortunately because of the steep angle the buck ended up rolling another 60 to 70 yards down the hill before getting caught on a downed tree. I sat down in disbelief at what had just happened. This is not my first experience with these coues deer not going down easy. My first arrow hit him just below mid body right behind the shoulder but because of the steep angle of the shot from my tree stand, the arrow exited out the buck's chest only hitting one lung. This was a big lesson on how long a coues deer can go on one lung. For such a delicate looking animal they are unbelievably tough. I called my buddy Justin to tell him that I had a big buck down and that I was in a real rough spot. Justin passed on the news to his friend Hank and within minutes I had a phone call from Hank saying that he could be to me in less than two hours to help me get the buck packed out. I was definitely relieved to know help was on the way. Finally after sitting there for 20+ minutes I made my way down to my buck. I was amazed at his width and how he carried his mass all the way through his main beams. I wasn't sure how big he was but I knew for sure that I had met my goal of a 90+ inch buck. It really didn't matter though as I couldn't be happier with this beautiful example of a mature coues deer buck. What a struggle it was to get him caped and quartered on that steep hillside. Every time I would try to roll him or move him around we would slide further and further down the hill. Unfortunately I could not get him positioned very well for pictures until after he was caped. Hank made it to me right around 12:00 noon and we loaded our packs and headed up the steep hillside. Man was I thankful to have Hank there and I can't thank him enough. This is two years in a row that Hank has come to help pack deer out. I hope some day I can return the favor. After getting the buck back into town, Justin and I taped him out. We double checked and triple check our math and I was in complete amazement as he ended up scoring 100 7/8”. I couldn't believe it, I had finally broken the 100” mark. Sorry for the long story but most of you that have been on this site for a while already know that I just don't have the ability to write a short story. Thanks to those who stuck it out and read my long story. Big thanks to Justin and Hank for helping me move and set up my tree stand before the hunt and again a HUGE thank you to Hank for helping me pack out my buck. Of course as always thanks to Amanda for this amazing site where we can share our passion and adventures with each other. -Tracy This was the only good pic I could get before I caped the buck. It was too hard to get the buck positioned right for a pic on the steep hill side.