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The year of the Mule Deer
ZBAR posted a topic in Mule Deer HuntingGood people of CWT, I have a confession to make.....I love big muley bucks. I hope that doesn’t make me a traitor. With that being said, my brothers & I drew some great permits this year including out of state archery tags & rifle Strip! Yes, the famous 13B. We were absolutely shocked when cards were being hit. Seven bonus points somehow got us in the show. Don’t think you don’t have a chance!!! With the early moisture we knew we were potentially in for an epic year of hunting. When the dust settled (and there was lots of it), it was epic indeed. Honestly, the prep for the hunts is the best part for me. I love everything about it. Shooting my bow is one place where I find peace in a hectic schedule. We made a few scouting trips & set up some cameras in hopes of finding a giant. My brothers & I were texting each other constantly formulating plans to the point where our wives were ready to kick us out! 😂 Finally, game time..... Opening morning just a couple hours into the archery hunt I got a text from Trent saying he had shot a big buck. According to him he glassed up a bachelor herd of bucks & made a mad dash to cut them off. Trent can be a bit of a joker so I was fully expecting to see perhaps a “trophy” deuce point. We hustled up to meet him & my jaw dropped when I saw the buck. NOPE, he smoked a giant! We were on cloud 9. I just absolutely love hunting with my brothers & if I didn’t personally have success on this trip I would have gone home a happy man seeing the smile on his face. Trashy Big bucks always get the VIP treatment Little did we know that was just the beginning. Four days later I spotted my buck. Being familiar with the area from previous scouting trips I knew exactly where he would head to bed which would make him vulnerable. True to form he did what he was supposed to do & headed into the kill zone. I stalked through the forest into 40 yards & waited for him to stand. 45 minutes later, it happened. I gathered my composure & let it loose. All that practice in the 110 degree valley heat came to fruition as my arrow hit its mark perfectly. He takes a few steps, his legs get wobbly, & it’s game over. Big buck #2 hits the dirt. Most stalks do not end in success..... Measuring session Onto The Strip! We’ve never been guided before but reached out to A3 for this one. We wanted to do it right. Hunter Weems & Heston Morrell were our help & were absolutely awesome to hunt with. Exceptional guys. The Strip was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced & is everything people say it is. Total of 4 flat tires.... Insane dust due to the drought.... Vast & beautiful...... Oh, & huge bucks!!! The first couple days we were hunting one of the local legends (along with numerous other people), but decided to get away from the circus & check out other areas. In the new spot, I picked up a buck moving through the sage flat bright & early. I casually said, “Got a buck, but I don’t think he’s a shooter”. In no time Hunter had him in the spotting scope & immediately said, “We need to kill this buck”. We went from 0-100 mph in two seconds!!!”. Little did I know we were looking at a true 200 typical. Whoops, my bad. I learned that the bodies on these deer are huge & their antlers are much bigger than you realize. After traversing the landscape we found a good high point approximately 680 yards from the big typ. We just needed him to stand, & when he did Daryl was ready. Buck #3 goes down. Hunter takes good pics! Pretty cool walking up on this beast. Admiring... It felt good to finally be on the board. We headed into a completely different area that evening riding high from the mornings events. On the Strip you just never know what you might see next & it didn’t take long for luck to be on our side once again. Right at dark we spotted just a beast of a buck. He was a super, super, heavy 4X4. Trent looked him over, put his gun down, brought his gun back up, then dropped him in his tracks! The mass was just to much for him to take. I think he made the right decision. Buck #4 - We call him B.A. Barrackus 😂 Perspective. Elk mass. I feel like I’m always the last one. The hunt is starting to wind down & I’m running out of time. I feel a bit stressed. I mean, I can’t eat my Strip tag!!! We wake up Thursday morning but I feel different, like there is no doubt it’s going to happen today. I’ve felt that feeling before & every.single.time it’s been upheld. The morning is slow & we don’t see much. 10:30 rolls around but I keep glassing hoping for some sort of movement, perhaps a change in bedding spots, anything! Finally, some does get up & there is hope. The rut is starting so we know if there are does, we need to double & triple check for bucks. Hunter gets his spotter out & within a matter of seconds finds an antler barely sticking out from under a tree. This wasn’t his first exceptional spot. The dude has eagle eyes!!! He gets up to follow the does & is BIG but has a busted g-3 on his left side. Hunter asks, “What do you want to do?” I wasn’t about to pass this buck because he was broke. He just had to much character. I knew he could be fixed, so off we went. We found ourselves perched on a knoll above the thick cedar country he was bedded in. We will have to wait him out as long as needed & prepared for potentially a long afternoon. However, after 30 minutes or so we hear the dreaded buck snort & they’re off & running out of nowhere. We look at each other wondering what the heck happened? Wind was good, we were hidden...perhaps a predator? Regardless, with no time to waste we head back to the truck to circle around & hopefully cut them off. Hesston is on a nearby high point watching everything go down. He guides us in on where he saw them last. We’re on a little hill overlooking the area & know they’re close, we just can’t see them. Like quail they flush out right below us & are high tailing it directly away. I grab my bipod & sit down to steady myself for a running shot. I find him in my scope & try to pin him down, it feels like trying to shoot a running coyote! I lead him just a tad & squeeze the trigger...miss. I chamber another shell & fire again but this time he drops like a ton of bricks! Holy crap! It’s over, the brother tri-fecta on the Arizona Strip has been completed. As I walk up to the buck I’m elated, relieved, & humbled beyond measure. What a beautiful creature. Buck #5 A3 has trail cam pics of this buck so I know exactly how he looked before he broke. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he has a split g-3. 😍 Trail cam photo credit-A3 I wonder if we could be so fortunate to maybe do this again. The sun sets on an amazing season. Thank you for reading.
IF YOU LIKE BIG MULE DEER!!!!
Becker posted a topic in TaxidermyI had the pleasure of mounting one of the strip giants from last year. I believe its on the cover of Muley Crazy if you all want to read the story. Hope you all enjoy!!!