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  1. Back in July I was thrilled to find out that I had drawn my first mule deer tag in 3A/3C with max points. What made it even better was to learn that my 10 year old (at the time) son had also drawn the same tag with 2 points. I've spent a little time in the unit. But never the type of time scouting needed for what I believe to be the one of the best mule deer hunts in the state outside of the Strip/Kaibab area. Unfortunately, July through September is the busiest time of year for me professionally, and I knew I wouldn't be able to spend the time scouting that the tag deserved. I had previously had the opportunity to talk to a couple of great outfitters in that unit prior to the draw while considering possible option of DIY or guided. After discussing these options with my wife, she urged me to book with one of these outfitters. Shane Koury (a site sponsor) was one of the two guides I had spoken with. After my research research and hearing from a few people, I followed up with Shane. I told him about the tags my son and I had, and he got pretty excited telling me helping kids kill big bucks was one of the best parts about what he does. Given the support of my wife, Shane's track record of finding big bucks year after year, and my boy's excitement after seeing some of Shane's hunter's bucks, the decision was pretty simple. Shane and I kept in touch and about a week before the hunt, he started sending pictures of some bucks he had seen. In our back and forth conversation about some of the pictures, I told him that I had a personal goal to find a 180 buck, but that my now 11 year old son, while wanting to shoot a good buck, was much more open to any real good quality buck. We came up with a game plan for opening morning to go after a long red horned buck Shane had seen earlier in the week. We figured him to be a really good buck for my boy, and that if he could shoot this buck early in the hunt, we could spend the rest of the hunt looking for my big boy. Sure enough, opening morning, he wasn't far from where Shane had last seen him. However, we noticed two things quickly. One, was not going to give us a shot in the type of range my son was comfortable with. Two, he appeared to be bigger than we had estimated! My boy was quick to let me know that I was going to be the one to take a shot at this buck. In our current position, and the way he was feeding, we weren't going to get much inside of 700 yards. I felt I could make that shot, but was not as confident as I wanted to be. We made a plan to move around to get a different angle on him. Once we got to that location, it took a while before we could find him. He came over the top of a ridge and Shane said "I've got him at 540 yards", a shot I felt comfortable with. I dialed in the scope on my 300 RUM and felt rock solid on him. BANG! The buck startled and looked our way, but did not act in any way like he was hit. Before I could chamber another round he hopped down the far side of the ridge and out of site. I felt terrible! I had him dead to rights, at a range I was comfortable with, and missed my shot! I just sat there unable to figure out what had gone wrong. Our best guess was I shot just over his back. About that time Shane heard from his buddy Pat, that he had watched a group of bucks a couple of ridges over bed down. We talked and agreed that the buck I had missed was headed that way (Shane's son had watched him go that way from our original glassing position), and that there was a real good heavy buck in the bedded group that my boy needed to get a look at. As soon as my boy got a look at a clip Shane had of the buck (he had been running with my big buck a few days before) he said, I want to go after that buck. It was important to all of us that he shot the buck he wanted, and not something we wanted him to shoot. We made our way over to where we thought my buck was headed, hiked up the mountain and glassed for a while before coming the conclusion he was liked now bedded up in some really thick pines and we weren't likely to see him again for a while. We made our way over to Pat and looked over the group of about 5 bedded bucks. The one my boy wanted to take a shot at was bedded at about 340 yards. I carefully got him all set up on the Claw tripod combo, let him find and watch the buck for a couple of minutes, and then gave him the green light to fire when ready. Expecting him to settle in for minute or two, we were all surprise when he pulled the trigger about .5 seconds after we let him know everything looked good. ONE SHOT AND DONE! The buck flopped a bit, but it was over! After high fives, hugs, breathe catching, etc. we made our way down to him. What surprised us the most was the mass on this old buck. His bases were huge! You couldn't get your fingers all the way around them. After lots of pictures and a call home to mom, he was broken down and packed out to the truck. By the time we got him back to the place we were staying, we barely had time to grab a sandwich before we had to rush back to the top of the hill where we thought my big buck might show himself. We glassed till dark but he never showed. The next morning we headed out well before first light to the spot where we had glassed the big guy the morning before. After glassing for a bit Shane's buddy Jed showed up with a guy he was helping. Jed had video of this buck from the archery season in this same area and was looking for him as well. Just as he walked up to us and started chatting with Shane, I looked over to Shane from behind my binos and said "I think I've got him!" Sure enough, he had come right back over the ridge he had disappeared behind the morning before. Only this time he was with the rest of the group my boy's buck had been running with, a few smaller guys and a solid wide 4 point. From our position they were right at about 700 yards. After blowing it the day before, my confidence was shaken, and I wasn't feeling confident about taking that shot. Jed was joking with us about shoot him over my shoulder before offering to watch the bucks for us while we worked in a bit closer. We worked our way over to about as close as we were going to get, ranged him, and wouldn't you know it Shane says "551 yards." Almost the exact same shot as the day before. This buck was going to give me a redemption shot! I got set up, but was nowhere near as solid as the day before. The previous days experience had shaken by confidence a bit and I had a small case of the shakes. I watched him and his buddies through my scope for a bit as they bobbed in and out of some jack pines. Finally the big boy cleared the trees. I was about ready to shoot when one of his little buddies walked right in front of him. Eventually he cleared my buck, but my buck turned his head to look back and slightly covered his vitals. I decided that I wasn't going to wait another second once his head cleared. BANG! Shane exclaims "He's down!" "He's busted up bad and flopping!" I let out a shout which we later found out was heard across the ridge about 1500 to 2000 yards away. I laid there struggling to catch my breath. The experience was made even better when I found out Jed got a fantastic video of the whole thing through his spotting scope. Shane suggested he hike over to where we watched him go down while I guided him from the shooting position. Once he arrived he let me know the buck was busted up really bad in the back side and couldn't use his hind legs, but would need a finishing shot. We hurried over and I put another round in him as soon as I could see him, and it was done. Lots more pictures, breaking down the buck, and we were on our way back to the truck. I know that this was a rather long write up, but before I finish up I want to say a couple things about Shane Koury, his sons, and his buddies Pat and Jed. THESE GUYS ARE AWESOME!!! They are super hard working, first class, ethical outdoorsmen. While hunting with Shane I witnessed him interact with other hunters, wardens, etc. He was willing to help anyone out there that we came across in. If you ever want to hunt with a great guy and crew, defiantly check Shane out. You won't be disappointed! Our same two bucks two months before our hunt.