Jump to content
lucky2hunt

Lessons Learned - Not all of 'em I like! Kaibab Buck

Recommended Posts

Pardon Me while I eat a little Humble Pie!!!

 

Those that know me know of my passion for hunting, the love of hunting is only replaced by the love for my family. I am sorry to say that my passion has been a tiny bit tarnished after my recent 12A East hunt, I disappointed myself.

 

I was thrilled with the prospects of hunting monster bucks on the North Kaibab, I realize this is a special tag and I know it is a proven area for giant mule deer. I have never, ever been someone who scores my animals, it never has seemed important; until this hunt… When asked about scouting the first question asked when I stated I’d seen deer was “What do you think he scored”? I would answer that I didn’t know, and I just wanted to find a decent buck. I kept up that pretense until opening day.

post-647-0-35883100-1354753674_thumb.jpg

post-647-0-50637300-1354753615_thumb.jpg

My husband Roger and I arrived in camp 4 days before the hunt, although we had spent time this fall scouting, I knew watching the deer the few days before season opener was imperative. Every since I drew this tag, I was counseled to “Pray for snow” to move the deer down off the rim. Prayers going unheeded, with virtually no snow and the forecast called for temps to remain close to 60* every day, we started looking up on top of the rim. We saw a lot of deer; a bunch of small fork horns and 3 pointers, herds of does but very, very little rut activity. In those 4 days we did not see the big Kaibab buck we had all read about.

post-647-0-25171500-1354753549_thumb.jpg

Opening day is upon us, we glass and see deer but not much until we find a good buck bedded. The problem is he sees us too. I get set up and get him in the scope, I keep asking Roger if he’s a good one, he answers that he thinks it’s a really good buck. Again I ask, “No but is he a REALLY good one” then I ask something that I have never asked “What do you think he scores”? Roger was slightly dumbfounded and looks at me, he says he doesn’t know the score but it’s a big deer and I should shoot it. I then explain to him that I don’t want to shoot unless it has “this… and that.. and whatever”. Gee, all of a sudden I’m putting scores ahead of anything else. The shot was too far and we couldn’t get any closer so the big buck walked.

post-647-0-04070000-1354753744.jpg

 

I thought about my reaction, I made excuses to myself about how this is a trophy hunt so I need a trophy deer. As the days went by we were not seeing the bucks any longer, we would see some does but the number of deer diminished. Word came that a friend guided a client to a 190 buck way down low in the Houserock Valley. The next day we decided to pack up camp and move. The deer were even more elusive, we had a hard time finding anything, the tracks were there but we couldn’t see the deer. I hiked and hiked, glassed and glassed; getting more and more frustrated as the time went by.

post-647-0-65185600-1354753912_thumb.jpg

Weather conditions were bad, 60 plus degrees, and a bright full moon. After a bad morning where Roger and I only saw flashes of 2 does and a butt of a buck, I had my meltdown... I was upset over something as dumb as not being able to find trophy deer and our ideas of what to do next clashed, I actually yelled and cursed at Roger, my amazing husband, the same guy that has been my #1 supporter, the guy that drops everything to help me, the guy that has been getting up in the dark cold mornings for 9 straight days to help me accomplish my goals

post-647-0-49291700-1354753805_thumb.jpg

 

Roger stayed in camp and I went to sit a trick tank. The days were so hot; I was hoping that maybe the deer might have to water during the day. As I sat in the ground blind, I started to reflect on what had happened, I had turned my passion for the hunt into a ‘numbers’ game, who was I trying to impress? I have never even shot a mule deer, now getting a trophy is the most important thing of this hunt? I was ashamed and embarrassed, I text Roger and apologized, knowing that I owed him more than just that. I sat there for 6 hours, I reread some of the text and emails from friends and ppl from this site that were sent before the hunt started, several stood out and helped me remember why I was there

For example: Remember to enjoy every minute of it.

Another: Don’t get too wrapped up in scores, how many points, or impressing anyone but yourself.

And last: Stay positive, this is supposed to be fun!

post-647-0-71684000-1354754007_thumb.jpg

I had lost the ‘fun’. I decided to take the next decent buck I saw, I decided it wasn’t worth being this stressed, getting in a fight with my husband, and trying to answer the question “Is it big enough?” Not two minutes later I look up and this guy is already at the water, I can’t see his antlers but I put the crosshairs on him just in case, he lifted his head and after seeing his high rack I unquestionably squeezed the trigger. There was no measuring, no counting, no figuring, I simply said to myself “Wow, nice buck”.

post-647-0-93586500-1354754241_thumb.jpg

 

I am pleased with my Kaibab deer, nope he’s not the monster that inhabited my dreams for months, but I worked hard, I spent a lot time in the field scouting and hunting with my husband who is also my best friend. I saw some of the most beautiful country in our state, there were times when glassing I caught myself looking at the beautiful scenery, it was spectacular watching the sunrise on the Vermillion Cliffs.

post-647-0-91188200-1354754312_thumb.jpg

 

Thank you to all the friends on this site for the advice, knowledge, and camaraderie. Chef, thank you so much for checking in, and for keeping my spirits up! CosninoCanines, thanks for being there and for the friendship and support!

 

Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a ‘Trophy Hunter’ I found out I really don’t like that kind of pressure. I lost track of who I was for a short time; but I’m back and ready to put those Spring tags to good use!!!

IMG_0829-1.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great story Ilene! I'm glad you got a buck at the end of it all. I'll confess, elk hunting has done this to me as well. These tags are so hard to draw, anyone can fall victim to the numbers game. I hope you and Roger will look back at this years from now and laugh. Many good times to you and your hubby in the future.

Congrats on a great buck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great job on your first Mule Deer buck!!! Very Nice, Enjoyed the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ilene,

Again, congratulations on your very first mule deer.

I really do LOVE the G2's!

 

This year was indeed very tough to hunt the late season up in the Kaibab.

It was just different. With the acorn crop being good this year, and no cold weather or snow, game plans had to change.

I'll say it again, it was TOUGH.

 

You can only imagine the frustrations felt by others that have been up there year after year only to deal with the same circumstances.

Trust me it happens, and it happened this season too.

 

You did good. Good buck and great job taking photos documenting your hunt.

I know you are tallying it up as "lessons learned" and I think we have all taken something away from this late season up there.

 

I am very happy you shared your hunt with us.

We'll get together soon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a great buck by any standard. It is very heart warming to see the passion by which you hunt is also the passion by which you live. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... It is very heart warming to see the passion by which you hunt is also the passion by which you live...

 

Very true.

 

I might add,..Ilene, your words have resonated in several of us here.

I know it isn't easy to always share your feelings and experiences.

A big sincere Thank You.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on a great buck. I think all of us at one time or another have been caught up in the numbers game and for got the reason why we were out there. Glad you were able to find the real you again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed the read and the pictures. Great job on the buck.

 

For the last few yrs I have been caught up in the numbers game and came home empty handed. I grew tired of coming home empty handed and I have since changed. Good luck to you on your spring hunts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roger is a lucky guy!

 

We all get hung up on "TROPHY"

I've drawn a few trophy tags -and have taken a few trophy animals- We all want to fill our tags but i can attest to the "whats he score"bug.

 

they ole - if its not a monster - I'm gonna eat tag soup.- havent gone that far - yet

 

I use to shoot the first buck but after actually taking a "trophy" -it changes you - I've had a lot of tag soup over the yrs.- not so much looking for another trophy but letting some of the little guys grow up.

 

I got a feeling that if I'm lucky enough to draw a Strip tag - I will catch the bug agin.

 

Great write up- congrats on your trophy buck!

 

on my recent wisc deer hunt- I passed on the last day on a 3 " pencil buck - i just couldnt pull the trigger . i had passed on forky's waiting for the big guy known to be around---. heres what i was waiting for!

post-3096-0-97121200-1354808377.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your honesty, openness and ability to reconnect with your true passion for the sport shows us all what a class act and great outdoors person you are! Congrats on a great buck and an honest story with a double sweet ending! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AWESOME ILENE!!! Saw your pic on Jody's face book. What a B E A utiful DEER!!! Love it.

 

I am a big numbers guy myself. After reading your post I think that I will change how I describe my hunting style when people ask me. DOES score play a big role in what I like to shoot "YES". BUT that is not what the entire hunt is to me. I think that is what a lot of people don't understand about some of us trophy hunters. Just because you are after a trophy animal does not mean that the rest of the hunt is not there. I enjoy just seeing wildlife, the views, everything. Getting out in the hills glassing and just absorbing what you see. For me personally killing a deer is not what it is about. This might sound a bit boastful but its not meant that way, its just the way I feel "Killing a deer is easy, and I could kill one pretty much anytime I would like, given I had a tag." Obviously harvesting a deer is a blast. The HARVESTING is a HUGE part of the hunt. But the thrill for me is finding that upper age class animal. Outsmarting an old ancient wise monster buck. Its really difficult, and that is what makes ME to be a trophy hunter. When I actually accomplish that task, it is really rewarding for me. I believe you can be a "trophy" hunter and still enjoy the hunt the same as any other hunter out there. Its more the state of mind that you have while your in God's country.

 

That does not mean that I only like big high scoring animals. I do believe that every animal is a trophy. Look at the excitement in a young persons eyes when they harvest their first deer or elk and its a doe or cow!!! My brother in law shot a spike this year with his bow and you would have thought he had just shot the new world record. I had so much fun on that hunt with him, it will be a memory of mine for the rest of my life that I would not trade for anything. Thats what it is all about in the end. Its mostly a preference and really to each his/her own. I thoroughly enjoy seeing anybody's successful pictures, no matter the score. I get excited when people bring animals to my shop, their stories, their lessons learned, their experiences, its down right AWESOME!!! I might not shoot a deer in the next five years, or ten for that matter, but it does not mean that I will not enjoy the thrill of looking at them. My respect for these animals is something that I cannot explain. And really at the end of the day all that matters is that you are happy with what you have done and that RESPECT for the animals that we harvest never dwindles.

 

Just my 2 cents!!!

 

AGAIN congrats ILENE on your TROPHY. I am really glad you posted your story the way you did. It does bring the true meaning of why we do what we do to light!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×