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jwdodge01

The Humbling Buck

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I have grown an addiction to these little "Gray Ghost" and up to this point thought I stood a pretty good chance against them. Little did I know this year was going to be one of the toughest hunts I have ever had the pleasure of enduring.

 

My hunt started with a lot of preseason scouting and helping out a few friends on an earlier hunt. We were able to get some great bucks down and managed to find a giant buck. Unfortunately none of my friends were able to take this buck on their hunt. That left him for the next hunt and possibly my hunt. If I put in my time and was lucky enough I knew I could locate him again. Openning day could not come soon enough! The giant that we had seen had been haunting my dreams every night and made it even harder to focus on work and packing for the hunt.

 

My Dad and I made it to our camp around 10:00 am the day before the hunt, got everything set up, and headed for the hills. We turned up a good buck right out of the gate, but we still need to check on "Splits"(the giant buck). We get to our glassing spot and all we could turn up were does. We glassed until it was to dark to see and we then made our way back to camp to meet up with our hunting buddies. We sat around the fire, ate dinner and made our game plans for the morning.

 

After a restless night thinking about where "Splits" had dissapeared to, my alarm goes off, I jump out of bed, get ready, and head to my glassing spot with my Dad. We waited for the sun to come up so we could start finding deer. After glassing all morning and only turning up does we took our lunch and headed to another spot for the evening. It was a good day spent with my Dad but all we were able find were does.

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The second day found us on the same ridge glassing the same country as the morning before. This time we were able to locate "Splits" and another buck feeding on a far off ridge with a wall of rock just below them. It was going to be tricky to get to them but I knew i had to find a way! I left my Dad on the hill to keep an eye on them and I made the long hike over to the bucks. After a scary climb up a 15 foot rock face I found myself within 200 yards of the bucks. I wasn't able to locate them so I called my Dad on the radio and he said they bedded down about 70 yards from where I had seen them last. After sitting on them for two hours I couldn't take it anymore. I snuck to the last place I had seen them and a doe busts me. I thought the gig was up but the bucks just stayed put. I still couldn't see them but I knew they were there somewhere. I grabbed a rock to throw to try and get them to move out to the other side of the draw. Before I even released the rock I heard a rustling below me and it had to be the bucks making their way out of the top end of the draw. I ran up the ridge parallel to them to try and get a shot and just as I get clear of the first tree I can see "Splits" and the other buck. I pulled up my rifle and get on him but he turns and only offers me a "Texas Heart Shot" as him and the other buck skyline then dissapear over the ridge for good.

 

The next five days were the toughest days to endure. We were able to glass nothing but does. My Dad and I hiked and hiked and hiked some more. Still no bucks.

scenery3-1.jpgPicture of my dad out hiking (56 with a 25 year old sun, lets just say he was worn out)

 

I was ready to give up after the morning hunt on Thursday and my Dad didn't seem to have any problem with that lol. We got back to camp feeling defeated, worn, and tired. We sat around trying to rest up. I told my Dad we have to give it one more try. So we headed out to a place we call 3 O'clock ridge for one last try. We call it 3 O'clock ridge because there are always deer on it at 3 in the afternoon.

 

We get there just in time to see some does up and feeding. We watched them for about 30 minutes and then they fed over the top. We followed them over as quietly as possible. When we got to the top we set up to glass and before I could get my tripod set up a buck jumps up out of the draw below me. I run around the top to get a shot at him as he came up the other side. I see him making his way up the top and tell my dad to range him. He yells out 375 so I put the 400 yard mark on him and squeez the trigger. Dad "HIGH YOU SHOT HIGH"! Me "Range him again"! Dad "I can't he's in the trees"! Me "How far will he be when he gets out?" Dad "475-500"! I dial my turrets for 500 try to get set up on my bipod but the terrain wouldn't allow me to use it. The buck runs out right were my dad had just ranged, I took a deep breath put the crosshairs right behind the sholder, and squeezed. The buck was in mid-stride when the bullet made impact and it knocked him clean off his feet but I couldn't see due to the recoil of the rifle. All I could see was a cloud of dust and thought I missed again. That's when my Dad said "You Dropped Him!"

 

It was preety much dark by the time we made it over to my buck so we took a few pictures, threw him in my pack and made our way out. This was the most humbling deer hunt I have ever been on. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel the lord decided to bless me with this great buck!

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All though he isn't the giant I was after he is still a trophy in my eyes. I have a new found respect for these hardy little deer and I can't wait for next years adventure!

 

Sorry for the long read I hope you all enjoy!

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Congratulations! Any Coues buck is a trophy, as long as he is taken in fair chase. You'll remember that one for the rest of your life.

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Great deer! Thanks for the story! Congradulations!!

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nice job and good write up. Do you have any photos of splits? What does he look like?

 

I don't have any pictures of him. He is a heavy, long, bladed 3x3 with split G2s. Im guessing he is in the 20s

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Congratulations on your success.

Here is to you finding "Splits" next year!

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It is always special to hunt just one deer, it can be pretty frustrating also. That's a pretty nice buck you "settled" for. Thanks for posting the nice write up, congratulations on taking a nice buck.

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