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Persistence paid off... Updated with STORY AND MORE PICTURES

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Well I was able to fill my 2015 archery tag this morning. Had one of the best mornings of hunting I have ever experienced! Pics and full story to come soon...


Here he is...

I feel truly blessed to have taken a buck of this caliber! I don't have time to write the full story tonight but hopefully I will have some time tomorrow... Good luck to all of those still trying to outwit these shifty critters!


A lot of people have been asking about the story of this buck so I will do my best to portray what I experienced these past three days of hunting.

The story starts about a month before the opening day of the 2015 archery deer season. My Dad and I were looking for a new place to hunt deer come January, so we would have the opportunity at finding bucks worth ending our 2015 season so early on. I had looked at maps for hours and had a couple of spots picked to check out. We scouted a few of the spots and put a trail cam or two out but for whatever reason neglected this spot. One day when I got off work a little early I decided to run to this spot we would later end up calling the "Cow Palace" because of the crazy number of cows that call this bowl home... This spot is in a unit that is hunted hard but is about a mile and a half in. Once I made the hike in that afternoon I only had about an hour of light left to glass. Immediately I found some does and then a small three point and then something really caught my attention. About 1000 yards away I glassed some does that had what looked to be a giant buck with them. I studied the buck and he ended up being a non-typical 5x5 with about a 30" spread. We elected to call this buck "Moose" because when I showed my mom a very blurry video the first thing she said was "Wow that thing looks like a moose!". I left that afternoon with high hopes for the area. Later my Dad and I found a morning to sneak away to the "Cow Palace". We had a fantastic trip and saw more than 30 deer and around 7 bucks. We weren't able to locate "Moose" but we did find another shooter buck we named "Good Looking". He was a typical 4x4 with great fronts that we thought would push the 160"-165" mark. After this scouting trip we had decided that our best bet of wrapping one of our 2015 archery deer tags on a mature deer was indeed in the "Cow Palace".

Now for the hunt! We had decided we would hunt the first three days of the season in the "Cow Palace". Opening day greeted us with 2.5"-3" of snow which made it impossible to get to where we normally park and start our hike from. We had to add about a third of a mile to our hike and decided to walk in slow and hunt our way in to the "Cow Palace". Long story short we had a great opening day seeing a good number of deer and one possible shooter that we got 117 yards from. Along with seeing a lot of deer, we saw a lot of people. Luckily all of the people we saw were only about half as far in as we were.

We stuck to the plan and headed back to the "Cow Palace" for day two. With a fair amount of snow on the roads and the ground frozen we were able to make it to our normal parking spot which was nice and allowed us to be in the "Cow Palace" in plenty of time. The morning hunt was kind of a bust and the frozen ground made it extremely hard to stay quiet. We were able to again find plenty of deer and bucks but nothing I was willing to shoot that morning. We headed back to the truck to grab some lunch and shoot the bows a little before heading out that afternoon. While eating lunch we had the pleasure of meeting CWT member, Olmos1010, He is a stand up guy. We started our hike in and didnt get 150 yards before running into Olmos1010. He had just hammered a good 4x4. We were able to help him pull his buck up to the top of the hill and snap some pictures for him. After the pictures and congratulations we were headed back to the "Cow Palace". That afternoon started out very slow. We hadn't seen a thing when my Dad finally glassed up a deer about a mile away that had a big dark body. It turned out to be a solid buck so we watched him and it looked like he bedded in some thick mesquites so we were off to the races. We finally made it to where we thought he was and after glassing we couldn't find him. Just then he busted not 75 yards away...kind of a sad way to end day two. Oh ya, and we saw a lot more people and even a couple hunters that made it all the way back to the edge of the "Cow Palace".

So day three was a little different. My Dad couldn't come out on day three due to family being in town. I was struggling with where to hunt. We had seen a lot of deer and bucks in the "Cow Palace" but a lot of people were showing up and we had really only seen one for sure shooter... I toyed with the idea of going to a spot that hardly anyone hunts and has low deer numbers but has quality bucks if you find them. Then I thought that eventually if we keep hunting "Cow Palace" there will be a hot doe and the big boys will show themselves. So the morning of day three I found myself sitting in my truck waiting for it to get just light enough to walk in without a flash light. As I sat there listening to a little country music and scrolling through the CWT forums...I couldn't help but think how much I wanted my Dad to be there to be a part of it if I was able to get it done. It had finally got about the time to leave, so I got all my stuff ready to head out. Just before making the hike in I went to relieve my self like I always do. When I went to buckle my pants back up, my belt buckle completely broke. I couldn't believe it. While hiking in I felt like I was some thug sagging my pants. I also noticed while hiking in other than how much it sucked that I had to keep pulling my pants up that again the frozen ground was very noisy and that stalking a buck was not going to be easy. I finally made it to my glassing knoll and not even 3 minutes into glassing I found 3 bucks playing around with a group of 5 or so does. I could tell at least one of the does was pretty hot by the way the bucks acted. There were no shooter bucks but I decided to try and get as close to those deer as possible in case a big boy showed up. The deer were about 600 yards away and when I made it about half way I noticed a deer coming down the hill to my right. It was a buck that looked a lot like "Good Looking". He was coming down the hill towards the other deer in the flat. I hustled to try and get in between him and the deer to get a shot at him. As I was closing the gap I would occasionally glass to keep tabs on him. He had made it about 150 yards down the hill when I saw that he met up with another group of deer. What I was able to witness next was truly amazing. I was within 200 yards of a group of 13 deer, 6 of those being bucks. Two of the bucks in the group dwarfed the 4x4 I thought was "Good Looking" but wasn't. These 2 bucks were incredible. One was 32" 4x4 with good fronts and weak backs. His right main beam also drooped down at the end. He quickly got the name "Droopy". The other buck had too many points to count and looked like he had a tree on his head. He was later named the "Candlestick buck". I decided that which ever buck gave me a shot opportunity first, if either, was going to get an Ulmer Edge through him. These 2 bucks were very rutted up. I was able to watch "Droopy" breed a doe and the "Candlestick buck" destroy a tree not 20 yards away. I also watched a smaller buck chase 2 does harder than I have ever seen a deer chase. With all of the rutting action it was actually somewhat easy to close the distance to 100 yards. At this point I was 100 yards from "Droopy" but couldn't locate "Candlestick". As I tried to get closer one of "Droopy's" does busted me and they started to go around the hill to the left. I quickly followed trying to chase them down as quiet as possible which was not easy with falling pants, going under a fence, and frozen ground. I got a little careless as I was trying to hurry when I noticed a doe about 80 yards up ahead of me had me pinned. I quickly scanned around her when I noticed "Candlestick" a few yards to her left. I decided it was now or never. I walked straight towards them. "Candlestick" had his head behind a palo verde tree but the doe was locked onto me. I got to where I ranged the doe at 63 yards and waited. I dialed my 3 pin slider to 63 yards and took a step to the left...just then "Candlestick" came out. I ranged him twice both times being 61 yards. At this point he was staring right at me and knew something wasn't right so I drew and did my best to settle my pin on his vitals. To say I was a little shaky is an understatement. I tried to calm myself down and when I saw the pin dancing on his vitals I let it fly. I watched in horror as the arrow went left of its mark and hit "Candlestick" in the neck. My fear of not making a good shot was quickly diminished when I saw a lot of blood instantly spray everywhere. Deer went in every direction and I quickly got up to where he was standing when I shot him. I glassed the direction he ran hoping to watch him go down. I glassed up "Droopy" with all the does but no sign of "Candlestick". Just then I heard something to my right and not 30 yards away "Candlestick" was down. I was lucky to say the least and hit his artery, which caused him to die within a few seconds. He didn't make it 40 yards from where I shot him.

Here is where it gets real good. I called my Dad to let him know I had killed a buck and needed some help packing him the 1.5 miles out. He asked me how big since he knew I was holding out, so I told him I shot a decent 4x4 that was in the 140"-150" range.

He was proud like any Dad would be and as soon as he got done eating breakfast with the relatives he headed my way. I had to picked him up as the SUV he was in couldn't make it to where we park. So I admired "Candlestick" for a little bit, took some pictures' and pulled him into some shade. (I know a lot of people will say I should have gutted him or skinned him but I wanted some quality pictures but most of all I wanted my Dad to be able to see this buck how he was). So I met up with my Dad and while driving back to where we hike in from I recounted everything like it happened only I shot a very decent 4x4 and not one of the big boys. We got the packs ready with only what we needed to cut him up and pack him out with. I told my Dad once we got on the hill that he was on not to look at the base of any trees but to follow me and I would walk him through where I shot the deer, follow the blood trail, and then he could see the buck. As we got really close to where he was I noticed three hunters standing by the tree the deer was down at and I felt sck to my stomach. One of them started walking up to me and I quickly asked if they had found a dead deer. He said yes and I let him know that it was mine. They turned out to be great guys. The one guy that came up to me started to congratulate me on killing a "Monster Buck". I told him to be quite since I was still trying to surprise my Dad haha. Luckily my Dad didn't hear. I was still able to walk my Dad through the shot and where he ran and then died. Then I went over to the buck, pointed to "Candlestick" and said "what do you think?". He looked at me and said "You punk! Are you kidding me!" His face was indeed priceless. It is a moment that will forever be etched in my memory. We talked to the three hunters for a little, wished them good luck, and then it was time to take some pictures, really admire the buck, and get him cut up and packed out.

I have to give a shout out to "Shenk Knives". If you are in the market for a new knife check these guys out. They are outstanding people and make an incredible product!

It was not an easy pack out but it was made a little easier every time I caught a glimpse of the shadow from "Candlestick's" antlers in front of me!! I have been told by a lot of people that "I should just quit while I am ahead". "That I will never kill another buck like this". I have thought a lot about these statements and realized two things. One, no matter how big a deer is it really isn't about the size of the antlers. It is about the chase. The adrenaline that flows through you when you are in range of an animal. The people you are with and meet along the journey. But most of all, the memories created that will last a lifetime....and Two, those statements will just drive me to work, train, and hunt harder.

Again I feel truly blessed to have been able to take an animal of this caliber. I am thankful I was able to experience it with my Dad! I feel humbled beyond belief and even more motivated for the future!

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.












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