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Big City Buck

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I've been a part of this site for a while and have spent most of that time looking for a deal or reading about someone else's hunt story. (This was when I wasn't out chasing every buck I could find around with my bow.) I don't have an epic story here but I figured I'd contribute given how much I've enjoyed your all's stories.

It's been a few years in the making, but I'll keep it to this year. I've spent just about every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning (other than around the holidays) since mid December in the hills chasing deer around home. Around home is near Prescott (I'm typically in 17B or 20C). I had missed three shots already this season. One being about 10yds (held at my 20pin and shot high after bumping an oddly curious buck while I was looking for a decent glassing spot on the side of a hill), the 2nd being at 70yds (just low on one of the nicest bucks I've ever gotten close to) and the last being at 50yds just this past Friday (came down with a real case of buck fever here after the stars absolutely aligned when a doe brought a buck in on a string to 50 from 250yds). Not considering my shooting performance, I was completely satisfied with the season and could have given it up for the year after how much fun I'd had. 


(Here's the nice buck I missed low on at 70)


(3x2 with the doe that brought him right below me at 50)

I'm typically out by myself, but every now and then (especially when they've got a javelina tag) a friend or two will come up and hunt with me in the spots I've found around home. We always get on deer and have a blast. While in the meantime, one of them is telling me about how he hunts 10min from his home in Phoenix and always sees bucks and how I have to come down and have to hunt with him sometime. I always shrugged this off, not because I didn't want to hunt with him, but because I couldn't imagine missing a weekend hunting at home as opposed to within city limits. All I could picture was getting smug looks from hikers and sitting on a hillside wondering why I came down to this place where there are no deer.

After missing a shot Friday morning and not seeing a buck Saturday, I decided to make the trip to Phoenix and hang out with them. They're big UFC fans, I was really going down there to have a good time Saturday night and spend Sunday morning with buddies in the field. We got up Sunday morning, drove 5 minutes before getting a call from by buddy's buddy who we were meeting at the trailhead that we'd been beaten to the spot. A father and son were planning to be on the exact glassing spot that we were planning on posting up on. I never, ever, never have this problem around home. I've come across one other group of hunters while actually hunting around Prescott this season. I was already wishing I was a couple hours away. We go a mile down the road and find this puny pile of rocks that barely allowed us to see out into the smallest, flattest chunk of ground I can remember ever hunting. I can glass up a 4 lane road and a golf course not too far in the distance (turned out to be a mile away). This spot supposedly had deer shuffling in and out all morning the day before.

I am really looking forward to a nap at this point, the sun had just come up and I have already glassed everything we could hunt 10 times by 7:45. Not to mention I was really feeling the night before. I was giving a spot one last look before I was planning on laying back and seeing my luck at a nap when I can't believe my eyes. I see a deer feeding on a little knob a mile away, 200yds from the road I had mentioned. The deer feeds its way into an opening, limping terribly and I see the glimmer of a rack. It's a buck, I'm really dreaming now. My buddy's buddy tells me to get after him, I'm relieved because I was the new guy here and wasn't sure what protocol was and how it's decided who goes after the first buck. We typically draw straws when I host and take turns stalking after that. I keep my mouth shut and appreciate the comment.

We watch him work into a thicket and not come out, figuring he bedded down. About 8:30 I start the easy hike towards the knob. The other hunters in the area were looking around the corner and couldn't have picked up the buck, I was in no hurry given the amount of people within a square mile of us. The wind's perfect, I worked around the side of the knob and come up around the backside in my socks. I traveled a little further down the ridge than I was planning on and didn't see the buck where I thought it was going to be. Right before I back down to travel further down and pop back over the ridge, I see the buck looking right at me 45yds away. I thought it was over. I dropped slowly to my belly and watched his head through a bush, he was onto something but didn't have me pinned. 

After about 30min I decided that I was in a terrible spot to stand and shoot from so I slowly back down the other side and come back over where I'd have some cover between me and the buck. I'm able to get back to 45yds with cover, then 35, then 30yds sitting behind a bush. The buck was still facing where I had originally come over the ridge but he didn't pick me up and had even put his chin to the ground napping for a bit and that really allowed me to slip in close. The wind was still perfect, but I could see one of the buck's eyeballs and had no more cover to try and get a shot at him in his bed. It just wasn't possible. I ran every scenario that I could come up with to make a move on him but I was in a good spot as long as the wind held up and didn't see any of my moves working out.

I'm behind this bush, it's now noon. It's been 3 hours since I had first seen the buck at 45 yards. I'm texting my buddy how sorry I am because they're just sitting there watching me, watching the buck, watching me, watching the buck. It had to be excruciatingly boring for them. I was having a hard time myself, I couldn't find a position where my back wasn't just killing me, but there's nothing more fun than being close to a buck like that. 


(My view of the buck from 30yds through my bush through my 10's)



(The buck from 30yds as I peek around the bush)

I kept giving myself deadlines for when I'd have to make a move because I could envision the wind shifting, and him getting up and taking off in the blink of an eye. I let several of these deadlines come and go. At the 3 hour mark, I was really getting itchy and was feeling the pressure. My buddy's buddy had a million ideas of what I could've done, I heard each one of them after the fact. But I kept peeking around the bush and remembering how close I really was and could picture myself screwing everything up. Nothing compared to him getting up and shifting beds or getting a mid day snack like I've seen thousands of deer do before. But this buck wouldn't budge, as you can see in the picture he's in the hot Phoenix sun and had been for hours at this point.

12:30 comes around and I'm fidgeting around, laying down, sitting back up, closing my eyes, opening them. I have my head down and all of a sudden sense the buck's movement. He's standing up staring right at me in this bush that I'd been in for 2+ hours. Something changed, it wasn't the wind, but this buck was onto me. The bush I was behind wasn't the best cover so I didn't want to stand and draw with him looking right at me. He takes a few steps, positions his body right towards me and stares again. I stay still, drawing back while all I could see was his chest wasn't going to do me any good. This goes on for a couple minutes. Then, he drops his head and takes a few steps to the side, maybe trying to work downwind of me and ends up walking broadside to me. I crouch up, draw back, figure he's still around 30. He stops when he sees me come up over the bush and looks at me broadside. I let it fly. And the sound of that arrow hitting its mark was the sweetest sound I've ever heard and don't think I'll ever forget it. 

He turns the opposite direction, runs several yards obviously wounded and slows down around 80yds away. He works into some thick stuff and I don't see him come out. He was going down. I couldn't believe that all that time I'd spent driving myself insane behind that bush had paid off. My buddies come hiking down, the dad of one of my friends comes out to meet us from home. He waits for us in the car for a while, not wanting to get stuck with a bag of meat for the hike out. But it was okay, he had cold beer and sandwiches waiting for us. 



(Not a bad first buck)


(Me with the buddy that brought me to his spot. He has yet to take a buck out of this place. But we're even, he took a good buck in my favorite spot back home in October)


(Post 5min pack out celebrating with a few cold ones)


I've been hunting deer with a bow for about 5 years now and still can't believe the way it all came together. Not even close to how I had ever pictured it. 


  • Like 15
  • Great Buck! 1

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Funny how the situation you've been day dreaming about for several years becomes boring just 30 yards away from your quarry. Patience pays. Good story, great buck, and an even better friend you have. 


Enjoy the wait 'til next year! 

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Congrats on your archery buck man!  Sometimes its best to just wait them out like that.  

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Awesome first buck.

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