Sterling Donaldson 114 inch buck
After waiting all summer long I finally get to check my results for the Big Game Drawing to hunt deer her in Arizona. And the results are ?????? Unsuccessful….. Well, guess I’ll just have to wait and hopefully get a leftover tag. A month later I did receive a tag for whitetail. Having only hunted the coues whitetail a couple times, and was successful on one, I figured that is was going to be a great challenge this year. So I started to prepare for the hunt by scouting, reloading, practice shooting and truing to get into shape for what I figured would be a tough hunt.
November is finally here and my oldest son and I are out the door and down the road for this exciting time of year. Hunting has always been a big part of my life and this year I was going to try and hold off for my first wall hanger. My son and I have been so pumped up for this hunt we can hardly stand it. My brother, who also got a tag and his son were to meet us out there to continue with our favorite pass time and best tradition that we plan to keep as long as we live.
As the sun starts to light up the sky on opening morning we pull out the binoculars and begin to glass for deer. We spotted some deer and right away my heart starts to pump really fast. My whole body starts shaking and I say to myself, you’ve got to calm down or you’ll never make a shot like this. As it turns out, the buck was too small for me, but my brother was able to a make a short stalk on that buck and shot him at 450 yards. He made a heck of a shot with not much daylight left. The next day we spent all day long trying to find that big buck and at the end of that day we found one over 800 yards away that we thought might go about 95” and my limits were starting to get smaller by the day. So I tried to get a shot on that buck but couldn’t get it done before running out of daylight. My brother and nephew had to go home that night so it was going to be just my son and I for the rest of the hunt.
The next morning, which was day three, didn’t start off to good at all. We woke up late and didn’t get out there until an hour after daylight and when we got to where I wanted to hunt that day there was already someone parked there. In fact, when we got out of the truck we could see seven different trucks that were out there I the same area. I couldn’t believe it, this isn’t good. I told myself, you know what you are going to have to get way back there passed everyone else if you want to get that big buck. So off we went hiking up the mountain and glassing, hiking, glassing, hiking some more and glassing. Finally, about two hours into the hike I looked up and saw a little spike buck at the top of a ridge about 300 yards out. The little buck looked back at us and down the canyon between us, raised his tail, blew a snort and took off. It seemed like there were more deer down there so I got my gun ready and all of the sudden the whole hillside started moving with deer going everywhere. My heart stopped for a beat then started pounding out of my chest. I could feel myself shaking bad. I took a quick look with a naked eye and picked out a buck that looked big and had just a few seconds to find him in the scope, take good aim, and squeeze the trigger the best I could as he ran over the tip of the ridge. The recoil knocked me back and out of the picture and the last I saw of him was going over the top. It sounded like a good hit but just wasn’t sure so we hurried down that deep canyon and back up the other side to see if we could find him. As we approached where I saw him last, I found his tracks where he had run up and over the top, I stopped to look up ahead and there he was all curled up under a tree. “Whoo hooo!!!! I got one.” High fives and a big hug from my son; “We did it dad!” I hadn’t even seen what his horns looked like, I was just so excited and happy that I got one. So after celebrating for a bit, we finally decided to get him out from under the tree and “Holy $#!+ look at him. He’s a nice one.” I was so stoked. My goal was to get a 100” coues buck and I never dreamed of getting a buck like this. I grabbed his huge rack and couldn’t believe it. “I did it! I finally did it!” the shot was a running hard quartered away quickly that hit the mark perfectly. In at the third to last rib, through his heart, liver and lungs through the off shoulder and stuck in his hide on the other side. That nosler 165 gr. 300 win. mag. did the job. The buck grossed 114” and field dressed about 118 lbs. I finally got a buck that is definitely going on the wall. This hunt with my son wont ever be forgotten. We had a great time not to mention some great success.
Story submitted by: Sterling Donaldson