As I peeked over the edge and around the brush there was nothing there… There were still several feet of ground rising in front of me but it was obvious that the deer had moved. The strange thing is I would have bet when they moved they would have come over the edge toward me heading to a spring that was just below me coming out of the hill side. So much for the best laid plans…
I started trying to act like a real slow moving rock and crawled on up the hill with very little cover toward where the deer had to have gone. As I topped out I brought my binocs up and sure enough a couple of smaller bucks broke out 40 yards to my left and went bouncing up the hill in a panic. This is where I start liking the mulie rut, I hurried on over the hill to look into the next draw and there was so much chaos and confusion that the rest of the herd hadn’t even noticed the two little guys bounding up the hill. Sure enough the rest of the herd was bunched and milling around a hundred yards away.
It was obvious that one particular doe was in heat as the big guy just wouldn’t leave her alone unless it was to charge after one of the other bucks when they got too close. I’d been in this situation before and knew that that one doe was the key to success. To “my” buck at that time nothing else in the world mattered. I eased on in trusting in my camo and slow movements to keep from being busted. At 70 or 80 yards I figured I’d pushed my luck far enough and just hunkered down to wait.
In the next hour I almost talked myself into sneaking back out several times but was enjoying the show and it’s impossible to know when Lady Luck might choose to smile on you. I didn’t have much longer to wait when the doe either decided she’d had enough or was just looking for some privacy and headed down the draw below me. Of course Mr. Buck was right behind her. The doe led him across to my right around a small boulder covered mound. As soon as they went out of sight I jumped up intending to get around the opposite side of the mound and head them off at close range but when I got there they were nowhere to be seen. The most likely place they went was over the edge onto the steep slope I’d come up earlier so I moved as quickly and quietly to the edge as I could.
Sure enough as I looked over both stood broadside only 20 yards away. I brought up my bow and let fly at what should have been a gimme but never took into consideration the steep downhill angle. I couldn’t believe it as I watched the arrow zip right over his shoulder into the brush below. Both deer bounded to my right not realizing what was going on and stopped again at around 30 yards and looking up the hill. The buck was still broadside and it felt right so I drew back again trying to bear down a little better this time. I watched at the Grzzly tipped arrow zipped thru him at the perfect elevation but just at the back of the rib cage. The wind was gusting across the hill from right to left and had carried the arrow 6” or so from where I was aiming. Both deer bolted up the hill passing me again not 20 yards away heading back toward the main herd.
They both went into the draw then the doe came out the far side but not the buck, I eased up just in time to see him bedding down in the heavy sage brush on the far side. I hunkered down for a while and watched not being able to see anything but his horn tips as his head laid flat down on the ground. I was hoping for a liver hit so sat for 20 minutes or so then circled around to get the wind and put me where I could sneak up on his hiding spot. It probably took another 20 minutes to ease up within seven or eight steps of him with an arrow on the string. I slowly rose up from a crouched position drawing at the same time intending to get another arrow in him if it was needed. Things happened fast in the next three seconds as all of a sudden his head swung around and he bolted out of his bed. I raised the bow, let fly and was disgusted to see my arrow bury into the dirt just under his chest. I just stood there kicking myself as he bounded away thru the sage.
He slowed and quickly bedded again a hundred yards away acting like I wasn’t even on the same mountain. It was obvious he was hurt badly and once down in the sage was out of sight so I immediately started stalking his new location again. I put one of the big three blade VPAs on the string and quickly moved in. He was bedded facing me this time and had his head up looking around but it was still behind enough sage that apparently he couldn’t see me. At ten yards I stood and waited for several minutes hoping he’d put his head down so I could raise up to get a shot down into his vitals but he just kept staring off to where I’d been earlier. I finally found a hole thru the sage that I figured I could get an arrow thru. I slowly drew focusing on the hole and watched as for the first time all day my arrow hit exactly where I wanted.
The buck exploded out of his bed with the arrow buried in his throat. He went over the edge heading down the steep slope again. I ran to the edge and got there just in time to see his nose plow into the snow as he slid to a halt facing down the hill.
After almost five hours since the beginning of the stalk it was finally time to breath a sigh of relief. I’m sorry to say it wasn’t one of the best days of shooting I’d experienced but it was very satisfying having the buck on the ground after a being laid up most of the fall and the long stalk had come to a positive end.
Thanks for following along and hope you enjoyed my story…
-------------------- Life is wonderful in Montana!! "BEING CHALLENGED IN LIFE IS INEVITABLE. BEING DEFEATED IS OPTIONAL." ABS Journeyman Knifesmith Doug's Photo Album, Posts: 7117 | From: SW Montana | Registered: Mar 2003
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Congrats Doug, hope your recovery speeds right along.
-------------------- "People say you can't go back, its like when you get to the edge of a cliff and you take one more step forward or you do a 180 degree turn and take one more step forward. Which way are you going? Which one is progress?" Doug Tompkins Posts: 2045 | From: Ozark, Missouri | Registered: Oct 2006
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