Worth the Risk

By Billy Jensen

Worth the RiskBilly Jensen
Utah, 2009, DIY, Public Land

Now at full draw, I am completely focused on placing the pin precisely where I want the broadhead to make impact. I slowly apply pressure to the release and the arrow is in flight. The results are beautiful - multiple arrows with broadheads have flown true and are well placed on the target. My equipment is dialed in and now I am ready to hunt. I find confidence knowing that if given that chance of a lifetime the odds will be in my favor...

I had been watching a buck I refer to as “The Backs Buck” due to his unusually large back forks. It started when I was in the area looking for a different buck. Conditions were poor as rain clouds settled in, but I glassed the few places I could see. I started to glass some rocky faces for mountain goats and was surprised when I saw two deer. Zooming the scope, I saw two small bucks and then some movement below them. It was another buck - definitely bigger than the first two - but he quickly stepped into the trees and was gone.

Ninety minutes later I spotted him in the shade, feeding toward the sun. He turned his head and I immediately realized that this buck had the biggest back forks I had ever seen. After 30 minutes, he walked back into the trees.

After watching him for a few days, I knew I needed to get a closer look. I climbed to a cliff across from him and to my surprise, he had much larger front forks than I first thought. I now knew that this buck was big and it was time to make a plan.

I had hiked every day for a week to watch the buck from a mile and a half away and take notes on his every move, but I didn’t know if I could get to his location. I had been on many backcountry bowhunts in the past, but this terrain was so steep and rocky that it made me nervous. I determined two possible routes up the steep mountain. My plan was to get above the roughest section of the climb and make a base camp the day before the hunt started. From there I would be able to move up to hunt the buck each day and descend down to camp each night.

The afternoon before the hunt my friend Taylor and I put our packs on and started the climb to base camp. Our goal was to get there so we could ambush the buck first thing the next morning. Taylor wanted to come along not to hunt, but for the overall experience and to help. Taylor and I have had many hunts together and I was glad he could make it.

Worth the Risk

For a full account of Billy's adventure, go to page 22 in the July/August 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.