September/October 2011 EBJ (Issue 67) - It began with numerous pre-season scouting trips. I first laid eyes on this enormous mule deer while it was still in velvet and I knew this was the buck I wanted to hunt during archery season. After sizing him up, I knew that he was extremely close to the Montana typical Pope and Young record.
I watched the buck on several occasions throughout his velvet growth. Finally, after counting the days until archery season, my hunting partner, Mike, and I headed up the rugged terrain with bows in hand. It was the day before archery season opened when we arrived at the buck’s summering area. We set up camp and went straight to glassing.
After a few hours, we spotted the buck that we came for and watched him the rest of the day. The next morning we spotted him again, but couldn’t get a stalk on him all day, so we watched him and his comrades bed down. It was time to make the stalk, but the weather was not cooperating.
We went after Mike’s buck first, because my buck went into a big patch of timber and we were going to try to ambush him when he came back out to feed later that evening. We started our three-hour stalk on his buck, but when we finally got into position for a 35-yard shot, the wind switched and we got busted.
We took some time to regroup and then went to set up on my buck. A few hours later, we finally arrived at the game trail where my buck went into the timber. After waiting three long hours, I noticed a deer feeding straight toward us just 100 yards away. I pulled up my binoculars and realized it was him! My heart jumped and I began to shake. He was heading straight toward us, and it felt like it took days before he finally was within bow range. Unfortunately, I had to let him walk because the light was fading quickly.
On the second day, I spotted him again, attempted another stalk, but unfortunately Mother Nature beat me once again. Now, after three more attempts and several days invested into this deer, I was back on him yet again. I watched him bed down in a small clump of trees in some cliffs, and began the steep trek up the mountain.
When I arrived close to his location, I stopped to take off my shoes and drop my pack. I started to slowly move the direction I thought could give me a shot, but the area he had bedded was too thick to see into.
After hours attempting every angle, I trudged back to my pack for some water. I sat down dejected and believing the hunt was over. Then I thought to myself, "Why does he like that spot so much?”
For a full account of Lucas's adventure, go to page 36 in the September/October 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.