September/October 2011 EBJ (Issue 67) - After countless days of scouting, it was finally opening day of the Idaho archery season and Rick set out to harvest a respectable 3x4 he had seen numerous times before.
As pre-dawn faded and legal light came about, we spotted the buck feeding high on the hillside. We decided he would circle down the ridge and angle in from above the buck and I would hold tight and use hand signals to help guide him in, if the buck had moved from where he was browsing.
Fifteen minutes later, Rick had finally reached the top of the ridge where we had last seen the buck. He looked over to me and I signaled that the buck had fed farther down the ridge and was feeding up the steep draw. While Rick was stalking through the tall sage, I watched the buck through my spotting scope as he fed around the drainage and out of sight. I quickly gathered my backpack and spotting scope and ran to the highest rock pile across the canyon from the buck to see if I could relocate him.
Ten more minutes had passed and Rick looked over to get more directions to close the gap. I signaled with my arm that the buck had fed around the ridge. Rick disappeared 30 yards above where the buck had left my sight. Now it was completely in Rick’s hands; all I could do was sit back and peer through my binos for any sign of the buck.
A few more minutes had passed when I saw six does running out of the top of the draw; I figured the game was over. In fact, I was just about ready to put my binos down when I suddenly saw the buck trotting across the hillside to the left. The buck stopped and turned around, looking in Rick’s direction, and then fell to the ground. I couldn’t believe it! Rick put the hammer down on the buck on his first stalk.
I gathered up my gear and made my way over to Rick, who was standing over the top of a 30-inch buck. After congratulating him on his flawless stalk and great trophy, we joked about how it would be pretty tough to kill a bigger buck than the one that lay on the ground in front of us.
With the morning still young, I convinced Rick that we should go glass for a while and see if we could put a buck to bed. After cleaning Rick’s giant and cooling it in the shade, we made our way over to another secluded basin. We were perched up high, scanning a sage-filled canyon where we had regularly watched several nice bucks that call the rimrock canyon walls home.
After about ten minutes of gazing through my binos, I had to stop and rest my eyes for a minute. The lack of sleep, high winds and brutal glassing regime was taking its toll on my already worthless eyesight.
After resting my eyes, I picked up my binos and started to pick apart the drainage below. Almost immediately, Rick spotted velvet tines sticking above the olive sage. After a short evaluation, I could tell the buck was worth the short stalk. I began to slip off my boots and slide on my brown wool socks. Rick and I decided I would drop down into the canyon while he stayed put and watched through his spotting scope in case the buck moved his bed. The stalk was on.
For a full account of Travis's adventure, go to page 18 in the September/October 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.