July/August 2012 EBJ (Issue 72) - How many times do I have to do this before I get it right? I had just blown opportunity number two on a heavy horned three-point, that I had named Hoss. What made it sting even worse was the fact that I lost my rangefinder in the process. Sitting there in my state of depression reminded me why I hunt this hard. I never know when will be the next time I get to bowhunt the great West and the majestic mule deer that call this place home. Since I joined the military I have not hunted in the lower 48. This year was going to be different though; I had a couple extra days of vacation time, allowing me to be home for the hunting season. I was going to be hunting an area that I had never even laid eyes on before. I knew that it was going to be tough and the deer seemed on edge since the last time I hunted them seven years ago. I assumed that’s because of the wolves. Either way, I was there to hunt and I knew I would have to put in the extra effort and work my tail off. I decided that I would set up a spike camp and hunt from there every day; putting me closer to where I was hunting.
Opening day started out very slow. It was a little warm and the rut wasn’t quite going yet. Considering this was an OTC tag, I knew I would have lots of competition from other hunters. My brother and I had not spent much time together since I have been gone, so I figured we should hunt together and maybe he could shoot a wolf. It turned out that all I ended up doing was make my brother think I’m crazy. His words were, "Tyler you must have something wrong with you to work this hard for a deer.” To me that was a badge of honor and I smiled back and said, "Thanks!” It turns out that my brother must have been my lucky charm. We saw lots of bucks and a few that I would have happily wrapped my OTC tag around. We also found a buck that my brother and I named Hoss because he was the king of the mountain. We watched in admiration as he ruled the mountain, beat up a nice 4x4 and took all the does. In doing so he set himself up for a stalk. My brother guided me into where Hoss was bedded, but a couple does that were a mere 10 yards away busted me taking the big buck with them. I now knew that this was the buck I would hunt for the next 10 days.
For a full account of Tyler's adventure, go to page 54 in the July/August 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.