September/October 2012 EBJ (Issue 73) - Last year started a new challenge in mule deer hunting. I went on my first archery hunt with a friend, Dillon Ham, and watched him harvest a nice buck. It placed a whole new set of goals in my mind. I wanted to get that close to a mule deer and play the hunting chess game with them.
I was fortunate enough to receive a bow for Christmas and from that day on it was time to get familiar with the bow and practice, practice, practice. The time had finally come to put in for tags then the long wait for results. Dillon and I were lucky enough to draw archery tags and the chase was on. I had many things going on so Dillon spent most of the summer scouting old and new areas. With so many deer spotted, I was very excited for the season to roll around.
Finally, our season was here and to our bad fortune we had to miss the first two weeks due to work. This only built up my anticipation and nervousness. The day finally came and we headed out late on a Thursday afternoon to a new area that had showed a lot of promise during scouting.
The next morning found us scouring the basins for deer but the morning was slow. As we headed out we decided to check one more basin. When we reached the top of the ridge, we jumped three bucks and decided to see were they had gone. We walked around the edge of the basin and Dillon had spotted three bucks and a doe under a rock ledge. The game was on. We circled around and were able to get right on top of them at seven yards. Dillon was hunting with a recurve, so this would be a perfect opportunity for him. There was an opening in the rock ledge that exposed one buck’s body. We crept up to the opening and let his arrow fly, and the shot was true. We had filled one tag, and it was the first time I had seen someone shoot a buck with traditional equipment. This was also his first animal with his recurve.
The next few days were uneventful with a few blown stalks and since we didn’t see many deer, we packed up and headed to a new area. Monday morning found us up early looking for deer. We had spotted three bucks and were watching them to see were they would bed. Dillon decided to go look in another canyon to spot for deer. About 20 minutes later, he came back to where I was keeping an eye on three bucks and said, "Grab your stuff, I found a better buck.” We were off and looking through the spotting scope to see which way he was going. The buck was feeding along the shady side of the canyon. We thought we knew were he was headed so we took off to intercept the buck. As we worked our way down, we would stop and peek over the edge to see were he was, then we spotted a rock ledge that he was heading toward, so we made our way down.
For a full account of Arturo's adventure, go to page 62 in the September/October 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.