Good Return on Investment

By Justin Starck
Nevada & Wyoming, DIY, Public Land

Good Return on Investment - Justin StarckJuly/August 2013 EBJ (Issue 78) - Friday evening after work, my brother Ethan came to pick me up for our first ever Nevada mule deer hunt. Neither of us had ever hunted outside of our home states of Wyoming and Colorado. Because we were unable to physically get to Nevada to scout, all of our scouting was done via Google Earth. Even after extensive amounts of time on the Internet, we were still unsure of which particular area we were going to hunt.

With our gear packed and loaded, we headed out for a night of driving to Nevada. During our breakfast stop the next day, it was finally time for us to choose a trailhead. Once again relying on Google Earth, and the additional help of topo maps, we agreed on an area. When we arrived at the chosen trailhead, my suspicions were confirmed; there were a lot of hunters with our same idea. With a lot of country available to hunt, we figured we could get past most of the other hunters.

"We may have to go a bit further than we originally thought,” I told Ethan.

With all the activity, the trailhead drainage wasn’t an option for us. We hiked to the second and then the third drainage and found more hunters and hunting parties, including a drop camp with horses. The third drainage looked promising, but was unfortunately not big enough for everyone there to hunt. With the day getting short, we made our way to the fourth drainage. We found only one camp here that we were sure had hunters but decided it was time to set up camp.

That evening, as light faded, I spotted a four-point buck in the next drainage. He was weak on his back forks, but I still qualified him as a shooter. There was too much ground to cover for the night, so all I could do was hope he would be there the next day.

We woke early the next morning and packed camp. We made it to our glassing spot and much to my surprise, the buck was still there. I could tell he was in no hurry to bed, so I spent an hour or so looking for other bucks. While spotting for other bucks, Ethan and I kept tabs on the shooter buck to see where he would bed up for the day.

Eventually, we saw the buck disappear into a thick group of trees and willows, but never saw him exit. Ethan offered to stay at our glassing location while I took off to skirt around the ridge, so I could stalk in from above. The climb was far from easy, but in a short time I was stalking the last hundred yards in my socks. I got in above the buck and scanned the thick willows after every step. Nothing. Three more times I came onto the cliff above where I thought the buck should be and still nothing. He must have snuck out without us seeing him, I thought.

Good Return on Investment - Justin Starck

For a full account of Justin's adventure, go to page 48 in the July/August 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.