Arizona, 2008, DIY, Public Land
Coues’ deer are my passion, perhaps a result of chasing them for years in the area where I grew up. The area is a draw-only hunt, so it’s an annual battle with anticipation, hoping I’ll get the privilege of hunting them.
Just the previous year I had taken a great 4x4 that scored 103 B&C – the biggest in all my years of pursuing them. I was fortunate enough to draw the unit again the next year, and wasting no time, I began to scout immediately. My goal, reachable or not, was to find a buck that would make that magical 110-inch mark.
On my first scouting trip, I spotted a monster 4x4. He had good mass, long tines, and good eyeguards, and I felt that he would make the 110 mark. I was so excited when I saw him that when I set up the camcorder, I didn’t push record. I just drooled as I looked through the viewfinder. A couple of other areas showed some nice bucks in the 95 to 105 range, but I had my heart set.
Dreaming of this buck, I tried to talk my friend, Nate, into scouting the area for our annual backpack trip, but we had another area that we had never seen before and it looked great on the maps. Nate persuaded me into trying this new area.
Anxious to start our trip, we headed out at 3 a.m. A storm had moved in overnight and was wreaking havoc. Disappointed but optimistic, we decided to wait it out. After a long wait, the storm let up and we started our endeavor. Packing in water took a toll on our backs and we had to stop short of our destination. Darkness crept in so we found a nice place to camp out of the wind.
After a good night’s sleep, we packed up and headed to our original destination. Along the way we spooked two really nice bucks. One of them was huge. “He would definitely make 110,” Nate and I said at the same time.
We pressed on and after only four hours of glassing we spotted 16 bucks, including several good ones. We had never been in an area with so many quality bucks. Temptation got the best of us and we hiked in another mile to see a different canyon. After two hours of glassing, Nate came and got me. “Kyle, he’s a monster! Get over here!”
Once I got on him, I was in disbelief. He was walking out of a draw away from us 1200 yards off. His antlers looked like a crown on top of a king. It was a sight we both had dreamed of for a long time. Through the spotting scope we could see he was a non-typical. Nate and I named him “Droptine” and guessed him to score 120.
We watched and filmed him until dark. It was hard to walk away, and I was in shock the whole hike back to camp. I couldn’t believe we had found a buck of this caliber. That night I barely slept.
For a full account of Kyle's adventure, go to page 14 in the June/July 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.