Utah, 2009, DIY, Private Land
I guide for Daniel Richins of Weathered Horn Outfitters in Utah, Wyoming and Montana. As such, I don’t get many opportunities to hunt on my own these days. This past year, though, I was fortunate enough to get a tag to hunt an area where I guide. I am mostly a bowhunter and I had two weeks to archery hunt before we had clients come in on September 1.
Opening day came with many good bucks being spotted. I had one blown stalk in the morning and another that night. One was on a sweet, long-tined four-point that my buddy ended up taking the next day. This hunt was starting out great and I knew it was just a matter of time before I could get an arrow into one of these great bucks.
I hunted hard for five days and then went home for a few days to see the family. They came back with me and stayed the weekend. There’s nothing quite like having your kids around playing in the woods. They eventually left and I was back at it alone.
The next morning I was checking out some cliffs way down off a ridge and spotted “him”. He was with four other bucks, but I knew I was looking at one of the largest deer I had ever seen. He was 500-600 yards away and I was able to get some pictures through my spotting scope. As luck would have it, he was also in a really bad spot for a stalk. I watched the bucks feed into the brush and then they were gone. I rough guessed him at 190 at that time. I knew he was the buck I wanted to go after.
I devoted my final week to hunting this buck. I kept checking those cliffs, ridges and the canyons around them, but I wasn’t having much luck locating him again. I started to think that I should just start going after some other bucks, but the thought of him kept me from stalking others. With only two days of my archery season left, I stalked a few bucks, but before I knew it, I was out of time.
I came back to guide hunters, and being true to my occupation, I took my hunter into the canyon where I had seen the big buck. We did see many bucks that morning, but no shooters. That night, on a tip from a local, we headed to another area nearby. With only limited light left, we found a great buck. He made a great shot across the canyon and his first mule deer was down.
For a full account of Jason's adventure, go to page 18 in the October/November 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.