Keeping Hope Alive

By Joebob Lewis
Idaho, 2010, DIY, Public Land
Keeping Hope AliveFeb/Mar 2011 EHJ (Issue 123) - A couple of friends called me up one day in October of 2008. Dennis Owsley had taken a monster non-typical mule deer during the rifle hunt. His buck taped out at a gross score of 217 non-typical. What amazed me the most was the fact that he had taken this buck on public land during a general season hunt! Most bucks of this stature come from Idaho’s premier draw hunts. Still in disbelief, I had to take a look at his magnificent buck, so they were kind enough to bring it over. I held the antlers in my hands, drooled a little, and thought to myself, “Why can’t I ever get a buck like that?”

I typically hunt deer during the archery seasons with hopes of increasing my chances of bagging a trophy animal. I usually dread hunting general rifle seasons due to the increased number of hunters and the decrease in sightings of mature bucks. Due to work and school, I didn’t get much hunting in last year. This year was different, thanks to Dennis’ buck. His luck inspired me to do a little more scouting in a unit that is a general rifle hunt for deer.

After about two weeks of hard hunting, I had found a nice 4x4 mulie that I considered a shooter buck. Unfortunately, the buck was out of range, and I didn’t have enough daylight left to put a stalk on him. I simply watched him bed down in some timber high up on the ridgeline across from me. I came back in the next morning, but wasn’t able to locate the buck again.

My time was up for that trip and I had to go back to living the dream of work and school. While I was in town, the weather that I had hoped for rolled into the hills. It snowed off and on for about three days. Anxiety was getting the best of me, and I was having a hard time focusing at work.

The weekend finally rolled back around and I hit the road. I arrived at my camp just in time to get everything set up before dark. I went through my pack and restocked it with water, an MRE, and everything else that I needed for the next day’s hunt.

The morning arrived with a buzzing alarm clock. I bounced up and ate a quick breakfast before hitting the trail. I wanted to start my hunt just below the snowline, so I found a tree to snuggle up against and shut my eyes for a quick snooze, waiting for daylight.

Once I could see where I was going, I found a nice place to set up my spotting scope and start glassing. Within half an hour, I spotted a nice 4x4. He was three ridgelines over, so it was difficult to determine his size, but with only four days of the season left, I decided he was big enough.

Joebob Lewis

For a full account of Joebob's adventure, go to page 36 in the February/March 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.