October/November 2011 EHJ (Issue 127) - "By the little green tree.” That’s sort of been a standard response of mine over the years. Whenever I’m telling a hunting story and someone asks where I was when I shot a particular deer or elk, I always just say, "Right by the little green tree.”
In 2009 I helped my hunting partner, Nelson Stone, on his lateseason deer hunt here in Nevada. We only hunted two days, but I saw some new country and got glimpses of a few good bucks. Nelson didn’t fill his tag, but I knew this unit would be one of my choices in 2010. When applications were due, I shuffled my choices a few times and at the last minute, I put that unit as my first choice. When the results came out, I had a tag for a late-season mule deer hunt in a unit I’d only spent two days in. Since taking a 30-inch buck in Utah in 2001, I have not brought a deer home as I’ve been picky, so I was excited at the possibility of changing that.
Planning and anticipation is a big part of the hunt for me, so I welcomed a weekend scouting trip to get started. After some recon, I felt good about my game plan. I also still had an image in my mind of a big non-typical we saw last year.
I made the five-hour drive to camp the night before the opener, arriving at 2 a.m. It was raining and muddy, so I decided to just sleep in the truck and not mess with setting up camp. As I was falling asleep, I could hear elk bugling to the south. It seemed odd to be drifting off to sleep thinking about elk rather than a big buck.
It was still raining when I awoke, so I donned my raingear and headed out. The rain and low cloud cover had most of the mountain covered, so I stuck to low country for glassing. I picked up some does and a few small bucks almost immediately.
Over the next few hours, I encountered a few different sets of hunters, all young hunters with youth tags accompanied by their parents. With the foul weather, all hunters were gone by noon and I had the mountain to myself.
I moved to the edge of the wilderness and started hiking, but the wind really picked up. Soon it turned into a blinding whiteout snowstorm. The day was a bust. The next day was a repeat, with youth hunters/parents driving the roads and rain, wind, sleet, snow, and lots of fog. As it started to get dark I loaded up my gear and headed home. I planned to return and hunt the whole last week of the season. Also, Nelson would come up late Monday and bring his camper to make life a little more comfortable.
For a full account of Brian's adventure, go to page 18 in the October/November 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.