February/March 2013 EHJ (Issue 135) - Every hunter dreams of a big buck—a buck with antlers that are high and wide, with extra points or an unusual feature, such as a drop tine. I have harvested many nice bucks since taking my first buck back in 1963. However, I have never harvested a 30-inch buck, a drop-tine buck or a buck with more than five points on one side. I have hunted in several states chasing that dream with the same result of falling short of my goals.
After applying for Nevada tags for 29 years and not obtaining my first choice tag, I decided to call Chuck Messner to find out my best odds in obtaining a quality tag and harvesting a trophy buck. Chuck owns High Desert Outfitters and has been guiding in Oregon and Nevada for 30 years. He recommended Unit 035, and with nine bonus points, I was awarded a tag.
The first day, we spotted a large typical buck that was very high and wide but was three miles up a very steep mountain. The buck didn’t bed down until after 1 p.m. I was ready to start the stalk, but Chuck wisely talked me out of starting a stalk that late in the day and that far up a very steep, rocky mountain. The stalk would have been over a five-mile hike. The following day was disappointing with no big bucks found after a full day of spotting from several different angles and areas.
This mountain range towers over the 4,500-foot valley floor to over 7,000 feet in elevation. The area is very rocky in places and doesn’t look like it would hold any deer, especially big bucks. There are few trees and the cover looks sparse. The water source is also deceiving; from a distance it appears devoid of green vegetation from springs. However, it has plenty of water for the wildlife.
Hiking this mountain range is much harder than one might think. This is a spot and stalk type of hunting and we spent hours looking through our spotting scopes. We would search for any movement and check all the shady areas where deer might be bedded.
For a full account of Randy's adventure, go to page 42 in the February/March 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.