It had been 10 days since I found the giant Idaho buck.  Due the terrain he lived in, I knew killing him with a bow meant still-hunting through the timber hoping for a shot.  I probably have a better chance of orbiting the earth in my own homemade rocket.


Idaho allows two deer tags in certain areas so I decided to give that other good typical I’d caught on the trial camera a chance before stalking the giant buck.  I questioned my decision to do this for days, but the smaller typical was living in an area where I had a legitimate chance of spotting and stalking, about the only sure-fire way to kill a big deer with a bow.  I decided to give him a few days before heading for the mountain the giant lived on.

Opening morning of archery, I hiked the desert mountain range in the dark to the place where I knew the typical buck might be.  By 9:00 AM, I hadn’t spotted him, nor the other nice non-typical I’d seen earlier in the summer in the same country.  I noticed a hunter on the ridge above me easily visible on the skyline about 3/4 mile away.

Suddenly, 800 yards down the canyon I was glassing, I spotted both the typical and non-typical making their escape through a saddle.  By their behavior, I could tell they’d either winded me or seen the other hunter on the skyline.  I took off after the bucks hoping to see where they might bed for the day.

As I crossed the same saddle they went through 20 minutes earlier, I noticed the hunter above me had moved down the ridge towards the saddle, too.  I figured he’d seen them also, but I was much closer to the direction they’d gone so I stayed with the stalk.

I went about 200 yards farther and was about to crest a small hogback that would give me a view of several big draws where I figured the bucks might be hiding.  About then I saw the hunter above me waving his arms wildly at me, all the while standing on the skyline (I still can’t believe this happened).

I can only guess he was trying to tell me he was stalking the bucks, but I was at least several hundred yards closer to their suspected location than he was.  I try to be sportsman-like but I guess I’m not sportsman enough to give some flailing fool my stalk, so I continued sneaking up the hogback.  That’s when he started yelling some choice words that I’m sure he learned in junior high, and then stomped back up the mountain.

I knew any buck worth his hide would hear the fool’s antics.  Sure enough, when I peeked over the hogback, the big typical was hightailing it out of there.  I flipped the camera up, but he made it over the far ridge and I only caught the smaller non-typical before he, too, escaped.

In the video, that non-typical is looking to my right–exactly where Mr. Crybaby was having his hissy fit.

Of course I hunted for several more hours and then three more days, but I never could turn those bucks back up.  Big mule deer don’t put up with racket like that and it seemed they’d either moved out, or went nocturnal.  Strike two for 2016.

It was time to head for the mountain where I’d seen the giant buck….

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Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator


  1. I am not perfect, However, I am amazed constantly by hunters who skyline themselves, Don’t tape or or dull down the shiny parts of their equipment that ting , talk in conversational tones without realizing how far you can be seen and heard. Especially on clear calm, windless days.

  2. It is amazing that people would want to cause another hunter to loose out on game just because they are jealous they did not get there first. I can understand being bummed out, but we are all on the same “team” here. Good article!

  3. Hi Shane, I’m not perfect either and I goof up sometimes and stand on the skyline- only to regret it later. This duffus only cared that I didn’t get the buck. I’m 90% sure he never saw me until I crossed that saddle as I’d been hiding in some brush and I think he just lost his cool when he suddenly found out he didn’t have these two big bucks to himself. He may have even thought I didn’t see them and wanted to let me know they were “his”. Never know for sure. Unfortunately, big antlers can bring out the worst in us. I felt good about it though as I was always closer to the bucks than he was.

  4. hahahha. I still think it’s funny he not only screwed me, but himself! As you’ve seen in subsequent posts, I never saw those bucks again so likely he didn’t either.

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