Photo taken from where I shot. The shot was 167 yards line of sight. He's laying just to right of big cedar down toward lower left center of photo. In zoomed photo, he's Midway up cedar just to right. He dropped into a little swale so was hard to see.
This where he fell and my first look after the shot. I was pretty sure that he was a better buck than my last one in 2017, but was afraid there would be some ground shrinkage. I was happy with what I found.
Im not sure if I'll do a shoulder mount, but I kept the cape just in case. (I was a taxidermist before moving West.). That added a half hour to the breaking down process. I went gutless. That's been my standard routine for a while if I can't drag it out whole. The bullet had went in at center height at last rib and stopped at offside front shoulder.
I strapped on my pack, slung my rifle and grabbed two meat bags to climb up the steep side of the coulee 50 yards to near where I saw him on too of ridge. I had a hind over one shoulder and the loins and neck meat over the other. The toughest part was not sliding back down the hill.
Second load up was a hind quarter on one shoulder and the two fronts slung over the other. Slipping was a little worse after I turned it into a sled hill tracking up and down.
Third load was the head and cape.
All three probably only took 30 minutes max.
After getting it out of hole, I put on pack and rifle and headed to truck for sled. I was lucky that from there it was a gradual incline through scattered sage for half a mile or so to a relatively flat snowed in 2 track for another half mile to truck.
On the first hike out with pack and gun only.
The wind was howling, so whatever the temp was the wind chill was a lot worse. I dumped pack at truck, warmed up in cab, guzzled some water, ate a granola bar and headed back with sled. No pack, no gun. The whole round trip took an hour and fifteen minutes. I couldn't have asked for much easier. I only used headlamp while loading the sled with meat and head. The moon was so bright that it wasn't necessary. The wind never let up.
Someone is happy to see me. We'll hunt phez this afternoon. I just dropped meat off at processor and donated it (I kept steaks and neck meat since they were all frozen in same bag) to Hunters Against Hunger. I've never done that and have mixed feelings about it, but I suppose someone will be happy to eat it. I've got an antelope in the freezer and a little bit of deer leftover from last year. Hopefully I'll put an elk in there. My wife has no problem with elk (actually loves elk) and likes whitetail, but these Badland country mule deer are not something she likes at all.
She's a wirehaired pointing griffon, or griff for short. They are pointers, but Kassie sometimes thinks she wants to be a flusher much to my dismay. . My other griff, Finn, is a pointer through and through. They are relatively close working dogs. An English pointer enthusiast would call them a bootlicker.
Laundromat is next if they have one in town. My base layers are getting ripe and I kept getting the scent of mule deer today. Must be the gloves.
I'm considering picking up a whitetail doe tag in the morning since I've seen them on the BMA I plan to hunt pheasants on tomorrow. It may just be waisted money because I'm not going to put much effort in it and won't be back in the region after Thursday morning.
Lots of walking today. Kassie is beat. I'm sure she covered a lot more ground than me. Should have had a limit today if not for poor shooting on a couple occasions. I was ready to give Kassie away at one point when she lost all sense due to a bunch of running birds, but then she redeemed herself and nailed down three roosters at the end of a patch of cover. She caught them at the end and pinned them between us. One of them was lucky I couldn't get my third shot off (maybe or maybe not) due to a big cottonwood. Two of them weren't so lucky.
Saw bucks chasing this evening while driving back. I saw lots of does, but they were all mule deer. That figures since I bought a whitetail doe tag.
I'm about halfway home now. I spent part of the day looking for new pheasants, but had no luck with the birds. However, on our last hunt we jumped some whitetail does and while hiking back I spotted a bedded doe along the edge of the adjacent hay field.
Once back at the truck, I put Kassie in the dog crate, cased the shotgun, put on my orange vest and grabbed the rifle. I ended up filling my antlerless whitetail tag somewhat unexpectedly. I didn't take much in the way of photos. This effort put me behind schedule by at least an hour, but the meat should be worth it.
Kassie and I headed across to a ditch and old pond where we hoped to find a rooster.
Instead of pheasants I found whitetails in the hay field over the hill.
Just driving left now. Back to work on Monday. I wish I had another week and another buck tag. Maybe I'll have a chance to find an elk.