2020 Buck Success

LONE HUNTER

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
382
I generally don't post my successful hunts but I wanted to give back in a small way since I have received so much help from people like Robby Denning and others on the forum.

I showed up in the unit opening day at about noon. My dad had prior commitments so he was not able to go for opening weekend. I got my camp set up quick and headed out for the afternoon to a very high and lonely ridge covered in broken pine and aspen, where I had seen some big bucks in years prior. I got up there and made the long hike out to the buck country. I saw some big tracks but they looked to be several months old, and it was super dry and crunchy which made conditions tough out there. Night came and I hadn't seen any deer. I made my way back to camp and went to sleep after a quick freeze dried meal. In the middle of the night it started raining and it must have rained for at least 4-5 hours. I was in a tipi type shelter and it had flooded a good portion of the ground in my tent. When I woke up to go hunting in the morning it was a rain snow mixture in the valley and the mountains were covered in clouds. I hopped in my vehicle and headed for that high lonely ridge again. When I arrived up top it was near blizzard conditions.
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Despite the bad conditions I opted to continue out on to the ridge. I must have hiked 2 miles of up and down ridgeline trying to cut a set of buck tracks. The visibility was about 100 yards with the clouds but with the fresh snow I knew if I could find a big set of tracks I had at least a chance of catching up with a buck. After all that hiking I found only one set of deer tracks, it was a doe and fawn headed straight down hill.
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Since conditions were not ideal, I went back to camp to think of what to do. I opted to do some driving of the road system to learn the unit better and then for the evening hunt I hiked into a drainage that looked like good habitat. That evening I saw 7 doe and a two point. Also I saw a quite fresh track from a big buck. It was almost as big as an elk track. I had to leave that night to go back to work but I knew where me and my dad would be trying when we returned the following week. The work week flew by and when it came time to head back out I was excited. I knew at the very least I had seen tracks of a big buck and that there were other deer in the area we were going to hunt.
The day we were headed back out came and soon enough I found myself and my dad sitting on an ideal glassing point looking in to where I had seen the two point the weekend prior. My dad made the comment "This looks like perfect big buck country". I thought the same thing.
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We sat there in the wind for the better part of 2 hours and I told my dad I was going to go glass some country off the backside of the ridge. I hadn't been gone ten minutes and my dad came running saying he had seen a mountain lion on the ridge he was glassing and it had kicked up a 4 point buck that had moved through a clearing and further up the mountain! We quickly made our way back to our packs and my dad showed me where the deer had crossed. I made a quick assessment of what to do and we started making our way higher on our ridge to see if we couldn't find the buck. We made our way quickly to where we had a better vantage point meanwhile trying to be quiet and not be skylined. We popped over the ridge top and set up where we could see the most country below us. We hadn't been there 5 minutes and my dad says "I just heard a deer snort!". I was scanning around trying to find the source and I spotted a nice 4 point buck above us in thick brush that had us pegged. I pointed to him but my dad couldn't see the deer and the buck ended up getting the jump on us and running off. It was the buck my dad had seen. Sitting there feeling like we had just lost a great opportunity I decided to start glassing the country below us. Not 30 seconds had gone by and I saw a deer walk behind a pine in the aspens below us. I told my dad "I just saw a deer I don't know if its a buck or not but he's in thick stuff!". So I set up my rifle and I range where I thought the deer would come out, 375 yards. I dialed my scope for the shot and laid down. We waited what felt like forever and the deer stepped out into some aspens. I glassed him with my binos and could tell he was a buck. so I found him in my rifle scope and saw he was a mature buck and opted to take him and touched off the shot. I saw him buckle and head down hill so I knew he was hit but I shot two more times to try and make sure to anchor him. He trotted out of sight and me and my dad just looked at each other in disbelief of what had just happened. We had seen two good bucks within 5 minutes of each other on a tough general hunt.
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(The red circle in the above image is where the buck was standing when I shot him. He was headed left and was a couple steps from getting away!)

I was sure I had hit the buck but did not know if he was down or not. My dad and I made our way down to where we thought he was. It took some looking but we eventually found him. I had hit him in the shoulder and although the bullet did go through, it grenaded on impact and did not kill as well I hoped so I did need to finish him off. Also one of my other two shots I lead him too much and hit him in the nose. I had no idea how big he was but when we walked up on him we were both amazed. What a gorgeous buck for a general tag.
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(Me with the buck)


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(My dad with the buck)

My dad has never seen a mature buck hit the dirt before and he was hooting and hollering. I couldn't believe I had just shot the biggest buck of my life on a tag that to most people is not really worth trying on. The buck taped out to be 28 inches wide and scores 171 4/8 gross with a missing g4 on his left antler. After a two day affair of getting the buck out of where we killed him (It was not an easy hike in there) we hunted 3 more days for my dads tag and he was ready to call it. What an amazing hunt. I can't thank the mentors in my life enough. I want to thank my Dad for getting me into hunting and taking me with him when I was young. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be a hunter. I want to thank the people of rokslide and specifically Robby Denning for all of his help in mentoring me. Since I read his book for the first time I have killed 6 bucks in the last 5 years of hunting muleys. Robby has also answered way more than his fair share of PMs answering my questions for which I am super grateful. Thanks man.
 
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back country

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
577
Nice recap and sweet buck! Congratulations. Seems like Robby has mentored and helped out quite a few people. Way to pay your respects .


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LONE HUNTER

LONE HUNTER

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
382
What a great buck and a great story, and to have your dad there, that's the hunt of a lifetime.
Thanks for the kind words. Truly feels like the hunt of a lifetime. At the end of the hunt my dad pretty much alluded to that being his last mountain mule deer hunt so I’m grateful it ended with such a cool deer.
 

Fowler530

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
1,434
Location
NorCal
Congrats on a great trip and buck!! Glad to see your hard work and perseverance pay off!! Really cool that your dad was able to experience it with you! Great memories and write up! Thanks for sharing! 🤙
 

Jake”0”

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
66
Location
Waterville wa
What a story hit the tracks found the spot put in the effort with lotsa follow through to harvest a dandy buck looks like this story has everything and the last mountain hunt with the old man how sweet thanks for such a story these are my favorite posts famdamily stories make me smile
 

AndrewDavid

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
31
Location
OR
Great story, that’s awesome you got to experience it all with your dad, hope to one day do the same
 
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