2021 Best Buck Mule Deer Photo Contest

robby denning

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
11,756
Location
SE Idaho
Sorry Roksliders! I always try to have this up before the NV opener, but here it is anyway:

The 2021 Best Buck Mule Deer Photo Contest

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We're back! This is the 6th year of this contest and is bound to be the best. Our friends at Kryptek have put up yet another $750 Gift Certificate towards any of their great lines of gear for 1st place this year!!!! Just think of hitting the Kryptek Store with a free pass to spend $750 bucks on your gear of choice (they have new sleeping bags coming out!)

That will be you if you win 1st place.

For 2nd place, a signed copy of my book Hunting Big Mule Deer: How to Take the Best Buck of Your Life


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@dkime took the Kryptek gear with this dandy pic and buck in our 2020 contest:

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This is NOT a biggest buck contest, but a "Best Photo" contest. The winning 2021 photo will be judged on the following criteria and rules:

1) WOW Factor. Is it a great photo that grabs the viewer? This takes in lighting, color, uniqueness, etc.

2) Composition- by that I mean the way in which the different parts that make up your photo are arranged- is there too much background, not enough animal? or visa versa? Are the antler tips out of the frame or the hunters head cut off? Or is it a good balance between the buck, the hunter, the terrain? (the hunter is not required to appear in the photo.)

3) Size of animal. This doesn't mean biggest animal wins, but if #1 and #2 are equal, we'll chose the bigger animal.

4) Must be a photo of a buck harvested fair chase in 2021 (or after December 10th of 2020--you must be able to prove date of harvest)

5) Between archery season and December 10th, post up your best harvest photo on this thread


6) Must be a Rokslide member to enter your photo of your buck. One photo per buck only. If you harvest multiple bucks, you can enter one photo for each

7) Also, by posting on this thread, you agree to let Rokslide and Kryptek use any of the photos in promotional material without compensation

8) Any international winner is responsible for border tax, custom fees, excessive postage fees, etc.


If you want to see the 2020 finalists and get an idea of what we're looking for, click here JS
 
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KS_Huntlife

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
Messages
46
Location
Central KS
After watching this guy in full velvet for 3 days the puzzle pieces finally lined up and it was time to put the first stalk on him. Not long after I started moving in, two guys on horseback on the ridge top over made this big mature buck uncomfortable enough to get up and move on into the deep cut banks for the day. The next morning he was a completely different buck as he had shed his velvet overnight, however, he bedded in a bad area with bad wind and about 25 other deer so putting a good stalk on him was going to be far too difficult. Once again I had to walk away in hopes of finding him the next morning. Finally, on the morning of day 5 he made his final move, which was going to cost him. After watching him feed at first light, the sun came up quick that morning with no cloud cover so he decided to seek shade under the only tree in the valley (as seen in the top right corner of the picture). Next thing you know I was 22 yards downwind of that little tree catching just a glimpse about every hour of the very tips of his antlers. 4 hours later, sitting just 22 yards away from this old monster SD buck in the blistering hot sun, he decided it was time to find more shade as the shadow of his lonely tree was slowly starting to dwindle away. He stood up, shook off and never had a clue what was about to happen. Patience is key and luck is only where hard work and opportunity meet.
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Jaden Bales

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
535
Location
Wyoming
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Me and two hunting buddies hustled into a big gnarly canyon an hour before daylight knowing we were either going to find a buck in a killable spot or not find anything. Luckily we found some bucks mid-morning and by 12:30 I was in position. Just like @KS_Huntlife, waited him out for 4 hours before he fed out from under his rock. It sure seems like patience is just the way to go, no doubt!

I botched the first shot at 30-something but somehow he gave me another opportunity at 40 and the second one struck paydirt. He got the last laugh pitching himself over a cliff and banging up all his velvet. of course, the packout was legendary - 5 miles and no water. Just a classic hunt story and my best archery buck to date!
 

Trey Arentz

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
264
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Decided to take my first trip this year out to Nebraska to chase Mule Deer and Whitetail. After days of pre scouting, we found a decent pocket of mule deer, and some good bucks to go after. Opening morning, I was make my way through a draw at this buck and another, when I ran into the larger of the two. That buck bolted, and while chasing after him, I saw this buck coming at me. A 30 yard shot on my first ever mule deer buck and the rest is history. An incredible trip in incredible country!
 

lak2004

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
675
Location
SW CO
First buck, high country in CO. Drew an early season rifle tag for above timberline unexpectedly. Had to deal with a sick kid and wife and only could make it out a few days at a time. Luckily I had scouted this guy and a 3x3 earlier in the season. I was hoping for a bigger buck in velvet still, but this opportunity was too good to pass on. He was one ridge over from where I had first seen him. I was stripping down my cold clothes because it was getting hot fast. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw antlers. Didn't have much time to even contemplate taking him or not. I had been practicing my shooting out to 450 yards all summer, and the shot was about 30 yards :) . He rolled down the steep slope about 50' and luckily stopped because below was a cliff face. It took me some time to cut him up by myself on that steep face too! In this photo I had to pin his ear down with my trekking pole to keep him from rolling. Had a buddy hike up 2000' vertical over about a mile to help me pack him out. To say that I was happy and excited is a complete understatement but I am sure many of you know the way I was feeling. Can't wait to stalk one with my bow in the coming years and get one in the velvet.

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Laramie

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
1,337
After watching this guy in full velvet for 3 days the puzzle pieces finally lined up and it was time to put the first stalk on him. Not long after I started moving in, two guys on horseback on the ridge top over made this big mature buck uncomfortable enough to get up and move on into the deep cut banks for the day. The next morning he was a completely different buck as he had shed his velvet overnight, however, he bedded in a bad area with bad wind and about 25 other deer so putting a good stalk on him was going to be far too difficult. Once again I had to walk away in hopes of finding him the next morning. Finally, on the morning of day 5 he made his final move, which was going to cost him. After watching him feed at first light, the sun came up quick that morning with no cloud cover so he decided to seek shade under the only tree in the valley (as seen in the top right corner of the picture). Next thing you know I was 22 yards downwind of that little tree catching just a glimpse about every hour of the very tips of his antlers. 4 hours later, sitting just 22 yards away from this old monster SD buck in the blistering hot sun, he decided it was time to find more shade as the shadow of his lonely tree was slowly starting to dwindle away. He stood up, shook off and never had a clue what was about to happen. Patience is key and luck is only where hard work and opportunity meet.
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Very cool picture and story. Congrats!
 

lak2004

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
675
Location
SW CO
New area after I got ran out of my spot by a bunch of morons
Never even stepped foot in this area before!
Deer all over and not a person around
Sure would like to see some.more photos of this guy! Looks like some cool kickers

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LongWayAround

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
1,219
On the seventh day of my second weeklong archery trip, I thought I had this buck pegged. I had encountered him in a pocket of aspens morning and evening on day six. The plan was to sit that pocket on my final morning.

I had a fence to cross to get there and decided to cross well away from his thicket and glass from up the ridge. At first light, ten yards from the fence, their heads came up. This buck and four small bucks were bedded about sixty yards beyond the fence directly in line with my intended crossing. They had me pegged for at least an hour. They would get curious and come to about forty-five yards, then feed back and forth. When they looked at me hard I would rotate my bow slightly like a bucks antlers.

Finally, with both feet totally numb from kneeling awkwardly, they all had their heads in the sage. I estimated him at fifty yards as he fed broadside to me. Of course, two of the small bucks saw me draw which got his attention. Shortly, they returned to feeding and I rotated for the shot. With my twenty pin splitting two strands of barbed wire, I settled my fifty just behind his elbow and let the arrow go. The shot was a perfect double lung and he bolted about one hundred yards to where I found him.
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Jaden Bales

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
535
Location
Wyoming
2021 WY general tag buck. Long story short...2 years of history watching this buck. Packed in with my horses and a friend and spent 8 days living up there before finally connecting on him. Lot of highs and lows, and felt lucky to leave the mountains with him on my pack horse behind me.
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This buck is one of my favorites I've seen this year and one of the coolest stories! Hope it gets more love!
 

willfrye027

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
1,183
Hard earned buck in an easy draw Wyoming general unit. He was using an area that was very difficult to glass into or effectively hunt. First caught a glimpse of him scouting, then found his tracks, and eventually was able to glass him up from 1.8 miles away. Watched him bed right at sunrise and spent a few hours trying to figure out how to get on him. 310 yard shot as he exposed himself briefly while readjusting in his bed.


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