Despite both of our laid-back personalities, Wes and I are feeling the pressure of a good hunt coming to an end. There's only two days left and I have two unfilled tags. We went straight to the top of the mountain where we've been seeing all of those great bulls the last few days. This morning was no different. We spotted two shooters and a bunch of dinks. But they were all nervous as heck and that made us nervous. The bulls seemed to be heading to that funnel we should have been in yesterday morning. So we got ready to bail off the mountain - quickly - to get set up in there. But the bulls became very nervous and started running north. That ruled out our funnel. We lost them in the red breaks and drove all the way to the bottom of the hill where we could spot back up from the road. Wes found the bulls and I found another bull. But both were in very difficult locations and the chance for success was slim. Things did not look good for elk this morning.
The mulies were less than 30 yards away but we couldn't see them.
After seeing John's deer from yesterday I asked Wes if we could go find a deer? He said "you bet" and we headed back to the area where I had a close call two days ago. Wes' property has some unbelievable elk. But his deer are just as, if not more impressive. And since they are never hunted they are mature, and appear to be pretty easy to find. In no time at all we spotted 2 real good bucks who were hanging with a pup. They saw us drive by some 400 yards away but soon went back to feeding and eventually they bed down. They were the dumbest mule deer I've ever seen. They were all facing into the wind and had their back against a sloping hill. It was the dream setup to anyone who's hunted mulies.
This one was on to us big time. A very nice buck!
We made our way up the hill and found our landmark. A 6' green bush that concealed our movement. Both Wes and I were a little off on our location. We both thought the deer were downhill from that bush. Wes got lucky. He saw the antlers first when the deer were unaware. I didn't and before Wes could motion to me the deer busted out, but then stopped.
This is the buck that came back to check us out. I've never seen a buck so dumb!
Watch the lead up to the shot here
The largest of the three was totally clueless. He stood and stared in our direction but he had the sun directly in his face and we were slightly behind a bush. All I could do was shake my head. He was a really good deer. Wes and I exchanged my bow for my camera and I filmed the buck. But something caused us to swap back. The buck started to walk toward us. Wes whispered, you've got to be kidding me. It was a gift from heaven. A "stupid" 5.5 year old trophy mule deer. I didn't think they made them anymore but this one somehow escaped through a crack in the gene pool. As his antler tips approached us I pulled out an arrow and as he appeared through the brush I drew my 72 lb Bowtech Guardian. The deer watched that movement and held up. I had no shot. Eventually I needed to let down. But this deer definitely took the short-bus to this hillside. He kept walking and gave me a beautiful uphill shot. As soon as he stopped I held my pin a little high to compensate and released.
Taken directly from the video. The shot comes from the right. And yes, I had a clear shot...
Watch The Shot In Flash
This is what happens when you shoot at alarmed animals. It took him 3 frames to drop this low at 24fps. Do the math.
Wes and I watched the video a few times. The deer jumped string. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Not much of an update tonight. We were conflicted as soon as we got to the ranch. Time is running out, but the wind was not perfect. We both made the call to back off and let the bulls come down to the fields - undisturbed - tonight. It was 90 degrees again and with very little wind and no elk bugling we were not enthusiastic. So we tried to find another retarded mule deer. We headed to the same area as this morning but the only one we found was that same buck I missed and his IQ has gone up considerably. There was no way we could stalk him where he was feeding this afternoon.
We glassed the hill on our way back to town and saw the elk coming out of the red breaks. We made a smart move. The elk were in an area we had not considered and would have blown them out had we not backed off. They are in the fields right now and that gives us hope for tomorrow. You can pretty much forget about an AM update. We are going flat out tomorrow for one last sprint.