This is a very short story from 2005 that I will call the surprise buck. We like to hunt high desert areas for mule deer. Lots of sagebrush and Aspens and scattered with Cedar trees. The particular area we were hunting in 2005 was public land that surrounded a small ranch. We had just completed a small drive through a large stand of Aspens with no luck other than a few does.
It was about 1:00 in the afternoon and we decided to head back to camp on the ATVs and grab some lunch while we made plans for the rest of the day. On our way back to camp we spotted some deer grazing on the sagebrush flat about 400 yards from the road. When we stopped to take a look they took off into a small pocket of trees without giving us time to take a look at them. We decided to go after them and see if we could get a good look at them hoping for a small buck to fill the freezer.
My brother decided that he would wait for me to walk to the far side of the pocket to catch the deer if they tried to escape out of our view and he headed out towards the pocket using the best cover he could. Now, the area was bordered by Tribal land on the far side so if they escaped that way we were out of luck. I settled down in a prone position and waited for my brother to appear on his side of the pocket. He never got there. I found the top of his head in my binoculars just in time to see him pull his .30-06 to his shoulder. I quickly moved ahead of him with my optics and found what he was looking at. I had just said to myself "doe" when I heard the boom of the .30-06. I lost the doe in my optics and cursed to myself that my brother had just dropped a doe in the middle of a sagebrush flat.
I quickly grabbed my gun and hoofed it over to where he was. He had a huge grin on his face that I didn't understand. Here is the picture of the buck he dropped on a dead run away from him while I was looking at the doe. This is the surprise buck because it had bedded down for the afternoon in some tall sage and busted out when my brother was about 5' from him. I don't know to this day how he was settled enough to get his cross hairs on him and make the shot that he did. It wasn't a very ethical shot but he drilled him right in the back of the neck and dropped him in stride. It was a fruitful afternoon.