I bought my bow in 2001, and then moved to the arctic for the next 6 years, limiting my hunting time and opportunities and forcing the bow to take a back seat to rifle hunting. When I moved back to Alberta in 2007 I had barely drawn my bow since I purchased it. Life continued to get in the way of quality hunting (and practice) time and so it was not till this past (2009) summer that I really got serious about hunting with my bow again. A good friend and hunting buddy of mine encouraged me, gave me quality tips and put in a lot of hours getting me ready to hunt with my bow this year.
September finally rolled around and despite work and school commitments I did manage to put a lot of hunting days in on both mule deer and elk. Although I had plenty of opportunities, blown stalks and blown shots resulted in the archery season nearing an end and me not yet having closed the deal on any big game!
On my very last day of hunting the archery only season on mule deer before having to head back to school/work I was lucky enough to spot this buck bedded on a coulee edge with a couple of does feeding nearby. I recognized the buck as one I had been hunting on and off all season, and one that I had missed earlier in the year. It only took a moment to realize that the wind and position were perfect for me to make a great sneak on this huge muley.
Using a fence line and swell as cover I moved directly downwind of the deer before crawling on hands and knees directly toward them. The does fed up the coulee edge behind the bedded buck and moved off through the field behind him when I showed myself to them. He continued to be unaware of my presence. I was able to sneak up 30 yards across the ravine from him before coming to full draw behind some low shrubs. I came up straight on my knees and gave him a grunt. The deer stood up, still not seeing me and turned perfectly broadside to me. I was able to pick my spot and put a good arrow into his chest cavity.
Unfortunately my rookie eagerness took over, I bumped the deer in my haste to make sure he was fatally wounded and he needed some tracking and follow-up arrow to get on the ground. The end result was a good one though as I can proudly say that I have bagged my first big game animal with a bow!
This great Alberta mule deer had a gross green score of 182 2/8 inches. He will lose a fair bit in deductions as he has some abnormal (character!) points and is weaker on his G2s on the right than the left, but he will still net around 160 inches. I could not be happier, prouder, or more eager to continue my bowhunting experience!