A Stalking Nightmare

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

This hunt was one of the coolest hunts I personally have ever had. I was archery hunting and I was 18 (1988). Opening day I woke up nice and early and headed out still hunting as we always did back in the day. Our morning hunt would take us until around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. and depending on how things went sometimes later.

As I started out I bumped several deer, but nothing worth drawing back on. As I rounded what we called Buck Hill I spotted several good bucks, but they were already headed out and way to far ahead of me to catch up with. Then I crossed over into Doe Valley and spotted to little bucks feeding just as they caught me. They headed around the hill, but not in a way that they were worried about me. As I snuck around they were both facing me and I could not tell which one was the little three point (back then it was three point or better on muleys) so I waited to see what would happen. Both of them stood there and as usuall they turned and ran. I was hoping they would not blow all the deer out of the area, but as they ran they picked up more and more deer with them. I hunted back to camp, but did not get another opportunity. After we all got back to camp we all shared our tales and enjoyed lunch. The afternoon hunt was not any better as I did not get close enough to a deer to make anything happen.

The second morning I awoke still with plenty of anticipation for a great hunt. I headed out the same as I always did and crept slowly stopping every two or three steps and watching for a ear or tail to wiggle or an antler tip to be sticking up. This time I made it a little bit earlier to Buck Hill and to my surprise there were seventeen bucks feeding at the bottom of the hill. I had to decide quickly on how I was going to get on one of them especially with all of those eyes and ears to pick me out. The terrain was not the best with some little patches of oakbrush and open sagebrush pockets.

I cut down wind of them and through a small clump of oakbrush, but I still had quite a ways to go. They started feeding up the hill away from me which allowed me to make a move and move quickly up behind them. I got to about 90 yards and had to waite for them to get into the heavy oakbrush on the side of the hill. As the last one disappeared into the brush I headed as fast as I could across the open sagebrush and stopped at the edge of the oakbrush they went into. As I piered into the heavy brush I could pick out pieces and parts of the different bucks and they were still feeding up the hill slowly. I found a trail I figured I could move a little more silently on and started trying to stalk them. As I got closer a small 2 point caught my movement and I had to stand there and not move for what seemed like an eternity. After about four or five minutes he gave up and headed up the hill to catch up with the rest of the group. I started my stalk again and made it about fifty more yards and this time got caught by two 2 points. I was already laying on the ground so I just stayed as still as possible. This time they watched me for almost fifteen minutes. I knew for sure this time I was busted and the bigger bucks would be gone by now. After the little bucks gave up again on me and headed over the hill I got up and headed there way. As I crested the hill I could not see a single deer. I stood there ready to give up and keep on going on my morning hunt I caught movement in the corner of my eye. I looked over to my right slowly and there was one of the better bucks feeding away from me. I just could not believe my luck. I pulled an arrow out of my quiver and very carefully knocked it on my bow string. He just kept feeding not knowing I was even around and I guessed him to be 19 yards (no range finder back then). I drew back my bow and put my 20 yard pin just below where his spine meets his head and pulled the trigger on my release. I could not believe how fast that deer dropped. As I walked over to the magnificent buck I realized it had taken me almost two hours  to get on this buck. I had never pulled off a stalk like that and I have never had another that was as good. I took care of him and headed back to camp. The only one still in camp was my mom so her and I took the truck back over there and she helped me get him to the truck and in the truck.

Now I have a feeling that some will get on here and ask what I was doing taking a shot like that and I did not write this story because of this. I know a younger hunter may read my story and think he or she could do this and I DO NOT recommend anyone shooting a deer (or anything) for that matter in the head and the neck with a bow. We all start somewhere and we learn things the hard way sometimes. I was young and still learning and that time  and it worked. I am very proud of the deer, but not the shot.

I hope everyone enjoys my story and the awesome stalk.

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  Quinton - a great story of

 

Quinton - a great story of a long stalk and a successful harvest!  I enjoyed your pictures of the several mounts.  How great it was that your Mom assisted in the harvest of your long hard stalk.  Wow!  You have a great Mom!  It has been almost seven months since you posted this.  I hope you are hunting right now or have another planned hunt here in the near future.  I look forward to your next story!

 

Deer Slayer's picture

That was a great story, I

That was a great story, I really enjoyed it. Great job on the muley! I really like the velvet rack. I really would love to have a velvet racked buck on my wall, That would be so cool. It looks like you have some very nice mounts there. I wouldn't be too down on the shot, you were young and invincible just like all teenagers are and figured you can do anything. The shot worked and that's all that matters.  

elkkill06's picture

Thank You !

Thanks for the great comment and for reading my story. I hope you have at chance at taking a velvet buck sometime.

Quinton

arrowflipper's picture

held my breath

Thanks for a great story.  I lived it with you and even held my breath when that little two point nailed you.  I know exactly how that feels. 

Wow, what a bunch of bucks you saw.  I can see why you named that "Buck Hill".  We named a big basin in Utah, "Bodacious Basin" because of all the big bucks we saw in it.  I could tell you were hunting in the late summer because that's when all the buck are still bunched up together.  What a sight that must have been!

I love the mount you ended up with.  It's fun to see how people get creative in their mounts.  It's better than a whole bunch of boring straight-on mounts.  It makes it look more like they are still in the wild.  I see that you left the velvet on.  I like that.  I shot a caribou many years ago and it was still in the velvet.  I carefully brought the antlers home from Alaska and my taxidermist injected formaldehyde into the velvet to preserve it.  He still looks good to this day.  I'm guessing your hunt was in August.

I agree that I wouldn't take a shot like that but on my first ever archery buck, I had this little spike muley buck standing straight on, staring at me.  I knew that his first steps were going to be very long and rapid ones.  I drew back and put an arrow right in his throat at about 20 yards.  It was one of the most exciting moments of my hunting life.  He wasn't very big but I sure told the world that I got my first buck with a bow.

Congratulations on a great stalk and a wonderful hunt.  Your buck looks good on the wall.

elkkill06's picture

Thanks everyone !!!!

Thanks for all the great comments everyone !

arrowflipper,

Thanks for the wonderful comments for sure and I am glad you enjoyed it. This buck I killed when I was 18 and did not ever think I could afford a mount so these antlers did not get injected. I am very lucky that the velvet has stayed as well as it did. I let them dry in a cool dry place, because I did kill him in August, and I have always been very proud of any animal I have ever taken.

As for the mount I plan on doing a wall habitat to go with him. It will have oakbrush coming out, like he was feeding on when I killed him, so it will look like he is reaching up to eat acorns. It should turn out cool.

Quinton

ManOfTheFall's picture

Excellent story. You have

Excellent story. You have alot of nice looking mounts. Thanks for all of the pictures. Congrats on the nice buck you took on that stalk. The muley you took this year was a very nice one as well. I also have a very good wife an I have quite a few mounts in my room as well. mine are mostly whitetails though. 

hunter25's picture

Thanks for a great story and

Thanks for a great story and sharing all the photos of your mounts and antlers. All your stories have been great and I have enjoyed reading every one of them.

Looking at your walls is amazing. I don't know anyone else who could get away with that much stuff all in the house. I have 3 inside but all the rest is in the garage. If it's something new or different I will be able to bring it in but nit just another deer.

Thanks again.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very nice buck!  Great story

Very nice buck!  Great story too.

I had to laugh though.  I love looking at old photos of hunters.  Looking at this one, it makes me think about all the money we, as a group, spend on just the right camo, or just the right equipment.

Then, we see photos like yours, and see the basic military fatigues.  Gotta love it.  I consider myself an economical hunter, and have one set of camo for 3 different types of hunting, or one shotgun, that I use for ducks, turkeys, doves, etc.

Use whatever gets the job done, right? Wink

Just thought that was cool.  By the way, have an expanded photo of the trophy wall?  Looks like a couple of other nice deer there.

elkkill06's picture

Thank you all !!!!

First of all, I just want to thank all of you for reading and giving such wonderfull comments om my story. Way cool !!

Ca_Vermonster,

I am like you and don't have to buy the greatest thing out there to get the job done. As for the camo in this pic, I still have them, and the pants still fit. Here is a pic of my deer this year and check out my pants. They have been changed just a little due to some repairs, but I still wear them because they are my good luck camo.

Here are the most recent pics of the walls.

 

Thanks again everyone ! ;)

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow!!!  That trophy wall is

Wow!!!  That trophy wall is even better than I was expecting.

Thanks for sharing.  Some real beauties there for sure.!

WishIWasHunting's picture

Nice

I like your good luck camo.  You have quite the trophy wall!  Even though I don't have near as many trophies as you do, my wife has already told me that I am only allowed to hang my "dead stuff" in the basement. 

Thanks for sharing the pictures.

elkkill06's picture

Thanks Wish !!!!!! ;)

WishIWasHunting,

I am very lucky when it comes to my wife. She is very wonderful !!!! I do not have a basement and I don't have to much more room to put stuff. Here is the garage and the rest of the house.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Great story and great looking

Great story and great looking buck.  Everytime we live the field we always learn something.  It will always make a better hunter the next time we come into a simular situation.

elkkill06's picture

Thanks guys !

Thanks for the great comments guys and for reading my story !

Critter's picture

That's a great buck and

That's a great buck and story.  It is amazing on what we will do to try and connect on one of them.  I've lost a pair of boots when I took them off and put on some heavy socks to try and get closer to one and then forget just where I put the boots at.  Now I keep an extra pair in the truck just in case.  I guess that is a problem in getting older.

WishIWasHunting's picture

Nice looking buck!

That is a nice looking buck, and definitely a unique mount. I like the story and the PSA.

numbnutz's picture

Great story!! LOL. live and

Great story!! LOL. live and learn, I love the psa at the end about not shooting animals in the head. that is great advice. Congrats on the fine looking deer.

Topgun 30-06's picture

That's a nice buck and a very

That's a nice buck and a very interesting mount you had done.  Congratulations, even if it was quite a few years ago!!!

jaybe's picture

What Patience!

  That stalk really took a lot of patience! It's one thing to sit and watch animlas from a distance for a long time, but entirely another to be within archery distance - pinned down - and stay still and quiet enough for them to walk away.

  I don't blame you one bit for taking that shot. I personally think that we have been brainwashed to a certain degree about the standing, broadside shot as being "the only ethical shot" to take. If a hunter knows his equipment and it's capabilities, and if he knows his own abilities and feels confident that he can make a killing shot, he should feel free to take it, in my opinion.

  Then, there is also the experience factor - as you mentioned. We all start out knowing very little, and we all learn as we go. No one has ever lived who hasn't made a mistake, but fortunately, we also get lucky sometimes.

  Thanks for that story.

  Wow! That's quite an assortment of horns, feathers and skins you've got there! Pretty soon, you'll have no wall space left, and you'll just have to start building a pyramid with them in your back yard!