by Jeff S. Anderson
August 22, 2012
My guide gave me three different options on the evening I shot my early season archery mule deer in Utah.
- Go back to the place where we had hunted in the morning in hopes of ambushing one of the three 150 inch or better deer on the way to Alfalfa.
- Hunt a water hole a local wildlife officer said he had seen one 170 inch buck.
- Hunt the Alfalfa fields we checked out the day I arrived to try and ambush a buck coming to the fields.
We discussed the options and decided on option #1 – knowing that we had at least three shooter mule deer in that area. Caleb also informed me that his father, Travis “Cheeto” who is another guide, would be coming along to help spot for us.
In the five days of archery mule deer hunting in Utah, I had been inside 75 yards of a 150 inch buck at least once every day and inside 25 yards twice. We had seen a lot of very good bucks with a few we estimated over 180 inches. We never saw less than three bucks over 150 inches every day.
On the way to our spot, we saw a good buck next to the road about 30 yards in front of us. Travis suggested I step out of the jeep with my bow as he and Caleb continue down the road, which I did. I then walked down the road about 20 yards to see the buck at 36 yards between two trees. I could just barely see his front shoulder area and decided to try a shot. I drew my bow and was just about settled on the right sight pin, when the buck moved behind the tree and walk away without giving me a shot. He was not scared and seemed to have held up in some heavy brush about 90 yards away.
I began stalking down a trail above him. As I got to about 75 yards, I could see him sneaking through the brush down the hill and away from me. I doubled back and headed downhill until I found another trail below where I thought the deer might be. After about 10 minutes, I could see the nice mule deer buck cross in front of me headed down the hill at about 70 yards. I slowly worked around some brush that separated us, ranged him at 54 yards, got my release on my D-loop, found a shooting lane through the Aspen trees, and drew my bow while he was still scratching his rump. As he turned to look forward, I let the arrow go. We found good blood and pieces of lung in route to where he lay about 130 yards from where he was hit.
The buck was huge! I had paid little attention to the antlers when stalking and shooting because I knew the buck was a shooter when I first saw him. I had been focused only on getting a good shot off. I could not believe how blessed I was to take this incredible archery mule deer. In the five days of hunting, I had been inside 75 yards of a 150 inch buck at least once every day and inside 25 yards twice. We had seen a lot of very good bucks with a few we estimated over 180 inches. We never saw less than three bucks over 150 inches every day.
Our cook did an excellent job providing a new breakfast favorite called banana foster French toast and she made killer enchiladas. The accommodations were first class and all of the staff and guides were absolutely superb to spend time with. My outfitter and his lovely wife were outstanding people and did a great job before and during my stay. I plan be hunting with them again someday, hopefully soon!!
~ Jeff S. Anderson
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