11 days, 100 bucks spotted & one buck that changed everything
With every new year comes the recurring anticipation of drawing a coveted tag. Unfortunately, every year I seem to get the same results: unsuccessful. As the month of June ended, I decided it was time to check and see if my chances had improved. Was I lucky enough to draw in Idaho? I was expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Quickly, I entered my information. Low and behold, I was finally successful! Full of excitement and shock, I rushed to call my hunting buddies with the great news.
After all the excitement of drawing the tag had worn off, the “what if” scenarios started creeping into my head. As many of you know, holding a coveted tag can be quite stressful—everything from the pressure of having the tag in your pocket to hoping for good weather to even receiving unsolicited advice from people without a tag, who insist on telling you what they would and wouldn’t do. I tried to ignore the apprehensions I had and chose to focus on the upcoming hunt in order to mentally prepare myself for the adventure ahead.
I was really looking forward to spending time in the great outdoors and searching for a trophy mule deer with my father and friends. Years ago, when I started applying for out-of-state tags, I chose to only apply for premium tags. That way, if I did end up drawing, I had a chance at a great trophy animal. As my hunt quickly approached, I reminded myself to take things one day at a time, that it was best to wait until the last week of the hunt, and to take what the mountain gave me. I wanted to enjoy each minute of the hunt, as I knew this might be a once-in-a-lifetime tag.
Several of my hunting buddies didn’t believe me when I said I drew this tag. I took a screenshot and sent it as confirmation.
We have some friends who own a cabin in our hunting unit. This accommodation made our hunt a whole lot more enjoyable!
I took off two full weeks so I could hunt. As you can see, the type of terrain we glassed over required a lot of time and our full attention!
We covered a lot of ground and spent a lot of time behind the glass. During a rut hunt, you never know when a big buck might show up.
Here’s another view of the terrain and the snow that I was fortunate to have during the hunt. Thanks to the snow and hunting during the rut, the big bucks finally decided to come down to the lower country.
After looking at over a hundred bucks in the last eleven days, we walked up a hill and saw this buck in a group of four. He clearly stood out among the rest and, after a quick decision, I took the shot. Here he is “as he lays.”
I was pumped and beyond ecstatic. To date, this is the biggest mule deer I’ve shot. Words cannot describe this moment after you've worked so hard.
Here is a top view of him where you can really see the age of the buck shine through the antlers.
Another view of him propped up. This buck had everything I was looking for in a deer.
Tag notches. I’ll always remember this day: November 24, 2015.
Here he is once I got him home. One of my friends scored him at 189 and another at 190. I’ll take the 190! He scored so well because he has massive fronts. The buck has 26" main beams, 40" of mass, and 27.5" wide.
I will cherish this hunt forever. Many thanks to my family and friends who tagged along. Jeremy is the founder of Trophy Quest Outdoors you can find out more information on his website or on their instagram page that can be found here.