Three weekends, three friends, one giant buck
This 2016 season started off like just like all of my previous ones. Our preseason scouting trips found some really good bucks with the help of a great buddy Kyle Bartholemew and little brother Kyle. All summer long the bucks had the same routine and stuck to their patterns.
Opening morning finally arrived and anticipation was very high on what was about to go down on the bigger buck, but like a hunt normally goes, they were spooked by another hunter and took off. Later that night we had our number three buck at 65 yards but there was no shot opportunity. I went home after that first weekend a little discouraged but was right back at it the next weekend.
Once again I met up with my buddy and brother to take another crack at the big bucks. As luck would have it on the second weekend of the season, I once again struck out on mule deer so I decided to take a break and try for elk. Like previous trips this season, I struck out again, but this time on elk and again went home empty handed.
As I headed back to hunt during Labor Day weekend, I finally felt like it was going to happen. You can't give up when you're a weekend warrior on the general season. The first morning we didn't see the group of bucks and only glassed up a few does. We all decided that we would give it one more try that night.
On our hike out to glass on the final evening, my brother spotted some deer in the distance and just then my buddy turned and noticed that it was one of the bigger bucks we found this summer. We instantly stopped, took our packs and boots off and started stalking them in our socks. After about a hundred yard belly crawl/duck walk, we finally made it to a point where we could walk without being picked off.
As we came up a hill we went around a bush and my buddy says they are right in front of us! By now my blood is starting to boil and my blood pressure is rising. He whispers that they are 30 yards away. I started to get ready to draw back my bow when the 3 point that was with the big buck looked right at us. I thought it was over. Luckily he turned his head and started feeding again. I carefully inched back to 32 yards so I’d have a better view of the bucks vitals and peeked around the bush and drew.
I sat at full draw for almost a minute as I waited for him to feed out into the open for a clear broadside shot. Finally he went a few more steps and I let the arrow fly. I hit him a little farther back than I'd like, but either way I knew he wouldn't make it far. We watched him bed down after about 40 yards.
The anticipation of having to wait to put my hands on this brute was killing me. But after about an hour my dream had come true. I had not only just shot the biggest buck of my life but also got part of the hunt on video.
This is the biggest buck I have ever taken and he has an incredible 40" of mass. Nothing beats taking a buck with a bow on a General Season unit with great friends!
I was also fortunate enough to harvest a cow elk two days later at 28 yards with my bow. Having elk within two yards of me and never knowing I was even there was an incredible experience. What a great way to end the early season!