MonsterMuleys.com

"The Golden Ticket"
Written by Bob Harris

The Golden Ticket
Finally! I received my much anticipated letter from the Utah DWR announcing the results for the limited entry hunts. I hurried into the house, ripped it open, and the first word I noticed was "Unsuccessful". My heart sank, knowing that I would have to wait another year to try again.
After trying to gain some sympathy from my wife, I looked a little closer at the letter. The word "Unsuccessful" was next to the general season units, and the word "Successful" was next to unit 10-011, the Book Cliffs. I had drawn the tag I wanted!
What a rush of excitement and anticipation! This letter soon became known as my "Golden Ticket" in my household, in reference to the movie, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", when Charlie finally finds the coveted "Golden Ticket" in a chocolate bar.

Anyway, I have never been to that area, so I decided to do a little research before heading out on my hunt. Thanks to several people, who have hunted that unit the past few years, I was able to determine what area to hunt. While heading up there the day before the hunt, I got two flat tires, due to the rocky dirt road. I thought my hunt had ended before it even started. I was very lucky to even get in there!
That night I went for a ride on one of the 4 wheelers to do some quick scouting. I could not believe the number of deer I saw, but there was one problem, I only saw two small bucks. This had me a little concerned, but I knew the big boys were in there somewhere, most likely far from the roads.

I was joined on my hunt by the two best guides a person could have, my two younger brothers. Opening morning, we decided to just kind of familiarize ourselves with the area and cover a lot of ground with the 4-wheelers. We only saw smaller bucks early on. I was even tempted to shoot one of them, but my brother talked me out of it.
This past summer, we made a great investment and bought a very nice spotting scope. While my brothers were using the spotting scope, I took off ahead of them. A few minutes later, my brother rode up to me and said they had spotted a monster. My heart skipped a beat as I jumped on the 4-wheeler and cruised back to see what they had found.

About 800 yards away in an open meadow, they had spotted not one big buck, but three big deer feeding. One was a tall, heavy four point, and the other, a wide deer with cheaters. Soon after they were spotted, the "Cheater" buck wandered into the trees and out of sight. So, I set my sights on the big four point.

The stalk was on, but the only problem was a steep canyon that separated us from the meadow of deer. As we began down into the canyon, I was so excited I almost started running. I had to keep reminding myself to keep quiet.
Once down in the canyon, as luck would have it, we kicked up some does that headed straight ahead for the meadow. Needless to say, once we climbed out of the canyon and got to the meadow, the big boys were gone. "What might have been?", I kept wondering to myself.

My brother suggested we should walk back down into the canyon in the direction of where we last saw the "Cheater" buck. I thought that he was probably long gone by now, but it was worth a shot. After hiking down to the bottom of the canyon, I looked up into a clearing of burnt timber. Standing there staring at us was the "Cheater" buck.
Faster than I have ever moved, I kneeled down, aimed and shot. He took a few steps and went behind a tree. I waited a few minutes, before he stepped out and I fired once more, ending my hunt.

After a few high fives, we hiked over to him. Both shots from my Ruger 7mm had hit almost in the exact same spot. He is a 28-inch 5x5 (counting the eye guards), with cheaters on each side. It was a gratifying trip riding my 4 wheeler back to camp with the results of my "Golden Ticket" strapped on the back. Those feelings and memories will last a lifetime.