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"Last Minute Trophy Buck"
Written by Brandon Wicks

Last Minute Trophy Buck
It was the 2005 Utah archery season and I was hunting the thick oak brush country of Utah. I first saw this buck hanging out with four other bucks a day before the hunt began. There were five bucks hanging out together in a bachelor group and feeding from the thick oaks down into the sagebrush flats at night and moving back up into heavy Utah oaks for cover in the morning.
I made numerous attempts to place myself where the bucks would pass because the hot temperatures made for hard stalking and put the bucks down before the heat of the day rolled in.

The Utah archery opener for deer usually consists of hot, dry conditions with full moon phases and short morning and evening hunts. After a couple of fuddle attempts, I decided on the last evening to set out early in order to position myself where the bucks might pass on there way out to feed in the evening.
During this time of the year, it doesn't get dark until around 9:00pm, so there is a lot of time to think of where to go so to give you the best chance for success.

During the last evening, I set out at 3:00pm to get a good start on the last of my hunt. The hike wasn't terribly far for once on this hunt because I had it all worked out and I got in there early before things even got close to stirring. When I first got over to the area I was going to hunt for the evening I couldn't find great cover because it was in the flats between two knolls. In order to give myself a good chance of a reasonable shot I had to find a place in or around the flat hanging meadow that the bucks would pass by.

After setting up for an hour or so, I decided to change my position because the wind started to shift and blow over the open area that the bucks liked to stop by on there way down to greener pastures in the valley bottoms where there were some agriculture fields. I moved across the open meadow as slow and quietly as I could so I wasn't to spook anything moving in. As soon as I got to the other side of the meadow and looked across to where I just was and saw the five bucks hanging out not more than 100 yards from where I had been. I couldn't believe itů.just my luck.

I quickly found a single large sagebrush to hide behind, but that was all there was around me. As I sat there for several hours watching the five bucks, I had two smaller two points approach me within thirty yards and I thought they were going to spoil it all, but even when the small bucks got spooked from getting to close to me the other five bucks that were still in the same spot didn't take off.

As the sun began to fade, I wondered if the bucks would make it over to me. They seemed a little shy from when the small two bucks approached me, but the draw of heavier pastures kept them wanting to come my way. After patient waiting, the bucks finally started to make their way towards me, but as they got closer I lost sight of them because of a small impression in the hanging valley that they dropped into.

It was getting late and just as I thought my hunt was over with and all hope was lost, a buck stepped out about 45 yards and I looked through my binoculars and I saw that it was one of the five. A few seconds later the best of the five stepped out just behind the first buck. I knew right away that it was him, so I drew my bow back slowly and as soon as I got my sights on him he started to move again right behind the other buck. Afraid of spooking the bucks, I didn't want to let off, so I held as long as I could. Just when I didn't think I could hold my bow back any longer the big buck started to move again out away from the other buck, but wouldn't stop to give me a shot, so I made a kissing sound with my lips to stop the buck and it did.

When the buck stopped I put the vitals between my 40 & 50-yard pin and let her fly. When I shot, the buck jumped and I wasn't sure how well I hit him. I ranged out the area around me before the bucks came to get an idea on yardage, so I felt confident that I had the right range, but the buck took off with the other four.

I waited a couple hours and then decided to go look for blood. With my headlamp, I went over to where I thought I should have hit the buck, but there was no blood. I also couldn't find my arrow anywhere, so I decided to wait until morning so not to spook a wounded buck in the dark. After a restless sleep, I got up early to go see if I could find my buck and when I got up to the spot that I shot him in there he was.

What a great archery buck!