Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Christmas in September"
Written by Doug Olsen
Featured in the Fall-1, 2004 issue of Trophy Hunter Magazine

Christmas in September
The 2003 hunting season had finally arrived and the anticipation was agonizing as I arrived in the Wild Country Outfitters base camp. I was greeted in camp by outfitter Tommy Land and guide Brad Hutchings. The Wild Country team had been scouting throughout the summer and had located several solid bucks on the 224,000-acre ranch.

The first night, found Brad and I on a ridge glassing through the quaky filled draws and oakbrush hillsides trying to locate a big buck. We quickly started picking up deer, including a good buck that was bedded less than 300 yards from our glassing point. Little did I know that I would eventually harvest this deer…but not until I had paid my dues. We knew that he was a good buck, but the position in which he was bedded made the buck look quite smaller than he really was. We walked away from the deer thinking he might reach the 190" mark, but no more.

After another day of hunting and a short discussion with Tommy, we decided to try to relocate the buck and give him a little closer look. Thus began the chase.

On the last morning, we returned to his location and quickly found the buck. We scurried into position and were within 280 yards! With the buck walking up the hillside, I wanted to wait for a clean, ethical shot. To my disappointment, the deer never presented the shot that I wanted, so I let him walk. Having the evening to hunt, I was still hoping the buck would come out of the thick trees before it was dark.

Christmas in September
Seven hours later, the buck stood up and started feeding. Brad and I once again tried to get into position, momentarily losing sight of the buck. When we thought we were in position, we popped over the hill, but the deer was nowhere to be found. The only deer we could see was the big buck's companion.

After watching the smaller buck for some time, we decided it would be better to back out and get to where we could see the hillside better. I told Brad that I felt confident with a long shot if I had a steady rest. I had been practicing out to 500 yards. We backed out and set up on a rock and began to wait once again.

Thirty minutes later, the buck made his final mistake of feeding out into the edge of the trees. Many hunters have been faced with this ultimate feeling of exhilaration knowing that they've put a weeklong effort into trying to harvest one particular animal and it all comes down to where the crosshairs are at the shot. My time was now, and I sent a 180-grain bullet from my .300 Win. Magnum 486 yards across the silent canyon. We heard the report of a solid hit and the chase was over.

We made our way to the buck and were astonished that we had let this buck go on the first evening. It was then that we knew just how big this buck really was. When we returned to camp we officially green scored the buck with a cable and came up with 219 6/8" gross! The buck has 6 1/2-inch bases that carry the mass all the way to the tips. The buck also has 9 scoreable points around the bases, 5 ½-inch eyeguards including a double eyeguard on one side, a 6-inch cheater between the main beam and the G-4, cheaters off both of the G-3's, 25-inch main beams, and a 23-inch inside spread!

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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