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"Tracking a Trophy"


Casey's 40-inch Buck
The buck's outside spread is a touch over 40". He has 10 points on one side and 12 on the other.
Dawn of the 9th day, of the Utah bowhunt, found Casey and Klint Glover perched high on a familiar sand point that overlooked a deep, red rock canyon. They were hunting for a big buck nicknamed "Bam-Bam" because of a couple of long, hammer shaped cheaters on the left, and a 9" clublike drop off the right side of his rack. As near as they could tell, his outside spread was around 40" wide with about 10 points on a side.

They had watched the herd of bucks feed that morning and now the deer were bedded down. Casey stalked in close to the deer and waited for a shot. As Casey tells it:

"Five or six more bucks popped up out of the scrub oak in the bottom. The sun was starting to hit morning beds, and I knew I had to sit tight and see if our buck was there. I was caught on a tiny bench just under the skyline. I could see the bottom well, but couldn't see the base of the steep hill and didn't have enough cover to move much. The wind was perfect. The draw headed up 35 yards to my left, where two steep, sandy hillsides met to make a seam. In the shallow depression was the only cover to speak of, so I slowly started inching toward it. The deer were 70-100 yards below, feeding toward the same seam. I edged to where I was about to drop into it, and two more bucks stood up. Twenty five yards under me, Bam-Bam and a 32-inch 3x4 stood up. The whole world seemed to move. At first, I thought I had bumped them, but soon realized they had no clue I was there. All I could see were heads, necks, and a ton of horn. My heart rate skyrocketed. The huge bucks were mostly hid by buck brush when I drew. On cue, the 32-inch 3x4 turned and moved straight away. He crossed the seam, trotted up the small point opposite and stopped to feed about 50 yards away. The big one followed, and cleared the brush. His body looked huge, as I made myself focus on it instead of the horns. I made a kissing noise with my lips at 35 yards, but he kept walking. I kissed again, loud, at 45. He still kept on walking. Panic set in as it appeared he would saunter over the small point and disappear. Then he stopped. I could see several ribs on his right side. My line of pins ran the length of his spine as I pulled the 50 yard one down into them. The buck was still oblivious to me as he took the arrow standing; only it hit 4 inches left of where I was aiming. There was a loud smack as it buried deep into the buck's right ham, an inch to the right of his spine. Startled, the buck exploded over the ridge and appeared on the next, where he hesitated and looked back. Suddenly, his rear legs gave way, and he stumbled into a trot and then a panicked, bounding run out of sight. I was burning straight adrenaline as I flew to where I had last seen the buck. He was gone. Large splatterings of dark blood covered the ground where he had been hit, and I was excited."

Then it happened - the unthinkable - it rained. Lightly at first, then it poured. Tracks and blood dissolved right before our eyes as we scrambled along his trail. We lost him, then found him. Then we ran into tracks from another herd, and lost him again.

After three days of constant searching, we got a huge break. Jake Ramsay, a classmate of Casey's, was one of the few people with whom we had shared where and what we were hunting. He approached Casey and asked if he had taken a shot. When Casey asked why, he told him a man was just in his station telling a wild story. It seems that on the very day Casey had hit the deer, Mr. Marve Breeland, of Kanab, had decided to take an afternoon drive. His drive took him up the exact bottom where our silent hunt was taking place. As he cruised in his car up the main road in the bottom, at least 3 miles from where Casey had hit the deer, something in the wide wash to his left caught his eye. He stopped, backed up, and saw the biggest buck he had ever seen in his life! It had an arrow sticking out of it's ham, up by it's back, and didn't want to go anywhere.

Casey's 40-inch Buck
To that point, we had been hunting the west side of that road. That evening found us weaving in and out under a canopy of tamaracks, up and down the wide flood plain where Marve had seen the buck. No Bam-Bam, but tracks for sure. The buck had crossed the road. (Thanks Marve and Jake.) It rained again that night.

Day 4, Dad and friend , Dixon Spendlove, blanketed the area east of the road where Marve had seen the buck. Brother Tracy accompanied on his horse. No luck.

Casey and his new bride, Becky, hit the same area that evening. As they were returning to the truck, they heard something in a wash between them.

"It's him," Becky exclaimed, peeking around a dead cedar. They both rushed into the wash behind the deer. It was obvious that the buck had been tucked up in the narrow bottom for some time. He was very much alive and had kept the coyotes at bay. A well placed arrow, an hour, and a phone call later, we were all standing over the dead buck, awed and relieved. It was over.

By Klint Glover