Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"My Idaho Muley"
Written by Jeremiah Chandler

My Idaho Muley
The 2007 hunting season started off with great anticipation. I purchased a non-resident Junior Mentored Deer Tag when my friend, Stitch, asked me to go on a backcountry mule deer hunt in Idaho.

My hunting buddies, Stitch and John, and I left my house at three forty-five A.M. We had about a two hour drive ahead of us. We got to the trailhead at five forty-five A.M. It was clear and cold. Every step we took sounded like we were walking on broken glass. We were about to embark on a three and a half mile hike with thirty pound packs, which took us almost two hours.

We were heading down the ridge to setup camp when Stitch decided to have us set down our packs and peek over the ridge into the bowl that we were hunting and see if there were any mule deer. We had just set down behind our binoculars when we saw a mature 4x5 bull elk with about a half dozen cows. Unfortunately, none of us had an elk tag or one of us would have shot the bull.

My Idaho Muley
After five more minutes of glassing, Stitch said, "There's a muley, it's a big buck." John decided to make a stalk on the buck, so he went back up the way we had come to start the stalk. While John was making the stalk, Stitch and I spotted several other bucks in the same area. So, we began our own stalk.
We moved across the hill so that after John shot his buck, we would have a chance at one of the other bucks.

John had stalked to within 100 yards of the buck and made a beautiful shot. I saw the buck start flopping around in the brush about 150 yards ahead of me and I told Stitch, "He hit him, he's going down!" Stitch and I took off at a run across the hill to get within 300 yards of the three monster bucks that had stood up after John shot.

Unfortunately, as we ran towards the bucks they spotted us and took off up the hill. Luckily however, the third one in line stopped right at the edge of the trees and turned broadside looking back at me. I set my Ruger M77 .280 down on the shooting sticks and fired. I heard a definite thud, and I knew my 150 grain Swift Sirocco II bullet had done the job. I had the trophy of a lifetime and I'm only 13! He has an outside spread of 28 inches and he gross scores 170 inches.

Thanks to Mike "Stitch" Hatchel and John Crisco for making the dream of a lifetime come true. I would also like to thank my parents Tim and Louise for helping me get an education of a different sort and for letting me skip school to go hunting.

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

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

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