Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Triple M - Monster Montana Muley"
Written by John Shafer

Triple M - Monster Montana Muley
This was only my second attempt at hunting Mule deer in the state of Montana. The first year I was also successful in that I shot a smaller 4x4 that was 20 inches wide but did not have much mass. Of course I was pretty thrilled in that I went to Montana, hunted with out a guide and successfully shot a 4x4 mule deer, I mean this was the first time I have ever looked at a mule deer alive in the wild. After arriving home I had different reactions. The people who have never shot a muley said it was a nice one but the people who have shot muleys said that I should have waited until I saw a buck that would have antlers out past his ears and to never shoot the first one that I see, of course they were just ribbing me a little.

This year the weather was very warm when we, a friend of mine named Pete who used to be a co-worker and who accepted another job in Montana, woke up on opening morning of the Montana deer season. Both of us had a sparkle in our eyes, as we both knew we were going to see some animals either in the draws or out in the alfalfa fields. Our first glassing of the first meadow showed us a surprise in that we saw Antelope and not Mule deer. There were six animals and they were about 400 yards away. I did promise Pete that he could have first shot, plus he was the only person to have an Antelope license, so we decided to put on the stalk. We crawled on our hands and knees and even on our bellies to get with in 300 yards. One of the six antelope was a buck, so Pete got himself in a good shooting position and slowly squeezed the trigger. The shot was true and he killed his first antelope. After dressing the animal, I told him to go and get the four-wheeler to get his animal and I would continue hunting for a muley. I continued to hunt spot and stalk style for about 30 minutes before hearing the four-wheeler coming from the other direction. Pete was coming to get his Antelope. After loading his animal he started coming my way only to be totally exited in that in his riding to get his Antelope he spotted two great big Mulies. All he could say was, "HUGE!" I asked where and he pointed in the direction and said they would be about a half mile away. He continued on to take his animal back to camp, and I headed in the direction where he saw the Mulies.

Triple M - Monster Montana Muley
Not knowing exactly where the deer were I had to stop and glass at every hilltop. I was coming to the end of the property and knew that the next hill would probably have to be my last. I figured that the deer moved after the four-wheeler had gone through. Instead of glassing first on the next hill, I slowly crawled on my hands and knees to the top, turned around and sat on my butt and then started to glass the draw and just as I reached the other side of the draw, on the hill laying down was this big Muley with antlers that looked bigger than his body, looking directly at me. To the right of him was another 4x4 Muley, he did not look like he saw me because he was looking in the other direction. I slowly lowered my binoculars and got my range finder out to see just how far the deer were. The range finder said they were at 363 yards. I lowered the range finder and glassed the rest of the draw in hopes that I could find a way to stalk closer, there was no other way to get closer to the animal without him spotting me and every time that I would glass back to the big deer he would still be staring right at me. I decided to get my pole cat shooting stick out and get my rifle up and ready.

As I had the deer in my scope I kept hearing my friends telling me not to shoot the first animal I see and always make sure the antlers are past his ears or else I should wait. I looked through my scope and I could see that his antlers were, at least I thought at the time, that they would indeed be at least by his ears and also that he looked pretty tall. I did not see many points but I thought he was a 4x4. Then I kept thinking that I have never taken an animal at this distance even though I knew my rifle would be true at that distance. I just could not tell myself to pull the trigger. For about twenty minutes the animal and I would not take our eyes off of each other, which just seemed like a stand off. I finally told myself that this would be the best Muley I have ever shot, which is not saying much because there was only one other Muley taken, so I decided to try and take the animal. I placed the cross hairs of my scope a little high on the shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. The Remington 300 Ultra Mag 180 core lock bullet was true and the Monster Muley rolled down the hill and I knew I had been successful when there was no movement after the animal came to a rest. It felt like my heart was about ready to jump out of my chest and my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I instantly went to get a close look at the animal.

For the first time in my life the animal got bigger the closer I got to him. As I stood there just staring at the animal, and also letting myself regain my composer, Pete had heard the shot and whistled at me from the top of the hill. I waived him down and when he arrived, he could only say WOW.

The Monster Muley was 26 inches wide, 20 inches tall, 5 inches around at the bases, and with plenty of mass. I know it is not the biggest Mule Deer around but he will always be burnt into my memory.

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

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

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