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"High Desert Trophy Muley Hunt"
Written by Kevin Lincoln

High Desert Trophy Muley Hunt
Our hunt in Idaho's high desert started on October 26th. My good hunting buddy and occasional pack mule, Jeff, had drawn one of Idaho's most sought after buck mule deer tags. Although the season actually started October 15th, we waited until the last 10 days of season to begin hunting, knowing that the rut and migration would allow us to look over many more deer than in the early season. We were very excited to say the least.

We scouted the unit several times throughout the late summer and early fall, and had been seeing plenty of velvet bucks. Jeff's dad, Jerry, even made it over from Reno to help scout in August. Although I have spent a fair amount of time in this unit in the past, we spent hours looking over maps and aerial photography, planning out several hunts.

Both of my alarm clocks went off at the same time. I thought that by setting two alarm clocks I might actually get a little sleep. After much anticipation, Jeff, Jerry and I left early in the morning on the 26th and set up camp in the middle of the unit. The weather was perfect, crisp and clear. We headed out around 11:00 AM and began hunting a few miles from camp, having already seen a small 4-point from the road. By 5:00 that afternoon, we had seen about 15 bucks, most of which were 4x4s between 18 and 24 inches wide. One was a nice 4x4 with a 3 inch cheater sticking off his right side. It was tough for Jeff to pass him up, but it was only the first day. The next morning was almost the same, seeing another 15 to 20 bucks, but no shooters. Around mid-day, Jeff's brother, Mike, and our good buddy, Mike T., arrived to help glass and hopefully pack out quarters. We tried a new area that afternoon, but only found a few deer.

We decided to concentrate the next morning in the area we had been seeing most of the bucks. This area was about as far from any roads as we could get, which we felt good about considering how many ATV's there were cruising the roads. Shortly after first light, we were quietly working our way down a draw in the high sage when we spotted a buck walking over a ridge in front of us about a half mile down. Jeff went to the top of the ridge alone, while we all stayed behind and waited. We crept up to him about a half hour later and he was watching a nice buck 500 to 600 yards across the canyon. We had two spotting scopes on him, and he was a nice 4x4 with an inline 5th point. Definitely the nicest buck we had seen. We waited until he bedded down, and Jeff and I began a long belly crawl down a rocky draw that would take us up another draw that would put us below the buck. Jerry, Mike and Mike T. stayed behind to keep an eye on the buck, which you could barely see bedded in the tall sage. After a two hour belly crawl, Jeff and I were able to get within 225 yards of this buck in his bed. After a nervous wait on our part, the buck made the mistake of standing up from his bed in the heavy sage brush to snack a little. We were ready, and Jeff's 30-06 did its job. Luckily, Jeff's dad, brother and Mike T. were along watching the whole thing from a rock outcropping. We were able to quarter it and pack it out to the truck. I am so grateful to have been able to enjoy this hunt with a bunch of good folks in some of Idaho's most beautiful country. A great hunt with a bunch of good folks!