Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Hunting Skyline"
Written by Mike Reid

Hunting Skyline
"Good morning, Idaho Fish and Game."

"Hi my name is Mike Reid and I'm calling to check on the Super Tag draw results for mule deer."

"Well let's see. Yes there is a Mike Reid on the list." Long pause on my end while I tried to wrap my brain around the idea that I might have actually drawn an Idaho mule deer Super Tag on my first try, after 15 years of not being able to draw a decent tag through the draw system. Well after several calls back and forth, the impossible had indeed happened. I was the stunned holder of an Idaho Super Tag for 2004.

I had always dreamed of hunting unit 45, Bennett Mountain in November for big muleys in the rut, so it was a no brainer where I was going to go. The first thing I did was to line up some great folks to help me out with the hunt. Chad Schow, one of my hunting buddies was quick to volunteer to help and said he had a friend, Corey Jacobsen, who knew the area well and might be willing to help out. Corey turned out to know the area very well and had actually hunted the unit 3 years previously and taken a nice 187 typical on his hunt in 45. He also had several videoclips he had taken of bucks in the area that we watched to build anticipation for the hunt.

On one of our scouting trips, the week before the season opened, we scouted the unit in 2 separate areas. I saw 3 bucks that looked like good possibilities and Corey found and filmed a buck we estimated would score about 185.

For opening morning, we decided to take a look at the buck Corey found the week before.
We started a couple hours before dawn and rode to the end of the road and parked. We had about 3 miles to walk over the very rough Bennett ground to get to where Corey said the buck should be. The Bennett Mtn. area is covered with almost a solid layer of lava rock. Almost every step you are walking on rocks so it can get pretty interesting.

Hunting Skyline
We saw 70 or 80 deer on the way in with 10 or 12 smaller bucks. As we approached the draw where we were hoping to find the buck we looked over and there was a buck on the skyline at about 900 yards. It was Skyline. We threw the glasses up and he looked amazing. The height of his rack with those 19" G2's really caught my eye as he stood on the skyline and we decided to try for him.

We closed the distance to 600 yards, but could not get closer as there were several deer between us and him and we were in an exposed position. We waited an hour for them all to bed down and then we made our move. We stayed very low and went back over the hill without spooking them. When we got to within 300 yards a doe busted up through the draw where they were and sure enough here they all came up onto the flat. He did not give us an opportunity for a good shot as they escaped over the flat without stopping until they reached a distance of 800 yards. There they stood on the skyline teasing us as we began a forced march over the lava rock after them. A march, that I didn't know at the time, would go on for another hour and a half and cover another 2 miles.

We chased them up the hill and they disappeared over the back side when we got to about 500 yards. Corey rushed ahead and spotted them just as they disappeared into the next canyon another half mile ahead. When we got over there we spotted 20 does in the canyon, but no buck. We figured the buck must have peeled off and gone the other way. As we proceeded up the ridge Corey spotted the buck's antlers on the skyline bedded down at 400 yards. We ducked down and crawled about 50 yards over the rocks to try to get to a place where I could get a shot, but off they went again before I could get in position.

Corey spotted the buck again on the skyline another half mile away headed right back in the same direction that we had come from. Off we went again. The buck went another half mile over the flat and stood on the skyline looking at us until we got to within 500 yards and then he dropped off the back side.
Well this time he made the mistake of not going far enough and when we crawled to the top he was standing at 300 yards. At the shot he dashed for 40 yards and fell.

The buck turned out to be a little better than we had estimated with a gross score of 192. 19" G2's and 19 inches of mass.
Can't thank Corey and Chad enough for helping out with the hunt. Without Corey's eyes we would have never taken this buck.

It was only a 4 hour hunt, but it was the culmination of a 15 year quest to draw a special mule deer tag in Idaho and have an opportunity at a dream buck.

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

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

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