Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Black Jack Buck"
Written by Sam Jones
Featured in the winter 2002 issue of Trophy Hunter Magazine

Black Jack Buck
Sam Jones with his 223 4/8 gross B&C Wyoming buck.
It was taken withGreys River Trophies.
The idea about the hunt came during a shed-hunting trip in Northern Arizona where my hunting partner, Scott Muzzy, and I were looking for monster elk sheds. The weather was unbearably cold and wet, so we spent most of our time playing blackjack while trying to stay dry. I could not lose and Scott would not give up, so after a while, Scott was down a considerable amount of money. The payment terms included putting both of us in for deer in Wyoming's premier area.

We apply for mule deer in Arizona and the surrounding states each year. These efforts usually end up with rejection notices, so it was amazing when we learned that we had actually drawn out in Wyoming. We didn't have any idea about how we were going to approach the hunt.
Because of the difficulty of the terrain and the size of the unit, we decided to hire a guide. After many phone calls to various outfitters, we decided upon Grey's River Trophies. The owner, Gary Amerine, was very knowledgeable about the country and has had great success killing bucks in previous years.

September quickly arrived and we hoped that we were prepared for the hunt. The first day of hunting was good. We saw 10 to 12 bucks, but not anything that we would shoot. We were holding out for something 180 inches or better. Our particular guide thought this was a lofty goal - I suppose he was used to guiding eastern hunters who shoot the first 24-inch, four-point they see. He soon learned that we were in for the long haul and that we were prepared to go home empty handed.

Black Jack Buck
The weather was unseasonably warm and the deer would bed immediately after first light. Midday drives in secluded timber pockets were successful at pushing deer out of their beds and into the open. The bigger bucks, however, would use their crafty escape routes and rarely leave the timber.

The second and third days were much like the first. We saw lots of bucks, the best of which was a heavy antlered 26-27", 3x4. One of the other hunters in camp, Brian "Big Bri", had passed a thin 30" buck that he thought would score in the low 180's and now he was starting to regret his decision.
After the third day, the guides recommended a bigger drive in an area where they had previously scouted two good bucks. These deer were exceptional - one was a 35" typical and the other was a heavy-antlered 30" buck. These bucks were running together and had been intensely pursued during the beginning of the hunt. The guides hadn't heard if either buck had been killed, which was very possible because we were hunting public land.

After lunch on the fourth day, the guides prepared for a big drive in very thick and nearly vertical country. I was the first posted hunter. I wasn't in a very good location because of my limited view, and Scott had taken the higher point and had the best view of the mountainside. After 20 minutes, I began to question where I was sitting and opted to move slightly higher for a better vantage. Within a few seconds of settling into my new spot, I thought I saw a bull moose emerging from the area where the guides were. What emerged from the dark timber was the biggest buck I had ever seen. He was running straight up the mountain toward Scott. I only had about a 30-yard opening to shoot through before the buck would disappear. I aimed my crosshairs on the buck's front shoulder and fired. The running shot - at approximately 300 yards away - hit the deer in the back leg. The buck immediately turned and started running down the mountain. I called Scott on the radio and told him that I had shot a deer, and he reported seeing the deer lay down at the bottom of the mountain. One more shot and the monster was done.

Black Jack BuckScott Muzzy's 29 1/2 " four-point buck was taken on the last day ofthe hunt. His deer was also killed during a drive.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked up to the buck. It was and absolute giant with seven points on the left side and six on the right. This was the heavy-antlered 30" buck that the guides had seen previously. I guess the 35" typical is still up on the mountain.

I could not wait to tape the buck. It was 30 "wide, with 20 inch G2s and 21 inches of mass per side. The buck officially scored 223 4/8" gross and 218 5/8" net non-typical B&C with a 202" typical frame. This is a buck of a lifetime. I may never kill a deer as big as this one, but I will keep applying to areas that have potential to grow this type of buck.

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

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

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