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"The Birthday Buck"
Written by Scott McGann

The Birthday Buck
Scott's buck scores 170 1/8 Pope & Young.
It finally arrived, do I look at it or not? As I turned over the Fish & Game card I was so happy to find out that I had been successful in drawing the deer tag I had applied for. After many weeks of anticipation, a friend (who also drew) and I were on our first scouting trip.

It was early August and we already had several nice bucks spotted, but we continued our search. As we were heading to a spot I had seen a nice buck the prior year, we were hit with quite a surprise. Out of nowhere, our luck peaked. Two great bucks jumped up beside us and trotted off. We slipped up to the edge and glassed the bucks as they stopped just before disappearing over the next hill. I knew then and there that the bigger of the two was the buck I wanted.

I returned again by myself and found the bucks again in the same area. Opening weekend rolled around and I headed for the draw where I hoped the buck to still be living. After a couple hours of glassing, I spotted the two trophies as they feed. I watched them closely, preparing my stalk in my head waiting for them to bed.
Several minutes later they laid down for an afternoon nap and I began my sneak. As I approached to within 45 yards the bucks rose from their beds and began milling around. I eased out of the brush that separated me from the bucks, but no shot was available and I had to just watch the bucks slip away.
It was tough, knowing I was so close, within range, but unable to take a good shot. I went home that weekend feeling as though I might never get that close again, if I even see the bucks again.

The next Saturday (my Birthday), I retuned, hoping for one more chance. I got to the place I wanted to glass from about 1/2 hour before light. Two hours past before I finally spotted the bucks. I was relieved to say the least, but knew that the real task was going to be getting an opportunity.
They were feeding up the hill to my right, but after an hour or so of feeding, the bucks settled into a spot and bedded. I moved quickly after planning my stalk. When I was within 200 yards, I took off my pack and shoes for the final approach. After soaking myself in scent eliminator I put on some extra wool socks and began sneaking quietly through the desert. When I got to the spot I had picked out I began looking in the direction I figured the bucks would be. I thought they would probably be around 50 yards from this spot. Then, I caught antler movement in front of me. My yardage guess was wrong, as the larger of the two bucks was laying only 30 yards away chewing his cud in the shade of a big sage bush. I knew I was as far as I could go and had better do something fast as the wind was totally wrong. I took three steps to my left and could see a pie plate size opening leading right to the base of his neck. A small bush concealed the buck’s head, so he couldn’t see me as I drew my bow. I held patiently until the sight pin was solid on the spot I had selected. I squeezed the release and watched my arrow disappear into the deer. Both bucks jumped up and took off. The buck I hit went to the left, the other to the right. We were on the edge of a bluff so I ran over to the edge and saw the buck crashing down the mountain. He came to a stop about 65 yards away. I was so excited I ran down to the buck (dumb move I know). He was still moving so I put a finishing arrow through his chest. I could not believe it! This buck was huge, I would guess over 250 lbs. on the hoof. It was by far the biggest buck I had ever harvested.

I later had the buck scored for Pope & Young, and the final result came out at 170 1/8” in full velvet. God blessed me with the best Birthday present ever!