MonsterMuleys.com

"The Waiting Game"
Written by Tracy Couch

The Waiting Game
I've always wanted to draw for mule deer and in July of 2006, I found out that I had been chosen for a deer tag in a unit near my home.

I took this nice 4x4 mule deer in the southwest desert of Arizona on the third day of the hunt. My husband, Derek, and I would climb the mountains in the area and glass the washes/basins. We could see does and spikes, but finding one with a good rack was a challenge.

It was really windy on the third morning and I was on top of a mountain glassing with my Steiner optics when I saw what I thought was a rack, but it would not move. It looked like an ironwood stump. Through tired, teary stressed eyes, I kept watching for any movement of this so-called stump until finally, I thought I saw it move. I finally got the attention of my husband who was also glassing and trying to stay warm on the windy mountain a few yards down below me. He came up to me, but I was unable to put down my binoculars for fear of losing site of what I thought was a good buck.

The Waiting Game
It took me about 5 minutes of memorizing the landscape before I could put down and tell him where to glass. When he did lock on the site, he said, "That is a good buck! And he is laying down looking away from us". We ranged him at around 700 yards away. We watched him for about an hour. He would get up, feed and lay back down. My patience was getting the better of me and I decided to stalk him.

My husband remained on the mountain to give me directions of any of the buck's movement as I descended and moved to within 350 yards of him. I could not see him where I thought I could get a shot at him. After about 3 more hours of him getting up and milling around, he laid down out of the wind in a draw under a Palo Verde tree.

Derek descended the mountain to where I was and we were able to crawl/stalk within 81 yards of this buck lying down facing us head on. Because of the terrain, I had to use Derek's shoulder as a rest and we had to crouch up and hold it while I sited him in my scope to get the perfect shot. After what seemed like a few minutes of holding our breaths and waiting for my scope to quit circling, I squeezed the trigger of the Model 77 300 Ruger.

With this single shot, he jumped up and took three jumps and went down. I was so happy and my legs were shaking. What a hunt. I have taken four bull elk...one nice trophy bull. But, I will say this was one of my most special hunting experiences. I am a blessed hunter and I thank God and my husband for blessing and sharing these special hunting experiences with me.