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Last-Ditch Effort Pays Off
By Corby Draney


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After putting in for a deer tag for eleven years and not drawing one, I thought the twelfth year was not going to be any different. But, boy was I wrong; little did I know I was going to kill the biggest deer of my life. After finding out the news and the anticipation building every single day, the deer hunt couldn't come fast enough. With a few scouting trip failures because of conflicts with work, I started to wonder how the hunt was going to go. I was questioning my decision to go to the south end knowing that I knew the north pretty well.

After months of preparation, the day finally came. With everything packed up, away we went, headed for the Book Cliffs. At least, we thought it was that easy. As we pulled out of the driveway, the relief springs broke on our trailer. I thought to myself, "Great, here's another delay to the trip." Now, we had to find a new trailer, unload all our gear, pack it onto a new trailer, and hustle our butts down there to try and get a little scouting in before dark. We finally rolled into camp around 10pm missing the scouting time we wanted to have. The next morning we were going blind, having no clue if we were even going to see a shooter buck.

Opening morning arrived with little to no sleep. That morning we covered a lot of country seeing two decent bucks: a 30 inch 3x4 and 5x6 with inlines on both sides. Thankfully, my brother Shawn told me, "We can do better." I hoped he was right. The evening hunt was slow. The only buck we could turn up was a dinky little spike. After having not the best of luck, we decided to change our game plan and hike up a canyon and glass down on the plateaus. This proved beneficial as we glassed up 3, 22-24 inch four points and a couple two points that morning.

All afternoon I was thinking, "Should I have shot that buck yesterday?" But my son and my brother kept saying, "Don't kick yourself. We'll find a bigger buck." Sunday night turned up the same results. We had hiked four miles back up a canyon to glass down into these washes, and we were still not seeing any bucks bigger than 20 inch four points. At this point, I was almost ready to shoot the next thing with antlers.

Monday morning we went back to the wash we were in the day before. We were only seeing little bucks until my brother Shawn radioed us that there was a wide heavy buck across the wash rutting some does. As soon as we heard this, another truck drove behind us, saw the buck, got above us, and eventually killed the him. Going for broke, we hustled back to camp to get our gear ready for the evening hunt.

We left camp around noon and headed straight for the road-less area to see if any bucks got pushed out of the bottom. We headed up that road for nearly four hours, not even seeing a deer. There were tracks all down the road from the high country down to the lower area. Seeing all these tracks, I was baffled that we didn't even see a deer. My brother said, "I'm going back to get my stuff ready, so I can head out."

As he was packing up, we thought, let's just head down the road from camp just to see what we could see. We didn't even get a mile from camp when I looked to my right and saw a buck rutting some does across an open flat. Just by the way he was rutting the does I knew he had to be a good buck. I stopped the four-wheeler, jacked a round into my gun, and asked my buddy Kyle "Is he a shooter, and how far?" He replied, "302 yards. He's got extras off his right side. Kill him!" A few moments later, my first shot sailed right over him. The second shot punched right through his lungs. He stumbled off maybe a 100 yards before I punched one more in him putting him down for the count. While this was happening, my brother was driving down the road. He met my son who was flailing his arms saying, "We shot a pig. He is down up there. He's huge!" As we strolled up to him, I started to realize this was a better buck than I had originally thought. As I grabbed hold of his horns and looked them over, it started to set in that I had just killed a buck of a lifetime. The best part about it was I got to share the moment with my son Jaxon, my twin brother Shawn, and my best friend Kyle and his boy, Jaiden. The deer I killed scored 208-1/8, 9 points on one side and 8 on the other. I couldn't have had a hunt of a lifetime and killed this great buck without the help of all those people.

Special thanks to Kyle, Shawn, Rodger, Jaiden, Jaxon, and Jason who also had a deer tag and was able to harvest a 195" 4X4 buck.