Craig Eckstein writes, "The first is a picture of my buddy, Craig Franke. This was his first muley and I was proud to help him harvest this fine buck. Not bad for a rookie, huh? We spotted him in his bed on our way up a ridge. After several mis-fires with his 30-06, Craig shot him at 270 yards with my 7mm, just after he got up from his bed. It's a nice 4x4 with brow tines and even a few stickers (3), and measured 24 inches wide. Good first muley.
The second buck (the guy with the tan shirt) is mine. This is a very unusual story. On the next to last day of our hunt, we snuck into our "honeyhole" with a nice wind in our face and the sun to our backs. I spotted only the top of the left side of his antlers behind a patch of sagebrush; couldn't tell how big he was, but he was only at 40 yards, so I would soon find out! As soon as I spotted this, the safety flew off, my gloves came off, and I had the crosshairs on the sage. After what seemed like an eternal standoff, the buck finally slightly moved his head, so we were able to tell he was tall and wide. We still couldn't see any part of his body, however. The only option was to sit, wait, and hope he didn't take a quick leap to his rear, where he could get down the ridge unseen. I was hoping for the usual "muley lookback" or at least a short glance at us once he stood up. No way. All of a sudden, he leaped up and took off to our left, across the ridge. In an instant the 150-grain 7mm slug was on its way, thru the sage brush. He dropped in his tracks. I hit him high, because the gun was sighted in for long range. He's a nice 4x4 w/ brow tines and a 26-inch outside spread.
But the most unique thing is not his antlers! The 3rd picture attached is a close up of his face. As you can see, somebody shot this deer in the eye with an arrow during the archery season. The arrow apparently entered from the deer's front, and lodged in his skull, just below his eye socket. OUCH! Two inches of the arrow can clearly be seen, along with lots of infection and a blind eye. I am amazed this deer lived for 4-5 weeks like this. I am also amazed that a bowhunter would take a shot that apparently was not broadside. But more importantly, I am very glad that I was able to put him out of his misery. He likely would have not made it through the winter. It's hard to imagine the pain this animal had expereinced; pain that most of us could never endure. It's also amazing how clearly he spotted us with only one eye!
Anyway, that's our 2006 mule deer hunt. My gorgeous wife Lisa, who normally makes your trophy page with a nice buck, passed on a number of nice 4x4 bucks, but wanted to "...let them grow up." She is pictured here with my deer. Her patience and toughness in nasty weather are an inspiration to me. She doesn't have to pull the trigger to enjoy these fine animals."