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"The Lucky 13 Buck"
Photo provided by: Ray Kessler

Ray writes, "About a month before opening day I learned Arizona Bow hunters were going to endure some changes. The rumor which eventually confirmed the luxury I had enjoyed as a child was about to change. The Arizona Game and Fish was going to make certain units a draw for Archery deer. This brought on several emotions being the father of two children ages 7 and 9 that my children would not have the luxury as Arizona Sportsman that I had. They will probably never have the opportunity to hunt the Kaibab unless they are lucky enough to draw one of Arizona’s premier tags.

Knowing the that we wouldn’t be back to the Kaibab for sometime we decided to make this a 13 day hunt. A month before opening day we found ourselves all packed up for a quick weekend scouting trip. The scouting trip went as most do. We saw a bunch of deer and some great bucks. But this trip was going to be different as we were going to set our expectations high and take only a quality buck. We came up with a plan hung all of our tree stands and headed back to Phoenix with grins on our faces just knowing this was the year.

On September 12th, we were one our way for hopefully a hunt of a lifetime. The first 12 days was mostly spent in a tree stand or Double Bull blind we were starting to get a little discouraged as we had all passed on several bucks that didn’t meet our expectations. Then the last morning Randy and I decided to hunt in a different location. With the weather cooling off we found a nice buck. The buck was about 150 yards away feeding towards us. We decided to stalk up the slight hill in order to get a good shot. As I was kneeling Randy was coming up behind me. The buck froze as he sensed something was not right. I thought we were busted and felt he was going to bust out of there but to my surprise he went right back to feeding and fed behind a tree I had previously ranged at 58 yards. With the buck behind the tree I was able to draw my bow and as he took another step I was able to take a quality shot. The arrow hit its mark and I was able to harvest a great buck on the Lucky 13th day. Special thanks go to my friend and great hunting partner, Randy Ellard."

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