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"Deep-Forked Kaibab Velvet Buck"
Photo provided by: Robert Ford

Robert Ford writes, "I left the house for my Kaibab mule deer hunt on the 27th of August. After a short drive some 520 miles later, I arrived at our campsite. Did a little scouting that night, and got a good idea where to start my hunt the next morning. Hunted really hard for the next four days, and had passed on some real nice deer. The bucks I had passed on would have been shooters down in my area, but I was on the Kaibab and I wanted one of those big ones the area was known for.

After each day of hunting, I would come back to camp and tell my hunting partner of what I had seen that day out hunting, or better yet would show him some of the pictures I had taken of bucks I had passed on. On occasion, I would tell him where I was hunting and I would let him go to that area, or blind, to hunt the next day. He would go and come back and just say you must be a deer magnet, as all he would see would be one or two does.

On the fifth day, I let Gary go to the blind I had sat on the day prior where I had five bucks come in. While he hunted that blind, I decided to try a waterhole that had not been very productive for deer movement, but I had some smaller bucks come in and had a resident cow and calf there everyday. I got there before the sun had came up as normal, and by 6:15 I had one small buck, two fawns, and three does come in. Then around 6:55, I had a real nice buck come into the clearing up the canyon from where I was sitting. I glassed him and instantly I knew he was definitely a shooter buck. He had good mass and deep forks on his backsidea classic Kaibab buck. He was a very nice 4x4 with some character to boot (5x8 if you are counting points). He came out, looked down at the watering hole, looked at the cow and calf, and went up the other side back into the forest.

Several minutes later, that buck that I had figured I would not see again, appeared out of the woods and joined a feeding doe. Over the next while he disappeared and reappeared several times as he made his way closer to the waterhole. Finally, he passed by me at no more than 20 yards on his way to the water. By this time, my heart was racing and I had my bow (XForce), in hand. He moved to the water and started to drink. I took this to be my chance, drew my bow and raised up. I knew the distances to several points because I had ranged them previously. The buck was at 34 yards quartering away, perfect for the shot. I settled my pin right behind the rib cage and let it rip. The arrow raced at the deer entered him way back, but still had the good angle to the far shoulder. The buck lunged forward, and then ran up toward the direction he had come from, right past me, but stopped and looked back. I couldn't get another shot off before he disappeared into woods.

I replayed the shot in my mind and decided to give him atleast three hours before going into track him down. The shot was not what I had wanted, but I knew it was still a good shot and I had the energy/momentum to get the arrow into the boiler-room.

I returned to camp to give the buck some time to expire. It was one of the hardest things to do; I cleaned, organized, and just wasted time. The three hours I waited seemed like 6 hours. My hunting buddy showed up and I explained to him what took place, showed him my note that I had written him about an hour ago and said lets go recover the buck.

Once there, I showed Gary where I had shot him at, showed him the first blood and explained what I thought of the arrow placement. He agreed that I had waited long enough and it was time to start tracking. The blood trail was good, good color of blood, and we both agreed that it was most likely a fatal wound. After a 150 yard blood trail, I had my buck."




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