Sedley Chew, aka Overkill here at MonsterMuleys.com, wrote, "We arrived two days early to scout (1200 mile drive one way, ouch!) and hopefully locate some of the big ones prior to the hunt. The evening of the first day of scouting we encountered a decent buck, but nothing like what we were looking for. He was perhaps 24" wide and a little on the thin side, but had terrific tines (10" tines) all the way around. One of the does in his herd must have been coming into heat, for he showed no fear as we drove alongside him at 35 feet for about 30 seconds. The second day of scouting did not produce anything memorable.
Opening morning found us hiking into an area where we eventually sidehilled a hillside, slowly glassing the terrain below us. After about 20 minutes of spotting nothing but does, I spot a deer 300 yards away below us, it's head buried in the brush as it ate. I could tell he was a buck, but took his sweet time revealing that fact to us. When he finally popped his head up we had a good look. About 24" wide, tall with good back forks, right front crab fork and a mediocre left front fork, he immediately fell into the pass up catagory. Our view was brief for he tensed up and quickly walked into the thick stuff.
Although we already decided to pass on him, I was sure he would eventually come out and feed, and hopefully giving us a longer look. 10 minutes later we stopped to view where we had last seen him, but he was nowhere to be found. I typically will turn and look over my shoulder to see what is behind me, and do it quite often while stillhunting. Often times I will do this so I can get a different view of places we have already glassed and seen, as well as make visual mental notes for the hike out. Also I do it just in case we pass up an old wiley buck that holds fast. Well this time it finally paid off. Not more than 200 yards I spot a deer staring down upon us on the same small hill we were traversing across. The sun had barely started to rise and everything in the shadows (including the buck) was a mixture of different shades of grey, so it was difficult to see him clearly. I immediately brought up my binoculars to judge him (Leica 10x42 BRF's, more on them later...) and could tell he was inside his ears, but was tall, fairly heavy and had decent tine length. Another thing I noticed was his nice dark horns. At this point I thought of him as a "compromise buck", meaning I felt he was not the monster buck we were looking for but good enough to shoot at on the first day.
After quicky sitting down and getting a bead on him I asked my friend to range him, and he quickly replied that he didn't have a rangefinder, I did! In my haste I forgot to use the rangerfinder on my own Lieca's! So.. I began wasting more time as I had to place down my gun, get my lieca's out again and try to range him. I find him in my optics, hit the button and promptly range a tree that is 20 yards away, arg!
At this point, I'm really concerned because this buck is just one step away from freedom and I know he's been watching us for quite some time before we spotted him. I tell myself he's no more than 200 yards and grab my rifle, get on target, and squeeze a hasty shot off just as the crosshairs pass behind his front leg. Usually when I shoot, I loose my sight picture but this time I had a pretty good view of him at the shot. At the shot, he did a tiny little hop, like he was surprised and disappeared behind the tree he was standing next to.
I could not believe I missed! I jacked in the second round, but he fails to come out the other side of the tree nor does he run up the hill, as far as I could tell. I quickly asked if I hit him and my friend said, "Uh... yea I think you did..." The sick feeling you get when you've missed starts coming over me and I start questioning why I rushed the shot. Many times when I hit a deer at such short distance, they get bowled over so when this buck simply hopped, I was sure I missed.
After a few seconds my friend says he'll walk up and see as I standby ready in case he shows up. As my buddy is climbing the hill I start talking to my brother, recounting the events that just took place as well as where the buck was standing when I shot. 5 minutes later my friend hollers down, "COME ON UP!!!" As I hear the tone in his voice I turn to my brother and say, "THAT SOUNDED KINDA CHEERY!!!
My emotions do a complete 180 degree turn and am happy to have made the shot. When we approached the deer I could immediately see he had some extras on him and that he was a bit taller than I first thought. I believe that with the combination of his dark horns and the fact he was standing in the shadows I could not see how tall he truly was. As we posed for pictures I intially figured he would gross around 170. My compromise buck was exactly that, not a monster but a good, decent buck.
It was not until we arrived back in camp that we put a tape on him and was shocked to find out that he gross scored 190. He has a 24" outside spread, g2's that are 17" and 19" long, mainbeams g3's & g4's 13-15" long and mainbeams that are 20 and 21 1/2" long. He has over 36" of mass.
Like I said above, I happen to be at the right place at the right time. What's the saying, "I'd rather be lucky than good?""