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"A Slug of a Buck for Jason"
Photo provided by: Jason Yates

Jason Yates, aka MTQuivers in the forums, shared with us all in our Mule Deer forum the following:

"As many of you guys know I typically have plenty of hunts scheduled each year. Last year I hunted 8 states and this year I am hunting 6. (at least 6...I can't make any promises on 6 yet) Everything is just do it yourself hunts and as inexpensive as possible but I have a great wife and a job that allows free time.

Many of my buddies give me a hard time and think that I never work so you can imagine the heck I took when I was lucky enough to pull an archery deer tag from the expo. To make things worse I happened to be in Cabo San Lucas on a vacation with my wife (I take her on a nice trip every year to make up for all the hunting.) I am sitting in Cabo and my phone starts blowing up with texts like..."You are the last guy on the planet that needs another tag!" And "You suck!!" and many others I wont post on the internet. Needless to say I was pretty excited to snag an archery deer tag at the expo.

Going into this hunt I didn't know what to expect. I have lived within 1 hour of this unit my whole life and I hadn't been there in 15 years. I knew it held some good deer but honestly my expectations were not super high. I started scouting a few months back and I got 1000's of trail cam pics on various water holes and pinch points. Lots of good bucks in the 140-170 range with a few in the 180's.

On opening day I hunted a canyon that had two shooter bucks in the 180 range but I was very surprised to find MANY other hunters in the area and I never laid eyes on either buck. That evening my nine year old son spotted a buck 2000 yards away that had a drop tine. I had seen pictures of the deer but this was the first time I laid eyes on him. After a long stalk we got close to killing him right before dark but had to settle for some great video of him walking over the skyline at 130 yards. On sunday I was back at home with the family and I found out that Shane Raddon had smoked the droptine buck which he named "Freak".

I was happy for Shane but had to seriously reconsider my plans. I decided to look for a buck I had on trail cameras several times in the summer but I had never seen him in real life. He was a 6 by 6 and I figured him to be 185" or so.

Long story short I got on him one morning and follwed him for several miles. I was within range a few times but couldnt get a shot because of other deer in my shooting lane. I ended up 3-4 miles from where I spotted him watching him disappear into the thick junipers. At that point I knew he was big, but I didnt think I would ever see him again.

I drove home that night not expecting to return for a few days. When I got home I couldn't sleep and I decided to go out for a quick morning hunt and hurry back at around noon. I really didn't expect much but I had to try. Right at first light I spotted what I thought was the big 6 by 6 500 yards away. I reached for my scope and looked back to the deer and he was gone. I couldn't believe it. There was no where for him to go but he was gone. He was standing in some waist high grass and I figured that he must have seen me and dropped straight down. There was a gully near the patch of grass so I decided to sneak down there and give it a try it.

As I got close to the area where I hoped the buck was bedded my heart was cranking. Suddenly at 80 yards a deer bolted out of the patch and into the gully. He turned broadside broadside looking straight away. It was a buck that I had trail camera pictures of with a cheater in the mid 140's but it wasn't the big buck I hoped for. I was so confused. I thought maybe I mistook this little buck for the big one or maybe the big one snuck out the gully. I almost turned around and headed back but I thought maybe the big buck just held tight in the brush.

I slowly walked closer and entered the grass. Not really sneaking anymore I finally saw the big bucks antlers at 4 yards! The 2 cheaters on his top left fork gave it away. I quickly drew my bow just as he bolted out of his bed running straight away. Looking back I don't even think I used a pin I just instinctively aimed and let it go. The arrow struck him right square in the spine on the dead run at about 15-20 yards. He dropped like a rock. I quickly put a finishing shot on him and proceeded to yell and scream at the top of my lungs. I ALMOST felt stupid jumping and screaming all by myself. I walked up and grabbed his horns and knew he was a little bigger than I thought. I rough taped him out at 201" with 39 1/8" of mass and matching 25" main beams. I couldn't have been happier. What a sweet buck from a "$5 tag" at the expo! This is my best buck to date and will be a tough one to beat. (However I sure as heck am going to try on Monday up in Idaho!)"

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