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"Awesome Southern California Muley"
Photo provided by: Gilbert Garcia

Gilbert Garcia writes, "This is a photo of my 2012 archery Pacific mule deer, taken October 6, on a either sex archery hunt in Los Angeles county, California. It is a 22-inch wide 5x6 not counting eyeguards, my best buck to date. I would like to thank my boys for understanding and sharing my passion for hunting and the outdoors, Anthony, Timothy and Adam. Here is the story of the hunt, told by my son Anthony.

It was Saturday October 6th, my dad and I had decided to leave our regular hunting area alone for the day and head out to a drainage that we knew held a lot of does. We knew this drainage would draw some good size bucks in during the rut and even late into the season. We headed into the canyon just before daylight. As we made our way in, we began hearing deer rustling above us under the oak tree. Since it was still too dark to see, we decided to stay put until there was enough light to glass. As the sun was rising, we continued to hear deer above us. We decided to move to the opposite side of the canyon in hopes of catching a glimpse of what was making the racket. In the dim shadows of the early morning, we glassed a large 3x3 buck that seemed to be spooked by something in the oaks.

My dad had whispered to me that there was a huge buck and doe in the area where the 3x3 had come from. We continued to watch and could tell that the 3x3 was attempting to get closer to the larger buck’s doe. The big buck would chase off the 3x3, and then would come back to his doe. Each time he returned to the doe, he would push her down the canyon. My dad told me that if the buck continued to do that, we would be able to move in along the bottom of the slope and hopefully intercept him somewhere close to the bottom.

While the larger buck harassed the 3x3, my dad began to move into the canyon from where I was standing. I could see that my dad was trying to move when the deer were moving about and making noise above him. He finally got to a point where he crouched down and began ranging the deer. As I tried glassing the deer on the hillside, I noticed dirt and rocks falling in front of my father. At that moment a doe moved down in front of him. He slowly came to full draw and I was certain he was going to shoot the approaching doe. As quickly as he drew his bow, the buck stepped out behind the doe and sniffed her. As he did, the doe jumped forward and my father touched off his release. The buck lunged forward, nearly digging his antlers into the ground and took off ahead of the doe. They both ran around the bend of the mountain. My father waved me over to his position where we waited together for about 40 minutes.

During the wait, we discussed the deer, the buck, and the moments that led up to the shot. We then began the task of following the blood trail. Because the buck had run through a rocky wash, the blood trail was easy to follow. We had gone about 60 yards and found the buck bedded with his head up. Dad ranged him and put a finishing shot on the magnificent buck. The buck ran a short distance and piled up within view. We waited just a few minutes and then walked up to the buck. We knew he was a big buck, but we couldn’t believe how large of a buck he was until we put our hands on him. We were very grateful to have switched locations, seeing how the new area paid off. The buck, a 5x6 (not counting eye guards) with an outside spread of 22 inches is truly regal. He has not been officially scored yet but should score well for the California record book.

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