Tripod-Claw Classic ... By Hadley Mitch Myers
As dusk began to settle in, my wife Rachel and I, my Father Kirtt, and Mother Lisa hiked into this canyon where we had seen this buck the end of July during our scouting. When we arrived to the ridge we planned to go, we set up our optics and began to glass. The first deer we saw that evening my wife spotted. We continued to glass the canyon for a while and a few does and one young buck was all our eyes were seeing. Then the excitement started as my mom was glassing the hillside to our backs and seeing a deer through her binoculars said, “Kirtt! Come look at this deer.” As soon as my dad put up his binoculars I hear, “Big buck! Big buck!” He quickly signaled me over to come look at him in the spotting scope. What I saw through the lens was this massive Muley slowly making his way down through the oak as his horns snagged on the oak branches. After passing up many deer opening morning, one being a 30 inch plus four by four with a broken off G-4, it was no hesitation that this buck was BIG and the one that had my trigger finger twitchen!
The buck fever at this point had all our hearts pumping uncontrollably. We were a little over 900 yards away and with the buck on the move it was a sprint to the next closest ridge for a decent shot. I took off alone and the others stayed back up on the ridge to keep an eye on this grand daddy. Once I got to the base of the ridge where I had planned to go, I began the sneak to the top. When I topped over I began searching everywhere for him. My breathing was heavy and a pulse was thumping from my head down to my feet. Five minutes had passed and still no sign of him. Ten minutes, fifteen minutes; it seemed like an hour had gone by and still no buck in sight. I was knelt on a rock, gun in hand, ready to make the kill. At this point I said a prayer to God pleading that I could find and harvest this big buck with my wife, father, and mother all with me. This was my wife’s first deer hunt in her lifetime and being newlyweds we were also in need of some venison to get us through the winter. Not long after, I turned my head to look at the hillside to my back and there he was trying to sneak his way down around me and back up into the canyon. I could tell it was a buck from the naked eye because of the size of his body and how he held his head low swinging it back and forth walking like a boss up the ridge side. I quickly got down in prone position, brought him up in my scope to make sure it was him and what I saw dropped my jaw and caused my eyes to bulge. It was him walking away and his left horn sticking out so far that I had to make sure the buck fever wasn’t causing a hallucination of a looney-toon sized buck! I calmed my breath, whistled, and he turned around broad side. Staring at me with that big roman nose and gray face, I began to squeeze the trigger. The last words I remember telling myself were, “Don’t focus on the horns! Don’t focus on the horns!”
The gun fired echoing through the canyons followed by the sound of a loud pop. The three hundred yard shot seemed to have been a breeze for the magnum as he hunched up and tipped over backwards. I let out a loud “WAHOOO! DAD! I GOT HIM!” followed by two more whoops and haulers from dad and myself. At this point the sun was casting her set and tragedy struck. We couldn’t find him! We all pulled out our head lamps and lights on our phones and began searching everywhere. I knew he was there because I had watched him fall to his death in my scope, but there was no sign of him. The four of us finally had to accept the fact that we were going to have to wait until morning to find him. This did not sit well with my gut. I was about to embark on the longest sleepless night of my life! A hundred prayers must have been said that night from the four of us. Dad and I stayed in the camper at camp while mom and Rachel rested their heads at home in bed. Before the awakening of dawn my dad and I were up and headed off in the search. I sat up in the ledges where I had shot him from guiding dad to the spot I thought was, the spot his giant hoofs last rested. Mom and Rachel had met back up with us along with my uncle Dan to help us search. Then the prayers were answered when all a sudden, no more than 20 yards away from where we had looked the night before, my Uncle Dan turns to my dad and says, “Kirtt. Is that a horn sticking up in the grass?” My Dad replied, “No. I think that’s just a dead tree branch laying there.” He pulled up his binoculars to look and he said, “Gees that’s a horn! That’s him!” They ran down to him so fast anyone watching would have thought a mountain lion was after them! Mom and Rachel hustled their way up to him and lastly I made my way over to get my hands on this prized buck. We call him the Tripod Claw buck because if you look close, the ends to both his main beams split into tripods and look like claws reaching out to grab you. When he was in the velvet the ends looked like tennis balls. Rachel spotted the first deer we saw the night I killed this monster and mom you spotted him! Men I think we ought to take our wives hunting with us more often! I love you dad! Thanks for putting in the countless hours of scouting out this big buck for me. I will end my story by saying the thing that made this hunt the greatest ever was having my dad, my mom, and my beautiful wife with me the night I harvested this trophy.