Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"One for the Book"

Darren's Trophy Buck
Well, it was August again and the guys all met in our usual camping spot in southern Utah. There was about nine of us in camp that year for the archery deer hunt. Most of us had met while working at the archery shop in Sandy Utah, and since became great friends. We spent the night before opening day gathered around the campfire talking about past hunts. I had been hunting this area for over eight years, for the other guys, it was their second year in the area. The prior year had been pretty good, we saw lots of bucks, but only harvested a few. Regardless, we were back for another hunt.

Hopes were high for opening morning, and after a restless nights sleep, we all camouflaged up and headed out looking for a trophy mule deer. Early that morning I had come to within 40 yards of some potential Pope and Young bucks, but was busted by a little two point before I was able to reach full draw. To see those seven bucks was incredible, three of them were book muleys and the others were just young bucks learning the ways of the masters. By lunchtime I was back to camp, I learned that everyone else's morning hunt was similar to my own, a few good bucks but no shots. I was starting to let down on the quality of buck I wanted to shoot because I didn't have much time to spend in the field, because of work.

A buck for the Pope & Young book
Sunday morning came around and I headed into some thick pines just outside of camp. After only a short hike, I looked up to see a very nice two point, he was easily 20 inches wide. I came to full draw and took a second look at the buck then let down my draw, he was a nice buck but something just told me not to shoot. Back at camp, I told the story and laughed at how I could have harvested this buck and it would have only been a 100-yard drag to get the deer to camp. Still, I felt that letting that buck go, was the right thing to do. While eating breakfast/lunch we discussed what to do for the evening hunt, we decided to make a push from the top of a nearby mountain.

Ken and I made the first push, the others sat at the opposite end waiting and anticipating some action. When it was over, the result was just a few does and a small spike buck, nothing that anyone was ready to tag. So we jumped back into the truck, and onto the ATV's, and headed for another patch of pines. This time it was Ken and myself who'd do the shooting, and Jeff and his partner's would do the pushing. I walked into the thick dark timber with a good feeling, it was very dark and quiet, just the area for a good buck to be taking a nap in the hot summer. I left Ken on the inside part of the trees and moved myself 70 yards further into the trees from him. I found a spot that had good shooting lanes, removed my pack to use as a seat, checked the wind and sat down. Once situated I drew my bow, had to make sure I had clear shooting lanes, just in case a buck was to appear. When I was satisfied, I took an arrow out of my quiver and knocked it on my bowstring, and waited.

After about 15 minutes, I caught movement to my left, I turned my head around to see a doe bust by me at about 15 yards, then silence again. Five minutes later, more movement, there was a tan colored hide coming through the timber. As I watched, I could see more bodies moving toward me, my blood pressure started to rise as I saw velvet covered antlers heading my way. One, two, three, four bucks all looking pretty nice, and they were heading right at me. "Could this be happening?" As they reached about 30 yards they slowed to a walk, then they stopped and turned broadside. I looked at each buck as I drew my bow, not sure which one to shoot at. "The first one? The third one?" My mind was made up as I saw the buck that was definitely the "BOSS" of the bunch, with deep forks, nice antler mass, and his front main beam went out past the front of his nose. I told myself, "This is the one I want". I centered the middle of his body between my 20 and 30 yard pins and squeezed the trigger on my release. The arrow looked good as it left my bow, but hit the buck a little far back. The arrow went completely through the buck, then lodged into a tree on the other side. The buck immediately took off, not knowing what might have hit him. With my heart pounding, I watched the buck run to about 50 yards, he then stop and lower his head, "a gut shot?" I sat there thinking fast "What I should do now?" when out of instinct I pulled another arrow, knocked it and drew back the string. TWANG, I let loose another shot. I watched as the arrow flew straight toward the buck, then, WHACK, a solid hit. He sprung off into the timber leaving me to wonder, guess, and hoping for a good hit.

To signal the others in the party, I let out a bugle, this would make them aware of the exciting event. It only took two minutes, and I was surrounded with panting friends asking, "What?!" I told them the situation and we all agreed to wait at least a couple of hours. The wait almost killed me, but eventually the time came to take up the trail. We hardly found any blood, just specks and tracks here and there. We covered every inch of the timber, on both our hands and knees. An hour and a half later Ken said the words I was dying to hear, "There he is!" I ran toward him as Jeff let out a scream "He's HUGE!" We dressed the buck and found that my second arrow had traveled through the entire chest cavity and lodged in the front shoulder bone. All of the bleeding was internal, which explained the lack of blood. We took some pictures of the trophy buck and the happy hunter. When I returned to Salt Lake, I immediately took him into a taxidermist friend. A few weeks later, after the official drying period, I learned that the buck scored 163 1/8 Pope and Young points. With a 25-inch frame, he now sits proudly on my wall at home. Man I love bowhunting!!!!!

Written by Darren Camblin

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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