Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Old Heav'"

Old Heav
Lynn Hunt has one of the most impressive shed antler collections we have ever seen. Some of the antlers are shown in Utah's Biggest Bucks, third edition. He also has some great deer on the wall. We consider Lynn to be one of the better mule deer hunters in the country. He does a little guiding and can be reached at 435-644-5713.
There he was, lying down looking at me, just 28 yards away. Or was it the big 4x4 that was usually running with him? I had to make sure. The cedar tree's branches were hiding most of his rack.

This hunt started when I drew a Paunsaugunt muzzleloader tag in Utah for the 1997 season. I could hardly wait until August to go looking for my dream buck, and believe me, I can dream up a pretty big one. I just couldn't stand it any longer, so in late July I headed out to see what the lions had left for me to hunt.

I started first in the high country with everyone else. Out of the four bucks I saw up there, none even came close to my dream buck. In fact, I don't even have to shut my eyes to dream up this kind. So I headed for the low country, hoping all the time there might be just one big buck left that I could hunt. This went on for almost three months. I was continually tracking up bucks, looking at them, always hoping the next one would be "him." I talked to a lot of friends, hoping they would have seen something. I spoke to Ryan Hatch and he said he hadn't seen anything worth shooting, but the grin on his face said he had and he wasn't going to tell me. (He had a friend with a tag for the rifle season.) Well, that little trick didn't work, so on to my other friends, the Brown Brothers. They told me the truth. They had found a big one but couldn't tell me where because Lynn's boss had a tag... you guessed it - the rifle season. Does everyone have friends like me? Well, the archery season had come and gone and the rifle hunt was just about to open, and I still hadn't found him. I talked with some of the bow hunters to see if they had seen anything. The blank look on their faces told the story. Well come on, this is supposed to be the prime deer hunt in Utah!

If this unit is the best Utah has to offer for dream bucks, the rest of the state must be a nightmare. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources calls this a premium deer hunt and charge extra for it. It must be because it has the best campsites around, or Houston's has the best restaurant in town, or it has the most sunny and hot days of all the units. It can't mean it's the best deer hunting. Three months of looking and still drawing a blank, made me think someone was blowing smoke.

Lady luck took pity on this desperate buck hunter and three days before my hunt started the big one showed up. He was running with three other nice bucks. I could hardly believe it - not one, but four good bucks. There was a 4x4 that would make the record book, a big 3x3 that was heavy horned and 32 inches wide, a tall 5x5 that was heavy -- some really pretty bucks. The one I wanted was heavy and tall with a couple of cheaters sticking out both sides.

Opening morning found my son and brother along with me for moral support and anything else I might need to get "Old Heav." (That was the nickname I gave him.) I soon realized that I had company on opening day. Imagine that! We were going after the same buck. They started out hunting high, so I went low looking in their bedding areas. As luck would have it, I ran into them just before they bedded. The deer scattered and two of the bucks ran east. The buck I was after ran south with his partner. He stopped for a moment. Boy, he has more points than I thought. Well, shoot dummy. Too late. The buck ran out of sight. What was I thinking? I wasn't scouting any more. This was opening day! Funny how a guy can get in a rut. A lot of scouting can get you into binocular trouble. The next time Old Heav and me get close, I'm going to be hunting, not just looking!

I tracked him to the main road before deciding I didn't need all my extra gear. I went to the truck and left my coat, got a big gulp of water, and was ready! As we were going back to where Old Heav crossed the road, I was telling them how much bigger he was up close. I told them where I thought he was going and to meet me on top of the ridge where I could get another drink if I needed it.

I started after him and soon heard a deer bounce off. I ran ahead to see if it was him. Nope, just a doe and a little forky. When I looked back around, there he was looking at me, then he was gone. I didn't have a chance.

Well, with the score two to zip, there was nothing to do but go get another drink and head out again. After two more miles, I was walking up the ridge complaining to myself about how hot and dry it was and that I was making too much noise, hoping Heav would go back down into the softer ground. I looked up and there he was, just looking at me...or was it the big 4x4? I had to make sure. Gun between the legs, up with the binoculars. Just as I got on him he looked at the big 4x4 and saying, "Hey, the dummy found us again. We'd better split." But it was too late. I had seen it was Heav and was already drawing a bead. He never got up.

Now it was marathon picture-taking time, going to Disneyland time! I couldn't believe he just laid there and let me walk up on him. His official non-typical score is 207 4/8 gross, 203 1/8 net and he ranks number 26th overall in the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's record book. I call him my 9x9, 33" wide, 24" high dream buck. Not quite what I had dreamed, but he will have to do for now.

Well, after bringing him into town, Ryan said, "That's him." But his hunter hadn't found him and the Brown Boys said, "That's him." But he had left the area. It goes to show that if you hunt hard and really look, you can find a big buck!

Written by Lynn Hunt (Featured in the Winter 2000 issue of Trophy Hunter Magazine)

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

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

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