Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Trevor's "Just in Case" Trophy Buck
By Trevor Mortensen

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I missed the draw deadline by one day for a rifle tag, so by default I bought a leftover archery deer tag "just in case". With two days left in the hunt I went out to glass in an area I had got trail cam pictures of a big buck that my friend and I named "Pinocchio". To my surprise, he was out feeding about a mile away in the worst place possible for a ground stalk. I figured "what the heck" I'll give it a shot. So off across the canyon I went.

Two hours later it was literally crunch time. The buck had gone to bed in the middle of a minefield of those dried up crunchy leaf bushes mixed with stunted knee high sage brush. The stalk was on! All I had to my advantage was good wind gusts up at me. Every time the wind would gust I would move, concealing any noise I might make. After an hour I had made it within 20 yards of the tree Pinocchio was under. There was no way of getting closer without spooking him. There were no open shots near the tree even if he stood up. My only chance was to stand still and hope that he would come out of his bed and walk 15 yards directly through the only open path I had at 30 yards.

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The wait began. After a good 30 minutes I heard a stick pop. He had got up! The buck was still there! Out of all the directions he could have gone, the stars aligned as Pinocchio walked straight into the only possible shooting lane I had and stopped perfectly to feed on a bush. All I could see was mass and trash! I drew back, took a deep breath settled my thirty yard pin behind the front shoulder and let the arrow fly! WHACK! The arrow hit its mark punching through both lungs. Surprisingly the buck didn't run, but rather hunched up and slowly made a 180 degree turn. Without hesitation I loaded up a second arrow and drew back. I grunted and he turned broadside looking up at me. Once again I settled my sights at 35 yards and let it fly. WHACK! This time the arrow grazed the shoulder blade and sunk right into the top of his heart. Off he ran. Anxiety got the best of me as I ran to where I had shot him and stopped to listen. No sound was to be heard.

So many emotions were racing through my mind from "please don't say I wounded him" to "there is no way that really just happened" After ten yards of frantic searching, there he was! The sight I had dreamed of all my life. A giant, heavy, nontypical antler sticking up above the bushes. My knees instantly buckled as I collapsed and began bawling like a little girl. I managed to stumble my way over to the monster of my dreams. He was mine! I had killed Pinocchio, the buck of a lifetime on a general unit with an archery tag I bought "just in case" a decent buck walked in on me.

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