Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Two Year Pursuit = Whopper Buck
By Justin Saleeby

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It all began two seasons ago when after a 4 hour stalk, I was 17 yards from a bedded, velvet antlered muley. I guessed him to be a young buck, maybe 3 years old, sporting 5 points on each side and gross scoring about 140". Four hours earlier this 5x5 buck had entered the oak brush thicket with a 170", 6x7 velvet covered muley that I was hard after.

At this point, I hadn't seen the big boy, but I knew he wasn't far. As the sun slipped over the hill, shade slowly moved over the thicket. Rustling to my left, a muley appeared with his head lowered as he pushed the smaller 5x5 up and out, never lifting his head. Two deer entered the thicket and now in front of me, head down, was the other buck. Slowly, I came to full draw and released. My arrow passed just behind his shoulder and he bolted. Sheer excitement filled my body! 17 yards later I picked my arrow out of the dirt. It was a full pass through.

As I was inspecting the arrow, I glanced to my left and the monster was standing 30 yards away! Overwhelmed with trepidation, I froze. What just happened? What deer did I shoot? I watched as he bound off into the wilderness.
A heavy blood trail led me to a fine 160" 5x5 buck that was sporting a big piece of velvet on his burr. Although this hunt was successful, I could only think about locking eyes with that big boy just be for he ran.

In 2013 I was again back on that same hill and yes, he was back and was sporting about 20+ inches more antler growth! It was foggy, with rain, and wind. It was fine ingredients for a successful stalk. After glassing for 3 hours my buck bedded just outside an oak brush thicket, and it was time to move.

The stalk began... 5 steps and glass, then 5 more steps and glass. Two rain storms and heavy fogged passed through as the search continued. From the other ridge I marked land marks, but with all the weather it was difficult.
Approaching an opening very low on the hill my moral began to sink. Almost to the bottom, I entered an opening saying to myself, "Glass! When you get lazy they catch you." As I panned the opening I caught a glimpse of his rack. He was bedded 60 yards in front of me locked on me. BOOM! Huge rush or adrenaline!

Trying to keep my composure, I ranged his antlers @ 60 yards. I quickly latched my release to my d-loop and patiently waited for his next move. 20 minutes passed and the slightest breeze tickled the back of my neck. Then he looked my way and his rack dropped in the grass and up came his hinds. I began to draw, as his fronts leveled, my pin settled on his shoulder. I took a deep breath...held...squeezed and released. The Ulmer edge blew through his shoulder hitting the opposite shoulder causing him to roll. Reacting almost instantly I ran up and put another through him, and he quickly expired. After a few photos I packed him out and a two year pursuit came to a conclusion.

Last week we went to the local Pope & Young measurer and he taped out at 202 5/8".

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

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

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