Drop Tine Buck

I finally saw a drop tine buck!

Not only did I see a drop tine buck before the archery hunt started, but I saw him 5 days in a row during the hunt!

I started scouting for deer this year in July. I made several trips down south during July and August hoping to figure out where the bucks were hanging out. During my expeditions, I saw quite a few smaller deer, but it wasn’t until 2 weeks before the opening of the Utah archery deer season that I spotted ol’ drop tine!

My son and I came across 5 deer feeding in a meadow, 3 does, one big 4 point and a drop tine buck. Unluckily for me, I didn’t have a camera so I made a mental image that would just have to do. We were able to watch him for a couple of minutes until the deer finally fed into the timber.

By the time we reached camp it was completely dark. What I did next is almost insane. I devised a plan to take my camcorder and a flashlight and head back to the meadow where we’d seen the buck. The possibility of seeing the buck and then getting close enough to get a picture were almost zero…but I had to try. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t convince my son to go. He hopped into his sleeping bag and I headed out.

iwenthunting, i went hunting deer,drop tine velvet mule deer
                                                                        Drop tine buck


To make a long story short, the buck was feeding in the meadow when I got there. I switched my camcorder to nightshot mode, turned on the light and got halfway decent video. I was elated! I didn’t get back to camp until 1:00 a.m., but of course I had to wake my son to tell him the almost unbelievable story.

Fast forward a couple of weeks…Thursday August 15th, I was setting up camp in the dark. The next day would be my only opportunity to try and spot ol’ drop tine before the hunt on Saturday. At 8:45 a.m. it happened. There feeding along the side hill was drop tine and a big 3 point. The last thing I wanted to do was spook the deer, but I couldn’t help trying to position myself for a photo-op. There was a perfect ambush spot that would put me within 100 yards of the deer if they continued to feed across the hillside. It worked. Luckily for me I got a few nice pictures that showed his big velvet antlers and the long drop tine off his left side and the two bucks were none the wiser.

sunrise over utah mountains, opening day archery mule deer hunt
                         Early morning sunrise on the opening day of the archery hunt


To make another long story short (although it isn’t that short), we hunted the buck for 5 days and saw him every single day. At one point Dallas (my son) and I stalked to within 40 yards. As I stood next to Dallas, I knew this was it…we were going to get this buck! Dallas drew back his bow…just as he reached full draw, the buck turned and started walking away. No shot. The buck moved behind a couple of quakies, but then started heading broadside. Fantastic! The buck, assuming he kept on course would step out into an opening in another 15 feet. Dallas, still at full draw was ready. 15 feet later, the bucks head came into perfect view. Oh no, there must have been a small depression where the buck was walking because as he continued into the opening, all we could see was the top couple of inches of his back. He kept walking for another 50 feet until he completely disappeared down and over a small rise.

Dallas released his draw. He whispered “I didn’t have a shot”. I assured him that he was right. Since the buck never saw or heard us, we made a plan to head into the slight breeze blowing in our face to see if we could get close again. We crept forward approximately 25 yards and there he was again. We could clearly see his head and only needed to proceed another 10 feet and we’d have a perfect broadside shot at 40 yards again. After a mouthing our plan to each other, we were ready. Unfortunately, we never took another step before getting busted. As Dallas turned to take a step, his range finder clunked against his bow and the buck whipped his head to the side and stared us down. We froze for the next 45 – 60 seconds until the buck turned and slowly disappeared. I felt horrible for Dallas, he was completely disgusted with himself. It was an unfortunate mistake. And on that day we never saw the buck again.


i went hunting drop tine mule deer buck in velvet
                                                      Ol' drop tine in all his glory


The bottom line is that we never did get the buck. We got close on a couple more occasions, but in the end pushed the buck to a guy who was in the right place at the right time and from his 4 wheeler saw the buck and shot it. Fortunately for a couple of 3 point bucks, I was in the right place at the right time (20 – 25 yards) but chose not to shoot this year because I just couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t going to see another giant.


i went hunting deer, archery velvet 3 point buck
                      This bucks lucky year, passed on him hoping for something bigger...