Buck Hit

My phone vibrated in my pocket, “Buck hit!!!” the message read. It was only 7:27 a.m. and my son Carson clearly got a shot at and hit a buck!

 mule deer bucks in velvet 

  Scouting -- Carson found where these bucks were hanging out and hoped to hunt them during archery hunt

It was opening morning of the archery hunt and we were hunting separately; Carson was after a buck deer while I was trying for a spike elk. We were hunting in the same basic area, but a few of the deer Carson had scouted previously were a little ways away from the area where I had been seeing elk. I quickly replied to his text and asked the usual questions, how good was the deer hit, how many yard shot, should I come over? Carson’s reply was that he was going to hang tight, eat breakfast and then maybe pursue the buck around 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. With that, I decided to continue hunting for elk.

 six point bull elk rubbing velvet  six point bull elk deadhead

  While scouting saw this bull which had begun to rub off velvet        Found deadhead while waiting for Carson

At 8:18 a.m. my phone buzzed again, this time Carson had included a picture of his buck! His explanation was that he decided to go look for his arrow, saw lots of blood and there 10 yards away lay his buck! Besides the deadhead I found, I hadn’t seen or heard an elk to this point so I raced over to Carson’s location to check out his prize.

When I got there, Carson was grinning from ear to ear! He couldn’t wait to tell me his story and it went something like this. At first light, Carson spotted a buck as it crested the ridge and stopped; skylined at the top of a steep mountainous hillside. Worried that if he attempted to sneak directly toward the deer he might push the buck right back down the steep face never to see it again. So he decided to loop around and attempt a quiet-as-possible approach across the rocky plateau from the north. It didn’t take too long for him to make the hike, so it's not surprising that his heart sank as he peered over the small rocky outcropping only to find the deer had disappeared. And since the deer would have to have crossed quite a large open expanse of ground before finding cover, Carson figured the buck had turned back and headed down the steep face of the heavily tree covered hillside.

 velvet mule deer bucks  mule deer in velvet with big kicker

     Found these bucks a little later in the season               Too bad Carson couldn't have had a chance at these

After spending 30 minutes searching for the buck, Carson was convinced that the buck was gone for good. Feeling bummed out and semi-defeated, Carson started back down the mountain from where he had come. He had only gone a couple hundred yards when he entered into an area with a bunch of mostly smaller pine trees, 5 – 10 feet in height. As he glanced over to his right, there standing amongst the scrub pines was the 3 point buck he had been pursuing! Stunned by its presence, he quickly nocked an arrow and managed to get off a shot before the buck could take a step. The buck had been standing up to his belly within the scrub pines that grow along the ground which look more like bushes than pines, so Carson's vision was slightly obscured. Even though the buck lept into the air as if it were hit, Carson still wasn’t 100% sure of his shot. The buck quickly darted into a small thicket of short pine trees. Carson briskly circled the pines and found the buck standing 40 yards away amongst the trees. With an arrow already nocked he let another arrow fly which most definitely hit its mark. Even though Carson was sure he had just made a great hit on the buck, he waited almost an hour before going to look for his arrow and that of course is when he spotted the buck, down 10 yards away!

 three point mule deer buck archery 

                    Opening morning, Carson couldn't be more excited with his archery buck!

With a short pack out, we loaded his buck onto the 4 wheeler and headed back to camp. I did spend the rest of the day searching for a spike elk, but never saw one. But since my elk tag is valid for the upcoming rifle and muzzleloader hunts, I’ll plan to get out later this fall in hopes of finding myself a spike elk.

 back to camp on 4 wheeler with buck deer 

                              Didn't take long and we were all loaded up and headed back to camp