A Rare Find

Just a few short weeks ago I held high hopes that work schedules would align such that my boys and I would get the opportunity to rifle deer hunt together. But as is often the case, work took priority and quickly squashed those plans. Luckily I was able to get out with my youngest son, whose deer tag was for the west desert.

 saucer shaped clouds  desert sunset

               Interesting saucer shaped clouds                                      One of many spectacular sunsets

On a whim Carson and I decided to head south before venturing to the west desert for his hunt. The two of us ran down to southern Utah hoping that my oldest son might be able to break away and join us for a one day hunt on Saturday. But even with our camp setup and everything ready to go, it just didn’t work out for him to join us. Nevertheless, the one day adventure was productive as we saw turkeys and quite a few deer, including a couple of bucks. But once Saturday came to a close, we packed up and headed back north.

 4 point mule deer buck 

   4 point at 150 yrds, had Dallas been here he would've had his buck 

After a long drive, we finally pulled off to the side of an old dusty dirt road to camp for the night. We weren’t very far from the spot where Carson had archery hunted back in August. However, this time we had already spotted a few deer during the drive in, something that we hadn’t seen during the entire archery hunt.

 lots of camps and hunters 

  There were a shocking number of camps and hunters in the desert 

For the next couple of days we hunted hard. When we weren’t spotting for animals, we were hiking to new territory. And for all of that effort, we only turned up a few doe deer. It is interesting that before this hunt began Carson had dreamed that once we did turn up a deer, it would be a big loner desert buck – an awesome image we both held close until it wasn’t to be.

 spotting for deer from rocky outcropping 

                   Spotted several deer feeding across sage flat 

On what turned out to be our last day, we were up well before dawn. We hiked in the pitch-dark for about 30 minutes using headlamps to light our way. Our destination was an overlook where we had previously seen a few does feeding across a large sagebrush expanse. As dawn broke we were angling up a large draw that within about an hour or so would put us at the rocky outcropping. As we rounded the top of the draw, we paused to observe the mahogany covered hillside below, capped by jagged rocks, our destination. With only ¼ mile to go the sun finally peeked over the horizon, but a few well placed clouds made looking directly eastward possible. At that moment Carson perked up and said “listen”, clearly he had heard something nearby. He pointed toward the crest of the hill that gently sloped down toward the small basin below. Then in a rush he scrambled toward whatever sound he had heard. It turned out that his young ears could hear the crunching of a deer bounding away just over the hill ahead.

 offhand shot at deer  happy to have found a buck

    Great offhand shot, ensuring buck down for good                        Big smile, happy to have a buck

The chase was on! Carson had covered roughly 30 yards when I saw him stop and shoulder his rifle. I heard him say “it’s a buck!” Just as I caught up to him I saw the deer on the move 120 yards below and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the deer disappeared into the mahogany thicket. At about that same time a shot rang out – the buck went down! Carson made an impressive shot! While the shot wasn’t all that far, his only choice was to shoot the deer on the run from an offhand position. I looked over at Carson, a huge smile spread across his face as I heard him say “it’s only a spike.” But by the looks of it, one would have thought that he had just shot that big loner desert buck he had dreamed of.

 spike mule deer  mahogany thicket

    Talked with several hunters, ours was only buck seen              Buck almost made it into mahogany thicket

We quartered his deer, loaded up our backpacks and began the long hike back to our 4 wheeler. About a mile into our trek we were walking 50 yards apart, something we had done several times during our hunt, hoping to find an antler shed. Carson called out “guess what I just found?” I responded “an antler?” “Nope” he replied. “Umm…I have no idea…bring it here.” As Carson approached, I could see that he was clutching something in his hand – I assumed he caught a lizard or a horny toad or something similar. But as he opened his hand, my jaw dropped. I stood dumbfounded in silence for some amount of time. There in the palm of his hand I beheld the huge black shiny obsidian spearhead that had likely lain dormant for hundreds of years, a rare find indeed!

 obsidian indian spearhead  rare find, giant obsidian Indian spear head

         A once-in-a-lifetime find for most                                       Giant obsidian spearhead, unreal!