By: Bears Butt

I’m sure this is getting old to you who are actually reading this stuff. Tonight was a night like no other, well, maybe…it depends on how you look at it.

The last couple of days have been unsettled with the weather, raining, windy, cold, cloudy at least. Today was a beautiful Fall day in the mountains of Northern Utah. Highs today around 55, no wind, no chance for storm. A good day to get some last minute Fall cleanup around the house…if that is what you want to do.

As for me…Nope…I got the exciting chance to listen to Hunter and Broken Stick tell me about their Bull Elk hunt down on the San Juan mountains of Southern Utah, near Monticello. They will have to tell you about that, but I was Way Impressed to hear their tales.

I filled them in on my deer tales as are found on this website. You have already read them. So, with them as my captive audience, I filled them in on all the episodes of this seasons Extended Archery hunt so far. They have not heard or read this one…just as you haven’t…yet.

With the sun going down sooner in the evening, Weasel and I decided we needed to get our archery practice in a bit earlier than we have and get down to our sitting spots. I was on the phone to a DWR guy about some trash I think needs to be removed up on the Green Fork road and missed a few minutes of practice.

Also, I have been counseled by alot of my friends and family about why I am missing so many shots. I’ve tried to implement all of the suggestions except one, up to this point. Grandson Chase said, “Grandpa, you need to try hunting those deer without drinking any beer! That way you will be able to concentrate and kill one!”

Well, the last suggestion I was given didn’t work, so maybe this one will. I refused to have my normal beer at my normal time and went to practice. I have to say, my practice session was not my best, but it wasn’t all that bad either. My confidence wasn’t what it usually is however when the session was over. Still, it was time to head to the field for the evening hunt.

In my blind, I was lacking the warm fuzzy feeling of confidence, but still, I was ready for the action should it present itself.

I hadn’t been in my blind more than 10 minutes when suddenly there was the same buck my arrow had passed through last week! The 3X4 and he was on a mission. He walked straight to my spot and started to walk passed me. He was exactly where I had grazed him last week when I drew back to full draw and anchored. I was nearly ready to release the string when he bolted to his left, away from me and out into the meadow. I was surprised I hadn’t released the string, but I hadn’t and I let down. The buck stopped at about 20 yards and I was really tempted to take the shot, but I didn’t and he began to walk away to the West. I watched as he made his way to the other side of the meadow and skirted the edge of the pond and on to the North, then when he reached a gate over that way he started back in my direction.

About half way back to where I was, he turned and went into the swamp, right on the trail next to where Weasel had been sitting earlier this season. Had Weasel been there, he would have had a shot under 20 yards….Oh Well! He was sitting in his spot at the SE side of the meadow, near where the deer come out of the swamp.

Well, I gave up on that deer coming back to me from that direction and started to concentrate my focus on the area where he had come from. It wasn’t 5 more minutes and there came another buck! This time a small 2 point. I’ll take a small 2 point as well as a doe if it comes within range. YES! This one is going home with me!

As I watched him coming my way, my heart began to race…adrenaline? Maybe, but maybe withdrawal symptoms! Then my mind started to clamor over all the advice I had been pounded with…make sure you come to full draw…..anchor….Point of the arrow on where you want it to hit…..Aim Low….Aim to the left of where you want to hit….

As the buck continued to come my way, he stopped about 15 yards out for a bite to eat. I thought to myself, Go ahead little buck, have your last meal before I take you home and make meals out of you! I even thought about shooting between the two trees that are hiding me from his sight, after all I practice at 20 yards and this would be a slam dunk. Well, he turned and started to walk the same path as the bigger buck not 10 minutes before. This time, I’ve got him dialed in, he is going down and I’ll be having liver and onions tomorrow night for supper. I was ready. Feet anchored to the ground, a slight crouch, the push of the bow arm away and the pull of the string toward my anchor. Anchor made, string against my nose…..Arrow on the point I want to hit, NO…Aim lower….NO…Aim to the left of where you want to hit….NO!….Aim where you want to hit!….NO!….NO!!!!…NO!!!! And I collapsed and the arrow went 2 feet to the left of the deers butt! The deer stopped and turned to look at me!

OH MY HECK! He didn’t jump the string! He didn’t duck and turn like all the others, he just stopped and turned his head to look at me! WHAT?

And then he walked out into the meadow because he wasn’t sure what that bright green leafy looking thing was standing there among the brown and barren trees and dead weeds. He walked out and stopped at about 20 yards as I tried to nock another arrow. I was determined to shoot this buck. But I couldn’t get the second arrow nocked onto the string. Frustration was at a max in my mind! Shaking like a crazy man. I finally managed to get the arrow nocked and then with him standing out there about 50 yards I decided to heck with it, try to chase him over to Weasel. So out of my blind I went and out into the meadow. The buck stood there wondering what and how can that bush walk like that? What is that awful thing coming my way? He then made some moves toward heading toward Weasel’s position.

However, once all the action was over, he made it back to the safety of the swamp by going on the same trail he was on when he first came out.

I went back to my blind and sat there with my head in my hands. A perfect chance at a perfect deer. A deer that had no idea he was in danger and a hunter who was SO VERY RATTLED that he couldn’t make the shot….Never again….I WILL drink a couple of beers before I go hunting…I WILL shoot as if it were a standing target and if it ducks and turns, so be it! No more will I listen to my friends and family saying do this, do that! NO. I’m done with listening to any of that. I will practice as if it were a live animal in front of me and when the chance comes at a real live animal, I WILL do as I have practiced. If God wants the animal to live HE will make sure it ducks and swerves out of the way of the oncoming projectile. If it’s meant for me to take him home and have liver and onions, HE will make sure my arrow is on mark and the animal will be sacrificed.

I think I’ll have another beer and get ready for bed.

November 16, 2020

Bears Butt

3 Comments, Written on November 16th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

How can this be? When does it end? Is Bears Butt a Nimrod, or a dumb shit?

It’s November 14th, 2020, the day after a great Friday the 13th. We had a very good cold front come through yesterday and last night, one that surprised most of us…about 12 midnight the sky opened up with a spectacular light show and thunder like most have never seen…lots of hail, snow, rain, wind…you name it! The dog never came back to bed, but chose to sleep on the floor just inside the bedroom door next to the hallway. I guess for a quick escape should the lightning hit the house.

Anyway, we awoke to a beautiful but cold morning with just a skiff of snow and very cold wind.

Notwithstanding, the day went as pretty usual for a Saturday. Willard had a carnival of sorts with crafts made from a variety of people from in town and out of town. Lots of other things going on as well with the Radtkes having their baby alpaca days.

Life is good here in good old and little Willard, Utah. Except for Trump about to be de-throned. We are a Republican State by the way.

So, as the day progressed, everything was pointing to a great evening hunt down on the farm. About 3 pm, I prepared myself for some practice archery shooting and at 4 went up to Weasels to participate in our usual daily activity.

We both shot extremely well during our 45 minute practice session and then it was time to head for the farm.

Arriving at the farm about 5 pm, Weasel reminded me that the last shooting minute was 5:40….not a long sit tonight. We hiked into our respective spots and took our stands.

About 5:25, I stood from my seat and took my usual standing position during the last few minutes of hunting time. It took about 30 seconds to see a buck moving across the meadow in my direction. Sure enough, I know this buck…I missed him the other night…the 3X4!!!! My heart began to race.

Digressing: After the last couple of misses, I have been reminded that I’m practicing at 20 yards and my arrow is “point on” at that distance. Shouldn’t I be shooting “lower” when the target is closer than that? I’ve thought long and hard about this. So, tonight as the buck is coming across the meadow toward me, I remind myself that if it gets within the 15 yard or closer mark, to aim a bit lower to make the arrow count.

The buck continues to come in a bee-line, straight to my position. My heart is really starting to pound at this point. As it stops at the edge of the short grass, on my side of the clover, (10 yards), I slowly raise my bow and prepare to draw for the shot. The buck will have to take three more steps and it will be a slam dunk 10 yard shot, broadside! My heart is racing. The buck takes the first step and is completely hidden behind a tree between he and I. I draw and anchor…I’m totally conscientious of what is going on….The buck takes a second step and I place the tip of the arrow right where his right front leg leaves his chest. He takes the third step and I release the arrow!

Thwack, and the lighted nock is sticking out of the dirt! Did I get a complete pass through? The buck runs toward Weasel’s position across the meadow. I can see no evidence that the buck is hurt in any way. The 200 yards he has covered should have been more than enough for him to drop dead. But NO! He parades in front of Weasel and gives him a shot! SWISH! A miss by Weasel!. I continut to watch the buck as it saunters around the meadow like it owns it. And then it wanders off to the South and out of sight!

I look into the meadow in front of me and see my lighted nock sticking out of the dirty some 15 yards in front of me. I think to myself…There is NO WAY I missed that buck. That arrow has to be covered in blood.

As the evening gets darker, I realize it’s past shooting time and I leave my blind to retrieve my arrow. Without much light I can see tell-tale sign of something that looks like blood and maybe hair and stuff.

I join Weasel and we both head for the truck. At the truck I pull out my flashlight and examine the arrow closer. It has blood the full length of it, but the fletchings (feathers) only have a trace of blood. Where did I hit the buck? Only God knows, unless Weasels trail camera has this shot recorded, afterall, if was right in front of it. My guess, the buck ducked and rolled to his left. The arrow, being aimed lower than I would normally shoot, hit right behind the right front leg, right where it leaves the chest. Passed through this loose skin and into the dirt. The animal is hit but not with a killing shot. He runs off as if nothing has happened.

Had I shot my normal shot, the arrow would have hit him right behind the right front shoulder, penetrated through at least the right lung and probably taken out the top of the heart.

From not on…I’m aiming for where I want the arrow to go.

How many more chances with this Bears Butt get this season? Maybe I’ve had my last one.

I think Weasel needs to trade me places so he can show me how to do this!!!

November 14, 2020

Bears Butt

1 Comment, Written on November 14th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

With tears in my eyes I write you this story…..:-(….

This morning we awoke to a fresh 2 inches of white snow. The first of the Fall in the valley, at least where I live. It was a very beautiful site and especially beautiful since I knew the temps were going to warm up and melt it off, so I didn’t have to shovel or plow it.

We went about our business as usual and did some grocery shopping. Unloaded and I had time to prepare tonights supper of oven baked chicken. If you would like the recipe, I will certainly give it to you. I don’t believe it’s in my favorite recipe portion of this blog.

Anyway, once done with that it was about 3:30 and time to get ready for this evenings hunt. Since it was so dang cold outside I had to put on extra layers. Which I did gladly. Donning my balaclava and beany, double good on a cold evening. I headed up to Weasels for some practice before we headed to the blind. The practice was good. We finished with 12 in the kill zone and then headed for the field.

When we got there we had about an hour and a few minutes until the season ended for the day. There was a 2 inch layer of snow on the untramped fields and none where animals the animals scurried. The sunny areas were also barren of snow, but everything was wet. Including the stools we have left in our hiding spots.

A very cool breeze was blowing from the West/North/West, which is unusal for this spot of ours. My scent was heading directly into the swamp where we suspect the deer to hide during the day. As I sat in my blind, I thought I heard the blowing of a doe with a scent of my presence. I texted Weasel as such.

As the evening progressed and as is my usual blind practice, I stood from my seated position and readied myself for a standing shot, should something come along. My focus was far to my left and out 100 yards or so. The deer have been coming from that direction more than they have not this season.

The ground and leaves laying thickly on the ground are very wet now and don’t make any noise when you step on them. So not surprising, as I walked into my blind I was quiet as a mouse. I know the deer will be even more quiet. I must rely on my sight rather than my ears. Which by the way are useless under my double layer of beanie and balaclava.

So, scanning the area from my left to my right, slowly, just in case…you know. Suddenly, as I turn my head slowly to my right, there stands a smallish two point buck! Right on the trail that leads into where I’m standing! OH MY HECK! His attention suddenly goes to the ground where my foot prints are in the snow. He sniffs and studies what he is seeing and smelling. With his head down and some weeds growing tall between him and me, I turn my feet slowly and quietly to get a more 90 degree angle to him.

I accomplished this without any concern on his part. As he studied the smells, I readied myself for the raise and draw of the bow in my hand. There is a tree in front of him and if he chooses to go in that direction I will have a chance to raise the bow and draw before he comes out into view from the other side.

I am calm….well as calm as you can be being 12 or so yards from the animal you wish to put in your freezer. He steps forward, I raise the bow and draw to full draw and anchor. I am calm…I settle the point of the arrow on his vitals and let the arrow go!

THWACK! I hear the arrow hit the animal! And the lighted nock is bouncing near the bucks left hip. He bounds away to his right. The arrow falls to the ground! WHAT?

The buck runs toward Weasel’s position in the meadow then turns and trots off as if nothing has happened. He disappears into the swamp to the east.

A recap of what happened rewinds and replays in my mind. At the release of the string, the buck ducks and turns to his right! The arrow is on a direct path toward the bucks vitals! Well it was before he ducked. The point of the arrow smacks something hard on the buck and sticks for a time as it bounds off and away from me and then falls from the buck and lays on the ground.

My mind races and my first words to myself are: WTF! I think you know what that means! I can’t believe this is just another time I messed up!

So, after examining the arrow and the evidence of hitting it, I have concluded my aim was right on the money, but with the buck ducking and turning to its right, my arrow, which was heading right for the kill zone, suddenly was on a perfect trajectory to hit the animal at the base of the antler on the left side of its head. The bouncing lighted nock at the left hip of the animal the evidence that the arrow was not deep into any part of the animal as it ran off. The evidence on the broadhead of a little bit of fat, some hair and watery looking moisture, the loud noise I heard when it hit the animal. It sounds like a “near” field goal.

Where is Tim with his 500 fps bow and feather light arrow when you need it? Why can’t my 45 pound recurve send my 600 gr. arrow to the deer at 12 yards quicker than he can duck it going 150 fps?

Will I give up? NO! Will I give up on my heavy arrows and high FOC? NO! Will I give up on a 45 lb. bow that is the most poundage I can draw and hold for 5 seconds at full draw? NO! Will I fill my tag this year? That will remain to be seen. I will not give up until the last second of the last day of the season.

November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day everyone!

Bears Butt

1 Comment, Written on November 11th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

How many chances does a guy get? Last night as I sat on my stool in the blind, it felt rather strange, at least stranger than it has all week. The usual slight evening breeze was missing and the air was dead quiet. The sounds from the freeway seemed to be less as well and I picked up a faint doe or fawn bleet up in the swamp. At that sound I messaged Weasel that I thought I heard it.

Then, I turned and looked toward the North from my seat, something I rarely do. There stood a nice buck, looking into the swamp almost on top of where Weasel was sitting before he changed blinds. Had I not looked when I did, I would not have seen the buck as it turned and walked out into the meadow, obscured from my view by the trees.

I stood and readied myself for a shot. I positioned myself in such a way, that when the buck came within view, I’d have about a 10 yard shot. Suddenly I saw the buck through the last remaining leaves still holding on to the stems of the sucker trees growing up from the bases of the mother trees. It stopped.

I thought to myself, now, take your time on this shot. Come to full draw and anchor, pick the spot on the deer where you want to hit. This is your chance for the liver and onions you have been promising Sherry. I was calm and even though my heart was racing, my mind was clear. I knew what I needed to do. But the buck just stood there.

He needed to take two or three more steps to give me a broadside shot. I caught myself pulling on the bow string a bit too hard and was about at 1/3 full draw. I let down and took a deep breath. Why is the buck not continuing on his journey? I could see just a portion of the bucks antlers through the leaves and could tell when he turned his head. It seemed like he was about to turn around and go back to where he had come from, when suddenly he did step forward. I could see his full head and neck and he turned to look away from where I was standing. I had no shot at this point even though he was only about 10 yards away.

He stepped toward where he was looking and started to walk in that direction. It was a perfect situation for me. The buck was quartering away, totally unaware that danger and death were mere feet from him. I drew back, came to full draw and settled into my anchor. This was going to be a chip shot. I settled the white strip of tape I have adhered to the shaft of my arrow just behind the broadhead, placing it right behind his last rib and let go of the string. The buck jumped to his right and I just knew I had hit him.

I sat back down on my seat to wait. I had some doubt about whether I hit him or not. I texted Weasel, I’m not sure If I hit him or not! I could not see the buck as it ran to the north, keeping the trees between me and him. Then just as quickly, I see the buck walking up alongside the toolies of the pond to the west of me across the meadow. Some 60 yards away. I missed him! I texted Weasel with this info, but then kept thinking, Everything was perfect! How could I have missed. Were there 2 bucks? I texted Weasel, were there two bucks? His response, I only saw one.

Doubt filled my soul and I watched the big buck walk away into the sunset.

I texted Weasel, I need to go find my arrow, to confirm whether I had hit the deer or not. He texted back that our hunting time was over and to go ahead out into the meadow and find my arrow.

I walked right to the arrow and examining it found no hint of a hit! DANG! The biggest buck we have seen to date on the extended, a very nice 3X4!

Will there be any more chances? Well, if not I’ve had a very memorable hunt. I wish Weasel would get a chance.

November 6, 2020

Bears Butt

1 Comment, Written on November 6th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

Last night found the breeze more out of the north than it has since the beginning of the extended archery hunt this year. As most of the deer we have seen have come from the south and east of our ground blinds, Weasel decided he should move from his place on the north end of the grove of trees we have been hiding among. His new position is farther south and east of my blind and a place close to where the deer come out of the swamp and into the meadow.

We arrived about 15 minutes earlier than we had been arriving so as to give him the extra time to work his way over to where he would make up a new blind and let the woods settle down from the extra noise.

As the evening sun dipped behind the Promontory mountains to the west, the sky lit up with a stark orange/red hugh, not as much as in past evenings but still a stunning display of God’s work. The temperature also dropped a noticeable amount and I was reminded I need to start wearing wool gloves into the field. I texted Sherry about this as a reminder I needed to purchase some gloves.

As the light of the evening darkened, I moved from my seated position to one closer to the edge of the grove and edge of the meadow and stood with the lower tip of my bow resting on the top of my left foot. My tab readied under the nock of the arrow. I was calm and looking mostly toward where Weasel’s position was, although I could not see him hiding in the thick brush and overgrown vines.

My view was a narrow strip of the meadow from where most of the deer have been coming and all I needed was a glance of one approaching in order to raise my bow and get ready to draw back.

I was thinking it was almost to late for any deer to come out, when suddenly as I slowly turned my head from looking more westerly, back toward the narrow strip to my left, there stood a deer right in the middle of that space! A doe I thought, as I could not see any antlers, even though the light was very dim and it was over 100 yards away. I saw her stepping out into the meadow farther and farther with every step. Behind her was a young fawn, probably one from this years birthing. The fawn held back some 50 yards behind her and she continued to step out into the meadow.

The meadow has a ring of low growing wild meadow hay grass that grows from the edge and for about 20 yards in it is all you can see, from the 20 yard mark out into the middle is a taller stand of red clover and the deer love that stuff. The doe and fawn were not concerned of my presence and were munching down on the clover as if they were starving. The doe was at least 30 yards out, maybe 40, I didn’t have my range finder, nor would I have used it had I had it, I just know she was out of range. She would have to be at the edge of the clover stand and in the ring of wild grass in order to be within my range.

She continued to graze to my right and soon the slight breeze we had going shifted and took my scent straight to her. She snorted to warn the fawn and the fawn ran back toward Weasel and where they had come out of the swamp. Then the doe started to search for where the smell was coming from. Her curiosity took her farther to my right, then she turned and went back toward the south. When she had gone far enough to lose my scent, she turned back to the north and slowly worked her way until she picked up the scent again. At that, she stared into the brush trying to locate me. I was standing, but not moving and my leafy suit was hiding my human shape perfectly.

Suddenly, without warning she dashed toward the south part of the meadow, then stopped and started walking toward my position. A very surprising move in my mind. I tensed up and watched as she slowly walked toward me. My muscles were tight in my arms as I rehearsed in my mind the moves I would have to make in order to get a shot should she give me one. She kept coming, and soon she was standing in the short meadow grass, her back feet in the clover. She was well within range and my guess is she was 15 yards from me. Staring straight at me. I only had a frontal shot of her should I decide to take it.

The light of the evening was darkening quickly and I knew I only had maybe two more minutes of legal shooting light, when she turned her head away from me and looked toward where Weasel was hiding. My mind raced and I began to raise the bow to the height I usually draw from. I figured Weasel had left his hiding spot in order to draw her attention from me. I needed her to move her whole body to her right to give me the shot I would take. A straight on frontal is not a shot I want to attempt. If it was a paper target or a 3D target, I’d shoot that shot all day and into the night, but this is a real live animal and I want a “best odds” shot to ethically take the animal. She maintained her frontal position and slowly turned her head back in my direction. I saw a slight glimmer of something in Weasels direction, perhaps his bow quiver, arrow tip or something that shined in the nearly dark conditions.

At that I moment I knew my shooting day was over and I stood motionless but not so tensed up, I knew I would not be taking any shots the rest of the evening and I just had to wait until she left the area to walk out and back to the truck. She suddenly looked back toward Weasel who had made it to the road by this time and she bolted straight west and out of sight into the darkness.

Folks, the RUSH IS REAL! When you are that close to the game animal you are after and the time slows to a crawl as the scenario plays out. I’m not sure how many more of these “rushes” this old man can take, but I’ll be back to do it again…..One of these days, the deer will make a mistake and we will be enjoying liver and onions!

October 23, 2020

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on October 23rd, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

As in all sports, archery has its rules and names, just like baseball has bases, innings, outs etc., in archery, when you shoot an arrow at a target it is called an “end”, and ends can be one arrow or a thousand or more. There is no limit to the total number of arrows you shoot before you go down range and collect them, but there is a minimum….one.

A one arrow end is not a bad way to practice shooting. Some say it’s the only way to practice to become proficient, because you must concentrate on that ONE arrow to make it hit where you wish it to hit. After the shot, you have to walk down range to retrieve your arrow, which give you time to think about the shot you just made and how to adjust to improve it, or to congratulate yourself on how well you shot.

Well, Weasel and I shoot 6 arrow ends in our practice sessions and we practice nearly every day, shooting anywhere from 10 to 20 ends. The arrows we shoot are heavy in today’s standards, his are upwards of 700 grains, while mine are nearly 600 grains. Both of us have most of the weight in the front of the arrow, which is coined “Front of Center”, or FOC for short. Both of our arrow setups are over 30% FOC. The reasoning is that the heavy weight up front pulls the arrow through the air as is flys toward the target, it also helps in penetration once it hits the target, an added benefit is it makes the bow quieter when it is shot.

Weasel shoots a long bow he made, I shoot a recurve bow. Neither of our bows have sights in which to aim the arrow, but we both have developed our way of getting the arrow to the desired target without much problem. We just have to be fairly close to the target to get it done. We practice at 20 yards. Do we always hit the target or where we desire to hit? Hardly. But we keep trying and that is what is most important.

The goal here is to be able to put the arrow where we want when we are hunting big game. A properly placed arrow will humanely kill a big game animal in less than 30 seconds. To some this doesn’t seem like a humane thing at all, but trust me, the animal does not know it’s dying until it’s dead.

Practice, practice and more practice, leads the shooter’s muscles to consistently follow a given pattern in the process of drawing, aiming (if you will), releasing and follow through. The more consistent the shooter is in this process, the more the arrows go where they are intended. Sometimes, a follow up arrow will hit exactly where the preceding arrow hit and will bury itself inside the preceding arrow, when this happens it’s called a “Robin Hood”. We both have a few of those behind us over the years. To avoid this from happening, I have converted to what is called “Pin nocks”, which tend to deflect the second arrow from punching into the preceding one.

Thousands of arrows have been shot by the two of us over the course of several years, maybe even approaching a million. An onlooker, would most likely expect us to hit what we intended every time, but they would be sadly mistaken. We do take our sport seriously, but we keep it fun at the same time, often betting beers on a shot’s outcome. Archery IS fun, unless you are a pro trying to eak out a living, then it’s a job.

When we are after a big game animal, like we are at this time of the year, we practice about an hour just before we head to our blinds on the Wasatch Extended Archery season boundary. The practice gives our muscles a bit of a warm up workout and tells our brains, “You’ve got this”. Last night was no different and we ended our last end with all 12 arrows in the “kill zone”.

Sitting in the blind just before dark, the sun just having gone out of sight behind the Promontory mountain to the West, I caught motion to my far left side. An antler tip! I raised slightly to verify what I saw and sure enough a two point buck was standing on the edge of the field. It stood there long enough for me to text Weasel, “deer”….My heart began to pound harder and harder in my chest as the buck began to walk in my direction. I had some decisions to make. I was sitting and would have to stand in order to shoot. My timing had to be perfect or the deer would see me and bolt. As the buck came on the other side of a cottonwood tree, I stood and turned slightly to give me a ninety degree shot toward the deer when the time came. My bow was raised slightly, but not in shooting position, that move would have to be one at the same time as I drew back the string.

Movement and smell will give a hunter away quicker than anything and this buck was on high alert as it walked slowly in my direction. The light breeze that was blowing was more from him toward me which gave me a lot of confidence, as long as I didn’t move he should continue his course and offer me a good broadside shot. My standing silhouette was up and down like the tree trunks that surrounded me and my leafy suit camouflage would keep me from being detected. The sun had gone down and I was not concerned with any glare that might otherwise occur off the limbs of my bow or the sharpened broadhead at the tip of the arrow. The stage was set perfectly for liver and onions at supper tomorrow night.

The buck continued to close the distance toward me and was nearly perfectly broadside at 10 yards when it turned it head and focus away from me and out into the field to its left. In one movement, I lifted the bow and drew the string back to “full draw”, the arrow tip settled on the shoulder of the buck and the string left the tab of my drawing fingers like always at practice.

Anytime I have shot an animal, target or whatever, when shooting a bow or a rifle, I always remember my sight picture. With a rifle or pistol, it’s rear sight, front sight, placement on the target, squeeze, boom, dead! With the bow, it’s full draw, draw hand against my lower jaw, string against the end of my nose, arrow tip placement, smooth release, boom, dead.

Last night, as the arrow left the bow, the nock was lighted a pretty green as it hurled its way toward the buck, and landed underneath its belly safely in the grass of the field. My mind raced as I watched the buck turn and run off away through the field and then stopped and started to come back toward the glowing green of the arrow nock laying there. It had a curious sense about it and for a moment I thought I might get a second chance at this buck. I pulled another arrow from my quiver and readied myself to round two. That didn’t happen however and the buck ran off never to be seen again.

Back to what I remembered of my shot, Yes I drew the string back, but I did not anchor with my drawing hand under my jaw, I did not bring the string to the tip of my nose. I accomplished what is commonly called, “a short draw”. And as the sunset was at its peak of beauty, I had tears in my eyes as I sat back down on my seat and recounted the beautiful buck and what had just transpired. The buck is the 4th I have seen since hunting this years extended archery season, he is a unique two point with a club like antler protruding from the base of his right side antler. Maybe I’ll get to show you a picture of him later in the season with me and my bow holding him up.

Until then, more practice is needed, including some mental practice. Trust me when I say, “The rush is real, and in the moment of truth, the shooter must have all his faculties together”.

October 15, 2020

Bears Butt

EDIT: Weasel has a trail camera set up right where the action took place the night of this event: He reviewed the video of the event and this is how things played out: Background: His video recorder takes a recording at 30 frames per second. In the video you see the buck come into view and look away from me. At that moment is when I drew my bow back, then the buck looks at me again, by this moment I have released the string. The lighted nock comes into the view heading for the buck. The buck drops nearly to the ground and spins to his left and runs off, my lighted nock is laying on the ground as it bounds away.

Now, slowing the video down and playing it one frame at a time. From the moment the buck turns to look back at me, he is on high alert. He begins to drop down, from frame one to frame 13 the buck turns 90 degrees and is about to take its first bound away. You see the lighted nock and arrow as it bounces off the right side shoulder of the buck and falls to the ground.

13 / 30’s of one second for the buck to turn 90 degrees to get out of Dodge! That’s less than 1/2 second. Amazing animals, but you see, my confidence level is much greater knowing that I did all I could do to tag him and because of his lightning fast reaction, he saved his own skin!

Bears Butt

Leave A Comment, Written on October 15th, 2020 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

In Utah there is what is called, “The Extended Wasatch Archery Hunt”, which in essence is a very large area encompassing mostly cities along the Wasatch Front, basically from the summit of the front, down to Interstate 15 and roughly from Springville on the South to Brigham City on the North. You can see the map by viewing the DWR site at:https://wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/hunting-regulation.html if you are interested.

Anyway, we have a small acreage of farm that is included in this area that we can hunt. It’s all private and like a private reserve just for us. There aren’t a lot of deer that inhabit or use the farm, but it only takes one, right?

Weasel has placed two trail cameras on the place and captured three buck deer using it. So, we have spent the last three nights haunting that area, hoping for a shot. The deer live in a wetland area that contains a very thick, dense stand of cattails, willows, wild plums and cottonwood trees.

He likes to set up his blind on one end of a grove of cottonwoods, while I chose the other end. His on the North, mine the South.

We each sit on three legged stools during our sits and we hunt toward the end of the day, expecting just a brief timeframe when the bucks (deer) might appear, and that is oftentimes just before the end of legal shooting light (1/2 hour after sunset).

Our first two nights sitting there were pretty much uneventful, hardly any bird sounds and with the sound of the traffic on the Interstate, it’s hard to hear much of anything else. With my hearing aids I get a mix of garblygoop and wind noises. So I’m pretty much useless in the sound business and am almost strictly stuck to visual or nothing. While Weasel can often hear subtle cracks, snorts and assorted other deer noises going on around us.

Last night the sun had dipped behind the Promontory mountains and the air was cooling down quickly.

I had not heard or seen anything when suddenly out of the corner of my left eye I spotted movement. I turned my head slowly in the direction and there stood a nice 3X3 buck, his head was down and he was feeding in my direction. There was a smaller 2 point buck standing a bit farther out into the meadow as well, I slowly reached with my left hand for my recurve bow, which was propped against a tree ahead and slightly to my left. Feeling the grip in the riser, I lightly took hold of it and then reached with my right hand and placed my tabbed fingers on the string, just under the nocked arrow. I pulled the whole bow toward me as I sat there watching the unbelievable happening before my eyes. The buck was feeding toward me at quite a quick rate. I first spotted him about 15 yards away, by the time I had the bow in my hand he was less than 10 yards away and closing fast. I had picked my position in the trees as I thought any deer coming out would go out into the meadow but not down the tree line toward me. I was helpless where I was to take any kind of a shot. He kept coming, feeding and walking, feeding and walking. With my head turned to my left as far as I could turn it and my eyes cranked as far left as possible, the deer stopped. He was directly behind me about 5 feet away.

He must not have caught my scent, as he bolted away and out into the meadow (where he should have been in the first place), but it wasn’t a bolt as if he was scared, more like “I don’t like being here and that bush wasn’t there yesterday, I best move out a bit”. He stopped briefly about 30 yards out and then began to follow the tree line in front of my position and heading towards where Weasel was hid up. He didn’t go to far before the wind, which was at my back, brought my scent to him and he stopped his forward progression and he turned and ran back to the south and out into the meadow.

The smaller buck followed him a short distance, not knowing what the bigger buck knew. Suddenly, I saw both of these bucks turn their full attention toward the main entry gate to the farm. I looked over to see what it might be that had their attention (last year it was two trespassers who were climbing over the gate). I saw a third buck standing in the road by the gates! WOW! 3 bucks! While they were watching buck number 3, I had time to range the distances to the two bucks standing in the meadow. The biggest I call “Basket head”, because the 3 points on each side come nearly together above his head forming almost a complete circle of antlers, the smaller one is little guy and the third is a nice sized 2 point. So Basket head is ranged at 40 yards, twice the distance I’ve been practicing at all year while Little guy is 26 yards….just 6 yards outside my practice distance. Believe me those 6 yards don’t look that much farther than the 20 yards I had been practicing at and it was a struggle to keep myself under control and not to take the shot.

I wish now, I had tried it. Tonight at practice I will try a 26 yard shot just to see whether I can hit the target or not. During my dreams last night I killed that buck 50 or more times.

Well, the story doesn’t end there. It didn’t take long before the two bucks in the meadow decided they had had enough and took off on a dead run for the neighbors fence and down toward the railroad tracks.

My focus turned to the one by the main gate. He moved over to next to the tree line and began coming toward me, following the trees. My mind raced again….will I get a chance at him before it’s past shooting hours? Time was running out. I could still see very well, and I didn’t have time to look at my watch to see what time it was. I just knew I had to get into a position for a shot, should he suddenly appear where I first saw Basket head. I moved out away from the trees that hid my position, and standing in my usual fashion and at the ready to draw, aim and fire. I waited and waited. It was beginning to get dark quickly and still no sign of the buck. Maybe he ducked into the swamp, maybe he is still coming but is slow about it. I looked West and out in the meadow stood Weasel, waiting for me to leave my blind and walk with him to the truck. Again, I struggled with leaving where I was, knowing that the buck could show up at any second and Weasel didn’t have a clue as to what had been going on the last half hour. Reluctantly, I gave into the fact that even if the buck came around the corner it would see Weasel standing there and would bolt out into the meadow and I’d not get a shot anyway. So I picked up my stuff and walked out to join him. Weasel pointed at the buck as I walked up to him, it had seen him and ran out into the meadow. We watched as it ran here and there not knowing where it should go and then it ran in the same direction as the other two bucks.

That’s hunting! And that’s why we do it. It’s not necessarily the kill, it’s all the events leading up to the “chance for a shot”. All the practice, all the planning, all the trials and errors along the way. The comradery, preparation, stories etc. etc. etc. I love it!

Bears Butt

Sept. 17, 2020

1 Comment, Written on September 17th, 2020 , Hunting Stories, Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

I was stationed in Germany, just outside of Weisbaden, a town of relative size, say, about the size of Ogden, Utah. The USAF sent me there after my tour was up in Viet Nam….seems the folks on the other side of the Berlin Wall needed to be looked at. You see I was in Aerial Reconnaissance…Spy stuff. The date was around 1970 when I got there and two years later I split and came home to go to college.

I guess the people I worked with liked me, so they threw a couple of going away parties for me. One was held at the Rod and Gun Club meeting building and was hunting/fishing themed. All the parties we had involved LOTS and LOTS of beer! Of course Germany is noted for their beer and I tried my very best to support the economy in every way I could.

Makes me thirsty just thinking about it…I’ll be back in a minute. Gotta git me a cold one.

I’m back! So at this particular party, they had all chipped in and bought me a special beer stein. They presented it to me full to the brim with ice cold beer! My favorite. The stein was a special one, in that not only did it have a fancy picture of a Red Stag on it with gold trimmed leaves and a tree bark decor about the whole thing, but it also had holes all around the upper portion of the mug itself! Specially made for pouring the contents all down the front of the one enjoying the contents!

The beautiful Stein

Please notice the holes all around the top portion of the mug. Those are real holes and not just pictures of holes!

Well, being full of ice cold beer, I tipped it up and got a frontal barrage of cold beer running down my hairy chest! I continued to drink it up, as it was a custom to finish the drink that you started. By the end of that drink, my crotch was tasting the beer as well, but the stein was empty and that was the whole intent! Right? Let’s fill it back up! BUT WAIT….let’s examine this beautiful piece of art a little closer!

The Secret to drinking from this stein!

So, you can see the artistry that went into this stein is very nice! Gold leaf, a barkey look about the whole thing, as if it were made from a tree trunk with a bent limb for a handle!

On closer examination, you can also see a “limb” looking edge along the top of the stein! It too has holes strategically placed as if limbs had been cut off the bigger limb that makes up the upper rim of the mug and holes drilled into them! Pretty cool!

Well, as it turns out, one of those holes around the upper edge, acts as a straw, down through the handle, allowing you to drink the beer without having to tip up the mug and get drenched! But you have to cover the little hole under the top part of the handle with your finger! This stein was designed for a person who holds the stein in their right hand. No other holes around the top edge are connected to the “straw” except the first one to the left of the handle itself! Sneaky craftsman who build it!

Well, if that wasn’t enough of a cool thing about this stein, there is one more really cool thing about it. Once you have finished drinking the contents, you get to enjoy a view only the consumer can see! Look down inside the mug and hold it up to a lighted background! Now there is a view to behold!

Ah yes! The goddess of goodness! Isn’t that a cleaver idea? I have loved this stein for many reasons and have safe guarded it for all these years. Maybe the next person in possession of it will enjoy it as much as I have, or more!

And to the squad of people who gifted it to me, once again, I THANK YOU WILL ALL MY HEART!!! You guys are wonderful!

Bears Butt

August 1, 2019

2 Comments, Written on August 1st, 2019 , Just more stories, Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt

To some of you the title of this makes you think I’ve lost my mind completely and bought a horse and now I’m looking to put a saddle on it. Not so fast! I admit my mind is slipping from what it was even a year ago, but I have not lost it completely. I don’t anticipate ever wanting to own a “God Dammit”, as we call them down on the farm. The horses down there are all owned by other people, and when we move them from one pasture to the other to keep things eaten down, sure as heck, when you go down to check on them a day or two later, they aren’t where you put them. The first thing you say is “God Dammit”!!!! So there is that.

No Saddle Hunting is a way to hunt while elevated in a tree, much like hunting out of a tree stand, the only difference is the hunter is suspended and sitting in a hammock style seat and capable of moving 360 degrees around the tree for a shot. The hunter is very mobile in that he can climb up a tree, sit for awhile and if that doesn’t seem like the right spot, he can climb down, hike over to a better spot and climb up a tree over there. Unlike the tree stand, that takes a lot of effort to take down, pack up, move, climb back up and reset. Tree stands are heavy too. A saddle hunter will have less than 5 pounds of gear and as technology gets better and better, the weight will start dropping on that gear as well.

As an example, let’s look at rope. Back in the day, a rope that had the carrying capacity to be classified as a rescue rope, had to be able to carry the weight of at least two full grown men. One doing the rescuing and the one being rescued. Those ropes were very thick in diameter, long and heavy. The material the rope was made out of stretched a great deal as well, frayed easily when scraped across rocks and trees and on a lot of occasions were only able to be used once and then deemed unsafe for a second recovery job.

Today, there are many ropes made from materials that are light weight, thin diameter and strong enough to pull a truck stuck in the mud out. In fact, a rope I bought just the other day, is made to replace the steel cable found on most winches! It is only 1/4 inches in diameter and has a breaking strength of 8600 pounds! Check out Amsteel blue!!!! If you have ever been on a winch recovery job, and hooked up the winch cable and watched it begin to pull out the truck, it stretches and starts to “sing” as it gets tighter and tighter. If the truck doesn’t start to move out of its stuck place, the cable could break and if it does, someone is going to be hurt real bad. The cable retains energy and when it suddenly breaks, both sides of the break go flying back toward the end on its side of the break. Whatever gets hit by that cable is going to get cut, break or something else bad. However with this new Amsteel product, there is absolutely no retained energy in the rope. If it breaks it simply falls to the ground, safe and harmless! Amsteel isn’t the only product that is made to do the same thing, but you can look them up. The reason I’m bringing it up here is to let you know that a lot of Saddle Hunters are replacing the “bridge” on their climbing harness’ with Amsteel, it’s light weight and extreme breaking point being the reasons.

Saddle hunting began a few years back as a way to replace sitting in a chair on a platform waiting for a deer to come by. Some guy got to thinking, why am I sitting here, when I could be hanging here? Well, I’m sure that wasn’t the way is began, but I had to introduce it some how. So, here is my take on how it got started. Hunters are pretty good at making stuff out of necessity. Some guy liked the idea of being able to sit out in the woods while he was hunting, but he didn’t want to strap a chair to a tree, so he devised a way to tie up a hammock between two trees and then sit on that. A pretty good idea. Then another guy thought, hey, if I could make a hammock that wasn’t so dang big so I could sleep on it, I could tie one end of a rope to a dead deer, sling the hammock portion over my shoulder and drag that deer out of the woods. A dang good idea for a double duty item, a seat and a deer drag. And so it was invented…”The Sit-Drag”….Pretty cleaver huh?

Well, after showing his new invention off at the local sportsmen shows across the country and selling them for a really reasonable price, he had hundreds of them being used all over the place. Well, one day, a hunter was sitting there in his Sit-Drag seat and decided he needed to see a little farther out into the woods and if he could put his seat higher in the tree he would be able to do just that. So he climbed up in the tree and hung his Sit-Drag and sat back down. Man was he cool! Sitting there elevated and sure enough here came a big old buck and because he was sitting high enough, the buck didn’t see him and the rest is history, at least for that buck. When word got around as to what old “Hank” had done and how he fooled the biggest buck in the county, more of his buddies started buying the Sit-Drags and climbing up in trees. Thus came the name “Saddle” Hunting.

As you can imagine, as time goes on, more and more inventions are thought up that make hunting from a Saddle better…wider seats, softer materials, warmers to toast your cold butt, antenna boosters for your cell phone service, foot rests etc. etc. etc. It hasn’t stopped yet. Go on a website called “Saddle Hunter dot Com”, join up and read all about what these guys are doing. It’s a real eye opener.

OK, so I’m afraid of heights and I’ll admit it. I inherited it from my mom, we would go down to Moab and inch out to the edge of one of the mesa’s and look over the edge (the edge was at least 10 feet back from the actual edge, but it was the edge of my edge for sure)…down, down, down to the bottom, 2,000 feet or more wound the Colorado River. She would pull us back away from the edge, which we all knew was just about to break off and send us plummeting all those thousands of feet down to our death. My feet would ache from trying to wrap my toes around the imaginary edge to keep from falling off.

Well, after looking at several (hundred) youtube videos on Saddle Hunting, it seems quite safe once you are up in the tree and safely secured to your saddle and the tree. What can go wrong? As long as your rope doesn’t break, or your carabiner doesn’t give way or come undone, or your saddle doesn’t slip off your butt and slide up your back, or a swarm of yellow jackets doesn’t realize you are too close to their nest. Well, as with most things that are “worth it”, there comes a little risk. But as far as I’m concerned it beats the heck out of sitting in a tree stand. I won’t do that.

Check out some of what I’ve watched by going to youtube.com and searching for G2-Outdoors. He has a lot of entry level videos out that are very informative and actually convincing to give it a try. He sold me on it.

So, what are some of the advantages of Saddle Hunting? I guess the main one for me is getting off the ground and sitting safely in a very comfortable seat, hooked to a rope that doesn’t make me feel sea sick when the wind blows the tree around. AND, the ability to shoot anywhere in a 360 degree area around the tree. I can shoot my bow, rifle, bb gun, whatever from a saddle. Another advantage is being able to see a cougar or bear coming before it gets to me. AND, I will be able to drop pine cones down on top of squirrels! YES!

So, I have invested in a Sit-Drag and I have modified it with a 1/4 inch Amsteel Blue bridge, sewed on some “hook loops” to the back for attaching “stuff”, even sewed on a snap buckle to keep the saddle around my waste to help with the sliding off the butt scene, that actually sounds quite scary especially if I’m 20 or more feet off the ground. I still have to purchase some “climbing” rated rope to attach to the tree once I’m at hunting height, a linemans’ belt and a couple of climbers locking carabiners. I have already learned a few new knots to tie and some jargon commonly used by rock climbers (Have I told you that rock climbers and horse owners have the same mentality? Just sayin).

Here are some of my newly learned stuff: Saddle, Bridge, Prussic knot, Locking carabiner, Girth hitch, Gri-Gri, Ascension pully, Figure 8 rappelling Tool, Aider, Naider, Climbing Stick , Locked Bremmel, (I’ll think of more).

OH YA! Remember way back when Bears Butt dot Com first started to hit the world wide web. I did a short story on “Ever wanna climb a tree really fast”? It’s a story on here. Anyway, it was a story about a man named Stepp, who invented a way to climb a tree with a way cool looking metal step. Well, these Saddle Hunting guys use those steps a LOT! Cool to think I had read and seen a video produced by Mr. Stepp himself and introduced it to you guys WAY BACK THEN!!!! Cool huh?

Leave A Comment, Written on February 18th, 2019 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt

Looking back at 2018, it started like all the rest, with great expectations and hope. Always is the hope to hit a big jackpot in the lottery game so that money is never going to be any kind of issue in the future. To go where we want to go, whenever the mood strikes us. Well, that didn’t happen last year. Maybe it will in 2019.

My bucket list includes a lot of things, but one of those was, and has been for quite some time, to shoot a pronghorn antelope with my muzzleloader. That has been on the list for several years, ever since the DWR approved the antelope hunt in the Randolph area during the muzzleloader deer hunt. A hunt I spearheaded several years back. Well, after the draw results were in from the big game drawing this year (2018), I was awarded one of those coveted tags!

I wasn’t as stoked up as I thought I would be however. Why? I’m not sure, perhaps some of my disappointment in having the tag was that I was the only one with the tag. I spent the summer and early fall, searching for articles on How to hunt Antelope, how to care for the meat once it was on the ground. When NOT to shoot an antelope in order to have the best table faire possible. What to look for in a “large antelope specimen”, trophy book stuff you know.

Once I figured I had researched all I needed to know about what to look for in an antelope and all the other things associated with antelope hunting, I settled into the fact that the hurd in the Randolph area is not as populated as it once was and that I might just be facing a tag that wasn’t attached to an animal at the end of the season. Also, to tag a record buck, would probably not even be possible. After all, they are a very wary animal, capable of seeing you a LONG way off, long before you even know they are in the country. Shooting a muzzleloader meant I would have to be well within 200 yards in order to tag one, and I’m just not that comfortable shooting over 100 yards, especially with open sights.

So, my mind settled on a picture of one, with typical looking antelope horns, maybe even shaped like a heart when viewed straight on from the front. We all dream of the record book, but I settled early on a typical, non-book type, even though I had not scouted the area or anything. I figured I’d just go up, camp with the boys and girls for the muzz deer hunt and do my hunting around those guys and their hunt. Oh sure, I could have made my own camp and done my own thing for the entire season, but that just isn’t my style. I like the camp, the camaraderie, the cutting up and all the other stuff that goes along with hunting. AND, should I not get my tag filled, well, that would be OK too.

My buddy, “Crock” Riley, drew a very nice Limited Entry buck deer tag down in the Book Cliff area of Utah and to go along with a tradition, he had shirts printed up for he and his other lucky draw people, that showed a very nice buck and the words “2018, Book Cliffs..Chosen One”, along with that tradition, I made each of them up a rear view mirror dangle dream catcher with 2018 Book Cliffs written on a bead. Crock saw that my hunt was going to be a solo ordeal and he had a shirt printed for me, showing a nice buck antelope picture and the words Speedgoat Cache 2018, …chosen one. I was extremely pleased and humbled that he would think of me and my hunt the way he did. Thank you Crock.

With the attitude I had, there was no need for me to break up my routine of living, to start a rigorous training program to lose weight, tone up and be ready for a 3 mile, uphill pack out. Antelope, even big ones, seldom top out weighing over 100 pounds, besides my plan was to shoot one close to a road, which is typical of antelope country here in Utah. So, instead, I just got fat.

When the time for the hunt finally arrived, I had already spent a few weeks hunting deer with my bow, during which time I did spot out a pretty nice antelope buck I told Weasel I would shoot in a heart beat, should the opportunity present itself. We had set up our typical muzz deer camp with the usual characters involved, which is a very fun time for all of us. I spent the first few days hunting with them for their deer with an occasional break off to go see about finding an antelope. I saw antelope alright, but I just could not get close enough for a shot.

I also discovered “new to me” hunting country, new water holes and a myriad of other places of opportunity for future hunting, mostly for deer and elk. So, the short hunts I went on were not wasted, even though the antelope were much smarter than me and avoided any close encounters. I discovered where many deer and elk had recently visited a couple of very nice watering holes, but for some reason the “deer hunters” I was hunting with were not interested in a “chance” encounter at any of them, they had their reasons for sticking to their plans and it worked for a couple of them quite well.

By the end of the time allotted for our typical muzz deer season camp and hunt to be over, mostly because the hunting age kids had to return to school, we pulled up the camp and went home. My antelope tag still firmly stuck in my wallet. I had not given up hope of tagging out, but in my own mind, I knew my available hunting time was becoming very limited.

After a very good nights rest, I was catching up on a week away from Facebook, when one of my friends made a comment about seeing a nice buck antelope out his window. He has a female friend in the Randolph area that he visits on occasion and he just happened to be visiting her this particular morning. I messaged him and he invited me up to give it a shot at trying to bag it. No guarantees. I quickly took him up on the offer and then I contacted Weasel and asked if he would like to go with me. Of course, he did.

We jumped in the truck and high balled it for the area. Arriving at his ranch about 1 1/2 hours later! A faster trip I don’t think is possible in a pickup truck. Pulling into his yard, he came out, we greeted, as we had never officially met until this moment. Facebook friends most often never meet, just call each other friends on the social media pages. This guy is a genuine guy, kind, caring and down to earth. He pointed out the buck laying in a field a few hundred yards away. A very nice typical antelope, one that would look good on my wall at home! He had devised a game plan for us to get the buck and the plan had Weasel and I hiking to a spot above the field the buck was in, but it would not be easy for us to stay hidden from the animal as it lay in the field. In fact, by the time Weasel and I were in position, I’m certain the buck had already seen us working our way to the ambush spot. My friend, rode a 4 wheeler out and around the buck. Even though the buck had become accustomed to humans on tractors, 4 wheelers, horses and even on foot, it was still very nervous to have a human get very close to it. Besides there were also some doe antelope in that same field as short distance from where the buck was laying and they jumped up and proceeded to get “out of Dodge” as quickly as they could. The buck tried to keep up with them, but they out maneuvered him to a point he lost contact with the direction they had gone.

His search for them and his avoidance of my friend on the 4 wheeler, caused him to travel in our direction. We had some hope he would continue toward us and give me a shot. He was too wise and circled around us. With that plan not working in our favor, Weasel and I decided we should go to another spot we had seen a buck antelope during the muzz deer hunt. Maybe we could get on him. We said our Thank You’s and Good Bye’s to my friend and headed out. It took us awhile to get over to where we had last seen him, with very little hope that we would actually see the buck and that the buck would not be on private property, where it liked to hang out.

Well, low and behold, we did spot the antelope with a couple of does, up on the hill side, in an area I could actually shoot it, if I could get close enough. A trick that had not proved to be an easy one in the recent past, but if you don’t try, you will never succeed.

My first attempt was to “go straight at him” and hope he stuck around, after all, I only had to go about 200 yards and I’d be within 150 yards of him. The does had other plans for their male friend and lead him up and over the ridge! Back at the truck, we decided to continue our drive along the dirt two track that followed the private property fence and hope to cut him off as he came down to jump over the fence and onto safety. Well, we didn’t really know where the antelope had gone, so we took another side road that lead to the top of the hill a bit South of where we had last seen them going. Sure enough, there they were. Still too far for a shot, so we continued up the two track to the top of the hill. Meanwhile the antelope went down the other side, heading in the direction of the private property.

My thoughts were that maybe with them being down in a “safe zone”, in the sage and out of our sight, they would settle down and maybe, just maybe, I could sneak over the ridge, spot them before they spotted me and I’d get a longer than I like shot at him. It would be worth a try.

Leaving the truck up on top, I slowly made my way over to the edge of the ridge line, where I could look over and down the hill, hoping I’d see him before he saw me. I went as slowly and quietly as I knew how to do. Meanwhile, Weasel, headed in a different direction hoping to see a buck deer we had seen on the same hill we spotted the antelope on when we first arrived in this area.

As my footsteps lead me to the edge, I was trying my best to see below me, hoping to catch the slightest of movement, shape, or anything that would mean I was looking at an antelope, buck or doe did not matter to me, as right now I was just trying to see where they were. I was getting quite close to the edge, where I would be able to see the entire hillside below me, when I finally spotted the tan and white body of an antelope. It was broadside to me, looking off to my right. The way it was standing was as if it was focused on some far off object to the south of us. It had no idea I was just above it on the ridge. Through my 12X50 binocs I could easily see it was my buck, the same buck I had seen during the bow hunt and the muzz deer hunt, the one I had told Weasel I would shoot in a heartbeat should I get the chance. I put my rangefinder on him and hit the button….180 yards! Oh my heck! That is a LOT farther than I am used to shooting! In fact, I don’t think I have ever taken a shot that far on a big game animal, with my muzzleloader.

I made my mind up to take the shot and settled into a kneeling position, being especially careful not to kneel on a cactus or to make any unnecessary noises. I did not want him to look up in my direction. In fact his posture was perfect for a shot like this. Taking as careful aim as I could, I settled the sights on his shoulder, he was facing to my right. I took a deep breath, then exhaled, I was calm, not anxious at all. My mind raced through the aiming/shooting sequence I have been through thousands of times in the past and even though it was nearly a 200 yard shot, I rationalized it was quite a steep downhill shot and the bullet should naturally climb higher than my aim point. I should aim as if he was 30 yards away, no compensation what so ever. As the sights settled on his shoulder, I clicked the set trigger, and then moved my finger up to the front trigger, once again the sight picture was very clearly settled on his shoulder and with ever so slight pressure on the trigger the roar of the powder sent the bullet racing toward the buck. I heard the bullet strike the buck, but I wasn’t sure just where it hit him. The smoke was still hanging over the edge of the ridge below me when the buck took off running in the direction it had been looking. I could see its rear leg bouncing to the side as it ran. My shot was not a good one, as it hit the rear leg, breaking it just below the hip. The buck ran like that for about 50 yards and then settled into a pocket of sage, where it laid down. I was not happy with the shot, but I was pleased to think I had hit it and for sure would recover it, it would be just a matter of time before it died where it was laying in the sage. I didn’t reload until after I saw it lay down, then I stood up and reloaded. By then Weasel had made it to where I was, he heard the shot and came as quickly as he could. I pointed out where the buck was laying and he verified it in his binocs.

Weasel was quick to say, he would take the truck down to the two track that followed the private property fence and that I should carefully and quietly sneak down off the ridge and over to where the antelope was laying. All the while being ready for a kill shot should it jump up. The main issue here was not that I wouldn’t harvest this wounded animal, but that I needed to make sure it didn’t get across the fence and onto the private ground. We had our plan and so we separated. The truck parked along side the fence should deter any thoughts by the antelope to go in that direction should it decide to try and escape.

I worked slowly and quietly down off the ridge keeping a very close eye on where the buck was laying. About 50 yards away from the buck, it got up and took a couple of bounds away from me. I had no shot. It laid down again in a place I could not see it, and I get closer the terrain forced me into a depression where I could not see the sage brush anywhere near the animal. I would be hidden from the animal, but also, unable to see the animal should it get up and run. 5 steps is about what it took to be back up high enough to see where the animal was laying, however when I came up to this point, I wasn’t exactly sure where that spot was. I knew the “general” area is all, and to me that is not a good feeling.

Knowing the antelope was not stiffened up, was also a little un-nerving to me, as it could move quickly and get across the fence probably before I could get a shot off and should that happen, my shot would have to be perfectly placed.

Weasel and the truck came down the two track off the side of the hill and down to the fence. He turned the truck in my direction and slowly came in the direction of the antelope. He did not know the animal had moved from its original position. As he got closer, I stopped him by raising my hand when I figured he was in a spot closest to the antelope and between the antelope and the fence.

Weasel and I have been hunting long enough to almost think alike. He got out of the truck, carefully and quietly closed the door and started a slow and deliberate hike in the direction of the antelope, even though he did not know the exact location. Suddenly the antelope was up and coming directly at me! I raised my rifle and the animal stopped, showing me only its face. At about 50 yards that was all I could see and I settled the sights on it and pulled the trigger! The animal was down and very much dead.

My bucket list animal was tagged, in the cooler and on its way home in less than an hour! Thank you Weasel for the support, and to Jeremy Holm for convincing me to get up there and try one more time!

The buck is close to a heart shape, and somewhat like the picture on my shirt! I want to thank everyone for the support I was given in scratching this one off my bucket list. Oh, and by the way, it tastes VERY GOOD! I’d shoot another for the meat ANY DAY!

Leave A Comment, Written on January 1st, 2019 , Hunting Stories

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.