An early summer morning found me checking my draw status. I expected a nice refund check from the Wyoming Fish and Game, but much to my amazement “successful” graced my results.
As it always does when you draw a coveted tag, summer quickly passed, and two days before season I loaded up my truck and headed to Wyoming. My hunting buddy had some time constraints on a construction project so he stayed home to finish it up. Though not ideal, I didn’t mind hunting solo and was ready to hit it hard.
The day before season started I located several deer a few miles away. After watching them I could tell they were bucks that needed a closer look. It was a commitment to get up there, but I went for it. A few hours later I found myself on top of the mountain overlooking the basins where I had seen the deer. That evening I watched a few bucks feed out onto the slopes into the fading light, but wasn’t overly impressed by their 140-ish size.
The next morning I decided I was going to check some new country and find bigger bucks. I turned up seven more bucks; one I figured was pushing 170 and the other 190! The 190-buck was by himself. Shortly after first light he quickly walked down the slope and I figured he was headed for bed on the other side of the draw on the timbered north face. I only got to watch him for a couple minutes but I knew this was the buck I wanted to focus on. He was three miles across the valley from where I was camped, so I had my work cut out for me. He never showed up that evening, but I figured he had to be there somewhere. I planned to be looking into his basin at first light.
Early the next morning, I got up, grabbed my bow and pack and took off for the basin where I had seen the buck the previous morning. After an hour hike through the high country darkness and drizzling rain, I was on my perch overlooking the same zone, only this time I was much closer.
It was dark and gloomy and in the first 20 minutes of light I turned up nothing. On my frantic second scan through the area, two deer popped out of nowhere and immediately I knew one was the 190-buck, recognizable by his freakishly large 3×4 main frame. Not two minutes after finding him, he turned downhill and started slinking his way down, headed to bed. I knew my time gap to cut him off was very limited. I marked a couple reference points of where he was going, grabbed my bow, video camera and took off running.
My plan was to cut him off at the bottom of the basin as he headed to bed. Five minutes later, I caught him crossing a meadow in the bottom at 200 yards and videoed him as he crossed the meadow and melted into the timber. I decided taking this great buck was more important than trying to get it on video, so I set the video camera down and slipped into the timber in an attempt to cut him off.
I moved swiftly, stopped, watched and waited. I caught some movement through the deadfall, which turned out to be the smaller buck that had been with the big guy. They were locked down feeding so I knew I had a little time to move. I snuck forward another 50 yards and picked my shooting lane.
On my tiptoes I could see his antler tips as he was feeding. I ranged my shot at 45 yards. He started to move up the hill, so I drew, settled in and let it fly. He was quartering away and my arrow made its mark, exiting right behind the far shoulder. All I could focus on was his giant headgear as he bounded up the hill. He vanished over the hill and seconds later I heard a crash. I could not believe what just happened, so I sat down, collected myself and walked over to my buck in shock. There was no ground shrinkage today!