This story is about the second hunt I guided in 2019. The hunter was Jerry, he was new to our outfit. Jerry was a real good guy and easy to get along with. It’s nice when you have a hunter who takes in the whole experience, not just the killing part. Jerry really never told me what kind of buck he wanted but would always comment on how nice each buck we seen looked. On day three we had -17 and some snow. The snow made it hard to spot deer from a distance. Once we got to my favorite lookout perch I spotted what looked to be a heavy horned deer, one with some age.
The buck was bedded with about five does. I honestly thought the buck was just a nice 4x4 with good mass. We would have to get across a frozen creek to stalk this deer. The creek really created a problem, to deep and not enough ice to walk across. We spent most of the morning trying to cross the creek while staying out of view of the old buck. After many ill attempts I got in the truck and drove right through the creek crossing the ranchers use. I didn’t want to do this as we were in plain sight of the deer. Once past the bedded deer we got out of sight and began our stalk on foot. when we popped up into the area I could see the deer were up on their feet feeding. We had a large open spot between us and the hills the deer where in.
We made our way across the open by staying single file and stopping anytime the deer looked up. The sideways snow helped conceal us. About half way across the deer fed out into a small coulee directly in front of us. I could tell they would be hard to find if we didn’t shoot know! We got down, got Jerry on the pack. The uphill angle was hard to shoot from, hard on the neck. I got my range finder out only to find it would not range anything in the snow storm. I told Jerry to shoot for 300. He fired and the deer didn’t even flinch. I told him to put another shell in, his gun was froze shut after the shot. He struggled to break the gun open and I franticly tried to range the deer. The does where starting to leave and the buck was still broadside. Jerry was reloaded and ready to shoot, waiting for the range. The range finder wouldn’t read so I told Jerry to shoot for 400. Whack to buck stumbled and fell.
It took a long time to walk to the buck, he was a lot farther than I guessed. As we approached the downed buck he just got bigger and bigger. The reverse of ground shrinkage you might say. When we laid hands on him he was way more than we ever imagined! Mass, width, good forks and some kickers. Jerry’s smile lit up the prairie.