Late December Idaho Mulie Buck
I was sure the fresh Idaho snowfall muffled my steps, although to my ears each step sounded as if cannons were going off all around me. I carefully reached the bottom ledge of the rock face I had just traversed in order to reach the timber that began in the sage brush to the west and gradually thinned out as the majestic pine trees neared the bottom of the cliff I was descending; and I saw them!
There in front of me were the antlers I was searching for in the snow covered Idaho high country, one, two, no – three sets of mule deer antlers lie ahead of me! The distance ranged at 50 yards to the nearest tree, where a bedded buck lay. A second set was near a lone pine tree, the bucks body masked by the low hanging pine boughs. The third set seemed to be engulfed in the sage brush that grew inter-mingled with the pines at this elevation.
After what seemed an eternity in the freezing winter temperatures not much had changed, except I had identified the locations of two more feeding bucks, and now four does that lie bedded in the area just past my closest bucks! One of these majestic bucks was a 4×4, the other a tall and wide 4×5. As the setting sun neared the top of the mountain range behind and above me, I knew I had to make a decision or turn and leave these elusive high country mulies for another day.
I weighed my options and decided on a buck that was partially blocked by pine boughs as he was a solid 3×3 with both height and width, including good mass to his antlers. The 4×5 was at 85 yards and numerous mulies lay between a location for a shot and my current location at the base of the cliff.
As this would be my second mule deer tag in Idaho this season, I chose to work towards a goal of making a shot on the nice 3×3 come together. I ever so quietly edged to a position several yards to my right, and as if on an unknown cue – the buck fed into a small opening in the pine tree boughs that had partially blocked him!
I had daylight of approximately two feet above his shoulders and two feet below his shoulders through the opening in the pine tree between us. As he was at 55 yards, I riased by Mathews CREED and my 35 yard pin was clearly in the center of the opening in the pine boughs. I had previously ranged this pine tree and it was at 36 yards from where I stood. I had my chance, it would only last for seconds was my thought process.
As the 60 yard pin rested on his top shoulder area, slightly back from his quartering away right front shoulder – the 50 yard pin brackted the bottom half of his mid-section. The pins became as crystal clear as the snow flakes now falling around me. The arrow released, arched gently through the pine boughs at 36 yards, with the setting sunlight rays glimmering on the fletching of the arrow as it flew straight and true.
I could see the buck jump as the shaft disappeared in to his rib cage – a solid hit! The buck raced off into the tree line and an awaiting canyon, as the other mulies scattered in the opposite direction. An surreal silence fell around me as I waited to begin my climb back to the awaiting ATV on a plateau above me.
I later circled around to the canyon area he had disappeared so quickly into, and found him laying quietly in the middle of a trail he had slowed to a walk on before he quietly passed.
A well deserved trophy awaited me on that trail, not a record book antler rack – but the reward of a persistent, and well thought out stalk in the mulies on backyard!
A majestic Idaho high country, December mule deer buck!