We’ve all had seasons where you have to just about give up before the “magic” happens. This year for me was the dictionary definition of enduring to the end.
I had two opportunities at younger bucks at different times but just couldn’t do it. Since this was the first quality buck tag I had drawn in five years, I scarcely wanted to punch it on a button buck. At times I regretted that decision, wondering if I was getting too greedy. Still I felt I should stick to my resolution and hold out for a mature buck.
Things went pretty status quo until the last day of buck season. My friend Zarom Bruce and I decided to hunt together to make a final go of it. Early on, we passed on some young bucks, yet ran into large herds of both antelope and elk. The big bulls were bugling and gathering their hordes while the billies and nannies raced on by. The wide open country allowed one to see for miles, yet was dappled with juniper and conifers providing mixed cover.
It was almost noon when Zarom spotted a 3x4 muley buck bedded down on a ridge top at just a little over 200 yards away. We dropped down to take a look, and after a brief evaluation we decided to take him. Zarom had never killed a buck so we decided he should take the shot. The buck was bedded down, and so only his head and neck were exposed. This is not an ideal shot to take, but Zarom can shoot. I’ve mentioned one of his many long range coyote exploits in a previous article. Taking a steady rest with his 6.5 Creedmoor, while I spotted through my binoculars, he squeezed off a shot. He nailed the buck squarely in the neck delivering an instant kill.
No sooner had he shot when two more bucks stood up. They gazed around curiously trying to locate where the sound originated from. What a pleasant surprise! Quickly I abandoned my binoculars in favor of Old Reliable. Zarom, still peering through his rifle scope, informed me that the one on the right was the best of the two as I chambered a round and got on target. Once I found him and steadied my crosshairs, I squeezed off a shot. He jumped and kicked, ran a few feet and dropped dead. My bullet had met its mark, and we had two great trophies on the ground.
The whole event didn’t take 30 seconds to unfold, but that’s a moment I will cherish for a lifetime. Those two bucks fell only yards apart from one another. It was only when I saw him on the ground that I fully realized how great a buck this old 4x4 was! To see my friend Zarom take his first buck with such a good shot, combined with being able to fill my own tag with a such great buck in a matter of moments, was simply euphoric. We literally could not stop smiling. What an epic finale to buck season 2018!
How did you do this season? We would love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Dale Valade is a local country gent with a deep love for handloading, hunting and shooting.