Kaibab Deer with Robert Ford
Kaibab Mule Deer in September!
Left the house for my Kaibab Mule Deer hunt on 27 August, a short drive some 520 mile later arrived at our campsite. Did a little scouting that night, and got a good idea where to start my hunt the next morning. Hunted really hard for the next four days, and had passed on some real nice deer. These mule I had passed on would have been shooters down in my area, but I was in Kaibab and I wanted one of those big ones there area was known for.
After each day of hunting I would come back to camp and tell my hunting partner of what I had seen that day out hunting, or better yet would show him some of the pictures I had taken of bucks I had passed on. On occasion, I would tell him where I was hunting and I would let him go to that area, or blind to hunt the next day. He would go and come back and just say you must be a deer magnet, as all he would see would be one or two does.
On the fifth day I let Gary go to the blind I had sat on the day prior where I had five bucks come in, while I decided to try a water hole that had not been very productive for deer movement, but I had some smaller bucks come in and had a resident cow and calf there every day. I got there before the sun had came up as normal, and by 6:15 I had one small buck, two fawns, and three does come in. The even came in while I was dreaming of other things, but this got my attention. I was pretty alert after that, and around 6:55, I had a real nice buck come into the clearing up the canyon from where I was sitting. I glass him and instantly I knew he was definitely a shooter buck. He had good mass, deep forks on his backside, a classic Kaibab buck. He was a very nice 4 X 4 with some character to boot (5 X 8 if you are counting points). He came out, looked down at the watering hole, looked at the cow and calf, and went up the other side back into the forest. At that point, I figured well I seen a shooter this morning, but figured he was gone for good. Then a doe appeared in the same spot, looked down at the watering hole, but she moved toward the water hole, after she move to the far edge of the forest. Then, the buck I figured I would not see again appeared out of the woods and joined her. This time the buck disappeared around a corner up the other canyon that feed into the one the water hole was located in. I knew this would be a good waterhole to sit on because it had three canyons that feed together at this watering hole.
Hope was not lost though; I have had deer come from this direction before, as it was a good approach for them to the watering hole. There was a clearing to my right that came off the of a bedding area that the deer had been using. Then the buck appeared first, slightly above me, but moving down toward the watering hole. The buck pasted by me, at no more than 20 yards on his way to the watering hole. By this time my heart was racing, and I had my bow (XForce), in hand. He moved to the water and started to drink, but no doe appeared. I took this to be my chance, I drew my bow, raised up, I knew the distances to several points because I had ranged them previously. The buck was at 34 yards quartering away, perfect for the shot, then out of the profiterole vision, I caught the does to my right, then I thought I am busted and she was going to snort and alert the buck. I just looked back down at the buck settled my pin right behind the rib cage and to the off shoulder. I started my shot sequence and the buck moved just enough to make the angle even more, but to late, for you archers you know how hard it is to stop once you start the shot. The arrow raced at the deer entered him way back, but still had the good angle to the far shoulder, the buck lunged forward, then he ran up toward the direction he had came from, right past me, but stop and looked back. Twenty yards away and no shot to take to follow up the first shot. Then he disappeared into the woods up the mountain. I replayed the shot in my mind and decided to give him at least three hours before going in to track him down. The shot was not what I had wanted, but I knew it was still a good shot and I had the energy/momentum to get the arrow into the boiler-room.
I then went back to camp to give the buck some time to expire. It was one of the hardest things to do; I cleaned, organized, and just wasted time. The three hours I waited seemed like 6 hours. My hunting buddy showed up, I explained to him what took place, showed him my note that I had written him about an hour ago and said lets go recover the buck.
Once there showed Gary where I had shot him at, showed him the first blood and explained what I thought of the arrow placement. He agreed, that I had waited enough time to start tracking. The blood trail was good, good color of blood, and we both agreed that it was most likely fatal wound. As we track him few found good signs, but we also found three spots where he had bedded, but got up and continued. The blood trail was still good, and we found him after he had travel about 150 yards.
The hunting setup was: PSE X Force bow, set at 70#, 368 gr Radial X-Weave arrow, 322 fps, PSE F22 sight, Phantom arrow rest. What a great bow and arrow combo.
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