As you read this I’m sitting in a deer stand in northeastern Wyoming waiting for a buck to show up … whitetail or mule deer … doesn’t matter. The tag in my pocket is good for either. On Sunday afternoon, just north of the state line in Montana, I saw my first buck of the season who was showing interest in does. So I shot him.
We are taping for the 2012 season of “North American Hunter-TV” with NAHC Life Member Mike Watkins' Trophies Plus Outfitters in Alzada, Montana.
We spotted my buck from our blind situated on a bit of a rise in the middle of a CRP flat above a cottonwood and brush creek-bottom. Directly in front of us on the other side of the creek was an alfalfa field we knew was drawing lots of deer. The plan was to intercept a buck as it used moved toward the feeding field. Well, you know what they say about the best plans.
Instead, about 2 hours into the sit, I was carefully glassing the creek bottom timber and saw the buck stand up from where he’d been bedded. The Nikon rangefinder revealed he was 378 yards away with nothing but 12-inch CRP grass between us and him. Though the wind was perfect, there was no way to move closer without getting busted. Our only hope was if he moved across the creek and into the alfalfa field, which was starting to fill with does; then we could use the cover of the creek-bottom to make a stalk. We were wrong again.
He bedded down two more times in the next 20 minutes. This buck was in no hurry to feed or do anything else. As the time slipped closer to sunset, it seemed we were only going to get to watch and tape this buck.
Then something spooked the deer in the alfalfa and seven does came bounding off the hill right to our buck. Their running and wariness seemed to spook him, too, and we watched his white rack and whiter tail disappear deep into the thick stuff right along with the does. We figured it was over. We were wrong ... AGAIN. In just a couple minutes, the does started reappearing at the edge of the CRP about 100 yards closer to us. Huh?
After all seven does were in the field, the buck followed on cue. Now he had his head down in that “chasing” posture and he started checking out the does. They didn’t like it one bit, and started running again—this time straight at us. The buck dutifully followed.
The herd crested the small rise on which we were positioned. The rifle was up and rested. At first, a doe stood directly between the muzzle and the buck. She cleared, and he was broadside at 60 yards. At the crack of the Thompson/Center bolt-action .30-06 fueled with Fusion 150-grainers, the buck collapsed. Once again, the power of pure luck was proven.