“This is the hunt I look forward to every year. Hunting rutted up, high country Idaho Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area mule deer. The area I hunt is accessed by a mountain pass that is about 8700 feet in elevation. Usually, I pack stock across the pass with my brother and go in about 30 miles. This year he was unable to join so I decided against packing stock in alone. The pass I needed to cross to get in had about waist deep snow. So, I loaded up my snowmobile and ice fishing sled and dragged a camp about 20 miles away from the truck.
“I glassed from camp a couple mornings looking at snow free southwest facing ridges. I hadn’t located any bucks but had glassed plenty of does. With the rut heating up every day, I knew it was a matter of time before a buck moved in on the does. On the third morning I woke up to a crispy -20 degree cloudless sky. I had gotten little sleep because of a pack of wolves, eating on a carcass I had not noticed before, about 100 yards from my camp. Regardless I was excited to get behind the spotter. After about an hour of glassing and doing jumping jacks in place to try and keep my body warm enough I finally spotted a buck on top of the mountain at around 8600 feet.
“This buck was about 2.5 miles from my current location so I knew I had to be patient and watch the buck bed down because chances were he’d be gone before I could ever get to him. I watched this buck for another half hour. He was one of the biggest 3×3’s I had ever seen. However, as I was watching him the real king of the mountain showed up, a big 4×4. My jaw dropped as I watched him walk into view. This was a big buck. I continued to watch the bucks and watched the 4×4 chase the big 3×3 off the mountain. They had disappeared off to the other side. I decided to move. Even though the buck disappeared to the other side, I knew he’d come back for his does. After a couple miles and about 1000 vertical feet I reached the glassing spot adjacent to the ridge of the does. I chugged some water, took a quick breather, and then pulled out my binos.
“It took about 5 seconds. There he was. I dropped my pack and shed a couple layers to put under my gun stock. He was 500 yards with no wind, which is a decent shot but one I felt more than comfortable making. I laid down, put the cross hairs on him, exhaled smoothly, and pulled the trigger. The buck dropped in his tracks. It was a perfect heart shot. I rested my head in disbelief and excitement. I had done it.”
Thanks for sharing your hunting story Seth! MDF members and volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization, coordinating with our regional staff to get the work done that helps us help mule deer and black-tailed deer. We love to hear your stories, and would love to share them! Please feel free to send us an email with your Member Success photos and stories to Art@muledeer.org for a chance to be featured here, on social media, or in the magazine!
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.