Monster Idaho Mule deer!

January 26, 2013 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

Jim Carr Whacks a Great Idaho Mule Deer


My Muzzleloader Buck

By Jim Carr

My hunt began in late October with the hope of catching deer in their
migration and at the beginning of the rut.  I started out high in the unit with snow already on the ground trying to see if the migration had started.  I covered miles of territory and saw only eight bucks with the best being a 160 typical with a six inch drop tine.

In the late afternoon while hiking up a ridge, a storm blew in and visibility
reduced to less than 50 yards.  It snowed a few inches during the night and in
the morning I headed up a ridge with high hopes.  I was met with fog.  Over the next few days, I covered a lot of country and while I saw several bucks everyday, it became apparent that the migration hadn’t started.  The temperature had risen into the 70’s.  It seemed that everybody was hunting the top end of the unit, so I decided to head into the lower rocky canyons.  While I didn’t see many more deer there, I never ran into anther hunter .

On the  evening  of day 6, with about one hour of shooting light left, I spotted a couple of nice bucks under
some rim rock.  One looked like he was a shooter, so I covered the distance quickly and came out on top of the rim rock with the bucks 50 yards below me.   The big one was pushing 30 inches and had good backs, but  his main beams seemed a bit short.  I guessed him at 180 inches.  I watched him for about 15 minutes, feeling very indecisive, until the wind made my decision for me.  It changed and as he winded, took off . Just before dark, I noticed a canyon off in the distance that looked promising.

I spent a long night thinking about why I passed that buck.  The next morning I got up early to make the long hike across the lava
rock to the canyon before light.  Luckily, there was a full moon so I was
able to make it to a good glassing spot. Right away, I spotted a couple nice bucks about a mile away.  I took my spotting scope out and put it on the largest buck.  I knew right away I had a shooter. I ran through a couple small canyons and looped around to get get around the backside of the buck.  I came out above the
deer which was it was to picture perfect.  I developed a case of buck fever and made
a irrational decision, thinking he was going to bolt any second.  Instead
of getting a rest and ranging the buck, I somehow decided he was
farther than he was and hurried the muzzleloader to my shoulder.  I
shot over his back (I later ranged it at 100 yards)


The deer bolted and
were quickly 800 yards away.  They didn’t know where I was but they were
on alert for about 20 minutes.  They headed across the canyon towards
the west facing rim rock where the deer bed down in the
mornings.  At this point, they were about a mile and a half away. I did
not take my eyes off of them as I snuck closer because I was going to kill this buck

There was no way I wanted to think about my screw up for the entire next year.  All of a sudden,
the deer reversed direction and headed up a gully and out of my sight.  I
had crossed that gully before and knew once they got too far I would
not be able to find them, so I ran to cut them off.  As I got to where I
thought I would be ahead of them, I went to the edge just as the first
deer was coming into view.  They were in high sage and moving quickly, so I
had to stand to get a shot.  I ranged an opening at 130 yards and as
soon as he hit that opening, I  shot once.  As the smoked cleared, I saw the
other deer topping over the hill.  I quickly reloaded and went down
where I had last seen him.  I had a sick feeling that I had lost him, then I almost
stepped on him.  He was up from his bed and out so quickly, I pulled and shot.
There was a pop delay and then a boom which meant I had missed.  Now, I was in hot pursuit and because
of the thick brush and rocks, I did not want to let him out of my sight.

I had never loaded a muzzleloader so fast.  I don’t even know how much of my
charge got in the barrel.  It reminded me of a scene in the movie Last of the Mohicans
where the main character is loading his gun as he was running. As the buck
went across a rock ledge, I was able to pull up and drop him at about
10 yards. My first shot had hit a little farther back than I would
have liked.  On the pack out, I had to thank God for all that he has
done for us and this beautiful place he created.  I thought about one
of the reasons I love hunting so much is you never know what is around
the corner.  Your worst hunting day can turn into your best in a split


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