Idaho Archery Buck
By Jeremiah Pate
After seeing only one buck on opening day of a late season archery hunt I knew I had to wait on the weather. The following week a cold front came in so I headed to the hills. Right away I spotted a nice buck off in the distance. Twenty minutes later I was close enough to see his drop-tine as he walked away and I knew this was a really nice buck. I attempted a sneak but was so intent on the buck that I didn’t notice the deer below him. I heard their alarm and my heart sank as he bounded from sight.
A couple days later I was back in pursuit. I was greeted with just enough rain to get me wet and irritated. I pushed on and found some little bucks but the buck I was after wasn’t there. After searching all day I was headed back when off to my left I saw him in a canyon. However, he saw me too. Again I could only watch as his massive antlers dropped out of sight. My brother Ivan was flying into town for Thanksgiving and I knew he would be excited with the news of a big buck found. A couple days later, we set out in search of this buck. All day passed and nothing. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I knew tomorrow we would be at moms. I decided I would go up in the morning and if still nothing, I could be back in time for dinner.
As I set out I saw the buck off in the distance. I watched him drop into a pocket and I slipped into stealth mode. Thirty minutes later of walking in the rain and snow I reached the crest and crawled over. There he was! My rangefinder told me 96 yards, too far for a shot. I crawled back and hoped he would push his does to me so I moved around the bend and set up. I waited forever and finally snuck over the top and all that was there was a doe. I thought they winded me and had bounded off, so I stood up and a doe bounded away. Suddenly I heard a snort! Patchy fog had rolled so I took off my pack and scooted to the top. He was 85 yards out and I knew I had to get closer. I waited for the fog to roll in again and then crawled to 70 yards. The deer sensed something was wrong and were getting nervous. If I was going to do anything it had to be now.
I scooted two yards closer and all eyes pegged me. As the buck put his head down I drew my bow. At the release he jumped up, headed right for me, and laid down thirty yards away! I was excited as I knew all I had to do was wait. Suddenly voices echoed down the canyon. The buck heard the ruckus and instantly bounded down the canyon. With the snow and rain it was not easy tracking. I searched all day and into the night before finally deciding to come back the next morning. My brother and I found the buck 100 yards from where I left the trail the day before! I didn’t realize how big he was until I got next to him. It was awesome! My six by ten was 32 inches wide and not bad for my first archery buck. In fact the only thing I had shot prior to this was a paper plate!
Editors note: 9 months before Jeremiah shot this buck I purchased the sheds, from the previous year, from a shed hunter here in Boise. As I set here and look at the sheds compared to the photos of the buck on the ground there is very little difference except that he went down hill a little from the year before. We had high hopes this buck would come in considerably bigger then the sheds I have, but he didn’t. By looking at the sheds we thought he was a young buck with great potential. By looking at the photos of Jeremiah’s buck it seems just the opposite, he is an old buck starting to regress. It was the perfect time to harvest this buck! Congrats to Jeremiah on a great trophy!
Founder, Mule Deer Country