The Hunt and Feast
Posted on November 21, 2012
Pursuing game is not only adventurous and fun but it’s quite nutritious as well, especially when bagging game close to home.
I spotted the 5×6 mulie buck as I drove along my driveway in late October. He was chasing does barely 200 yards from my house, completely preoccupied by the females. He barely gave my pickup a glance.
When general rifle season opened in Wyoming a few days later, I slipped a blaze-orange sweatshirt over my camo duds to be legal and walked out of my house. Ten minutes later, I had my binoculars on the same nice mule deer. He was half a mile from my front door on a property next to mine. I already had trespass permission, so I started to crawl after the buck.
When I say “crawl,” I mean exactly that. There were more than 50 does, fawns and small bucks scattered around the 5×6 on a grassy, brush-dotted flat. The highest cover was less than two feet tall. Not ideal for bow hunting.
Nonetheless, after several hours of pretending to be a lizard, I wiggled within solid archery range of the buck. When he quartered away and dropped his head to nibble a bush, I rolled to my knees and drew the bow, aimed as other deer around him gawked in disbelief and let the arrow fly. An instant later, the shaft zipped through the unsuspecting buck’s chest for a very fast kill.
My Wyoming mule deer was not a whopper. But he was a dandy for my part of the state, with a record-book score just under 160. The best thing was, I had shot him almost in my backyard. Taking a deer that close to home was really special.
Reward Is In the Pursuit
I hear archers moan that they can’t afford expensive out-of-state trips. They long to take exotic bowhunts, and look with envy on those who get to travel around.
Here’s a newsflash. I’ve had the good fortune to bowhunt in a lot of places and take every big-game species on our continent. I’m here to tell you that hunting close to home is usually just as rewarding as far-flung adventures. So don’t feel sorry for yourself if all you have time or money to chase are nearby deer. Whitetails, mulies and other kinds of deer are more challenging than most North American game, and they are easily accessible to almost anyone. If you’re stuck with bowhunting such common backyard species, it’s a great way to be stuck!
By Chuck Adams