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Normal Topic 2017 Archery Mule Deer (Read 405 times)
Canadian Mulie
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2017 Archery Mule Deer
Nov 15th, 2017 at 4:22pm
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2017 Archery Mule Deer

After scouting for a few weeks my main hunting partner and I found some great deer including three typical mulies in the 180”+ range, and a buck I dubbed Sneaky Pete.







I had seen Pete in the previous years, and he still had matching drop tines. Pete always disappeared before the season started.



My main hunting partner (my cousin) had his sights on the buck he found that had a huge frame with a shorter g2 and an in-line point on the left side. The buck in the second photo looking at the camera. The evening of August 14 I was on my way to relocate this particular buck. I stopped on my way to glass a slough. I immediately spotted two deer through the binoculars. I quickly set up my spotting scope and started to study them. Two mules, one was a big framed typical, and the other had something up but I just couldn’t tell what. They were about a half mile away, and the mirage was quite strong. After a few minutes with my eye glued to the spotter I had an idea what I was looking at. I grabbed my digi cam set up, and started taking video of the two bucks.



I text my cousin and told him I found a real ugly one, and that he would think it was gross. The conditions made it very hard to see clearly at what all was there. I took a guess of 190 non typical. I also thought he had a bit of a limp and had some age to him as well.
My cousin and I make great partners, he loves big clean typicals, and I love non typicals or anything that is unique. I like to spot and stalk, and he likes to bait and ambush. Both tactics have advantages and disadvantages, and both are hard work and time consuming. Baiting is not as easy as one may think especially when it comes to big mature animals around farm land. As there is high quality feed everywhere.
I was able to go back and relocate Ugly and his buddy often enough. I realized after getting better looks at him he wasn’t a 190, probably more like 170. Ugly always had his head down feeding he rarely looked up to check things out for danger. After looking at him and showing some video to some very avid mule deer hunters we thought him to be 8 1/2 years old at the minimum. His buddy was younger had a bigger body and antlers, and was much more alert and weary. They were always within a half mile of where I first seen them feeding on the west side of a very large slough. One time I went to have a look but the smoke from the fires about a 1,000kms away from British Columbia was too thick to locate them. I felt confident that the bucks would still be in the area come the archery season as they were still at the slough after the crop had been harvested and they most likely would have no disturbances till mid to late October. I would continue to scouting for new mule deer and elk like I had been since the start of July, but was happy with what I had found already on the mulie front. I found one more mulie to add to the hit list but soon found out that at least three other hunters were after him. So we never had much intent on pursuing him.



With my elk draw and archery mule deer opening on the same day I easily made the decision to pursue elk. The elk hunt was going to be a tough one so my cousin was going to hunt with me on the opener then look for his target mule deer after that. This decision was made, to up our odds of success in the short one month season we had for archery mule deer.

On the 18th the third day of the season I decided that in the evening I would go look for Ugly. I needed a boost as not seeing or hearing an elk was getting to me. I arrived at my look out early, and glassed the cover beside the slough. After repeatedly covering the same strip of weeds in between the harvested crop and the water I finally spotted something that was just out of place. I zoomed my scope in to 60x and held my breath to keep as still as possible. It was the rack of Ugly’s buddy. I had glassed over the small area for probably around 20 minuets before I was able to differ the tines from the vegetation. I figured Ugly would be with him in there somewhere. I got my gear in my pack grabbed my bow and locked the truck. There was a small hill I could use as cover till I got to about 300 yards. I quickly covered the half mile and crept up the hill constantly glassing till I relocated Buddy’s antlers. Once I spotted him I settled in so the scope just barely cleared the crest of the hill and decided to wait and see what would happen. After, over an hour Buddy got up to feed. I had my cam rolling film of him and expected Ugly to show himself any minute. Then I got a text from my wife saying our two and a half year old daughter had some success on the potty. She asked if I could come home to make a big deal of it and have a meal with the family for the first time in 5 days. I reluctantly packed my spotter and gear up and snuck back out to my truck and made it home for supper. I didn’t get to see Ugly and was starting to wonder if the old buck had moved off or possibly just died of old age. Funny the stuff a guy can think when it doesn’t go your way.

On the 19th day right at day break I filled my elk tag and my cousin was about a hour and a half away just getting set up to glass for mulies. He came and helped me out with the elk. Which was greatly appreciated. I went back to work for three days on a high note.

On the Saturday the 23rd Dad met me at my place a half hour before sun up. He hopped in with me and we were off to find Ugly or at least some mule deer. I got to my planned spot before sun up. And there happened to be some Americans camped in the old yard I was going to be glassing from. They must have been sitting in the goose decoys waiting for legal light because no one was there. I started glassing and couldn’t see much. A few minutes before legal light I spotted a deer but couldn’t tell what it was. I needed more light. As the sun got closer to braking the horizon I spotted a second deer. Both of them where bedded. After assuming they were Buddy and Ugly I had to be sure. I impatiently waited till there was enough light to confirm it was the pair.
Buddy on the right with head visible and Ugly's antlers on the left.



Then I gave dad a crash corse on how to film using the digi cam set up. He was comfortable in the truck with the best view to watch the show. I put all my gear in my pack and with bow in hand I took off walking down a railway track to the north for a 1/4 mile. Then I walked a ditch of a road to cross the slough for about a half mile. I crossed the road and headed back south along the slough edge for about 200 meters. Then I was in plain sight of the bucks. I had about a 1/2 mile to cover but there was no cover at all. The weeds had been plowed up so it was water to bare ground.



I had two options with the terrain and wind. Get on my hands and knees or turn around and walk back to the truck. Well I decided that I would crawl for the next 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile as I followed the lowest part of the land right beside the shoreline.



I strapped my bow to my pack and crawled on my hands and knees. I soon realize how out of shape I was. And how soft of hands I had, as the dry clay lumps made them instantly sore. Most of the time I could just crawl. Switching from the palms of my hand to my knuckles to ease the discomfort of the hard ground. Every now and then when there was no cattails in the water between me and the bucks. So I had to belly crawl. I did this for a half mile as the crow flies but I took a much longer route than the crow. When I made it to my cover I was highly disappointed. It had been such a dry year that the weeds were stunted and only about 2 to 2.5 feet tall. It was still far better then the plowed field. I continue to crawl on my hands and knees for an additional 200 yards. It was so calm, less than a 6km wind. I felt like I should just pull out, and wait for a day with stronger wind to help cover the noise of the ultra dry vegetation.



Instead I strapped my decoy to my bow, dropped my pack and slowly started to close the last 300 yards. It was now about 9:15. My phone vibrated in my pocket I ignored it. A few more yards and minutes later it vibrated again. This time I checked it. It was work related but I wasn’t going to do anything about it right away. Slowly I moved on, crouched over hiding behind my decoy. I would move a few yards then glass to keep my bearings on Ugly’s antler tips and see if I could spot buddy. I once again had to cross bare ground.




I eventually got close to the outside edge of the patch of dead canola from two years ago. This was where the bucks were bedded. I took a breather to help calm my nerves. Then buddy got up and moved towards the water. I continued to get closer to Ugly as Buddy was out of sight. I didn’t want to be caught out in the open out of range. I ever so slowly and carefully continued on high alert watching for both bucks as I hid behind the decoy. Then Buddy’s antlers reappeared heading in my general direction. Once he was able to spot me he did right away. He stared at me for what felt like 10 minuets. Then with the flick of his tail he moved a few more yards and settled back into his bed. The decoy worked, it tricked a deer after hiding motionless behind it during the stare down. I could see both bucks antlers but no fur. I continued to get closer to Ugly on the outside edge of the canola. I soon realized I had forgotten my rangefinder in my pack when I left it behind. I reached what I thought was 30 yards and settled in. After some time had passed my legs were cramping up so I had to change positions to where I was sitting on my bum with my legs stretched out. I wasn’t confident with this as a shooting position so once my legs were feeling better I got back to kneeling. As my knees eventually started to ache again and tighten up I got worrying about the phone call and text. I decided I needed to do something. I decided I would draw back and stand up. I knew this was not the smartest thing to do but I had some added confidence with the decoy it could work. It was now around 11:45.

I drew back set my anchor point slowly and steadily rose up. Ugly’s head wiped around and locked on me. As soon as he locked on me he was up I adjusted my pin and touched it off as he turned to bolt away. For that split second when the arrow was in the air I couldn’t believe I sent it. And when I heard the impact of the broadhead my stomach sank. He was headed completely away. I immediately started to beat myself up. I lifted my binos to see a fanning stream of blood spewing out right at the arrow. I felt slightly better but was still upset. He made it about 150 yards before he slowed up to a stop and then went down. As all this happened Buddy didn’t know what to do, he took off and stopped to look back and when Ugly was standing with his head sinking lower and lower he decided it was time to leave. Dad happed to just look away before I stood up and missed it all. He did see buddy bounding away though. I called my cousin to let him know what had happened, and then called Dad. I knocked another arrow and slowly made my way to where I seen Ugly go down. I found him expired on the edge of the harvest crop. I was extremely lucky to have it play out the way it did. Only a few inches in any direction I would of had a wounded deer. I sent the maditory teaser pic to my wife.



We took some pictures.



I had to look at his teeth. He had none or at least none on the front.



I looked inside his mouth to see his cheek teeth and there was substantial wear on them. I was extremely pleased that he was as old or older than what we thought.





Ugly truly is ugly once I boiled and cleaned him up for a euro mount I could see his nose was also just as crooked and twisted up as his lopsided antlers.



A look at his bottom jaw.


  
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Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer
Reply #1 - Nov 16th, 2017 at 10:28am
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Good hunt mate, and yes, he is ugly  Cool
  
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Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer
Reply #2 - Nov 17th, 2017 at 5:45am
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Very cool deer, congrats!
  
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264Magic
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Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer
Reply #3 - Nov 17th, 2017 at 7:57am
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Grin Grin Grin like the hide behind
  

It is much better to Hit the Animal in the right place, with a Rifle you can shoot well, then to hit it poorly with a Large Calibre..John Nosler
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Huntin' the Prairies

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Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer
Reply #4 - Nov 20th, 2017 at 12:11am
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264Magic wrote on Nov 17th, 2017 at 7:57am:
Grin Grin Grin like the hide behind



Ya I do too. Most think it’s from a fawn back home.

How have you been?  Unfortunately no New Zealand trip for me this year  Cry:'(
  
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Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer
Reply #5 - yesterday at 8:44am
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I only just saw this - really good read and excellent photos - well done.
  
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