Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hunting season ends with a bang, just no buck

| December 24, 2020 12:00 AM

It was pointed out to me last week that I needed to share the rest of the story in regards to the 2020 general hunting season.

Trust me, I had every intention of doing so.

Paul and I continued to chase the elk encountered the first weekend. Work kept me from going the second weekend, but after that we were back at it.

After a reasonably thorough examination of the area where Paul found the elk, the only thing which remained were old tracks, distorted by warming and cooling temperatures.

We did find an old, mouse-munched deer antler and I gained a better understanding of the lay of the land.

One hunt far to the west revealed some old elk tracks and a white-tailed buck we jumped but never saw on the way back to the truck. As close as the buck got to the truck, someone should’ve been sitting in the bed!

The last few weekends provided plenty of excitement, but no filled tags.

One jaunt produced a small band of elk and we both had ‘em in our scopes, but no bull revealed himself. We followed those elk to no-man’s land and I made mental notes for the future.

Then, we took a day to target mulies. They were where Paul believed we’d find them, but no bucks. The does were quite a bit of fun to watch, though!

Then it was time for the final day! The rut was on so our anticipation was high.

A long truck ride and a walk up a gated road put us in a place where no one had stepped foot in quite some time. Old ATV tracks made the walk easier, but we weren’t sure they were even there to hunt.

Once our plan was made, we split with the idea of covering opposite sides of a rolling ridge. I hadn’t traveled far when I began to climb. The south-facing slope had chunks of ground not covered by crunchy snow so that’s where I creeped.

I sprayed deer urine as I went, hoping to fool a buck. As I got to the edge of a wide bench, there he was! He was a heavy-racked buck with a large body. I had seen whitetails as big or bigger than he in the farmlands of Pa., but he would’ve been my best.

My problem was I spent way too much time admiring his stature instead of getting a shot lined up. He knew something was below him and he quickly bolted uphill into the cover. A doe I hadn’t seen also ran in front of me and stopped on the bench.

Why do the bucks never do that?!

I took my deer antler and scraped a Ponderosa pine. I sprayed more deer urine and even grunted a bit in a feeble attempt to get the buck to show himself.

But he didn’t get big by being duped.

After a bit Paul and I joined up again as I shared my tale of ineptitude. We finished the ridge, curled back to where we started and got back to the truck.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda!