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First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:35 pm
by archerycrazy
As mentioned in an earlier post, my brother and I drew muzzleloader tags for the Pine Valley general season unit in Utah. We grew up in St. George, and spent all of our early hunting years roaming the hills there. Early in the summer we purchased new CVA Optima V2's and spent a lot of time at the range getting familiar with them. The hunt finally arrived and I felt like it was my first hunt 21 years ago. I hadn't hunted for two years due to a military obligation, and we had the entire duration of the hunt off of work. With a number of good areas in mind we prepared for the opener.

Opening day found us on the back side of hard hit area with the hopes that the pressure would send the deer our way. We were not disappointed. I saw around 15 bucks that opening morning, including a big 2X3 and several young 3 points. The bigger bucks eluded us so we continued our search. During the evening of opening day my brother and I helped his friend bag his first ever buck, a nice 3 point. I always enjoy the excitement of a first buck, and it made for a great end to opening day.

Rybuck by gao_er_fu_qiu, on Flickr

After a late and exhausting night getting the buck out on opening day, we opted to sleep in and hunt the evening of day 2. Day 2 saw a cold front come in and we hunted the evening in a cold light rain. Just before sundown I came to the edge of a ravine and spotted a herd of about 10 bucks at the edge of a huge clearing, all 3 point or better, with 2 giant bucks. They were just out of range so I chose to sneak through the thick cover down the hill. When I finally got to where I last saw the bucks, I spotted them again about 200 yards out in the clearing. I got down ready to shoot only to find a smaller 3 point standing broadside in front of the group of bucks that was all bunched together. A shot never presented itself, and I watched all the bucks bound off without shooting. We would spend much of the remainder of our hunt dedicated to finding the big bucks in this herd.

Friday evening I found myself sitting in cover along the edge of the clearing where the bucks had fed out the night before. Two hours before dark I watched a big 2X3 (a 2 point with a three inch cheater off the back beam) feed out at 40 yards. I thought for sure I was in for a good night. Nothing else came out until the sun had descended below the horizon. Just then, a small 2 point and the biggest, tallest, and heaviest 3 point I have ever seen stepped into the clearing at 200 yards. With 20 minutes of shooting light remaining I thought the bucks would feed down my direction like they did the night before, so I chose not to take the long shot. Unfortunately, they never did feed down the clearing, and some brush and the impending darkness prevented a shot that night. I went to bed dreaming of another chance at the giant 3 point.

Saturday afternoon as I made the hike up the mile long open area to my spot I noticed a nice 4 point already feeding in the shade along a different area of the clearing. Not expecting to see a deer 3 hours before sunset, I was immediately busted and the buck was gone before I could get a shot. That night only does fed out where I was sitting, but I did encounter a big buck as I left the clearing 5 minutes after legal shooting light. It was tempting at 30 yards, but my ethical nature won out.

Sunday was a day off for us, and it was good to rest our bodies and sore feet. Monday evening I was back only this time I decided to set up near the area where the 4 point had fed out earlier on Saturday. I arrived nearly three hours before dark and found some good cover about two hundred yards from the clearing. Nothing stirred for two and a half hours until the sun went down. Within seconds of the sun disappearing behind the horizon, the same 4 point buck stepped out just a few feet from where he was Saturday evening. I ranged him at 190 yards and waited for him to turn broadside. My first shot roared across the meadow and when the smoke cleared the buck was hunched up and obviously hurt, but still on his feet. He didn't move an inch as I reloaded. A follow up shot put him down for good. My first shot hit him a little far back behind the shoulder and completely destroyed the liver. He went down for good with the follow up shot to the neck area. Initially, I felt disappointment that I did not get the giant 3 point or one of the huge bucks from the bachelor herd, but I quickly realized that he was a great first muzzleloader buck, and an above average general unit buck. I felt a further sense of satisfaction after spending the time and persistence in patterning and waiting out the bucks in the area.

Overall, it was a great general season hunt. My brother did not tag out, but could have taken a large number of 2 and 3 point bucks during the hunt. We estimate that we saw over 50 bucks total over 7 days of hunting. I especially value the days spent in the woods with my brother whom I admire and look up to. I enjoyed the muzzleloader hunt enough that I may never go back to archery. I may have to change my username to muzzleloadercrazy. Enjoy the pics, and best of luck to those still hunting!

Buck3 by gao_er_fu_qiu, on Flickr

Buck2 by gao_er_fu_qiu, on Flickr

Buck1 by gao_er_fu_qiu, on Flickr

Re: First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:28 pm
by Torch
Great job on a couple nice bucks! Did you shoot your buck with the plastic piece that screws on the end of your ramrod? I have a CVA Accura V2 and when I shot my buck it destroyed the plastic piece on the end of the ramrod.

Re: First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:08 am
by archerycrazy
Thank you! I did shoot with the palm saver piece still attached to the ramrod, and I have also done so several times at the range. I have never had a problem with it. If it somehow were to come loose and protrude further out I can imagine damage could be done. I actually find it to be a welcome feature.

Re: First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:11 am
by MuleyMadness
Great story and great buck, man that big ole 3-point your describing sure sounds cool. Every get any pics/video of him?

Re: First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:10 pm
by derekp1999
That's a fine buck, congrats.

Re: First Muzzy Buck

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:31 pm
by ABert
I just really love a very symmetrical rack and your buck definitely fits the bill! Absolutely beautiful deer and congrats on a successful hunt and your sticktoitiveness!