Now remember, I was looking for a big whitey and these muleys had me side tracked. What I didn't know at the time is that the only other guy that had permission to hunt this property (he is also one of my better friends and hunting partners) had killed the whitetail buck I was after earlier that morning. Here he is with the buck I was hoping to find:
The reason he cut it off at the head is that he'd made a bad shot. By the time he caught up to the buck and found it, a black bear had found it first. The bear had eaten most of the deer, wrecked the cape, and basically just left the head unmolested.
Okay, back to the muley does on the mountain. As I watched them, I wondered if the wide buck I had heard about would show up with them. Just about as quickly as I wondered this I dismissed the thought, thinking, “I'm not that lucky, and besides the rut is still a couple weeks away.” I had no sooner finished this negative thought when lo and behold, guess who brings up the end of the herd? Yep, Mr. Wide.
He was right at the top of the ridge and on the wrong side of the fence, meaning he was on property I didn't have permission to hunt. However he was heading toward the fence and all the does had crossed on to my side. Oddly, he was in full rut mode. I looked him over and decided that as much as I wanted the whitetail I couldn't pass this muley if he gave me a shot.
Sure enough, he hopped the fence and stopped quartering hard away from me. He was right next to the fence and looking back at the fence like he was thinking about jumping back over it. I learned a long time ago that once you make up your mind to kill an animal, it's best to take the first shot opportunity and not fart around waiting for a better angle or some other type of convenience. I use quality bullets (165 gr Hornady Interbonds), so shot angle wouldn't be an issue. While I would have rather had a broadside shot, I wasn't willing to wait for it. I placed my crosshairs towards the back of his rib cage anticipating the exit would be close to his off side shoulder. Kaboom! Thwap! the sound of a solid hit echoed back. (Looks like the old 30.06 is still getting it done).
Surprisingly he didn't go right down. He turned and started to run downhill. This is good, because it's away from the property I cannot hunt. However, it’s also bad because it's super steep and if he goes too far and starts to tumble. There wouldn't be much of him left by the time he hit the bottom. He makes it about 50 yards and folds up, but starts to roll, and roll, and roll. I'm hitting red line panic mode as there isn't anything I can do. I'm having visions of shattered antlers. Fortunately he hangs up on a brush pile and halts his decent.