I make my way over to him and spot a tiny level cut in the side of the mountain about 100 yards below. I get him unstuck from the brush and try my best to hang on to him as he pulls me down the mountain to the little level spot. There I shed my coat in anticipation of gutting him out. It occurs to me I should probably take a picture or two despite starting to freeze my nay-nays off. I take a couple photographs and then get to field dressing him.
Upon finishing the job at hand I stand up, look around, and realize there is no way I'm getting him out whole and that it's getting dark fast. Add to that there is a major storm front coming right at me. I mean it looks like an ominous dark wall reaching from the heavens to the ground. With a foreboding sense of concern starting to come over me, I reach for my cell phone. Happily I discover I have cell service. I start making calls as fast as I can. Seems nobody is home. Finally, I get ahold of a good friend, and he agrees to come help me pack him out. He even gave up his menís league basketball game to come help me out. Man, I love having friends that are as crazy as me when it comes to hunting!
I have to go back to town and meet my friend. So I hike out and by the time we return, itís dark and snowing hard. We hike back in and I can't find the freaking buck! Between the darkness and the snow it's nearly impossible to get oriented. We look for an hour in the dark, and I start to worry that I wonít find him until the next morning. I didn't want to leave him overnight because I knew there were a couple bears in the area and I didn't want to donate my buck to them. I mean, one deer meal courtesy of my friendís whitetail was enough for that day.
Finally, through a stroke of luck my partner finds the buck. I quickly get to work on quartering, deboning, and caping the buck out. Not my favorite thing to do in the dark, but you gotta do what ya gotta do. After that chore was taken care of, we loaded our packs and head out. By now there was enough snow on the ground that the walking was treacherous. We are side hilling a very steep mountain, it's super slippery, and if either of us fall with the full packs, it is most likely to end in a fatality. The snow conditions had deteriorated into an all out blizzard and visibility was limited in our head lamps. We picked our way along very carefully. Finally, a little after 10 pm we arrive back at my pickup truck. Seeing those tail lights reflect back at me as we approached the truck has never looked so good.
The following morning I learned of my friend's success in killing the whitetail buck I was initially after. He was excited and I was excited for him. He brings his buck over and we place our bucks on the tail gate of my pickup for a photo op. So in the end everything ended well for all involved. Two great bucks, two happy hunters, and a bear with a full belly.
An avid big game hunter, Troy Adams has been hunting big game for nearly 30 years. Combining hunting and photography has helped him preserve many great memories. When not hunting, photographing, writing, or spending time with his family, Troy is usually found working on his wildlife art drawings.
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