Well, since I can’t invite you all over for coffee, I thought I’d do a little story telling and show off some Muley racks.
The first picture is a buck I took while I was in high school. I had been hunting with my brother and a couple of friends. I put the friends on a couple high points and decided to walk across a couple of large Oakbrush flats (100 acres each) to try and move some deer to my friends. After walking across (zig zagging) the first flat, I eased up to the edge of the canyon and looked across the draw. There on the other side of the canyon was a nice buck laying in his bed looking in my direction. In one motion, I sat down, clicked the safety off and found the buck in the scope (it would sure be nice to be as flexible now as I was then). When I found the buck in the scope, he had stood and turned 180 degrees. Guessing the distance at around 400 yards, I settled the crosshair of the 7mm Rem Mag between his ears (he was standing straight away from me starting to walk) and touch off a round. The buck dropped right back into his bed. The bullet had entered just below the neck/head joint and exited through the white patch in the front of his neck. The antlers measure 24”x18” and was the largest deer I had taken up to that time. We dragged him to the bottom of the canyon and hung him there, until the next day when we returned with horses to take him out to the road (couple miles).
This second Muley was taken about 4 miles (as the crow flies) from the one above. It was my last year of college and I knew it would probably be the last chance to really hunt hard. I decided I would hunt every day of the 10 day season and deal with school later. The first day of the season, we decided to hunt near Paonia Colorado and see if we could get into some elk, before the hunters scattered them. That morning, I shot an average spike bull. When I saw the bull, he was uphill from me standing broadside. I estimated the range to be 200yds, put the cross hairs at the base of his ear and touched off a round. To my surprise, he just turned his head and looked at me. I decided that I had mis-guessed the range (this was the first elk I had ever shot at, so was not familiar with their size in my scope). I quickly fired a second shot mid-height just behind his shoulder. He turned and ran straight down the hill, crashing through cedar trees, until he ended up upside down IN a cedar tree with only the top of one front foot touching the ground! The bullet had dropped about 6 inches and taken him right at the top of the heart.
For the next 8 days, I must have walked 100miles in the Western Colorado hills looking for my ‘big Muley’. The night before the last day of the hunt, my brother and I were pouring over the topo maps, trying to decide where to spend this ‘last day of hunting’. We decided on a canyon that was rimmed with rock-slides and was at least a 2 mile walk from the nearest road (all Oakbrush, rocks and enough small cactus to make it interesting in the dark). We got up at 3:30am to make the 2 hour drive to our starting point. The walk in was easier than we thought, with a clear sky and light from the stars and moon. We reached the canyon right on time. I decided to hike to the head of the canyon and wait there for light. My brother went down the ridge about a mile. The plan was to glass everything for a couple hours, then I would walk (zig zag) down the canyon, hoping to move something in front of my brother.
I decided to stop about 1500yds from the absolute head of the canyon and found some rocks that would work nicely as a shooting bench. As the sun started to brighten the sky, I started glassing for deer. After about 30 minutes, I saw one lone deer down near the bottom of the canyon. The deer was standing with its head down in an oakbrush thicket, but its body was in clear view. I immediately started focusing on the shadows and oakbrush near the deer. Because when you find one, you typically will find more. 15 minutes later, still only the one deer, but the light had improved and I could see that the color of this deer was greyer than was typical and it looked a little sway backed, but I still couldn’t see its head. Although there was now plenty of light to see, this canyon faced west and sunlight wouldn’t hit that deer till around noon (if at all!). I decided that the deer was probably an old buck and started just watching him. Just about then, it raised its head and I thought I saw a horn. I wasn’t sure but I was trying to convince myself that I did. I had the Bushnell Banner 3x9 on 9 power and I just could not tell for sure if it was an antler or just a bit of Oakbrush. I decided that I might as well try to figure out how far it was, just in case it turned out to be a buck. Back then, there were no Laser Range finders, I had scribed marks on the scope and carried a couple of 3x5 notecards with information about how much the Duplex reticle covered at each distance etc. I also had a card with the angle/cosine chart (I was a math major after all). So I could calculate the actual effective distance. For the next 10 minutes or so, I busied myself with estimating the distance, until I had arrived at an effective distance of 870 yards. The down angle was around 25 degrees.
I adjusted the reticle so the duplex was exactly half of the drop I needed and using it twice on the hillside behind the deer, picked out a small off colored piece of dirt that would be my aimpoint. I then started intensely watching for an antler. He started moving his head a little (maybe rubbing on the Oakbrush) and I could pick up an antler (at least what I had convinced myself was an antler) from time to time. I decided that since it was a lone deer, grey colored, sway backed and in the most remote rugged area I had ever dared to look for a deer (and that’s saying something). That I would take the shot.
Using my fanny back as a rest, I aimed at the hillside and touched off the round. I was back on the deer with the scope when he jumped downhill twice and bounded twice to my left. He stopped looking straight uphill toward me. Dang, I missed?? How could that be? Well heck I’ll try again. I trusted my math, and quickly found another aiming point behind the buck. Just as I shot this time (aiming about 9 feet over his antlers) he dropped out of site. My brother had heard the shots and said that from the report to the impact was around 1.5 seconds. He said later that the first shot sounded like a hit and the second sound sounded like hitting dirt. It took me nearly 45 minutes to negotiate through the rocks and Oakbrush to get to the deer. But there he was, the first shot took an artery off the heart and the 154gr Hornady spire point was lodged against the skin on the opposite side (I kept it for a long time, don’t know where it ended up after all these years). The Muley is just a touch over 34.5” wide and only about 17” tall. But he was a monster from body size. It took us 5 hours to move him far enough to get a horse to him, I’ll swear to my dieing day that he was 300lbs dressed. We hung him next to the spike bull elk I had shot opening day. They where the same length from rear hocks to neck joint, but the buck was VASTLY bigger! We had a picture at one time, but along with so many things, it’s probably lost forever. This is my largest Muley to date and the farthest shot I’ve ever taken at an animal.
This last buck was taken by my dad a couple miles from the above buck. I was in Junior high and was only allowed to hunt on weekends (what horrible parents [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] ). That morning, my dad stumbled and was afraid he affected the scope on his 7mm Rem Mag. He took a shot at a rock and sure enough, the scope was off. Never to fear, he had his trusty Winchester 30-30 in the truck. Up to that time, he would take the 30-30 when he was hunting the cedars and trying to ‘jump shoot’ deer. He’d use the 7mm when he expected longer shots. I’ve been with him, when we would be sneaking through a cedar flat and a deer would run and he’d break its neck before it bounded 3 times. Well to make a long story a bit shorter, this buck is the last deer he ever shot with that 30-30. It was around 125 yards and he broke its neck. The buck is 32.5” wide and a bit more than 24” high. We’ve never really measured any of these for the B-C, dad always said “I’ve left a lot bigger antlers than that lay; I’m not going to worry about them being in some record book”. I doubt they’d make the book and if they did, I’m sure they would be way down. But it is a beautiful rack. My mom had them mounted on a board for him.
Well that’s it, I hadn’t told the stories in a while and hope that you all might enjoy them.
Here is a picture with all 3. I couldn't hold them all, so we hung the big one on the door knocker.
You can see my Parents in a picture just to my left.
My brother and I did a little scouting while I was visiting for Christmas this year. Here are some descendants of these bucks [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] and a couple pictures of the terrain.