I was on my satellite phone with my son, Andy. Standing next to my 4x4 mule deer buck after completing the de-boning process in preparation for hauling out the meat.
"How far was the kill", said Andy.
"About 2,150 yards" said I.
"What?", said Andy, sounding incredulous.
"Oh, the stalk was 2,150 and the shot was 470", said I.
I wasn't thinking so much of the modest shooting range as I was of the enjoyable stalk. It was text book perfect.
By hiking 2.5 miles I had gotten up 300 feet above the canyon floor before dawn. As I neared my main spotting location I glassed down below. Seeing no deer during a few short pauses in walking I continued on to my best spot.
Once there I sat in the shade of a small hill, still up high above the beautiful valley. Soon I saw 5 does across on the other side.
The sun was at my back and the wind in my face. I had sort of scouted this spot the afternoon before. I say scouted because the wind was blowing from 15 to 20 mph and I had no hope for really seeing any deer in those conditions. But this morning the wind was still down around 10.
In less than one minute of watching the does on the distant hill I saw a buck approach them and start his gently pestering mode. My plan had been to leave for home after my morning's hunt so I was was prepared to shoot almost any buck I saw that morning.
I quickly started my stalk after first carefully marking the location of the group of deer. It was about 2,150 yards away, just about 1.25 miles. I made my way down the face of the hill I was on, staying in the shade until I had dropped down low enough that ridges hid me from view.
This was a beautiful valley full of little cuts, some of which were over 10 feet deep. Really good cover. I moved purposefully but careful to keep looking for other deer. Maybe a better buck. Maybe a different bunch of does I wouldn't want to spook for fear my quarry would see them spook and be gone before I reached my shooting spot.
I knew which little hill I needed to reach in order to have a good shot. The choices were one at 900 yards from the buck or a closer one at just under 500 yards.
When I arrived near the 900 yard hill I climbed it and carefully took a peek at my quarry. All were still there with a few of the does already bedded and my buck was nose to tail on a doe standing half way into some brush. I hoped they wouldn't bed in the brush. Then I'd have to wait, maybe for hours, for them to stand and become visible.
I gauged the wind again. Around 10 mph and just about into my face. I backed off the 900 yard hill and headed for the 500 yard hill. When I reached it I chose a good hidey spot on its ridge and snuck a first look at my deer. Now all were bedded in the open with my bunch facing me at 470 yards broadside.
I like this type of hunting the best. Stationary target, not nervous. Most of my hunts are solo and I don't often have the advantage of a spotter partner to call yardage changes on a moving deer.
A bedded deer gives you much less of a vertical target as the whole body seems to be scrunched down a bit. At my shot the buck lurched up off its bed, making an entire 180 degree change in its position. I could immediately see it was a killing shot. But after some seconds I wasn't sure he'd be dead when I got there so I shot him again from my 470 yard spot.
Yes, Troy, I should have tucked his legs under him the way you taught me!
This picture was taken just in front of my deer. My stalk's starting point was in the upper left corner of this photo.