Another successful year in West Texas for my mule deer season.
I don't get to go out as long as some of the other guys but can usually get 4-5 days and always pick them toward the end of the season, as that seems to be the best time to be there for the mature bucks. I had talked to some of the guys that had been up there before I made it and the had heard that the hunting was even rougher than normal. Seasonal high temps for a few days and an earlier than normal season wasn't doing anyone any favors.
By the time that I was able to make it, everyone was packing up or about to head home. The last few days, I was on the ranch by myself. Most of the guys that had left and some of the ones that have been on the lease for many years provided a lot of valuable information. Before a couple left, he told me where he had seen some good groups of doe, told me how to hunt a particular pasture that I had never hunted before, and told me where he had seen a nice buck. The same with the last group that left, they hadn't seen as much but let me know what they had seen.
Two of the guys that weren't able to hunt this year provided some great insight and led me to some places on the ranch I had never been. They let me in on some of their spots and how they liked to access them in the late season. It was like having a couple of guides on the phone and was greatly appreciated.
The first couple of days were spent hunting, glassing, driving and walking. I was having a hard time locating very many deer with the exception of two pastures. On the third and fourth day, the weather changed and so did the deer. I was finding deer pretty much everywhere but couldn't find a mature deer that I wanted.
With the last few hours of my hunt left, I decided to finish the week on a new hill that I had been led to earlier by my "guides". I had never hunted that area and wanted to see if I could learn something for next year. I started across the ranch in the buggy at a pretty quick pace. The sun broke from the clouds at just the right time to light up a young buck on a ridge about 1k yards away. I slammed on the brakes and started glassing. It was obvious the way he was acting that he wasn't alone and it didn't take long to pick out the bigger buck headed his way. I knew the bigger buck wouldn't mess with him without does being around, so I spent the next twenty minutes finding them.
Once I found the does, I started the stalk to them knowing he would circle back. There was a pretty good stretch that I couldn't see or find him, but had to trust that he was coming back.
I got to about 250 yards from the doe and ran out of real estate. There wasn't a draw, washout, hill or bush tall enough to get behind...and for those that have met me, that is saying something
I started a walk straight at them and didn't make it far before one of the doe spotted me. She didn't know what I was but didn't like me. I ended up standing still with my arms in for almost an hour as she walked toward me. She took her time, but slowly got closer and closer. The herd assumed she was just feeding that direction and followed her in. She ended up about 20 yards to my right and the buck ended up about 60 yards in front of me when I decided to take him.
My gun was still over my shoulder, so I decided to just swing it off and go to my knee in one motion. It worked...he never lifted his head.
All in all, it was another great trip to West Texas for a Mulie. I love that country and love hunting them. Also, great to hunt with a good group of guys that are willing to help and give me insight...and probably even give away some of their spots to help me close the deal on a great deer.
Didn't get any pictures of him alive, but some of the other deer I came across.