View Full Version : My first muley, mad but satisfied

November 21, 2002, 01:30 PM
First of all, Hi guys, been a long time since I logged on but I have been able to sneak in a few peeks from time to time.
As some of you might remember, I live and hunt in northeast Nebraska, (in the western edge of the Missouri hunting unit) at what is about the eastern edge of the mule deer range. The land that I hunt on, about 6,000 acres belonging to my brother-in-law's family, has about a 60/40 split of both whitetails and mule deer. While the group that I hunt with has taken several nice muley bucks, I have never been in a position to take a shot at one, and have always taken a whitetail. I could have taken several small ones over the years, but always let them go on, hoping they will grow for the next year.
Well, that strategy has worked, and I have seen a couple this year before season opened that had a spread well past their ears and 4 to 6 tall points per side, maybe not record book material, but damn nice bucks by anyones estimation.
Now to set up the situation. Tuesday afternoon I decide to stillhunt through a 1/4 section that is split by a valley running south to north (the "valley" is about 2 miles long, starts at a deep canyon on the north end and runs up to an abandonded farm place with about ten acres of trees and an alfalfa field beside it). There are numerous smaller ravines that feed into this valley along the STEEP hillsides, and they are choked with cedars, a few cottonwoods and burr oaks down near the bottom, and some scattered cedars and wild plum thickets along the hillsides and fencelines. I had seen one of the big boys near the north canyon, the day before, and one had been spotted several times down by the old place. I figured he had to be bedding down in the cedars, and wanted to see if I could catch him nappin or chasin a doe.
I parked my truck on the west side, eased over the ridge and started glassing with my 10x50's. Sneaking from tree to tree, I checked out all the places I could see, and gradually worked my way a half mile to the east, followed a little finger of a ravine along the fence to the north until I could check out the area around a small dam that was surrounded by trees and thickets. I was feeling good when I found a place that a buck had absolutely shredded the bark off of anything that was at least 3-4 inches around, with piles of the shavings laying on top the leaves (the wind was the usual mild Nebraska breeze of about 20 mph for the last several days) so I knew it was pretty fresh. Still not finding "my" buck, I proceeded to ease down along the edge of the cedar filled ravine, and looked across the valley to see how far it was back to my truck, and figure out what the best way to hunt back over towards it while keeping a good field of view of the valley. I caught a flash of white at the base of a lone cedar with some scrubby little thicket around it, and froze. Getting my glasses on it, it turned out to be a muley buck watching me. I could see antlers but couldn't get a good view of the deer's body or antlers. I was about 600 yards of wide open space from him, he was laying less than 150 yds from my truck, and I had walked less than 75 yds past him. I "KNEW" he was the big one and he was sitting there laughing at me the whole time. Assessing the situation, I knew the only way to get closer was to turn around and walk back up the hill directly away from him. Circling back around the dam, and slipping down another small ravine kept me out of his view, took about 30 minutes and put me at about 400 yds and I could check to see if he was still there. YES!! he still was bedded down, but I still couldn't get a good view through the thicket and I was running out of cover. Slipping from cedar to cedar while his head was turned got me another 100 yds and burned another 20 minutes, but still no shot. I finally wound up doing 50 yard belly crawl to the last available cover between me and him, a little three foot tall cedar, where I was prepared to wait him out, hoping he would stand sometime before sunset. I didn't have to wait too long, only about another 20 minutes before he stood, revealing himself to be a small buck, not the big one I was hoping for. I said "bummer" or words to that effect and lowered my rifle to let him walk away thinking "next year, you lucky bastard". Still watching him he took about 3 or 4 lurching steps and lay back down, he was injured "-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-, $#@#%&^%$#, now I have to take care of somebody elses wounded deer #@%^ !" I got in position and put a 140 grain ballistic tip from my .270 Savage 110 through the base of his neck, and he rolled another 15 yds down the steep hillside. Upon getting over to him, I found that some fool had just about blown off the lower part of his left rear leg, about 8 inches above his hoof, leaving only skin and connective tissue on the outside. The hide on the inside of the leg and a chunk of bone were completely gone, most likely a running shot from straight behind.
With only a little over a half hour till sunset, I had to field dress him and get him drug bout 75 yards up close to a sixty degree slope.
I got him up there, and then walked to my truck as the sun was both starting to set and finally break through the clouds that hung on all day, turning the entire western sky shades of pink and purple, square miles of pasture land to the north of me was glowing gold and the hills on the north side of the Niobrara river which formed that horizon were still shrouded in shadow against a rapidly darkening sky.
Exhausted, I rummaged in my gear, found my small bottle of Tullamore Dew that I keep for just such an occaion and toasted a beautiful day with a shot of Irish whiskey that there aren't enough o's in smoooooth to describe. I found a gate into the field, drove over as close as I could, drug him the rest of the way to the truck and loaded him up in the dark.
When I got back to camp, everyone agreed I had done the right thing, tagging that buck when I could have just shot him and left him for the coyotes. A couple hours later, we had a fantastic dinner featuring grilled medallions of the inner loin, tenderloin, backstrap whatever you want to call it, from the 3 deer we had hanging.
One of the guys had gotten a nice 4x5 whitetail that would be a shooter about anywhere, and the other had a huge 5x6 whitetail with bases that you could barely get your hand around, a spread of over 20 inches and tines about 10 inches long, field-dressed he probably weighed right around 175-180.
I have to admit I was envious of their trophies, and mad that I had to take care of somebody else's mistake, but satisfied that I did the right thing.


November 21, 2002, 02:48 PM
it is unfortunate, and nearly sickening to have to do what you did. however, you did the right thing. there would be no honor in putting him down and walking away.

November 21, 2002, 03:59 PM
Sometimes its tough to have a good grasp on ethics. All you ever seem to get out of it is a pat on the back.

Pat. Pat.

Nice job... :)

November 21, 2002, 04:06 PM
The hunter who took a bad shot at this deer has no honor. You, sir, have plenty of it.

Well done.

November 21, 2002, 04:07 PM
Wish every hunter were as honorable as you.
You did good.

November 21, 2002, 04:14 PM
Good job, bergie. You, sir, are a Hunter.

Art Eatman
November 21, 2002, 07:17 PM
Yessir! Well done.


Bottom Gun
November 21, 2002, 08:01 PM
I salute you, Sir.

gordo b.
November 22, 2002, 12:57 AM
I just had a drop of the Dew in your honor!:)

November 24, 2002, 09:32 PM
I think you did a good thing.

Out of curiosity is there a chance that the deer's injury was vehicle related or definetly gunshot.