Published by archerchick on 17 Feb 2011 at 05:48 pm
Roadhunt For Muleys ~By Marc A. Barger
Mule Deer Trophies Are Where You Find Them!
SOMETIMES A HUNTER has to have a horseshoe located in a bodily
orifice to harvest a big-game animal! That was the case on my recent
hunt to the Cheyenne River bottoms north of Wall, South Dakota.
It was my fourth trip to this area. The preceding three had seen close
encounters with some nice muley bucks I would have been proud to harvest. One
thing or another contributed to coming home empty handed, although I came within
hairs of it going the other way on a few occasions!
The area I hunted has a variety of terrain types.
In some places, I had to pick my way carefully
along steep banks of loose rocks and sage. Other
areas were flat prairies or fields of alfalfa and wheat.
Some contained deep canyons choked with cedars.
The thing that was common to all these areas was
unpredictable winds! More times than anything
else, I was foiled in a stalk by a switch in the direction
of the wind.
I found a product, though, that allows a hunter
to have a much better idea of just exactly what is
happening as the wind swirls past. It is an amazingly
simple idea made available by Ron Carlson,
owner of The Compound Doctor (Dept. BA, 3600
Labore Road, White Bear, MN 55110). It consists
of a small bag of down feathers and …. that’s it!
Feathers! It helped me immensely in my stalks. By
cutting the comer off the plastic bag, I could carry
it in my pocket. At any time, I could reach in, pull
out a feather and launch it on its way. Unlike the
powders I normally use, the down would float on
the slightest of breezes and was highly visible for
up to 50 or 60 yards.
Earlier in October, Jeff Aulick, Bruce Hudalla,
Clint Peterson and I had ventured to Wall in search
of monster muley bucks. The bucks were bunched
up in their bachelor groups and we saw some real
bombers! On the first day, Peterson made a super
shot on a real good four-by-four that was attempting
to scoot by him. To say this got the rest of us
pumped up is an understatement!
As sometimes happens, no matter what the level
of enthusiasm, those critters outsmarted the “superior”
human mind and abilities! We were once again humbled by the uncanny
senses game animals possess. Bruce Hudalla harvested what he dubbed a
“snot-slinger” right after he educated a big four-by—four that sitting with its back
to the wall sometimes is not the best
place to sit!
The rest of the trip was not uneventful. We had many good, exciting stalks.
It just so happened that the muleys won the battles!
We vowed to return later in the year, if possible, to once again chase the bucks
in this area.
The area we were hunting belongs to three brothers —Glendon, Grant and
Greg Shearer. They have approximately 23,000 acres of some of the best mule
deer habitat a person could want to lay a boot on. It is beautiful country with
food plots of alfalfa, wheat and com. They do wonders holding the animals
in the area. Combine this with rugged terrain bordering the fields and you have
a hunter’s paradise.
Muleys are not the only game making this area their home. You can just as
easily see record-book whitetails, huge numbers of Merriam turkeys —— two
from the area are ranked in the top three in the world — pheasant, grouse,
coyotes and, at the right time of the year, those scaly things that make a heck of a
ruckus if you step too close to their tightly coiled bodies!
The Shearers offer an unguided hunting opportunity that tests hunters’
knowledge of game and their hunting prowess. It has the additional bonus of
some awesomely beautiful country and the chance at harvesting
some great animals.
Our hunt started out right away with sightings and attempted stalks on some
really nice bucks. At the time of year we were hunting, almost every group of
muley does had at least one nice buck in it. That made stalking quite a bit more
difficult with a dozen or so eyes trying to catch even one wrong move.
Jeff Aulick was the first to give it a go when we spotted a couple of nice
bucks making life hectic for some does in the
comer of one of the hay fields. Due to the difficulty in judging distances in this type
of terrain, the score was one for the muleys, zero for the hunters!
After the first few days, all of us had experienced close encounters with trophy
bucks. So far none of us had connected with one.
Some friends of ours flew in from Maine to hunt with us for a few days. After
setting them up in a few of the hot spots, I felt I needed to sacrifice one evening’s
hunt to drive into Wall to gas up the truck for the next day. Along the way, I stopped
to glass some of the muleys coming out to the fields for their evening forage. A
person driving through this country at the right time of the day can see literally
hundreds of deer in a few minutes.
One of the great things about hunting with others is that, even though I might not
see anything or be successful on a specific hunt, I always look forward to hearing
what happened with everyone else. It’s almost as good as if it had happened to me.
As I neared the area Aulick was hunting, I rounded a bend in the road and saw
numerous feeding muleys. I figured I might as well take a look to see what had
I grabbed the spotting scope and jumped out of the truck. Between me and the
deer was a dike that ran parallel with the road. It gave me the perfect cover to be able
to sneak up close for a look. As I peeked over the top, I saw deer directly in front of
me. Looking through the spotting scope, I saw a buck moving right toward me!
I didn’t have my bow, and I really was not ready nor did I expect to have the
chance to shoot. Iran for the truck, grabbed my bow and took off running down the
dike. As I got about even to where I thought the buck might be, I peered over the top.
Dang! He was paralleling the dike about 100 yards out.
I figured there was no way I could get close
enough before I lost daylight. Then I
heard something. On the other side of the dike I
heard a commotion. I slipped up the dike a little
farther and looked to the north. The first thing I
saw was a buck doing his best to rip apart every
willow in the ditch! I really could not believe my
good fortune. Here was a nice buck — although I
couldn’t really see what he was because he had
his rack stuck in the willows — completely oblivious
to the fact that a few yards away was his worst
enemy planning to ruin his day!
I slipped down the dike; the wind was in my
face. When I got about even with the tree, I got
ready, drew my bow back and eased up. He still
was taking out his frustrations on the willows when
I spotted him about 30 yards away. I settled the
30—yard pin behind his shoulder and slipped a
carbon sliver through his ribs.
Whopf The telltale sound of a solid hit reached
my ears. I finally had connected!
The buck took off hard and stopped about 80
yards out, then ran up on top of the dike and lay
down. If I hadn’t seen the arrow hit home, I would
have thought I had missed him! He stayed there looking around like he
didn’t have a care in the world. Then his head sagged and I knew he was mine.
Still, I wanted another arrow in him, so I proceeded to stalk closer. I got to within
40 yards and was getting ready to take the shot when I saw movement out of
the corner of my eye.
Eight to 10 does were walking down the far side of the road a mere 30 yards
away. They were looking at me, wondering what this moving clump was.
When I looked behind them, my jaw almost hit the ground! A super-nice buck
was hot on their trail! His rack was heavy and wide; he was at least a four-
by-four. He walked up on the road, scanned past me and then, can you
believe it, looked directly away from me as he stood completely broadside for
more than 20 seconds!
I can truthfully say I never thought of shooting this buck. I already had an
arrow in the other, but it was almost as if the second knew he was safe. Situations
such as this are exactly what test our ethics! Here was a true trophy of a lifetime
offering himself for harvest. A person could not have asked for a better opportunity.
All bowhunters must rise above temptation and do what is right. The big
buck sauntered off after his harem.
I looked away from him to see what was happening with the buck I had hit.
He was trying to get to his feet, but stumbled and fell for the last time. Being
lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time was something I thought
happened only to other people.
When I got back to the cabin, I announced that everyone had better change
clothes so they wouldn’t get their hunting duds dirty when they helped drag
out my buck. No one really believed me, as they knew I had gone into town for
gas. As we topped the dike, the beams of the flashlights
glinted off the buck’s rack.
This was my first good look at my buck. He had a tall
four-by-four rack that was not really wide, but he was plenty
good for this bowhunter. I am proud of him. He will have a
special place on my wall with all the animals I have harvested.
The bow I used was a Hoyt Prostar Legacy set at 78
pounds. This is a super bow for finger shooters with its 47-
inch distance from axle to axle. The grip on this bow is
the best I have ever felt! The arrows I used were
Easton 6.3 carbons tipped with Wasp 100-grain CCL
broadheads. For a person who wants to shoot carbons, you
can’t get a better combination: fast and durable!
The camo was Predator Fall Brown. We had numerous stalks when the deer
were absolutely unaware we were as close as we were, until the wind swirled!
The down feathers taught us many things about wind currents and hunting
techniques for this type of terrain. For bowhunters who might be interested in
hunting on this land, you can write me and I can put you in touch with
the right people (Marc Barger, Dept. BA, 5616 Eagle Lane, La Crosse, WI
54601). There are many good bucks in this area, and I can almost guarantee a
hunter will have opportunities to put the moves on some trophy animals!
Four to six bowhunters per week will be allowed to hunt. Every other week is
closed so as not to pressure the deer too much.As for the monster buck that walked
down the road next to me, I hope he tries that again this year. He might not be so
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