After retiring in Northern New York and hunting whitetails for 40-plus years, I moved to South Dakota to begin living a dream as a pheasant guide. Turning 79 and thinking it was time to do a mule deer hunt with my son, I booked a hunt through my consultant, Mike Schubach, for both of us in Southwest Nebraska. We both drew tags for the same spot for the season’s first week. I personally was looking for a 160 to 170 class muley, but knowing that hunting is not shopping, that game and humans are unpredictable, off we went to see what happened.
My son and I were placed in a cabin on a ranch about 9 miles from the main lodge. That ranch, I understood, was 32,000 acres, and we would hunt half of it. We met our guide John early on opening day and spent it glassing. You can tell a lot about a guide by his equipment, especially the optics, and John’s was top shelf. After glassing all day without results, we started back towards the cabin. Five minutes before last light, a nice mule deer buck was spotted and moving right along. John knew where to cut this buck off at the pass by a windmill. Arriving there seconds ahead of the buck, my son and John got out. It was almost too late to shoot. The muley was 125 yards away, the Kimber .325 WSM spoke, and the deer disappeared. Thankful for a quality scope gathering light, see the results of my son’s first mule deer buck. Taxidermy by guide John.
My turn. We hunted, glassed, and moved around for the next day and turned up nothing. On the third day, we set up on a side hill among the yucca’s, glassing down at a small stream and valley when along came a very nice 160-class whitetail who went up a small ravine and laid down. Too big to pass up. John triangulated some spots 2,000 yds from where we were and where the buck was bedded. We drove over 5 miles to get above him and sneak down.
The buck was there laying in a plum brush thicket. Not wanting to shoot a resting deer or through the brush, we waited until it got up and started moving. Finally, after 1 hour and 10 minutes, the deer moved. My Model 70 in 30-06 spoke, and the deer dropped after 10 yds. Guide John ran to get the truck. It is kudos to John as the deer was spotted at 2,000 yds. He put us in the right spot on the ravine, downwind, with the morning sun in the bucks’ eyes. The buck never knew we were there. We had watched that deer for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 38 yards before I shot.
So, hunting ain’t shopping, and guides like John do not come along every day. I am very blessed and thankful. I wanted a muley in the 170 class, so I booked another hunt for this year with Mike, this time in Eastern Montana.
Chan R – hunter from South Dakota