Opening day of modern firearm Eastern Washington 2013
I know I have posted this story a few times but seeing how we have a topic for it now, Ill post it again cause I loved it! Smile

Opening day modern firearm 10/12/13...

Get to my brothers house in Walla Walla about 6pm the night before to start helping process the hamburger from his 5x5 muley buck just 5 days earlier. It wasnt as impressive as it sounds though. Was a muley / whitetail hybrid with some cockeyed antlers. "Lets go take a quick ride and see if we cant spot some bucks in the two areas we are going to hit tomorrow" and off we go. Its nearly dark by the time we get there but we see shooter bucks at both locations! Now just need to make sure to get up earlier enough to stake our claim. We decided to hunt the same draws as last week that produced Rob's muzzle loader buck and the monster 210ish that we caught side of.
Up early and make it to the first spot a little before 6am and no one has taken our spot! In fact, no one has staked claim to any of the draws on the 2 or 3 mile road. Its still dark and all is quite. Its looking to be a perfect morning to opening day. No wind, partial cloud cover and a perfect mid 40s temp. 30 minutes or so a couple of trucks pull into the draw next to us. Obvious a hunting team but we are a good 1/2 mile away and there is lots of room. Still, my brother and I decided to start walking a bit early to make sure we dont get pushed out. No way we can walk as far in as last time for his buck, so we wanna check a couple of draws and then set up on top of the ridge.
Off we go walking at a good but slow and watchful pace, checking draws and cuts as we go till we come to the area were we first spotted the pod of 8 shooter bucks last weekend. Nope, nothing. So up the side of the hill we go, again, following the path the bucks took last week as we stocked em. We are looking to get to the top, take a look around if nothing, set up and begin our wait. Not twenty feet from the top, what do we see? Hunters! WTH? The jerks from the hunting party made a dash to our draw ridge just to push us out. Was pissed and tempted to pop a few rounds off just to repay the favor, but it is what it is and not unexpected behavior for 95% of the weekend warriors looking to fill tags in the Dayton/Walla Walla area.
So with that we decided to head to our second location and start to make our way back down the hill/draw. About 2/3 of the way down, I look over and about 200 yards further down and towards where the hunting group parked, I see a shooter buck! Nothing special. Maybe a 3/4 with velvet dripping in lose strands from his antlers. Decent enough to take a shot at though. It did cross my mind how fitting it would be to drop this buck just to say HAHA to the jerks who pushed us off our hunt.
The buck drops down into a draw so we hurry our way to the top but only spot a doe farther down towards the road. It takes another couple of minutes before we see the buck again. Still 200+ yards away, looking right at us but giving us his side profile. I get into a sitting stance, get the aim sticks in front of me. Try to rest the 25-06 in the V but the buck starts to move. I try to move the sticks, but when he stops I have one stick on the ground and one off. The buck is starting to crest the top of the hill he is on so decide to take the shot before he goes over the top and we are forced to follow him again. I aim a little high thinking the distance will give a slight drop to the bullet. BANG! The Muley buck starts to trot away heading up and over the hill. An obvious miss. I reposition and Rob gives a little whistle, the buck stops. Again, not in a stable position to take the shot but do it anyway. BANG! And this time, up and over the top the buck goes. Aimed to high and missed again.
We decide to keep on him as the other hunters are well past us up the draw further. The low number of bow and muzzle loader hunts keeps the deer in this area unconcerned. With them living in and around people, they dont spook to easily. So its more then a good chance he will just be waiting on the other side of the hill outta sight. So down the draw and up the other side we go. Get to the top, take a look around and nothing. There are a number of cuts that he could of gotten into. Then off to the right I see a buck. It doesnt look to be the same buck. Seems smaller with what looks to be maybe a 2x2 or 2x3 rack. I scope him and he is not the same buck. I continue to scope him for a good 5 minutes to see if he will be joined by my buck coming outta one of the cuts but nada. All I am left with is this smaller buck and I am unsure of his points and not willing to take a small deer so early. And he soon trots up and over the hill behind him. He is heading towards the other hunters. Who, after hearing the two shots are all making their way back towards us hoping we are pushing deer towards them. Remember, this is all cut wheat land and you can see a great distance as long as you are high enough.
We stay on top of the ridge and start to make our way again, back to the truck when "Oh crap! Rob, look over there!" I point to 8 deer farther down the draw even closer to where the hunting party parked. How in the world did they pass so many deer and not notice? OH wait, I know. They were in such a hurry to push us outta our hunt, they totally messed up their own. But they spot us at about the same time we spot them and off they go. Have no idea if there were any shooter bucks but as they are moving toward posted land at a good pace, no reason to even try and follow.

Back in the truck we head to our second choice spot, just a few miles away and get there a little before 8am. Spot 3 muley does laying down in one of the small draws facing the road. So far all the does have had bucks with them, so maybe there is a big one just hiding outta sight. More then worth a look and no one is there! Granted it doesnt look like a good spot to hunt, so not totally unexpected we will get it all to ourselves. Which as mentioned, is a difficult thing to get during modern firearm in that area.
Get geared up, test the wind, which is nearly nothing and off we go following the same path we saw the group of deer we spotted the night before. Massive amounts of tracks liter the ground. Including a set of very large obvious buck tracks from the night before. To our right is tilled wheat land. To our left cut wheat land. We opt for the much more quite dirt side to walk on. The cut wheat is very noisy. Again, numerous tracks liter the tilled landscape and an even better sign, we can see a couple of areas that are obviously areas bucks have been fighting.
We walk about 1/2 mile up the hill checking out the few small shallow draws as we go. We get to the top, and take a look around. Ahead of us down the otherside of the hill, nothing for miles cept where it turns from free to hunt to private land. We make a 90 degree turn to the left and start to make our way along the top of the ridge were we can look down both to the left and right. Its pretty wide open so aside from the few draws coming up, we are not expecting much action but stay cautions and alert. We make good time and even though we have started to walk in non tilled, just cut wheat land, we are silent as make our way. Luck would have it we are walking on the beaten path the harvesters used to come to and from the area as they cut the wheat.
We havent walk more then a few hundred yards when from behind me, my brother says "Oh, right there" and points past me. I look but cant see anything. Rob gets the nocs out and I expect him to say, never mind, its just a weed but he says "Oh its a nice shooter" I slip in behind him and he points... I catch sight of it. Its just the head and he is a long way off, laying down and all you can see is his head sticking up above the cut wheat stocks.
I get the range finder and take a reading. Ouch, 500+ years. We start to walk at a slow and steady pace, not wanting to draw the bucks attention. There is no cover up here but the harvester path we are on dips down to the right and allows us to make forward progress and stay outta sight. As the path rises back up to the top and we lose our cover, I take another range reading. 341 years. We duck down and discuss the best way to get a closer shot at him. But he is in a perfect spot that allows him to look down the draw that separates us from him. No way to get much closer to him from where were are. Cant go around either way without really making a walk of it, most likely losing his position and in the end, he is surrounded by crunchy cut wheat stocks. So no matter if we could get closer, he would hear us long before we would see him from any other direction. There is simply no way to sneak up on him.
"I guess you will just have to crawl as close as you can towards him" my brother says. After a moments thought and a look out towards the buck, I sling the rifle over my back, grab the aim sticks and start to crawl my way towards the buck on my hands and knees. The only cover I have is wheat stocks. The lucky part is, we were walking on the path the tractors used so my progress is nearly totally silent. Not that he is going to hear me at this distance.
I crawl as far as I can before I lose my cover as the path starts to crest the top of the hill. I take another ranger finder reading. 311 yards... still not good. With the misses of earlier, I am not very confident I can hit him with a good shot. He is still laying down with all but the top of his back, neck and head concealed. I decide to try and get closer so I remove the rifle from my back. With it in one hand and the aim sticks in the other, range finder in pocket, I continue my stalk by belly crawling! Afterwards Rob would tell me he was giggling most of the time I was doing it.
Again, I have lost my cover and cant proceed any further. I am 100% as close to this buck as I can get. I place the gun and sticks on the ground, roll over an spin so now my feet are pointing towards the buck. I slowly sit up with the range finder in hand and take another reading. 300 yards on the nose. I lay back down. Heart pounding hard and fast from the crawling and the stalk.
Thinking there is very little chance I can hit this buck at this distance while it is laying down to boot, I sit up and at least see if I can get into a great stable seated position. I spreed the aim sticks and rest the rifle in the V. Give a little scoot here and adjustment there and I am in a very solid and comfortable position. I take aim and the cross hair is steady even though my heart is still pounding. I rest the stock of the rifle on the ground and lay back down on my back. The buck is still totally unaware of my presence and still laying down.
A couple of minutes pass, I remove my hat, slowly sit up and get back into position. Heart is still a little to fast so I just scoop him and concentrate on breathing and relaxing. At this distance I wanna be as calm and sure as possible. I would rather let a good buck go then chance a bad shot even though I did just the opposite earlier. I guess the annoyance of being pushed out of our hunting spot would of been to blame. Here though, its just the buck and myself. But I feel good and decide its now time. I carefully put the cross hair on him. My best target is his neck area. All this time he had been laying down in a side profile position. So the neck is about the only for sure shootable area I have. The scope on my 25-06 isnt that great so a spin shot is outta the question.
I take aim, slow deep breath in and out, finger on the trigger... Nope, still doesnt feel quite right. And then from behind me, Rob whispers "What? Not a shooter?". My brother had also been crawling it seems and he is much closer to me then I figured. I whisper back, "I cant tell from this spot how many he is". From this angle, his horns have blended in perfectly with the cut wheat stalks and any chance of counting em now is gone. But when we first spotted him, it was more then obvious he was a shooter. But I get the nocs out and take a hard look. 3x3 at least but with as tall as his rack is, more likely a 4x4. My nocs are not any more powerful then my scope but being a righty with a dominate left eye, its much easier to make out details with both eyes looking.
I get back into shooting position. I feel much better now. Am calm and my heart is at a near normal level. The distraction was just want I needed. I lean forward into the sight and get ready. Deep breath in and out... And then he stands up!!! Just stands straight up and doesnt move. Doesnt make a motion as if he had seen me and in my mind I say to myself "Perfect". I put the cross hair dead center of his side profile for a lung shot. Remembering my misses earlier I trust in the rifles ability and aim exactly where I wanna hit him. Deep slow breath in and out... the sight is perfectly steady and he is still... BANG!
Oh that shot instantly felt good, I think to myself. But with a little flinch, and a quick step, the buck starts to trot away. "Oh crap..." I think. One step, two steps, a trip or mis step, a limp? Yep, another limp! I swing back towards Rob and he asks "Did you hit him?" And I give a big thumbs up and a smile, "He is limping, I hit him!" I turn back around to see the buck take a few more stumbling steps and he just crumbles to the ground! A huge fist pump and I collapse back onto my back with an even bigger smile on my face. I roll onto my side, look back towards Rob and he motions to just stay where I am with a big grin on his face as well.
A minute or so and it obvious the buck is down for good. We stand and exchange hand shakes and claps on the back. Then off to our left we spot movement. Up outta the draw that was directly to my left, the 3 does we had seen from the road come up and out and take off up the hill away from us. Kinda towards where the buck was. Its a good thing we didnt try to circle him to the left. We woulda spooked up the does and that would of been the end of it.
I turn back towards Rob and say "300 fn' yards!!!" "What" he replies. "No way." "According to YOUR range finder, it was 300 yards on the nose!" A huge smile on both our faces!
We make our way towards the buck discussing the spotting, stalk and shot. As we are getting near where the buck went down, Rob points and says "Theres your rack"
"Ya it is!... wait, no its not, thats a freaking weed. Thats way to tall to be his rack."
"One, two, three points, thats your rack" Rob says again... Me, I am sure its a weed. No way that thing sticking up that high is his rack. A few more yards closer and sure as chit, he was right. The height of the rack must be nearly 24" tall. We get up next to him, there is a good amount of blood on the ground and a clear as day bullet wound exactly where I had aimed. Perfect lung shot! It was a perfect day.

Can not wait to put this rack right next to my whitetail from last year opening day!!!

A couple of pics and a link to a chain of 5 videos Smile

Pack Goat Prospects For Sale.

S.E. Washington (Benton City)
Way to go, those turned out real nice! The whitetail and muley side by side really compliment each other.
Thanks Kirk Smile Ya that Whitetail was an old boy on the downward spiral. Which is odd cause its hard for bucks to stay alive long enough in that area to let alone make it to their peak growth.
Pack Goat Prospects For Sale.

S.E. Washington (Benton City)
Just scored my lil muley buck from this year.

2014 Mule Deer: 121 3/8
2013 White Tail: 135 4/8
Pack Goat Prospects For Sale.

S.E. Washington (Benton City)

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