Sitka Mountain Gear
Father Son Hunt w Ward's
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 26-Sep-18
Wv hillbilly 26-Sep-18
Brotsky 26-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
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BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
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BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
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Hawkeye 27-Sep-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 27-Sep-18
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Fields 27-Sep-18
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Bowhunter2003 28-Sep-18
From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18
I would like to share a recap of my Arizona deer hunt with Ward's Outfitters. I hunted Coues deer with Steven Ward last year (see First Coues Deer Hunt thread). I missed a great buck that was later killed with a rifle during youth season (guided by Steven as well). This buck ended up scoring 109"! I've had the image of him burned in my mind ever since.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Photo taken by Steven through the spotter almost a half mile away right after my miss.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Photo taken by Steven through the spotter almost a half mile away right after my miss.
This is the image burned into my memory from last year.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18

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I passed on this buck and several others during my first hunt.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I passed on this buck and several others during my first hunt.
To say I wanted to return and redeem myself is an understatement. Coues deer hadn't really been on my radar but after experiencing this hunt with Steven and his guides Layne and Dave I really couldn't wait to return. Kill or no kill, this hunt is a terrific experience and the opportunity to take a buck in velvet makes it that much more exciting to me.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Kylie, my awesome daughter
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Kylie, my awesome daughter
I stayed in contact with Steven and told him I would be coming back soon...especially after he sent me pics of the buck I missed when they got him with a rifle. I needed a second chance soon.

I told my wife that I wanted to go back and that I wished there was a way my son could go as well. On my previous trip my son ran everything at our small landscape supply business. My wife said, "Well Kylie (our daughter) will be done with her internship the week before and I could take some time off work to help and answer the phone." How could I say no to that? I'm a very lucky man to have a beautiful wife and daughter that both support our hunting habits!! I am now on the hook for a trip for the two of them to go someplace warm in the winter but I'd say that's a very fair trade!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Annette, my beautiful wife.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Annette, my beautiful wife.
I really over threw my coverage....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18
Needless to say I didn't have to ask Wyatt twice if he wanted go! I quickly called Steven and booked the hunt.

However we had one issue to possibly contend with. Wyatt had been applying and testing to be a sheriff's deputy or police officer. If he would happen to get hired there would be the possibility that he would be at the law enforcement academy when we were supposed to be in Arizona. I explained everything to Steven and he completely understood. We agreed that I would come hunt regardless and Wyatt would join us if he could.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18
Wyatt and I already workout and work together 5-6 days a week. Our routine was simple, at Kosama (our gym) at 6 am, quick run after the workout, head to Outdoor Envisions (our landscape supply business), and shoot our bows. We have a decent size lot with a large dirt pile that makes a terrific back stop. We can shoot well past 100 yards and can create plenty of obstacles for ourselves. Some mornings we may only shoot 5 arrows before a customer showed up and other days we may shoot a few dozen. Either way we practiced a lot and had plenty of confidence going into the hunt. I'd like to add that although this is not as physically demanding as some hunts it does pay to be in good enough shape to hike several miles if you plan to go spot and stalk.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18

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BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
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Wyatt was on a few hiring lists but hadn't been offered a job yet so the hunt was on for both of us. We flew out of Des Moines on American Airlines on August 29th. Hunt would begin the next day.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
26-Sep-18
Apparently my story is going to continue the next day as well as I am not able to load anymore pictures....to be continued....

26-Sep-18
Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to read the rest.

From: Brotsky
26-Sep-18
Great story so far! Can’t wait to hear the rest!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Had to try out Steven's "glassing hat".
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Had to try out Steven's "glassing hat".
Everything went smoothly on our flights, DM to Phoenix to Tucson, and Steven was there to pick us up right on time. We made a quick stop a Walmart to get our licenses and were headed to Willcox. One of my hunting buddies back home mentioned I should get a big hat to keep the sun off, guess what Steven had in the truck...he looks good glassing in it!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Our "camp" for the week.
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Our "camp" for the week.
Wyatt and I would be staying in a hotel in town. There were 4 other hunters while we were there. They stayed at the Dreamcatcher, a B&B, as it was closer to the areas that had ground blinds set up. Both places are very comfortable....nobody was roughing it.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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75 yard shot!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
75 yard shot!
Next we headed out Steven's to shoot a few arrows and make sure everything was dialed in. We still had a couple hours of daylight left so we went looking for jack rabbits. I missed a head shot at 65 yards. Wyatt connected at 75 yards.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
You can see in the photo above what our setups were. We both shoot Mathews Halon 32-6's, Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL's, QAD rests, Bee Stinger Stabs, Easton FMJ's and Vortex 100 grain broadheads. Other than a very slight difference in where we like our peeps, we have the same setups and can pretty much pick up each other's bows and shoot. We never needed a back up but this would definitely work for us.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Wyatt sneaking up canyon wall to close in on the Mule deer.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Wyatt sneaking up canyon wall to close in on the Mule deer.
Every day pretty much started the same, up at 3:45, picked up by Steven at 4:15-4:30, quick stop at store for fuel, breakfast and lunch, then drive to our first glassing sight.

At our first spot we were actually looking for a very specific Coues buck, the Double Beam buck. Steven had pics and he was very cool.

I have to mention that Steven is incredibly talented at spotting game. While I look for deer, he's looking for a ear twitch or an antler tine behind a bush. It's always been my goal to spot something before him. As we hiked up a hill to our first glassing spot I saw two deer running down below us. It was a doe and fawn. I pointed them out to Steven and said I just had my first success....I spotted something before him!

At the top in didn't take long for Steven to start spotting game. First a small Coues buck, then some javalinas, a couple mule deer bucks including a big 3 point and then a group of Coues bucks that included the double beam buck!

They were about a mile away. A quick plan was made, Wyatt would go to where we expected them to go and I would set up on a secondary spot. Well before we were even half way they decided to feed down into a canyon and we had no visual. That stalk was over....but the big 3 point and smaller 4 point mule deer were bedded and we were in a good position to move on them. Wyatt was all for it.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
I stayed down in the canyon while Wyatt snuck in on the bucks. Over the next hour or so Wyatt was live on Facebook. Steven was videoing him through his Swarovski spotting scope from a half mile away. The bucks moved a couple times and Wyatt was at full draw multiple times. He had a good shot at the smaller buck but was holding out for the bigger. The big 3 point finally stood, took a few steps and presented the shot. Wyatt let the arrow fly....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Steven is sitting on top of the hill about a half mile away.
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Steven is sitting on top of the hill about a half mile away.
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Sitting in this canyon with lizards and quail.
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Sitting in this canyon with lizards and quail.
My view while waiting in the canyon. I did have a covey of quail come by and saw lots of little lizards. Oh, as we were hiking in I also found an old horse shoe and put it in my pack. Didn't even think to take a picture of it. I have a good friend that is a farrier. I'm going to show him and see if he has any idea how old it could be.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
Well Wyatt took the shot but made a mistake. He had ranged the buck at 50 yards while he was bedded. He did not account for the few steps the buck took and it turns out he was at 56 yards. The arrow was a clean miss right under his chest.

Wyatt learned a couple lessons on his first spot and stalk experience out west and got in close on a couple nice mule deer and it was just the first morning. This going to be a fun hunt!

We hiked back, met Steven at the truck and then headed into a town to meet up with a couple of Steven's friends, John and his son Derrick, that had also been out after Coues. We had lunch and then all went out together.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We headed back out and more Coues were soon spotted. John took Wyatt in after them on a stalk while Derrick kept an eye on them and Steven and I went to check a few cameras.

Wyatt and John got to about 80 yards and the wind switched. The bucks were quickly up and gone.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mr Rattler under the cactus
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mr Rattler under the cactus
For the late afternoon/evening we decided to split up. Steven needed to go into town for a school event so Derrick and Wyatt decided to hike in a ways to a water hole that Steven had a camera on. A few deer had been hitting it along with a big bear. John and I would go glass an area I had hunted last year and see if we could come up with something to stalk.

John quickly spotted several deer including a couple shooter Coues buck. They were a long ways out and we knew we didn't have much time. They all seemed to be heading to a canyon that we expected had some water in it. The only option we had was for me to beeline it straight to the canyon and hopefully spot them down below.

As I hustled for the canyon about a mile away I remembered hiking out of this same area the year before. It was dark then and I came across my first rattlesnake. I had no idea I could jump sideways so far and fast!

I got to the edge of the canyon and it was much wider and thicker than we originally thought. I couldn't see any deer. I slowly moved up the canyon but never found them. They either went down the opposite direction or further up into the real thick cover.

With the sun beginning to set I turned and headed back towards John. As I hiked I heard a noise in front of me. There's a bug that makes a similar sound to a rattlesnake but only for a short burst. I thought, It's just one of those bugs. Then I heard it again and thought THAT AINT NO BUG.

Right then I spotted a rattlesnake and he was headed right towards me. I was literally standing out there and talking to this snake. I said, "We don't have to do this!" Fortunately he agreed and decided to go coil up under a cactus and rattle his tail off at me. I took a few pics and a video. The pics aren't great because he blends in so well and I wasn't getting the camera any closer!

Wyatt only had one doe come in that evening. Day one was done but Wyatt had already stalked and missed a nice muley, stalked a nice Coues and sat a water hole. Plenty of action for day one.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
Day 2 we headed back to look for the Double Beam buck. Unfortunately there was already a vehicle parked in the area so we went to look from a different vantage point. We spotted some deer but only small bucks and does so we moved on. We did a lot of glassing that morning and saw several deer. Just nothing we wanted to go after.

Then it got HOT, temperature wise. We decide to run into town and have lunch kill a little time. That after we checked a few cameras and waters looking for activity. We didn't see anything we wanted to sit that evening so we went back to area where John and I spotted the bucks the evening before.

We glassed up a pretty good Coues and he was pretty close. We watched him feed and bed near a big bush. This time Steven would go with Wyatt on the stalk while I watched from the hill. It didn't take long and they were set up for the shot. They just needed to wait for him to get up.

Pretty soon I saw the buck stand up. A few seconds later he and another bolted away. I followed him in the bino's and as he ran I noticed he was slowing down and I thought could see blood on his shoulder. He came to a stop and just dropped. I radioed Steven and said "He's down, I can walk you right to him." Steven said ok, we aren't seeing much blood and thought the shot was forward but if I saw him go down then they'd go to him.

I walked them right to him and as they got about 10 yards away (they still couldn't see him as he was behind a bush) the deer exploded out of his bed and ran into the next canyon. I couldn't believe my eyes. I honestly thought that had to be a different deer, unfortunately it was not. Last blood was marked and it was decided to come back in the morning. We tried to remain positive and keep Wyatt's chin up.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Wyatt glassing for his buck the next morning.
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Wyatt glassing for his buck the next morning.
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The next morning we were back on the hill to glass as the sun came up. John came back to help us and brought his wife, Andrea. These are some awesome people and great hunters. We quickly spotted a terrific buck feeding. We waited to "put him to bed".

About the time he decided to bed we were starting to become concerned about the approaching dark clouds. Rain was in the forecast and we wanted to continue the search for Wyatt's buck. John and Wyatt took off for the canyon where the buck was last seen while Steven, Andrea and I tried to watch both the canyon in case they bumped him and the buck we had just put to bed.

John and Wyatt found a little more blood and then nothing. They covered the entire canyon and the top of both sides. He was gone. I forgot to mention earlier that we had the arrow and it appeared to just have "meat" blood....no bubbles and no foul odor. We believe the deer was hit just in front of the shoulder and most likely will survive. We'll leave it at that.

Meanwhile, the buck that we have been watching and that I am getting ready to go after suddenly explodes out of his bed. Another hunter has come in from the opposite side and took a shot at him but missed. The buck actually ran through the canyon that Wyatt and John were in. They saw him about 100 yards away.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
Steven's son had a football game later that morning so John and Andrea were going to hunt with us. Again, awesome people to be with and terrific hunters!

We had some rain starting so that also added a challenge for us but we had no plans of stopping just because we were getting wet. Soon enough, John had two more Coues bucks spotted and one was very nice. They were on the side of a mountain and getting to them would be a challenge as wind was very fickle but there was decent cover to move through.

Andrea and I stayed back to keep an eye on them and Wyatt and John went on the stalk. They got close but a gust of wind ended it. First the smaller buck smelled them and got nervous and then the bigger buck got their scent too. They wasted no time in going up over the top of the mountain.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We moved on to another spot to glass. The rain had let up but it was overcast and we knew it would be back. I did it again, I spotted the deer first! Steven wasn't there but John was and he is right up there with Steven when it comes to finding things in the glass.

There ended up being 4 Coues bucks and one was huge. It was my turn to make a stalk! We knew Steven should be headed our way so we gave him a call. He was close so we waited. As we watched the bucks they appeared nervous, but not from us. Our guess is that a bear was probably in bottom below the deer.

Steven arrived quickly and the bucks were in a decent spot and seemed focused on the bottom. Good news, bucks are stalkable and we have plenty of cover. Bad news, we know a storm is close. Lots of thunder and lightning in the distance. We also have to go down where the bear may be and up the other side and hope to come over top of the deer. Wind will either be our friend or will end our stalk.....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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The big Coues buck through the spotter.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The big Coues buck through the spotter.
We made it down to the bottom with no problems. Lots of bear sign but no bear. We then get to the top. From there we have to try to sneak over the edge and spot the deer before they spot us. Rain has picked up, so has the lightning. This makes Steven nervous. I teased him about crying on the mountain but not until we were back safe.

Every time the thunder rumbled we took advantage of the noise to move quickly forward. We came to the edge and Steven spotted the biggest buck. We were 77 yards away. He blended right into the cover and was in the middle of very thick cover. I had no shot. The winds continued to swirl and finally gave us up to the buck and he was gone. We hustled to the edge hoping he stopped but no luck. The stalk was very fun but you just can't beat mother nature.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We are now half way through our hunt. We have intermittent storms and heat and sunshine in the mountains. We continued to glass and found several deer but just not something to stalk or that we wanted to kill. Forecast is for severe storms that night and possibly in the morning. Time to change tactics. We agree to go look for Mule Deer tomorrow.

From: Hawkeye
27-Sep-18
Great stuff Jeff! Keep it coming my friend.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
The next morning we are on top of a hill looking for Mule Deer. It's overcast and much cooler. It took a little time but soon enough Steven has 3 Mule Deer bucks spotted. He and Wyatt leave me on the hill to keep and eye on them. They drive to the bottom and take off on foot. The deer are about 3 miles from me and about 2 from where they have to park.

Even though I Steven's Swarovski spotter I definitely don't have his skills with the glass. From my viewpoint 3 miles a way the distance look much different. I watched the bucks go into a thicket and did not see them come out. To me it appears they are nearly on top of the bucks. I keep trying to give them some direction over the radio but I am having a hard time with landmarks from 3 miles away.

Then I hear a load noise coming up the hill behind me. It's Layne! I said perfect, you get over here and help me give these guys some directions. I describe to Layne where I think the buck are bedded. He gets out his Swarovski's and gets set up. Now he tries to give directions.

The bad thing is this cover is so thick that at time we actually lose sight of cows as they are walking through it. Steven finally decides to lead Wyatt into it and just see what happens. Well he was barely into the thick stuff and he spotted a bedded buck. I was right, they were still in there!

Now it's a waiting game. They have visual on a buck. Steven has it up live on Facebook. We just sit back and watch and wait.

As they watch the buck one of the other bucks steps right into an opening. He's 65 yards. Wyatt takes the shot....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Wyatt's smile says it all!!
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Wyatt's smile says it all!!
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The buck jumped at the shot but is hit....way further back than planned. Layne and I watch 2 bucks run right and Wyatt's goes left. We are doing everything we can to keep a visual on him. We see him go into another thicket and doesn't come out.

After some time Steven and Wyatt pick up the blood trail. They get to within 10 yards of the bedded buck and he jumps up. No shot. Layne and I both watch the buck run to the right and then hook back 180 degrees and go back into some bushes very close to where they last bumped him.

Wyatt and Steven didn't see the 180 hook. They are tracking right while we are saying go straight. They think we saw a different deer but we finally convince them otherwise. They get to the spot we say him stop and there he is, dead! Again, Steven had the final approach going live on Facebook. I was sitting on a mountain watching while my wife was pacing in our garage in Iowa watching at the same time!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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Through the spotter
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Through the spotter
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They boned the deer out in the field and put him in Steven's pack. Steven is an awesome guide and offered to take turns with Wyatt packing out the deer. Wyatt had none of it, he carried it the whole way back.

Layne took me down to Steven's truck and headed out. I set up the spotter, grabbed a cold water and waited. Even had cell service so I called my wife and found out she got to watch everything as it unfolded.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We quickly took Wyatt's buck back to Steven's house and got the meat and head put in a freezer and grabbed a bite to eat for lunch.

The weather had gotten better and we decided to go look for Coues again. We covered a lot of miles and glassed some new areas. We saw a great buck on top of a mountain and watched him go over a ridge. It appeared to be a stalkable area. We drove to point where we could see the other side of the ridge. Unfortunately he was gone.

We headed back to town. My biggest hope for the trip had been met, my son got a deer. No matter how things ended I would be happy.

Since tomorrow would be our last day Steven asked me what I wanted to go after, Coues or Mule Deer? We were in for more storms in the mountain that night....actually, they were already hitting hard as we drove back to town. My reply was simple, "Whatever you think will give us our best odds for success". Without hesitating Steven said, "Let's get another Mule Deer!"

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I really haven't mentioned much about supper. We ate in town every night. It was usually 7-8:00 before we'd get back to town. Steven's dad, Dennis, (Head Doctor on Bowsite) would come visit with us at supper. The night we met for supper after Wyatt got his deer Dennis had a special gift for each of us. Two handmade arrowheads. Now, not only do we have the Vortex broadheads in our quiver but we have a very cool stone broadhead in our pockets. Thank you again Dennis!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
The last day found us up on the same hill where we spotted the buck that Wyatt killed. In nothing flat more Mule Deer bucks were spotted, this time by Wyatt! These bucks were much closer, headed in a perfect direction and one was a dandy. Steven and I were off to the bottom and Wyatt was left up top to keep an eye on them.

We got to the bottom and headed for a landmark where we thought we could intercept them. We had less than a mile to cover and it was easy hiking. In a very short time we were ahead of the bucks and set up.

I ranged a few openings and was anticipating a 50 yard shot. My single pin was set.... (save your comments)...The biggest buck appeared first and was leading the way. Then he turned and headed directly towards us. It appeared he was planning on bedding under the bush we were kneeling in front of. He kept coming. Steven was giving me distances.

The last one I heard was 43. The buck stopped and I had my shot. I put my pin just under his chest and released. The shot was clear over his back. Clean miss.

Steven said the last distance was 37. I don't doubt that in the least. I just didn't hear it. But what I also didn't do was AIM. I didn't go through my normal shot sequence. I honestly don't even know if I even looked through my peep. I flat out choked....big time.

To say I was upset would be an understatement. Two years, two buck, two misses. This was all on me. We hiked back to the truck in silence. When we got there I told Steven I was sorry. He did everything possible and I blew it.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
But Steven has a positive, never give up attitude. He quickly pointed out that it's about the experience, not just the kill. At the time I wasn't quite able to agree. Had I gone the entire hunt without taking a shot I could have agreed, the experience had been awesome. But I missed. Again. I wasn't happy.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We drove back up to Wyatt and he just picked his head up from the glass and said, Well I've got more bucks spotted. Steven looked in the glass, turned around and said, Let's go! And back down the hill we went. This time I noticed the truck was going a bit faster. Steven said there's 4 bucks and I think you would be happy with any of them. Forget about the last one and let's get this done!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We parked the truck and took off. The bucks were feeding away from us and we had the wind in our favor. Wyatt was giving us landmarks from above. Soon we shifted gears from a quick pace to catch up to a slow pace knowing we were close.

The toughest part was going to be getting a shot. This was some thick, bushy cover. It was easy to move through and the rain from the night before kept our footsteps quiet but we weren't going to have much for shooting lanes....and Steven pointed that out.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

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As I spotted him.
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As I spotted him.
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Coiled but silent.
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Coiled but silent.
As we slowly moved forward I looked 5 feet to my right and saw a huge rattlesnake that Steven had just passed. I let out Pssst and got Steven's attention. His eyes got big but we needed to keep going didn't want the snake to make a bunch of commotion and get the deer's attention. He was as big around as my forearm and nearly 6' long!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
As we moved forward we suddenly heard deer running. We bumped them. They ran....a long ways. Honestly, at that point I thought it was over. We were now two miles from the truck. The deer continued 2-3 miles to our right.

Wyatt kept an eye on them and said they even picked up a couple more bucks so we now had 6 in the group. It's the last day so we kept on them. Last seen they went into another thick patch of cover so we headed that way.

As we got closer we stopped to glass often. Steven and I spotted antlers at the exact same time and both of us ducked down. He was about 1/4 mile away and feeding. We began to sneak again.

We made it to the edge of the thick cover. It was really thick! What do we do now? Steven very slowly worked around one side to see if we could see any track leaving. There were none. We think they are in there. The area is probably 30-40 yards wide and 70-100 yards long.

As the sun begins to cook us we are torn. Are they there? Will they stay bedded all day? It's around 10:00 am. If we KNEW for sure they were there we'd sit it out but we don't know.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We start discussing ideas. Throw a rock in the middle and see what happens? I said knowing our luck we'll hit one and the they will run out the other side. No rock.

We are on the downwind side of the cover. I suggest that Steven goes wide and circles back letting his scent blow into the cover and hopefully they will sneak out towards me. Steven says ok. He walks about 30 yards and stops. Motions me over. Says I don't think we want them to smell me, better if they hear me. May just think it's a cow and stand up to look. I agree and we decide I'll stay in this spot. I have good shooting lanes to my right and left.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
Steven begins to walk back towards the left to circle around. He gets about 50 yards away and all of the sudden a buck stands up and stretches directly to my right next to bushes I had just ranged. As Pat said when he killed his elk, I went right into kill mode.

I was confident the buck was just under 40 yards. I had my sight set for 25/37. I put the second pin on him, went through my shot sequence and squeezed. Everything felt and sounded perfect. The buck bolted into the cover and 3 others ran out the other side past Steven.

Steven spun around, came back to me and said What just happened?! I told him and we both agreed we heard my buck crash. We went to where the buck stood to look for blood and I spotted my arrow. At the same time two more bucks stood up in cover less than 20 yards away. We had been on top of them all this whole time!

From: Sam
27-Sep-18
I scored my first Coues on my third trip after approximately 20 blown stalks, don’t be hard on yourself. The desert definitely has a way of getting ahold of you, BTW I blew a 49 yard shot at a 105-110” buck last year while Steven was filming, so we get to enjoy my choke shot over and over and over...lol

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
As we found him.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
As we found him.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Photo Steven took a week or so before I killed him.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Photo Steven took a week or so before I killed him.
Steven then decided to put the recovery live on Facebook. The blood trail good but the thick vegetation did make us pause a few times. The buck only made it about 60-80 yards and we found him. Getting some redemption for my poor shooting felt great to say the least.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven going to work on my buck.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven going to work on my buck.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I had the arrowhead Dennis gave me the night before in my pocket for luck!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I had the arrowhead Dennis gave me the night before in my pocket for luck!
Now we had to get him out. Wyatt was on top of a hill 4 miles away. The truck was on the road about 1.5 miles from Wyatt and several miles from us. We had also neglected to put the meat bag back in Steven's pack after we took care of Wyatt's buck the day before. It was in the truck.

Wyatt is an incredibly fit guy, an awesome hunting partner and a terrific son! He hauled two chairs, a stool, the spotter, the tripod, and his pack down the hill and hiked to the truck while we boned out my buck. Then he drove to the closest point on the road, grabbed the meat bag and an extra pack and hiked 2 miles into us.

We loaded all the meat in Steven's pack and put the head on the other pack. Wyatt carried the head and I packed out the meat. Again, Steven offered to help but I wanted this all for myself. As we hiked back Layne showed up and also offered to help me. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing out this whole thing on my own!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
We had my buck back to the truck around 1:00 pm. I was pretty sun burnt (my lip still cracks and bleeds 3 weeks later!) but felt like a million bucks. We got back to the hotel and Steven took the deer home and put in the freezer. It was Labor Day so Wyatt and I grabbed lunch and hung out at the hotel and Steven got to spend a few hours with his family. That evening we got back together and had supper with everyone at the Dream Catcher.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
During this hunt we had talked some about Pat's upcoming elk hunt with Steven. He wanted it videoed and Steven was concerned about guiding and running a camera at the same time. The idea was brought up for Wyatt to come back and run the camera. Of course Wyatt was more than excited at the chance chasing elk with those two!

Well the next morning, as Steven was taking us to the airport in Tucson, Wyatt got a phone call. The service wasn't the best in mountains but we knew the Dallas County Sheriff's office wanted him to call when he was back in town. A few days after returning to Iowa Wyatt got the job! So he missed out on the elk hunt with Pat and Steven but getting is first job as a Sheriff's Deputy was hopefully worth missing out on the hunt.

That pretty well sums up the story. I will post a few more random pics and throw out some more comments as they come to mind. If you are ever considering a hunt in Arizona definitely give Steven Ward a call!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18
Oh, my sight. Yes shoot a single pin with to fiber optics. Seems people either love or hate them. I get both sides. Here's my take on it. My eyes have a hard time dealing with multiple pins. When I aim I focus on the target and let the pin be blurry. With multiple pins or even multiple dots on a target I get a blurred image. Huge challenge when trying to sight a bow in and it seems be even worse in low light.

Biggest thing I've learned and did not do on the buck I missed is to set my pins for the closest distance and adjust if out further. Chances are better at being able to adjust if the animal is out a ways than if they are in close. I was just convinced the deer would head right through that 50 yard opening and didn't think he'd come right in.

But with that said it didn't matter how many pins I had. I didn't aim. I choked....but I did learn from it.

If you would now like to start a heated debate about single sliders vs multi pin sights please feel free to start up a new thread.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The great think about shooting a Mule Deer is that I still have a reason to go back for a Coues Deer!! Since I'm now buying a license every year to get my elk points I'm sure I'll take advantage of it and hunt a few more times in Arizona!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This is the Coues buck that I was waiting to go after while they looked for the wounded buck.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The arrow tree....hard to see but it's loaded with arrows shot from the road.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The arrow tree....hard to see but it's loaded with arrows shot from the road.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven really does look good in that hat....hides his face well!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven really does look good in that hat....hides his face well!
Some sight seeing during the mid day.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Dead tarantula
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Dead tarantula
Tiny horned toad.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Very nice buck!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Very nice buck!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Making the best of it in Dallas!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Making the best of it in Dallas!
Layover in Dallas going home was too long. Our plane had issues so they had to get us on a different one. Supposed to be home at 10:30 pm, ended up being 12:45. We kept my wife and Wyatt's girlfriend posted on the delays as they were picking us up.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
27-Sep-18

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mule deer steaks!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mule deer steaks!
Meat is processed and in the freezer! Thanks for following along.

From: buzz mc
27-Sep-18
Awesome trip report!!! Thanks for sharing. Congrats to you and your boy.

From: Beav
27-Sep-18
Congrats on a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!

From: Bwana
27-Sep-18
Awesome adventure. Thanks for sharing your story.

From: BigOk
27-Sep-18
Congrats to both of you. Great story

From: SDHNTR(home)
27-Sep-18
Wonderful story! Thanks. Two archery desert bucks is an incredible feat!

From: spike78
27-Sep-18
Well done!

From: Fields
27-Sep-18
Great story. Congrats... After the first snake, my hinting time would have suffered.....

From: HUNT MAN
27-Sep-18
That’s a great trip. Thanks for posting . Hunt

From: Bou'bound
27-Sep-18
What a special story. These are the best

From: bowhunter24
27-Sep-18
Great memories there for sure! Seems like kids get jobs, get married, have kids and then seldom seen; I hope you and yours share many more trips just like this one congrats!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
28-Sep-18
Thanks for all the kind words guys. My wife and I are very lucky with the two kids that we have. Both are very independent and have their own goals yet at the same time we all spend a lot of time together and enjoy doing many things together. We all hunt but Wyatt and I would go out every day and girls just enjoy it on occasion. I've never "pushed" any of them to hunt but I have made it clear that they are always welcome to join me.

28-Sep-18
This hunt is definitely one of my most memorable hunting experiences, and the fact that I got to share it with my dad makes it that much better. I learned so much from this hunt and while preparing in the off season for this hunt. Shooting my bow everyday has brought my confidence up to a new level I've never felt before. Hunting with Steven gave us so many more opportunities than I expected. We saw deer everyday and had lots of opportunities at some amazing deer. This was my first experience with spot and stalk hunting and having Steven as our guide made the learning curve just that much easier and much more enjoyable. We both had our ups and downs on this trip, but I wouldn't change a thing. I can't wait to go back and do it again someday. Hopefully I can get some time off in a couple years after starting this new job to go back and focus on a big coues buck.

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