For some odd reason AZ doesn't let you buy tags online, only your license, so my first morning there wasn't going to be an early one. After a quick trip to Walmart for groceries and the tag, I shot my bow, geared up and we hit the hills around 11:30. Glassing out West is an art form that I've yet to master. It seems to be an acquired taste that's developed after several seasons. With that being said I suck at it! It's a combination of not having glass that's up to the task and lack of practice in that environment. I pretend to look for deer like I know what I'm doing but for the most part I'm providing jokes and moral support to the seasoned pros.
The first two spots we (they) looked over came up dry. No bucks, only a couple of does. Not 15 seconds into looking over the third spot a buck is located. By now it's around 12:30 and every bit of that Arizona sun is coming down on us. The buck is bedded under a scrub oak about 900 yards away in a PERFECT location. He was bedded with his back to the oak and there was a ridge line about 50-60 yards behind him. After getting a good look at him we decided he was a shooter, grabbed the gear and the stalk was on!
Heading up to the hill was easy going. The terrain wasn't thick with brush and the wind was perfect for our approach. Once we hit the base of the hill we slowed things down. We knew the location of the cluster of rocks we were heading towards and slowly made our way up. About 45 yards from the top we dumped the packs and once on top we dumped our boots. The last 50 yards were really slow going. Being sure to avoid the crunchy stuff and loose rocks we made it to the outcropping we'd seen while glassing and set up. I ranged the oak.....48.5 yards. He was bedded on the furthest side which I guestimated at 6-7 yards. I split the difference, called it 53 and spun the slider on my sight. The wait was on.
About an hour into the wait I started to reevaluate my pack list for the trip. LJ texted while we were up there and told us he could see me getting red in the spotting scope! Next time sun screen will be in the pack.
Around the 2 hour mark a heavy thundercloud started moving in. My buddy Derrick said that once that cloud hit the bush he'd likely get up and start moving. He was spot-on!! I caught his rack moving through the bush and came to full draw. He was feeding to my left and was totally unaware the we were there. The wind was still perfect and the deer was about 25 degrees downhill. As I started pulling through the shot Derrick gave a grunt that sent the buck running........right as the shot broke! The arrow was back and missed him completely. Talk about bad timing!!! The buck didn't know what had happened and his curiosity got the best of him. He only bolted a few yards before stopping to see what was going on.
When I set up on the rocks I removed the quiver, nocked an arrow and removed another arrow that I laid beside me. I'm a rookie bowhunter but my limited experience has shown me how important having another arrow on standby can be.
As I grabbed the second arrow Derrick whips out the range finder. I nock the arrow on the string and hear "74." I can see the buck had stopped behind a tree that was providing some cover. I spun the Landslyde down to 74, clipped the release on the dloop, drew back, hit my anchors and eased up off the rocks. As I cleared the cover the deer was perfectly broadside. The bubble leveled off, the pin settled right behind his shoulder and the release broke clean.
The lighted nock told me all I needed to know about the shot. It was right down the middle! A wave of satisfaction washed over me that only a bowhunter can experience in that fraction of a second after a perfect arrow is released. The lighted nock disappeared behind his front shoulder and the arrow kicked up dirt behind him as it passed through. The deer bolted on what was to be a short run.
There I was at 2:30pm, 3 hours into Day 1, with a great Coues buck fatally hit!!! Not only that but I got it all on video!! I lost a generous amount of shit with all the excitement and the video captured it all!! This season is off to a very strong start!!!
We called down to John and LJ to come up and went back up to get the boots and packs so we could trail the deer. Walking up on my first velvet deer was awesome! He was a super cool little buck (he taped 83") and I was over the moon with excitement!! I threw him over my shoulders and we were off to get him tagged and processed.
This was Day 1 of a 5 Day trip so the rest of the time we chased rattlesnakes, drank a little bourbon, hit the winery with the wife and did a little sightseeing in Coronado National Forest. Arizona is beautiful and I'll take a 100 degree day there over Virginia any day of the week!
Congratulations! D. LJ and that other goofy Hedges guy are great friends, and can sure glass! Great buck man! It looks like you guys had a great time!!
As red as you claimed to have been from the sun, I think that coues did you a one-upper!
@Medicinemann I leave Sept 12th for Cordova. Dennis has the goats all lined up for me! Moose the day after I get back with Ryk Visscher up in Edmonton and I got new dates in March for Musk Ox. Did you get your phone situation worked out? Same number or different one?
@APauls, you're spot on about the working out. Derrick had to help me draw my bow back both times! lol!
@Shug we actually went through Atlanta going there and Salt Lake City coming back. Wish I would have know you were in town. I had plenty of time to tag up for beers!
Thanks for the support fellas. I appreciate the responses!
Not too many guys with those guns