Before I begin, I didn’t harvest him.
This was a five day hunt outside of Magdalena, New Mexico on a 64,000 acre ranch.
Once in camp, we checked all the bows behind the lodge.
In all my travels, these guys had it right. Various targets out to 150 yards.
The guides came down and were introduced and watched us shoot.
The owner came down to the rage also to see what our max ranges were.
I was adamant for us to practice out to 90. A far stretch for me but it did and it made both guide and the owner comfortable in order to gauge our abilities.
Shortly afterwards, we all where paired up and the discussion about the hunt began.
We headed west to enter this massive ranch.
My guide would be Cody, originally from Buffalo, NY. We instantly hit it off. He was a motivated fella with a few years under his belt. We also had a second guide, Kevin assigned as a spotter for 2 days and then we would be joined by Jarrod who was a young native to the lands. ( His ability to see game was off the charts)
It was obvious how important it was to have one with us.
I was asked what I was after and I wanted to target a big buck. Not just any buck, but a big one.
Cody had scouted this ranch intensely and knew we definitely had that caliber bud to chase, but not and easy task and he wanted to know that up front.
I sort of knew what I would be in for.
Day one was really exciting to see so many goats from a distance. Immediately I knew this would not be easy… at all, but I was really ready.
In a matter of minutes, the goats appeared everywhere.
Now to figure out a stalk.
Our best bet always seemed to use the “ Rabbit Brush” to give us cover. I learned quickly that just hunching over is not enough, you have to be low, real low.
I knew this animal could see far, but didn’t think it could see through brush.
So down I went every day, every stalk. I had cotton Kuiu gloves with me. Dumb ass! I needed leather. Thankfully one of my buddies had a pair of Kuiu leather gloves. They worked great except on cactus. Those thorns still poke through. My hands where tore up by day 2. I also had a pair of “ Volley Ball” Nike knee pads. They kinda worked, but I advise to get better ones if you decide to do this hunt. And not the plastic type. Damn goats can hear pretty good as well.
Each one I learned a little more on how to do this type of hunt.
Definitely not easy!
Finally a great opportunity came. Two real nice bucks and a line doe where side hilling.
We would come up the back side and set up.
Off we ran to gain distance in hopes of beating them so I could get a shot. Cody had a small buck decoy in case. We split up a bit and made our way up. Behind the crest of the hill, we waited for a split second and one of the bucks gave us a stare down. Busted!
We joked and laughed. This is supposed to be fun right? I was loving it as opposed to sitting in a blind this time.
I now realized if I could do this, it would be a major accomplishment for this eastern flatlander playing the western game.
This is “ Gagger” and named that for good reason. Holy you know what!
We spotted him on the way out that evening and knew he would be in this area in the morning.
My mind was racing on the how we could get him.
He had his own harem of does, no other bucks.
They were his eyes, every single day moving forward.
This pic is from a Vortex high power scope with the magnet phone attachment. Super quick, super easy set up. These guys where on it with the gear.
Cody asked me, do we focus on him or do you want to try for other bucks. I said both options.
We ended up on morning 3 near a water tank glassing.
The wind was about 15-20 mph and gusty.
We spot a good one and we are off.
Today the spotter now is Jarrod and he has eyes like a Hawk, literally.
We get within 190 yards or so, and we begin to crawl. I split off and gain about 50 yards in front of the guys with the decoys.
The buck spots the decoys and heads our way.
My heart is racing and I’m frozen. He a very nice Buck, mid 70’s and I decide if the opportunity happens, I’m taking the shot.
Now the standoff begins.
I’m on my butt sideways and I practiced this shot sequence. It’s really not a stable position but can be done.
After about what seemed eternity, the buck has had enough and walks away…. I thought.
I look at the guys and they switched position. They are flicking the ears of the decoys and bending them into squatting positions.
I look over and the buck circled us.
I now have to turn 80 degrees in order to make a shot with him looking my way.
He puts his head down and rakes a bush, my chance! I made it, whew.
For another 3 minutes, he stares, we stare and the gig is over.
Just what I wanted. Only if he was closer than 148 yards.
To be continued.
Cool pics, better luck next time!
On the morning of day 3, we had a good plan, but that went to hell after noticing a hitch pin in the rear tire of the truck.
We did get to glass and watch tons of does and a few bucks until another guide showed with a patch kit.
Things got a bit hairy that afternoon as we closed the distance with him bedded, two does and a young buck busted out of a draw below the spotter and caused “ Gagger” to bolt.
He didn’t see us.
I did have a chance on “ Valentine” who had antler tips that almost touched and definitely was in the mid 70’s
That’s about it fellas. I focused on one and he won of course. It was a great experience and trip.
A few random pics.
Thanks for sharing the experience and adventure Rich
Thanks for sharing the experience and adventure Rich
I did have two other opportunities at bucks that didn’t work out.
It was a blast.