Right in my own back yards lies the Wasatch Front. For a general season area, the Wasatch Front produces some of the best mule deer in the state. With a season from mid-August to the end of November, it offers a lot of hunting opportunity. Luckily I was able to spend 12-15 days pre-season scouting. In that time I had located a few 145-170” bucks; great bucks that I was more than exited to notch my tag for. When the season finally came around I was able to get under 100 yards several times but was never offered a shot. These bucks don’t get big by being stupid. With a Utah Diamond Mountain limited entry elk tag in my pocket, my focus soon shifted. I was able to spend 4 action packed days chasing bugling bulls before finally connecting on a beautiful 310” 6x6.
It was now mid-September and the itch to get back up on the mountain after high country mule deer was about to kill me. I made a few more trips up with close calls but yet again headed home without a punched tag. The muzzleloader hunt arrived and my brother Shane came in from out of town with a tag in his pocket. We chased a few of these bucks I had found, but yet again to no avail. Weather played a huge roll in this as a big storm came in with rain changing to snow, wind, cold temps and fog.
At this point I decided to wait until after the rifle hunt was over and see what the November rut brought in. My good friend Wyatt and I headed out but we weren’t really sure where we wanted to go. We discussed several places and finally decided on a canyon that we had seen some good deer in earlier in the year. Early that morning on the way in we watched 2 decent bucks running does; one was a 4 point on one side and a unicorn on the other. Wyatt was tempted to go after him but decided he wasn’t enough of a “freak”. We continued on to our original destination and by this time it was almost 8am. We got to a vantage point and began to glass. Wyatt found a few does on a ridge but saw no bucks and decided to glass the canyon to the south. I stayed and located a small 3 point in the bottom, a 2 point running some does, then found the same group of does Wyatt had seen earlier. They were in the same saddle but now had a 20 inch 4 point with them. I watched him walk to the ridgeline and bed down. I zoomed in with my spotting scope to get a better look and caught movement to the right of him. I adjusted my spotter and wondered if I was seeing things. It looked like oak brush until it moved again. From 1500 yards all I knew was that it was a shooter buck with one or two extras. I hurried over the hill and told Wyatt I had a good buck spotted. I told him where he was and quickly threw on my Be The Decoy hat and got my bow and backpack ready. By this time he was up feeding so we watched him for a minute to see which way they were going. We made a game plan and I was off. By the time I made my way above them, they were starting to feed down from that saddle into a little draw. I was within 200 yards now and closing. My good friend Dale Pearson kept calling me. I texted him that I couldn’t talk, as I was closing in on a giant buck. His reply was good luck and how big is “giant”? I never really got a good look at him. All I knew was that he was a shooter. I replied “Maybe not a giant but a 190” stud.” I kept sliding down the ridge slowly and finally saw them in the bottom of the draw feeding. My first thought was that I wasn’t going to get a shot. I had run out of cover with no way to get to them without spooking them. I got comfortable to sit and see what they were going to do when the big buck turned up hill and started to walk away from his does. I couldn’t believe he was just walking away from his does. As I watched him slowly work his way up the draw, I had the feeling that I needed to move. I went back on my tracks and got on the ridgeline and ran up the hill as fast as I could to the saddle where I first spotted him bedded. I got to where I thought he might cross and knelt down and nocked an arrow. As I looked up I caught the tips of his rack coming at me over the ridge. With the Be The Decoy hat on he looked right at me and kept on coming! I scrambled for my rangefinder and got him broadside at 65 yards. I set my pin on my Sure-loc and drew back. As I did he calmly stopped and looked at me. Shaking from excitement, I did my best to settle my pin and focus on making my shot. I touched it off and watched my arrow hit him a little high in the shoulder. He slowly turned and headed back into the draw he just came from. His left front shoulder was covered in blood as I watched him stumble down the ridge to where he bedded. At 250 yards I watched him for 3 hours. By this time Dale had made it up on the mountain and then he and Wyatt had hiked down to my location. I knew the buck was hit hard but I wanted to get another arrow in him. I was able to get to 80 yards before he slowly stood up and walked down the hill and out of sight. I was about in tears. Luckily Dale and Wyatt were able to see him bed only 100 yards down the hill and guided me in with hand signals. At 40 yards above him he once again got up slowly and started making his escape. I quickly drew and shot and watched my arrow fly just left as he followed the trail to the right. My heart about stopped this time. I did not want to lose him. I followed his tracks and found him another 60 yards facing away from me with is body shaking. With no shot I patiently waited until he laid back down. While getting closer he got up once again and started down the hill but was in a lot of pain. Finally he stopped broadside at 25 yards and I was able to put a final arrow right behind his shoulder that went completely through him. Within seconds he was finally down for good. I waited for Dale and Wyatt to come down so that we could walk up on him together. We were all blown away at this magnificent buck! I had no idea he had all the trash and character that he does. He is truly the buck of a lifetime. His main frame is 30 ½” and with cheaters he is 35 ¾” and tapes out at 222”. Many thanks go out to Dale and Wyatt for being the friends they are and I can’t wait to return the favor! Most of all I want to thank my wife Amy for her love and understanding of my obsession with chasing mule deer with a bow!