Scouting and Patterning Pays Off
by Tyler Hunt
The hunt was general season archery here in Southern Utah. I grew up hunting this area and had several good bucks on various trail cams, but had never seen this guy.
While scouting a couple of weeks ago, my wife said she wanted to venture deeper into this canyon that I hunted in the past. We got about a mile in and she said we needed to watch this trail that was a crossing point between two draws. So, I put out a trail camera and low and behold the buck started showing up on camera almost every day as he crossed from a west facing slope to east facing slope during the day. So that was where we set up on Thursday in preparation for the opener on Saturday.
Unfortunately, we got winded in the blind on opening day. However, my wife did catch a glimpse of the buck on the trail (I was blocked by a tree) and with eyes of shock whispered, "He is huge!" I think he smelled us and took an alternate trail which led up the slope, out of bow range.
After that experience, I went into the blind on Monday morning with about a gallon of "no scent" on my clothes and body. I always use "no scent" spray and wash, but not to the extent I did on Monday.
April had already planned a "spa day" with her friends in St. George and I was solo in the blind. Needless to say, the no scent bath and effort worked. I actually had a nice 4-point come by and put his nose to the screen of my blind. He didn't smell or sense anything, and more deer started coming by from all directions. Then about 10 minutes later, a big 3-point came up the trail followed by the split beam monster. I was shaking so badly because all I could see was a pile of velvet on his head.
As he passed a big pine tree on the trail (ranged at 21 yards) I drew my bow and he stopped quartering toward me. I centered the pin on the chest and let it rip. It smacked him and he turned back the same way he came in. I couldn't believe it! I fell to my knees shaking and with tears welling up in my eyes, I said a prayer of thanks. After about 10 minutes, I crawled out of the blind to retrieve my arrow. I felt like the shot was good, but opted to back out of the canyon for a few hours to let him pass.
When we found him later Monday afternoon, he had only gone about 80 yards and piled up. I still remember walking up the hill and looking over by a tree and just saw a pile of velvet antler sticking out. Unbelievable!