Well, I have a camera that had at least 8 shootable bucks on one camera the last 6-7 weeks. Problem is, it's an hour down into the nastiest canyon known to man. But, having never shot a muley/blacktail buck before, I decided to try and give it a go, even if it killed me. I would love to have seen one of the big guys, but would be happy with whatever.
So I had a buddy going with me, and he was giving me first shot since it was "my spot" , and I hadn't shot a buck out here before. We left just before shooting light, and hiked an hour down into the canyon. Got set up around 6:30 about 100 yards above the camera on a hillside. We had about 180 degree view up to a mile away in each direction, but we were convinced the spot to be was right below us or across the canyon, up to about 300 yards away. Well, we sat for a couple of hours, no deer moving. Just as we were standing stretching our legs, my buddy taps my arm and quickly says "Deer". I look over, and there's a lone deer walking along a trail across canyon. We both are able to tell it's a forkie, but legal buck. Then the quick 30 seconds of indecision sets in. Do I hold for something bigger, or just take him???? From my trail camera, there are some really nice bigger deer here. And I could say that after putting in that much effort, I should shoot one that is "worth it". However, I could also say it would suck to put in that work and not have anything to show for it. Final decision was that I have never been a trophy hunter, I hadn't ever killed a buck out here, and success rate in general is about 7-9%, so I wasn't going to let him pass.
Buddy ranged him, 227 yards. Now, I have shot 6 deer before, and a pig, and never shot over 75 yards or so. Plus, I was using a monopod, not a steadier Bi or Tripod, and actually was experiencing buck fever quite badly...... . So, I just steadied the "sway" of the gun, got into a rhythm, and popped off a shot just under the spine, behind the shoulder. I didn't see any movement after the shot, buddy says he thinks it went down. I was afraid that he jumped into the next ravine that was 20 yards away, but my buddy still thought he was down. So, hiking a half hour down into the creek then up the other sides, I found my first western buck. He had dropped like a rock. The all copper round I shoot hit him in the back edge of the shoulder, blowing out a chunk of bone, and punching the lungs.
The fun only began. Decided to bone out all the meat on the spot, and we each carried about 30 pounds in our pack. It was 1 mile, all uphill, as you can see from the photos. Took us 2 1/2 hours, and I am sore as %(*# today, but I can say it was well worth it...... This buck was probably about 110 lbs, which is a decent size. They don't make them much bigger than 150-160 very often out here, so he's a good example of a nice local buck.
Edit:....Well, this wonderful site is giving me an error when posting photos, so I guess I will need to work on it a few. Will get them up soon.....