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Joe Kauffman

New years eve, 2013 buck

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For some reason this years archery season has been a tough one for me. A couple of missed opportunities at smaller bucks, horrible winds and bad timings plagued me everyday. I guess those all happened for a reason as I was fortunate enough to tag this great buck the last day of 2013.

 

As I made the 2 hour drive that morning, my irritation with the constant wind I had been battling was at a breaking point. I could feel the wind whipping across the road, gently pushing my truck as I made my way to one of my favorite spots. I was pleasantly surprised to find that luck was on my side when I arrived to the spot 45 minutes before daylight to find there was only a gentle breeze; just enough to help me work down wind.

 

Just as the glow of sunrise began to show in the East, I glassed up a doe and this buck about a mile out, skylined at the top of a ridge. Anxiously awaiting enough sun to see them clearly, I patiently waited until I could see well enough to get bearings on which way they would be moving for their morning feed. Knowing this spot very well, I decided to use the darkness to start moving in the direction I thought they would go in hopes of getting in front of their feeding direction.

 

After a long and agonizing 15 minutes I could clearly see them both feeding down the ridge in the exact direction I was hoping they would go. I had already covered quite a bit of ground and had about a mile left to get in position before they were at the bottom of the ridge where I hoped to be able to get a shot. The good news/bad news about this area is that there is plenty of waist high cover to work behind but there is a ton of deadfall and leaves to deal with as well. More luck was with me as the slight breeze was working from the top of the ridge down which not only helped keep my scent in the right direction but also the little bit of noise my feet work making. Even so, I decided to take off my boots and hope the thick wool socks would be suffice in protecting my feet from too much damage.

 

As I reached the bottom of the ridge and with about 100 yards of ground left to cover to place myself at the bottom of a great shooting lane, their speed picked up as the buck started pushing the doe downhill right towards me. I knew there would be little chance of making it to the shooting lane and started picking spots between us where I knew I could get a clear shot should our paths align correctly.

 

All the adrenaline, waiting and stalking came down to the final turn they both made as they changed direction and began moving parallel along the ridge. I ranged an opening above me they were heading to at 71 yards, knocked the release and waited again...praying that he would push the doe through the clearing. Another 45 seconds or so (although it felt like hours!) and I watched the doe walk through the clearing, to the far edge and stop. The buck followed and stopped right in the center of the clearing. She was looking up the ridge at another doe that had just topped over, he had his sights set on her and I quickly was drawn with my sights set on him. Plenty of time, very little wind....almost as peaceful as shooting targets in the backyard. I released and saw my arrow find its mark and watched the buck stumble about 30 yards and expire in the thick.

 

My second favorite hunting month of the year had ended, only a day before my favorite hunting month of the year began!

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Thats a dandy Joe way to pull the rabbit or buck out of the hat the last day>>congrats nice desert muley>>>Kelly

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Joe ... Congrats on a beautiful high and wide rack. Sounds like quite a stalk!

 

Mike F

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Man Joe... Great job on sticking to it.... I get frustrated at times as well, but you know as well as I do,,, its not over until the tags says its over. Congratulations... very nice last day buck.

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Thanks guys! Been busy this month chasing a couple of bucks we saw last year but couldn't get on. The mule deer rut is going pretty well where we hunt so hopefully this weekend we'll able to put another one on the ground. We'll be focusing on getting my son the buck he dubbed "Freak" last year. Super old buck that's on the decline, real heavy antlers and nice & wide. I glassed him up last weekend but my son was working so I just watched him and his 7 does for a while getting some more information on their morning pattern. This year he is a 5x3, classic 4 point with an extra on the left and a stunted 3 point on the right. Very cool characteristics that would look great on the wall :).

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Go Get'em guys! I know you can do it! Pictures on Monday Morning! Mike F

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