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VIDEO: 11-Day Hunt Ends in Early Season Giant!

by Melissa Bachman   |  September 23rd, 2011 18

Last week I posted a photo of a high-racked mule deer that I was hunting in Colorado.  This buck proved to be one of the toughest animals I’ve ever hunted!  I drove to Durango, CO with plans of mule deer hunting a new property on a self-guided hunt.  The first couple days I spent scouting, setting tree stands, blinds, and simply watching the fields.  There was one buck in particular that looked truly stunning.  A high-racked buck that towered over anything I had ever seen.  After a week of hard hunting I had several encounters with this giant but still never had a shot opportunity.

Regardless of who you are there is a point where you start second-guessing your hunting style, decisions, and really start getting wore down.  Morning after morning, evening after evening I would setup in one spot and the buck would come out across the field, or even worse where I had setup the night prior.  I felt like I was always reacting to his movement rather than being proactive…but it’s impossible to guess what a group of bachelor bucks will do.

Each morning the group of bucks would get up from a new location on the field and feed for an hour or two then head to the high country for the day.  The land I was hunting only included the bottom fields, so there was no option of tying to stalk them during the day.  A couple mornings I even decided to stay mobile, and not pick a stand.  I would simply try to watch them and get to where they were going, however with that many eyes the task proved to be impossible, and there wasn’t enough cover to hide behind or even to belly crawl (although I tried many times).


After 10-days of hunting I felt like things were finally starting to fall my way.  There were always two fields I had to choose between to setup but my odds finally started improving.  The rancher had just cut the alfalfa on one of the fields and would start bailing anytime now.  I figured the commotion on that field would probably keep the bucks contained to the other field so my stand selection was cut in half.  The second thing that helped my chances was the bucks were now running with a group of does and a spike.  Now instead of just focusing on the bachelor group, I could also watch the does and spike to see what they would do and setup accordingly.

The last morning I decided to forget about all the stands, blinds and pick a completely new location.  There seemed to be one spot on the field edge that the does and spike liked to cross when they headed to the high country.  I checked the wind upon arrival in the dark and decided to setup about 50-yards off the trail and crawled into a clump of bushes and trees.  I didn’t even bring anything to sit on and covered my face in paint, sprayed down with Scent Killer, and patiently waited for the sun to come up.  I was completely hidden in the brush with my camera by my side.

As the sun came up the deer started standing and feeding, first the does, then the spike, and finally the entire group of bachelor bucks were on their feet feeding.  They were 600-yards away but at least they were in the same field I was.  The does started moving much quicker and were making there way right to me.  As I watched in amazement the group of does and spike fed across the field and exited the field right on the path I was hoping for, only 50-yards from my setup.  This was a huge confidence builder knowing that I was camouflaged in well and my scent control was perfect because they strolled right by without ever noticing me filming their every move.

Two hours later, the bucks were still milling around and looked as if they were going to leave the field on the opposite side.  I was heartbroken and actually shut my camera off for a while thinking they were gone.  After waiting another 15-minutes I saw one of the bucks heading my direction.  The next thing I knew the entire group was on the same path of the does and my heart was pounding!

I fired the camera back up and watched as they came closer and closer.  My only saving grace was the fact that I was trying to film on my own as well so I had something to keep my mind occupied and the nerves somewhat contained.  When they hit that hundred-yard marker I could hardly keep my hands steady.  Now I was trying to decide how I would setup the camera for the shot.  I decided to commit to the path he does have crossed and positioned my camera on this opening.  Two bucks came through and I was shaking so bad I couldn’t even range the exact distance.   I remembered the does had come through at 50-yards and the bucks looked to be coming through around the same distance. As the first couple bucks passed I got to full draw and waited for the big guy to step up.  He stayed back behind the others but still inside my shooting lane.  With my camera pointed right on the opening I decided it was now or never.  I squeezed my release and watched as my arrow sailed right to him.  He took off the opposite direction and I spun the camera over and actually got him piling up right in the field in front of me.

After all the hunts I have done, this was probably on of the most rewarding hunts ever. I scouted this buck, patterned him, and ultimately stuck with it when others would have given up.  In the end it was the persistence, dedication and patience that allowed me to harvest this beautiful buck of a lifetime.

 

  • http://areellady.blogspot.com/ A Reel Lady

    Beautiful muley! The footage is great! Love you "go-get'em" attitude. The spot and stalk is a true testament to your abilities!

  • http://hotmail.com Brian Shrives

    Nice buck you need to come out fo Oregon and thin out some of our blacktail and muleys…………….

  • http://wildblue.net paul m

    pink strings? you shoot like a girl! Great hunt and congrats, I live up in Montana and I know that up here every way you hunt, it's uphill. Way to go! and pass your story on to more women.

    • PRANEE

      WHAT'S WRONG WITH PINK STRINGS? I LOVE IT ..DEER CAN'T SEE COLORS, SO WHAT DOES IT MATTER? HE 'S DOWN AIN'T HE?

  • Norm

    Way to go awsome mulley

  • Ben O'Brien

    Awesome stuff. Great video and photos!

  • http://www.in-fisherman.com Jeff Simpson

    Great everything.

  • TODD KIRCUS

    ENJOYED VIDEO,AWESOME! KEEP IT GOING.THOSE BLUE EYES ARE BEAUTIFUL…

  • http://4773N.StreamPl.MeridianIdaho83646 Don Weaver

    Beatuful mule deer I also have some very nice mule deer . one 6+6 and his that is 6+7. They both have 4 inch double eye gards. Your hard work paid off Oh buy the way they are Dad and Sun deer..How do I know they cam off of the same MT. AND HAVE THE SAME ANTELERS ,ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THE DAD HAS A GRAY FACE

  • Duke

    Looks like u was guided. It was not a do it urself hunt cause I know the outfitter u was using. Dont know why u to lie to your readers. But great buck anyways. An heard u was hunting elk too not even with a legal guide or outfitter on state land u can get in alot of trouble doing that.

    • http://www.MelissaBachman.com Melissa Bachman

      It's unfortunate I can hunt hard for 11-days and still have a few people out there who are jealous and want to cut you down. I was hunting private ground on a self-guided hunt. I hung my own stands, scouted hard, and put in a ton of hours to arrow a beautiful buck.

    • Guest

      Dude you have problems Duke!!

  • TODD

    Dont let people like him bother You.You are an Awesome Outdoorsman! Keep doing what your doing! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • MJ

    There's a truck in the background not 200 yards behind you… On a side note nice buck, at 50yds that arrow had 1 hell of an arc.

  • Alan VanDenBerg

    I grew up and probably hunted the same ranch you shot your buck on, I have a Boone and Crockett buck that hangs on the local sporting goods store wall ( Gardenswartz ) and I have a Pope and Young buck also all shot in the Durango area, there are some of the best genetics ever in these Mule Deer, We always called these ranch bucks Alfalfa Bucks because they hung around the alfalfa fields all summer, the really big bucks are the timberline bucks you find in the high country, harder to hunt but worth the sweat.

  • Cleatus

    I like the video but it always makes me laugh when the hunter in a picture is so far in the background that they can't even touch the head of the animal just to make the rack APEAR bigger

    • Harry

      I guide Wyoming hunters and I know that is a big buck by any standard! Doesn't matter where Melissa is sitting when that picture was taken, it is still a dandy buck. Look at her video again and watch when she is holding the rack. Great buck! Great hunt Melissa!

  • PRANEE

    HI MELISSA, AWESOME DEER THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL BOW ,I LOVE IT ,AND I HAVE ONE JUST LIKE IT. I BELIEVED YOU HUNT HARD AND YOU DESERVE THAT BUCK . DON'T LISTEN TO THAT DUDE NAME 'DUKE' THAT BITCH IS JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE YOU GOT A BUCK BIGGER THAN HIM . WISH I CAN COME HUNT WITH YOU YOU MAKE US WOMEN FOLKS LOOK GOOD.. US WOMEN CAN DO MORE THINGS THAN THE GUYS GIVE US CREDIT FOR.I ADMIRE OTHER WOMEN HUNTERS THAT LOVE TO HUNT AS MUCH AS I DO .I HUNT BY MY SELF A LOT JUST LIKE YOU. I HAVE A GREAT PASSION FOR HUNTING. .AND I WILL ALWAYS HUNT THE REST OF MY LIFE .I 'M A BETTER HUNTER AND HAVE GOTTEN BIGGER BUCKS THAN A LOT OF GUYS AT THE HUNTING CLUB. KEEP ON HUNTING …..I HOPE YOU GET A BIGGER ONE NEXT TIME….YOU GO GIRL…THAT'S AWESOME HUNTING…..

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