September 09, 2022
By Caden Harris
After a summer of anticipation, August had finally come. My brother, Carson Harris and I both had Utah archery deer tags and had been counting down the days for the hunt to start. This would be our first-time archery hunting, and we had hopes of killing some great mule deer.
On opening morning, I found a group of muleys hanging out together. Though I tried making a stalk on them, it proved to be difficult because the only cover nearby was a three-foot sagebrush. As I stalked that first group of the morning, one of the bucks caught wind and they bolted at first glimpse. Caught off guard, but not discouraged, I kept hunting.
After a few more hours of glassing, I came across another group of Mule Deer. This time 25 bucks together, all mingling in the open sage. This time, I decided to army crawl. As I made my way through the sage, trying not to get caught by the other bucks, I peeked up. Now within 50 yards, I could see velvet tips above the horizon. Making a game plan of sneaking up closer, a smaller 4-point noticed something was not right and alerted the other bucks. Off they went again, never presenting a shot.
Thinking of what could have been done differently, I quickly made a game plan of how to stalk better in the thin sage. Hoping next time, the bucks would not see me. Getting back on the glass for what seemed like hours, picking apart the country, I was able to find the buck again. This time, I felt much more confident. After crawling through the brush, I was able to get in position. As I stood up and drew back, the buck alerted and was on his feet at just 40 yards.
I was able to settle the pin just before the buck was about to bolt and make a clean release. “That’s a hit!” I yelled. Following the blood trail and after seeing the size of this buck I was truly in awe. The deer of a lifetime. Scoring 212 inches, my first buck with a bow was a true monster.
After I tagged and field dressed my buck, the hunt wasn’t over. Now my brother Carson was up to bat, and I wanted to help him fill his tag. Throughout the summer, Carson had been watching a buck he called “the cheater buck.” A couple of days before the opener the cheater buck had disappeared and could not be found. After hours and hours of looking through glass, the cheater buck was lost. Carson felt as if he had wasted all of his preseason scouting.
He was discouraged, but Carson decided he wanted to find another buck. Carson and I glassed up a mule deer on a far hillside and he decided to make a stalk. He crawled on his hands and knees with his bow on his back, making his way towards the buck. A beautiful, tall, symmetrical 4-point buck. I radioed into Carson, helping to guide him along the way while he continued to get closer. Finally, he got to a place where he could not get any closer. Carson waited patiently in the dirt for an hour, anticipating for the buck to stand. Minutes felt like hours as he peered over the brush—seeing just the tips of the buck's antlers. Finally, the buck stood up to change beds to get out of the hot sun. Carson stood up, drew his bow, and placed a perfect arrow sealing the deal at a 191-inch mule deer! Carson came over the radio, “Smoked Him!!”
Two Brothers, 400 inches, both first-time archery hunters! Truly a hunt they will never forget. Nothing is better than making cherished memories in God’s country with family and friends.
Huge thanks to Steve, Kyler, and Dawson from Mossback Outfitters for the memories we always create.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.