Jim came and picked me up and I notified Jesse what had happened. I could tell he was also disappointed for me as well, since this was our last day. But he gave me some very sound advice to lift my spirits. He said we still have that Muley buck in our back pocket that we can go after tonight. Run into town to the Yellowstone Archery Shop and get yourself a 5 pin fixed sight and go back to the lodge and get that thing dialed in and I’ll pick you up at 5:30pm.
I learned years ago ALWAYS to listen to the outfitter and I did just that. Jim and I spent the next 2 hours getting my bow set up for one last hurrah. As Jesse and I headed out that evening, he shared with my how much more different hunting Montana is compared to back home in the Midwest where you typically have set shooting lanes and distance markers FROM A preset stand. Out here a deer or elk can change from 50 yards to 15 in a matter of a few seconds.
I felt confident with my new set up going into the last hunt. Jesse and I posted up in a dried up drainage ditch in between the upper foothills where the Muleys like to bed during the day and the green fields below. Jesse and I glassed the hills above and spotted the big dog- a beautiful 6 point buck sitting with a couple does way above us. Jesse told me even though he is only a 6 pointer, this one is a trophy! I was starting to get excited. And just as if Jesse had rung the dinner bell the big boy and his gals started to make their way down the hill. Now the only question was, would they cross our ditch within 30 – 40 yards on either side of where we were set up. I said a little prayer to the Lord above that I would get my redemption shot.
At this point Jesse was set up on the other side of the creek bottom from me so he could have a better vantage point as they made their way down the hillside. I was tucked into a small bush so my profile wouldn’t stand out when they crossed. It seemed like an eternity as Jesse would update me from time to time. Finally, he said here they come and wouldn’t you know it, they were going to cross exactly where we had hoped they would. Jesse said he is the second one in, let the first one go…. And just like that I had a monster Mule deer buck standing 30 yards away! My heart was pumping as I drew my bow back. I took aim and letter rip. It felt like slow motion in my mind as I heard the twang of the bow string go and then just like that, I heard the “Thunk” of my arrow hitting home on the mighty beast!
The buck turned and ran back the way he came, then he stopped… and fell over. But wait, he got back up. And then down he went again. He tried to get up one more time before he lay down for what would be his final rest. What a thrill!!!
I couldn’t thank Jesse enough as we high fived! He came through for me when the game was on the line and I made the most of a memorable and learning experience that I won’t soon forget. I’ve come to learn that it doesn’t matter how old you are, or how much you know about the sport of hunting. You can never learn enough or be too proud to try something new.