Of course, the important part of October is the deer hunt. I love having a full-time job that gives me the benefits of taking time off. At SUU, October isn’t very busy for me at all since all of the students are in the computer labs, and I have all the software they need for the semester loaded and configured for them. It was great that SUU also put the Harvest Holiday back in the right time (during the hunt) so that was an extra day I got off anyway.
I was able to hunt most of the week with the family, and Mikki stayed to hunt that first weekend. Dad had to sell calves on the first day of the hunt, so we spent the day on Cole Bench, with no luck. Sunday night, we then went down to the Tommy cabin for the rest of the time I hunted. As with most years, we’d seen plenty of tracks and signs of deer being around, but it is pretty difficult to get in a position where we actually see the deer.
On the day I was able to get my deer, we started out as a group going on top of Horse Mountain (Dean, Dad, Ryan, Weston, David, and me). Our plan was to walk down the mountain toward the cabin, which would take all day and lots of miles to walk. We eventually got into some fresh tracks, and signs that we had jumped deer. I eventually got to a point where I followed some tracks and heard a deer bound away from me. I radioed the group and they followed my GPS to see where it was going. I was running as fast as I could with all my gear toward the sound of the bounding deer. I followed it for quite a while as it started east (away from everybody) and then turned north (toward the direction we started from) and eventually it ended up going in a circle back to almost where I jumped it in the first place.
We regrouped a bunch of us and made a plan for Dad to follow the track while a couple of us got on both sides of him. We ended up tracking the deer almost back to the road by the sand dunes near the cabin. It mixed in with a bunch of other tracks, so we ended up losing it. By that time it was around 4pm, and I finally took a break to eat my lunch by that time. Ryan had to take Weston back to Cedar that evening so before he left, he showed me a track to follow that looked fairly recent. Dad and Dean decided to go to the four-wheelers and drive some of the roads to look for tracks since they were pretty tired. David was taking his four-wheeler back to get his truck from where we left that morning.
I took my time following the track, since I was pretty tired. I took a couple of breaks, and it got to where there would maybe be another 45 minutes of sunlight left. I radioed Dad as I sat on the ground. I told him I’d follow the track for another 15 minutes before I turned back to the cabin and have him pick me up. I decided to take the 15 minutes at a pretty fast pace.
As I started walking again, I found that the track started making a half circle, which looked like the buck was getting to a place where it could look back on it’s tracks. It knew it was being followed for sure. I then found where it had done another half circle back, so I looked farther up the ridge, and there it was. It moved just a little bit, making it broad-side to me, and as soon as it stopped, I pulled the trigger. I knew I hit it, but couldn’t tell where. It ran to the top of the ridge, stumbled, and fell just about 30-40 feet from where I shot it. I finally got Dad on the radio and told him the good news so he could come help me. David was back by that time too, so they both made it out there to help me. I was way tired and glad that they came and helped.
I spent a few more days hunting with the group, and none of them had any luck in getting a buck. There were plenty of deer to chase around though, so we had a fun time.