Big "HAUS" down!


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So it all started when I drew out on the general non resident archery tag early in the year. Turns out it would be the only tag I drew. Soon as I found out a tag was coming with my name on it I started shooting my Mathews Switchback every night and preparing for the August opener. I had only lived in Utah for a short time and was very unfamiliar with areas and where to begin. I met some very friendly hunters that were eager to point me in a general direction as well as the few who didn't. Most pointed me in the direction of the Front. The Wasatch is a big range and has every kind of terrain imaginable so I just started my scouting near Alta and moved north one or two canyons per trip. I love the High Country and made the hikes to the tops on a regular basis but never did see the number or quality of deer that the Wasatch has produced in the past. After weeks of scouting I had failed to turn up anything with potential. I packed in on the day before the opener to over 10k feet. I set camp and started glassing. First animals to come through my Swarovskis was 3 moose and one being a monster bull. I watched him till dark in awe at there size. Next morning I wake up before light and hike to my predetermined vantage point. As the sun came up I found several groups of deer but none that were worth packing out from there. It was a good thing that there was nothing to go after because an hour after light, the convoy of hunters showed up and there was two guys on every ridge. I packed up my camp and headed out frustrated with not only the number of hunters but with there obvious ignorance to hunting with a bow. I watch two separate guys go after a small 3 point with stalks that were fit for rifle season. I decided to give it a few weeks to let the weekend warriors realize how hard it was and decide to stay home. I planed my next trip out on a Thursday night. My brother in law Chad, who has caught the hunting fever asked if he could come along on the evening scouting trip and I was glad to have the company. Keep in mind that this is his first true experience out searching for and finding mule deer. As we arrive at the bottom of the canyon and begin glassing I almost immediately find "HAUS". He is 3/4 of a mile away but in an instant I can tell that he was a shooter. He was laying in tall grass and all you could see was this tall rack. I pulled my spotting scope from my pack and focused in on him. I helped Chad find the bucks location and then let him look through the scope. I then realized that this was quite possibly the first buck he had ever seen in a hunting situation and quickly explained to him that this wasn't your every day buck. Most people go years without seeing something like this and a few never will. We watch him till dark since there was no way to get on him that evening. I struggled with my camera and then made the decision to start shopping for digiscoping device. I spent that night tossing and turning because I was thinking of scenarios that could be involved on the stalk that I hoped would come the next morning. Chad had to work so I headed out bright and early the next morning and was back where I had last seen Haus the night before. He had moved across the basin that night and was in a much closer and more stalkable location. Haus had joined up with one other buck. This buck was also a shooter. He was only about 22 inch's wide and a 2 point on his left side but was carrying 9 points on his right. Very unique buck for sure. I bedded the bucks and waited for the wind to get steady and strong. The bucks bedded in a place that was perfect for a good sneak. After a 4 hour stalk I was in the trees and only 60 yards from where the bucks were resting. I settled in and prepared to wait for them to get up. About an hour after I settled in I felt the wind go from steadily in my face to the back of my neck. I heard a deer blow and the unmistakable sound of a deer rapidly leaving his bed. This is where I made my first mistake. I stood up and steped around the tree I was behind and scanned the hillside for the bucks. I could see the smaller buck working his way over the saddle but there was no sign of Haus. As I stood there I lowered my Swaros and realized Haus was still in his bed but very alert to the fact I was there. This is where I made my second mistake. I rapidly started scrambling for my rangefinder and got a range. 48 yards. Then I stood there and tried to draw my bow. I did all of this like a kid in a car on his way to Chucky Cheese. The buck was up and gone before I even got the bow back. I stood there watching him slowly climbing the hill and enjoying the fact that I was getting this close of a look at a great buck. That enjoyment quickly turned to disgust when I realized the mistakes I made. Most hunters have had this feeling at some point. I had a long walk out in the dark to play it all over and over again in my head. Next few days out I either couldn't find Haus and 2x9 or they bedded in impossible places to make a stalk. The 5th day out turned out to be a day of extreme highs and lows. I started looking at daylight at my usual spot. I didn't see my usual bucks but there was a group of does and a small buck feeding in and out the trees. I watched them close and at 730 am I found a shooter buck. He was a large framed buck. I put my scope on him as he weaved through the trees and concluded he was a big 4x4 and had either one or two cheaters off his left G3. Soon as the sun hit him, his mouth was open and he was in a hurry to make his bed with the 2 point with him. They climbed the draw and bedded in a sparse group of trees only 30 yards from the ridge top. After getting up a few times to stretch and change beds they bedded again. I started my stalk with a good wind and also had the sun behind me on the stalk. This stalk went flawless. I had a little wind and also had a few planes fly over that covered my noise and allowed me to take steps that would have busted me under normal conditions. I made it a set of trees above the deer. I ranged the 2 point at 18 yards and the big fella at 21. I waited for them to stand up 3 hours later. The big guy turned and quartered away from me. I drew my bow and watched the arrow enter the body just behind the rib cage at mid body. The buck hit the ground and began pulling himself down hill with only his front legs. He appeared to be paralyzed in his hind legs. he made a few tumbles through tall sage as he headed down the steep hill. He dropped into the draw where I couldn't see him for a few seconds. I spotted him again about 100 yards away and he was walking! I backed out and decided to leave him for the night to let him lay down and not push him farther. I thought for sure that he was hit hard and wouldn't go another 100 yards. Next morning I was there at daylight and went to the last place I seen him fall. There was blood and marble sized chunks of fat where he was on his back. Soon as he was upright the blood would disappear. I search on hands and knees for blood and found none! I search brush at body level...nothing! I was amazed and in shock. I tried following his tracks and it was a good trail until he stood up and walked away slowly. In that area it was a sand and gravel mix and wasn't leaving any sign of tracks. I spent the next 2 and a half days searching for any sign of this buck over 22 hours. I tried everything in the book but no luck. On the third morning I returned to look for birds or yotes to give his location away. As I glassed from a ridge top I put my eyes on a few deer and one of them was Haus! Again I watched him bed down. He was in a great place for a stalk but I wasn't done looking for the buck I hit three days before. I spent the next several hours moving from ridge top to ridge top looking for any sign of predators. Nothing was moving at 4pm and 85 deg heat. I conceded that I had lost him. As I packed back to the truck I decided to see if Haus was still in his bed and he was. At 530 I started after him and at 6pm I was within 100 yards and the next 70 yards took me an hour and a half. 730 pm and It was getting dark quick. He finally stood up and I ranged him at 28 yards and a 30 degree angle. I put my 20 pin a few inch's high and touched of the arrow. I never did see the arrow but the sound was unmistakable. Haus jumped and kicked. He ran 40 yards and began to slow. He hunched his back and started to slowly back up in circles. Seconds later he was on the ground and I was in shock! Haus was dead! It was an awesome feeling of accomplishment to hunt this buck for so many days and finally connect. It couldn't have been a better hunt for my first time in Utah other than losing a buck I shot for the first time. Haus is my biggest buck to date with a green score in the high 180s and an outside width of 32 1/2. Cant wait for next year!




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