t was the most snow I had seen in years. The drifts were so deep that access was limited. Despite all this, I was determined to go back to an area few people would attempt hunting in order to make my 2010 trip to Saskatchewan a success.
By Chris Maxwell
After walking for five miles I came to a hidden draw heavy with sign. Movement caught my eye right away; deer were everywhere. With this many does around and it being the tail end of the rut, I knew at least one mature buck would be dominating this harem. Then I spotted them: two bruisers. The pair had not survived to maturity by taking chances, and my presence soon scared them off.
The next day, thoughts of return- ing to the draw crossed my mind. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was where I was supposed to be. When I returned, a quick survey revealed no sign of the two bucks. Deciding to leave the rest of the herd alone, I resigned to leave once again.
I had not gone 30 yards when I dust and snow, well low of its spotted them bedded in the snow. An eternity seemed to pass before the bucks rose and one presented me with a clear, broadside shot at no more than 30 yards. The boom of my rifle filled the air, quickly followed by the sound of a tumbling bullet.
The next morning found me defeated. I had missed an easy shot opportunity and my confidence had been shattered. There was no option; I needed to find the buck again. Not knowing where else to start, I went back to the same draw.
It wasn’t long before I saw antlers sticking high out of the grass. I knew this was the same buck!
Although he was nearby, I had no shot, and I knew it. Suddenly he got up and decided it was time to move to the next ridge. I stalked him for hours; every time I thought I had gained a little ground the herd would move farther away. Finally, I was able to get in position and place the cross- hairs on the buck’s shoulders.
I squeezed the trigger … another miss!
Quickly, I chambered another round and squeezed the trigger a second time. The bullet kicked up dust and snow, well low of its mark.
The herd ran off, and I moved in to look for signs of blood. There were none, but I did find that I had been shooting from well over 500 yards!
The flat prairie, clear air and my zoomed in scope had deceived me into thinking I was shooting from much closer range.
At this point, I knew it was over. Trudging toward the truck, I was just about to cross over the last fence when I saw both bucks again!
Renewed optimism in hand, I slowly made my approach to the cover of a nearby rock pile. This time, I checked my scope against several landmarks to ensure I was well within range.
Again, I squeezed the trigger. Finally, I had him down.
When I reached him, I quickly realized the original ricochet had been the bullet striking both main beams! I had been looking at his antlers and not his chest when I had taken the shot.
I finally had my buck … and a valuable truth: persistence pays off!
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