Recovery Buck

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
I just got back from my NM deer hunt and filled my tag HT style. Opening morning. Public land.

I had a heart attack in Mar. and am lucky to be here. It's been hard on this 60 yr old active my whole life, outdoorsman. But little steps have helped.

I drew a unit Randy is familiar with and I met him this year when he was out hunting antelope locally in NM. He brought me a used pack to buy and it got put to the test.
Got to camp day before hunt and my buddy who drew the tag had left his trailer and had set up a spike camp higher to hunt.He is a trophy mule deer guy with 7 30" + bucks to his credit.Older than me and another AZ buddy of his came to help spot and pack.
I figured they would be going like they usually do,full effort.
Didn't want to slow them down so I decided I would hunt just like I normally do solo. I did a simple BF end run around a big private ranch from camp 2 mi,then into the state/public lands behind. I was camped just off the continental divide and walked out over open grasslands on BLM in the dark and got to the first pinion and juniper trees as the sun camp up behind me.I had only gone a half mile towards my goal,a bench above me to the north.
I saw a herd of 30 antelope south of me in the plains and started glassing the edges of the treelines.I instantly spotted 2 nice bulls coming down off the top of the divide and head into the trees. Just above them a few does were in the pinions.
I noticed the trees were loaded with nuts and started snacking as I filled a pocket. The critters would be in here thick for the mast and a winter fat coat. I also started seeing the 1st deer tracks and sign. Got right on the divide saddle and to a big pinion that was almost brown from cones.I stopped and sampled some and had just moved in front of it and the in the open draw before me walked a buck , 120 yrds away.....
I had hiking sticks lashed to my wrists and a mouth full of pine nuts and I slowly sat down right there took the sticks off and pulled up my binos. Nice big healthy young 4x4.
Now I have passed on bucks since moving to NM 6 yrs ago. Too small.
But I also had decided the night before laying in my bag that I should hunt smart for meat and what I was capable off in not my best shape.I had lost alot of muscle mass during my heart incident recovery.
So I pulled up my rifle and sighted in just behind the shoulder and hoped he would stop as he still didn't know I was there.He did and just as I pulled the trigger he did the head duck to scratch at something and I saw dirt fly up over his back. I worked the bolt and he looked right at me then turned still walking slowly back up towards trees and cover. He stopped right in front of the trees broadside and looked again at me.
Bang,and when I look again I see legs sticking up. 8:20 am,opening morning,public land buck down. I hit his antler tip when he ducked his head the 1st shot.He is a nice healthy young meat buck and just what the Dr ordered. Now the work starts.
I take him apart in the shade of the trees and start the first load to where I can get the truck too. The 2nd load is under a tree now and I go get my truck and by the time I'm back in camp it's 1:30pm with hide, head and all. I am totally spent. I stay the night and decide to head home before the blizzard hits.
On the way out I stop down the road were a fellow hunter is working on a buck he had taken that morning. He shows me the beautiful big 29" 4x4 with 4" eyeguards,very nice buck. We chat, I tell him of mine from previous morn. We compare scouting notes and he had gone to MY bench I never made it to,from the north 1 mi and a quad ride out. He was more impressed with my feat than his and we traded info for future hunts. Him and his brothers filled 3 bull tags there this year on the MZ hunt and with all the elk I saw it's a no brainer for next years draw for elk and deer.
Trying to load pics,says I need a security code? Never did before?
 
Last edited:

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,965
Location
Wichita
Congratulations on your recovery buck. Wiser, smarter, better than before.


Security code=picture size too large. Need to resize to post.
 

nuevo_eph

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
442
Location
Socorro, NM
Nice job Hank, way to hunt to smart and successfully.

How open was the area you are in? What you wrote made me picture something fairly open but with pinon and juniper sprinkled throughout, which would be a blast to hunt.
 

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
Ephram,
It was wide open where I camped and one side of a mtn.,but the rest was mostly pinions and grass draws. Some juniper. Nice open places to glass.Pockets of oaks too.
The buck was headed for the classic bed tree. Nice deer and elk country. Long walk ,mostly easy ,til you hit a lava rock field.
Being pc dummy,I'm having hard time resizing pics......don't want to get too frustrated...lol.

Was going to contact you about a tour....
 

Bugle 'Em In

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2011
Messages
774
Location
Great State of Montana!
Posting these for Hank. *I was not on the hunt, just a fellow HT'r helping post, nothing more:
 

Attachments

  • 122 (1)_resized.jpg
    122 (1)_resized.jpg
    234.2 KB · Views: 279
  • 118 (1)_resized.jpg
    118 (1)_resized.jpg
    165.2 KB · Views: 275
  • 127 (1)_resized.jpg
    127 (1)_resized.jpg
    142.3 KB · Views: 275

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
Thanks Seth!
Like I said just a young buck,but a decent one.
Had to show Randy I got his pack dirtier than received and I made good on the bigger RMEF sticker & HT ....just to bug the local welfare ranchers and outfitters.........lol.
 

nuevo_eph

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
442
Location
Socorro, NM
Ephram,
It was wide open where I camped and one side of a mtn.,but the rest was mostly pinions and grass draws. Some juniper. Nice open places to glass.Pockets of oaks too.
The buck was headed for the classic bed tree. Nice deer and elk country. Long walk ,mostly easy ,til you hit a lava rock field.
Being pc dummy,I'm having hard time resizing pics......don't want to get too frustrated...lol.

Was going to contact you about a tour....

That sounds perfect - my favorite part is glassing and that terrain would get me excited to cozy up to my 15x56s for a while. I'll PM you my email for a tour. The VLA is in tight and nice to see.
 

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
I use my 15x50's all the time ,pretty much, out here.
Tripod for long time glassing. Spotter is in the truck.
The Leki hiking poles were a lifesaver and as much as I hate the noise/hassle they are staying in the rig....
 
SITKA Gear

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
94,494
Messages
1,408,058
Members
29,642
Latest member
gunstar
Top