Saturday morning, our last chance as we had to drive the 3.5 hours home, and then ~15 hours to Tucson on Sunday. FireTiger said she was done passing, she was going to fill her tag if given the chance
The morning started right off with action. Finally! We had 2, then 3 does work through in front of us. So much for not passing! They went back and forth a couple of times. Then a button buck came through and essentially circled us.
Awhile after that little guy left, another one worked right in front of us. He dropped into the ditch and was pawing around when he jumped. I saw the form coming from our left, on the low trail.
Big Hank was back.
Ok, now that's confusing because our dog is Hank, but Randy calls the big deer Big Hank, thanks a lot...
Anyway, it was a big, mature buck. Lots of tines, well outside his ears. I'm not certain which one it was, but it looked an awful lot like the mystery shot buck from the weekend before. It definitely wasn't the giant, but this was exactly what she was looking for. Could we have a repeat?
He was just out of range, so when he passed behind the olive, I hit him with the snortwheeze. That got his attention, and he moved to thrash a bush. FireTiger drew, but it was too soon. He was still at 42 yards and the angle wasn't right. I told her to let down. There may have been some marital strife over the next few minutes. The buck saw movement. He locked on to us and walked straight at us until he was standing at the bottom of the ditch at 26 yards. We can only see his head and antlers. There's still no shot and FireTiger tries to draw again but struggles, meanwhile I am arguing to stay calm and wait for the right angle.
It was a good staredown but the buck obviously did not see another buck. He lost interest and trotted off down the creek. Damn!
A few minutes later, I caught movement in that direction but on the edge on the bottom. It was him! ~80 yards out, he was coming in for a look on our backside. We'd screwed this up the weekend prior and had a plan for where to sit this time. As he passed behind cover, we shuffled and got ready. She was in position and I had the rangefinder ready.
WHAM, he hit our scent cone and was outta there! We knew it wasn't in our favor, but you never know when one will do something dumb like the weekend prior.
Meanwhile, perhaps the reason he had turned around, a young doe had walked out behind ( what was usually in front of ) us. She stood there head down perfectly broadside at 12 yards. FireTiger decided this perfect shot opportunity was not one to pass up, and took her first deer with her bow.
We were able to make the drive home and get her packaged ( sans burger ) before dinner time, making the next day's drive just a little bit less stressful.
Well, I guess that puts a wrap on 2019. After traveling for work last week, I decided I should do some household things this past weekend. Next weekend we head back to her parent's house, and that will take us to the end of the year.
This was the first year where I really felt uncomfortable doing mostly weekend hunts and not having the same tag as my wife. I felt rushed and like I wasn't getting as much enjoyment out of several of our hunts this year. I would have liked to have spent more time hunting mule deer, but my vacation allocation made me feel like I needed to save vacation for other hunts.