the Last Day…
As we approached Jeff’s last day Arizona Strip Mule Deer, I couldn’t help but feel anxiety. Jeff was a very accomplished mule deer hunter. He had taken well over 30+ trophy mule deer, from Mexico to Wyoming. I had yet to see the buck as he was buried in the cliff rose, so I had no idea how big he was…
The cliff rose was tall and the rutting deer were scattered. As a guide, you have to read people and you have to quickly analyze what skills the hunter has. I knew it was going to be quick, so as the buck trotted out, I called to him and he stopped. Jeff, being as handy as they come with a rifle, made a quick decision and the buck jumped lunging forward.
As we walked toward the buck’s last location, we could see Jeff’s Arizona Strip Mule Deer Buck was down.
Lee quickly got to our location and then Jeff made a statement that I will never forget:
“I have never seen guides work together like you guys. You guys never gave up.” Jeff Vaughn
As the Arizona Strip Mule Deer Hunts were winding down, hunters and other outfitters started to pull out. Unit 13A was a tough hunt, with very FEW 200″ bucks found prior to the hunt, most guides knew it was going to be hard to kill a 200″ mule deer and to top it off, a big winter storm was set to arrive on the last day.
Lee, Pat, Jeff & I were all committed to seeing Jeff’s hunt to the very end.
10 days of scouting…
I arrived in Unit 13A a full 10 days prior to the hunt start date. My goal was to pound as much country as possible and to not waste any time during my Arizona Strip Scouting efforts. I was able to find multiple different groups of does and a few decent bucks. The rut wasn’t quite turned on, but we knew the bucks would start moving soon.
Lee & I often talk about why we like the general hunts on the Arizona Strip better than the archery hunts and quite frankly, it’s because you can’t just rely on trail cameras. You have to actually have some mule deer hunting skills. You have to be willing to not see deer for days and then get up and do it all over again.
Passing on a number of Arizona Strip Mule Deer…
We saw and passed on a number of Arizona Strip Bucks. We literally hunted ALL day, every day. We flat pounded the country and over that time period the EPO camp grew very close. We became a small hunting family, which had a lot of fun, worked our asses off and we got a big last day strip buck on the ground!
If you get a chance, check-out Jeff’s Arizona Mule Deer Hunt on film: 20days