That Buck, That Mountain...
"HE appears out from behind a juniper tree. A HUGE buck, to me for my first hunt, a trophy buck"
After a fairly uneventful, unsuccessful season of glassing and spotting deer I relied heavily on researching the lay of the land back at home via desktop. OnX Hunt has been a massively valuable resource in researching where to begin searching for hunting spots. I discovered a few solid looking watering holes and set waypoints, saved the maps offline just in case I had no cell phone signal. What's great about OnX Hunt is that you still get GPS accurate location even without cell phone service.
I sat this watering hole for the majority of Friday. That afternoon I saw about 20 javelina and they came within 15 yards of me. All around me they grazed and explored the watering hole. Bowing their heads to drink and wallow for a minute. A few of the boars got so close that I drew my Smith & Wesson m&p .45 just in case I get charged. Thankfully, they trot on by passively unaware of my presence. I was so bummed that I did not get a tag for one. Around 4:30-5 o'clock I started to give up hope for the day. All of a sudden, 3 deer made movement on the horizon of the closest ridge, "Finally!" I thought to myself. I watched them as they came west to east, fixated on something to the south that caught their attention. They sat for a moment and just stared at whatever it was, "come on! move this way!" I said in my head again.
They slowly disappeared to a small lull in the valley right before the watering hole that I was sitting at. Ten to fifteen minutes passed by, "Where did they go?" I wondered to myself. Movement again, maybe just 100 yards away. Here they came, finally some action! They filed into the watering hole one by one and I drew my bow, just in case there was a spike with them. I play out in my mind where they'll go, having already ranged specific points of the area. I feel more than ready for whatever is about to unfold. I see their silhouettes crest the bank of the watering hole. No bucks, disappointed yet relieved I’m at least seeing some activity. I watch them drink and play not even 60 yards from me. I go completely undetected as I very slowly grab my Vortex binoculars and watch them stroll up the opposite ridge, "Dang these things are crystal clear." I think to myself. They eventually disappear over a false summit on the opposite side of the watering hole from my position.
I wait until almost dark and then head out. As I’m walking back to my car I spot some movement in the same area above the false summit and decide to re-glass the group of 2 fawns and a doe that I encountered earlier. Low and behold there’s 15+ does moving very slowly west to east, grazing, playing, tending to their fawns. Then.. as if in a cliche dream, HE appears out from behind a juniper tree. A HUGE buck, to me for my first hunt, a trophy buck. Easily a 4 by 4 if not 5 by 5 with drop tines. "This buck is massive!" My heart started beating so hard I could hear it, even if I was half a mile away I couldn’t control my adrenaline pump. My mind began dangling the notion of scurrying across hastily to get after him but it was already too dark. I had to exercise patience in this moment and rethink a strategy to get after him in the morning. Tomorrow, that mountain, that buck, are mine.