High Country Mule Deer.Posted Fri, 12/10/2010 Written by Lane Myers
I have hunted with R & K Hunting for years. I mainly hunted late season hunts. This year I drew a late season Elk tag on one of their ranches in Montana, so naturally that became my focus. Then an opportunity came along to participate in an early season High Country, Velvet Mule Deer Hunt. With enough time separating the two hunts I could focus on both.
An exciting advantage for this hunt was it started September 1st and allowed hunting a Velvet deer with a rifle. The hunting crew included me, my son Tyler and my son-in-law Mike Balls, paired up with guides Jeremy Christensen and Zach Morris. Our guides had hunted this ground their whole lives and new it killer. They had planned to hike in to an optimal spot called Red Rock where they had been seeing a nice buck. Unfortunately, no one had ever hunted this area Early Season and with all the leaves still on the trees we couldn’t see 15 feet in front of us. So we went to plan B. We went to an area nearby called The Chutes. Over the next couple of days we saw some nice deer crossing through the Chutes out of pines but due to the distance we were glassing and the amount of time it took to get into position we were never able to get a shot.
I had some commitments at home that didn’t allow me to hunt the fourth day of my five day hunt but was able to make it back to the camp for day five, my last day. Daniel Richins with R&K had got his Client a small 34” 207 gross Typical, LOL. Daniel made a plan to take us to an area he had success 5 years earlier. Daniel, Tyler and I started hiking about an hour before light to get into position of a good glassing area. We arrived at the bottom of a beautiful bowl with a bunch of different chutes in it lined with pine trees and boulders. We didn’t see anything but a small buck for the better part of the morning and hopes were wearing thin. Just as we were starting to pack up the tripods and spotting scopes, Tyler spotted 6 bucks funneling over the top of the bowl into the pines. One was a shooter as I tried to get set up as the deer were moving across the hill on a downward angle about to step into my window, all of the sudden they stopped(almost as if they knew)and doubled back to head into the thick timber to bed down for the day. It was about 10:00 and I Felt I missed my opportunity, we were just about to try and sneak up the mountain and see if we could see them with a different angle. When we spotted him again working towards another clearing and hoped it wouldn’t bed and keep walking to the only small clearing we could see. If he cooperated I knew I would only have one chance to make this happen. I felt pressure and nerves getting to me that I typically don’t have issues with. Daniel kept reading the range for me and even reached down and kept changing my turret knowing I was getting a little restless. I finally got settled in and a good rest with our yardage at 450 yards. It seemed like forever waiting for him to make his way to across to hillside. We had him feeding behind the last pine before the small clearing, he finally stepped out I took my one and only shot and it hit its mark, he tumbled down the steep Chute probably close 75 Yards. We know he was finished and started our hike up to the clearing at 10,032’. As we hiked to him I had never felt anticipation like this I was hoping for zero ground shrinkage (as we all do) I had never really got a good look at him just enough to see he was nice but didn’t know what he had, I was relying on Daniel and Tyler telling me he was a for sure shooter. As I Finally made it to him needless to say I was more than pleased and was actually bigger than I thought. He ended up scoring 183 gross typical.
This was one of the most enjoyable rewarding hunts I can remember. To pull it off on the last day which I very rarely have the patience to do made me even happier. We called to Jeremy & Zach who hiked up to help quarter and pack him out. It was a great hunt and I already have a velvet high country hunt booked for next year “I’m hooked for life.”