Today I am excited to share with you an awesome buck taken by John Harding of Panguitch, Utah. John is a great friend of mine that I have known and worked with for years on the fire line. Every year he tells me of his favorite spot to hunt and invites me to join along. I have a hard time giving up on my favorite spots to go somewhere new...looks like this year I should have taken him up on the offer!
John tells us "I headed back into my favorite spot that I had been hunting for a few days. The hunt had been a tough one, really hot and dry weather, and not a lot of deer moving around." During the morning hunt John got a glance of a really big buck, with some other decent bucks in the group. They moved through cover quickly and he had no opportunity to get a shot off with his muzzleloader.
John returned to his hunting hole that evening in hopes of finding the big buck, or one of the others with him. John continues, "as I arrived to where I had seen the bucks, it started to rain. I found a tree from where I could see the area, and decided to wait out the rain under it and give the deer a chance to come out. While I was sitting under the tree I was nearly stepped on by a doe!" As John watched the deer move by he looked up and spotted one of the bucks walking towards him. It was, as John put it "my second choice buck in the group." The buck continued to approach 30 yards...easing closer...now at 25 yards. The buck stopped and stared at John straight on. The only shot John had was a neck shot...fairly difficult with a muzzleloader. John raised the old smoke pole and fired, dropping the buck in his tracks.
John's buck was a beauty...26 inches wide, a 4 X 4 with a little kicker on his right side. And for John, the reward of years dedicated to never giving up on his favorite hunting hole! Way to go buddy!
Now the work began...a mile-and-a-half pack out, with the help of his friend Mike Johnson. A really neat side note to this part of the story, as they were working on packing the deer out, another hunter from California, an officer for the LAPD, offered and assisted John and Mike in hauling the deer out! Now that's what it's all about right there. John is having the buck European mounted by Russell Bulkley Taxidermy, Panguitch Utah.
Congratulations John! We hope you have more big bucks to submit to us in the future!