Gone For broke!

By Ryan Bailey

December 31, 2018

We planned a 2 day DIY Public Land hunt in a place we knew nothing about.... with two days to hunt we knew we would need to bust our asses to make this work and no matter what I was going to bring home a mule deer. I had it set in my mind that I needed to shoot a muley bigger than the one I found during our antelope hunt. If I could not find said buck I was going to shoot a doe.This season we have gone home with unfilled antelope and elk tags and I was not going to add a mule deer tag into that pile.

Friday night we embarked on a 6hr drive across the State to go for our long-waited KS mule deer hunt. With limited time we created a plan that seemed ballsy but we thought It was possible. We arrived to a campground and got set up by 3am. We settled in for a few hours of sleep and patiently awaited the next morning. A day that most people would of called us crazy for...woke up on 3hrs of sleep and we hit the road, the morning winds were chilling and could cut like a knife, and this was only the beginning. If it came from the sky we hunted in it (except sunshine). Rain, snow, sleet, blistering winds and the kind of weather that hurts your face. Had it not been for Sitka Gear we would of been heading back to sit in the truck to figure out where to hunt the following day. Wind, Rain and snow although annoying were no match for the performance of our gear. We remained dry and warm (For most of the day....gear can only repel so much water in a day) and this boosted our confidence enough to keep pushing.

About an hour before this all went down, we had a solid buck at 300yds but due to the wind I did not feel comfortable shooting across the cooley. As we tried to get closer we completely screwed up and spooked him into who-knows-where. Shortly after this we found a group of does close by and felt we should stay in the area to see if we could make the best of our day. As we were walking back we stood still just talking and appreciating how truly lucky we were to spend the day in such a magnificent place. Hardly a moment passed and I saw a deer walking over the hill and after seeing it had head gear I knew I was going to take a chance at a shot.

After momentarily losing the buck I quickly laid down and set up in literally the worst place ever, a pit of mud and a yucca plant. I practiced my breathing and ranged him at 200yds... the first shot was right on the money and he ran up the hill... knowing I hit him but, still on his feet I shot a second time which I miss-ranged him and missed, I adjusted for 300yards and dropped him where he stood. Completely unaware of how big he was I was simply relieved that my lottery tag was not going to waste. As we approached his final resting place he continued to grow... this was without a doubt the once in a lifetime buck that people dream of, especially for a first mule deer. This experience would not have been possible without quality gear, determination and hard work.... We beat the elements, we crushed the odds, we set out on a mission to find a deer in 20 hours in an unknown place and above all WE DID IT!!!! It is an absolutely incredible feeling where all of our hard work has paid off.

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