I was able to join and help good friends Travis and Becky Massey this year on the general rifle mule deer hunt in northern Arizona. Two weeks prior to the hunt we were able to get out and locate a buck we knew we would be interested in wrapping Travis’s tag around opening day. The buck would show his face at last light for 3 times in the trips we made to glass for him. But opening morning he would not, in fact the amount of hunters in the country had us feared he was either bumped out or laying low. That after noon in the heat of the day I finally glassed him up feeding atop of the mountain where he had been previously. He fed for a few minutes and then bedded back down, the race was on. Me and Travis took off on a “sweat fest” as we called it. We had a lot of ground to cover and 90% of it was steep slopes covered in oak brush. When we hit the top and caught our breath we knew it was going to happen fast with the sun disappearing quickly. I was able to glass the buck bedded at 280 yards so we set up for the shot off my triclawps shooting rest. The buck stood and Travis made the best of it putting him down for good! We could never tell in the days scouting for him how good he was but we knew he was bladed and possibly had some extras. We watched the buck from about 3 miles away and it made it almost impossible to see how awesome of a buck he actually was. Walking up to him it was all high fives and smiles looking at the character this buck had making him Travis’s largest buck to date.
Seeing the extras in the sticking out of the grass it was all I could do not to get nervous, I told Travis, ” Don’t Look at his horns, when he stand shoot him!”
After Travis’s buck my wife Brittany got her chance at an Arizona black bear that she had been patiently waiting for. Year after year we attempt a couple trips to glass for bears for her and while we see them we have yet to find the one or have a great opportunity at one. The second evening of the hunt glassing for deer I was able to glass this bear up feeding in the prickly pears. Brittany looked at me and said she wanted to try and hunt him in the morning so we began to make a plan at camp that night. Good friend Todd Shavers was in camp when we got back and told us he could help glass for us in the morning along with his daughter Becca. The morning came with no sightings of the bear for an hour until he popped up walking the cedars country above the canyon he had previously been in. After bedding the bear we started the grueling hike up into the canyon, to wait all day till he would get up. We tried several attempts to get him up but he only stood up once and then laid back down. It was a long day sitting there in the sun but once it was over the memories we got to make and the story we have is awesome for a weekend in the woods. Enjoy the video!
Good luck on the upcoming elk hunts!