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Successful Mule Deer Hunt with Family: Nothing Better!

2017 was a really exciting year. I was blessed to be able to do what I love spending time outdoors, hunting, fishing, and hiking. When spending time in the outdoors you have an opportunity to create many awesome memories and experiences. I would like to share one with you that I had this year while hunting Mule Deer in Salmon, Idaho.

A few days before, my father-in-law and I were preparing for this amazing hunt. We discussed some options of where we could go, what we would need to bring, and how long we wanted to spend. After talking with him the excitement grew immensely, and I could barely stand the wait. The day after we talked about the hunt, I was at work and I hurt my back. The pain was so much that it was hard to move. I couldn’t believe that I hurt my back just days before the big deer hunt. I called my father-in-law with the bad news that night. I expressed my disappointment and we pondered what we could do so that I could still go. We decided that we would go but that he would carry the pack with the gun, food, water, and all our essential hunting supplies. It was a pretty sad plan on my part but it still would give me the opportunity to get a deer.

Finally, it was the day of the hunt. We woke up 3 hours before light. We did this so we could make it to a specific point before shooting light. After the 1-hour drive, we made it to the trail head and we quickly headed up the mountain in the dark. It was a tough walk with my back, and I imagine it was just as tough for my father-in-law carrying all the weight. As the sun began to come up our heads were on a swivel looking for deer. We walked about 15 minutes longer and we saw what we made out to be a decent buck.

It was on the other side of the canyon and it was looking our way. We quickly sat down, looked at it through the binoculars and we ranged it at 473 yards. We knew he would spook if we tried getting closer so I decided to take the shot. (I'd shot this gun previously at 1,000 years, so I was comfortable with taking it at less than half the distance.) After getting set up and looking through the scope I was ready to pull the trigger.

As I shot the deer moved quickly and started busting down the hill. Neither myself nor my father-in-law could tell if I hit him or not.It took us about 30 minutes to walk to the other side of the canyon to see if there was a blood trail, and we found one. I was a little concerned because the blood wasn’t as thick as I would have liked.

We followed the deer for over an hour and could see that it was getting weaker because it bedded down three times as we were following the trail. I was beginning to get nervous that I shot a deer that we weren’t going to find. But, we didn’t give up, continuing on the trail. It wasn’t but 5 minutes after we saw the third bed and we came across the buck, bedded down. I quickly set up for another shot and dropped him.

Excitement overcame me after we shot this deer, because I was feeling lucky about even being on the mountain with my back. The luck didn’t stop there either, without even noticing it the deer ran back towards the truck and we found ourselves only 1 mile away from the truck. This made the pack out a lot easier on both my father-in-law and myself. This was definitely an experience I won’t forget!

About the author: Ryan Smith is an avid outdoorsman and co-owner of Got Game Technologies, LLC. He and his family reside in Salmon, Idaho, where he enjoys hunting elk, mule deer, and wolves.