With the struggling economy, sometimes booking hunts is hit and miss. I run a small operation for deer. If you have a couple guys booked and they back out you are left high and dry. There is only one thing to do when this happens, go hunting! Dave Fyfe, an outfitter from Vancouver Island and myself posses a similar thirst for hunting muley bucks. We compare hunting stories quite often and decided to make a story of our own. Dave’s time schedule worked so we were set. We planned to meet at my base camp in central BC and hunt the last three days of November.
The first day we doodled around feeling out where we wanted to be. We looked over some good country and never found a buck that turned our crank. My young guide apprentice Jason Gilbert was with us. He was 14 years old claiming to be 15. I had said I wouldn’t start teaching him until he was 14 and this was his second year. I guess a boy who won’t lie to start learning about guiding is a boy who doesn’t want to guide. Jason comes from the East side of the river and having grown up on the reservation he wasn’t new to hunting, but he was new to looking for a good buck. We were driving him crazy not wanting to shoot any nice four point we spotted.
The next morning we were up well before daylight and the air outside felt humid heavy, you could feel the coming snow in the air. Dave was giving little giggles. He has been around long enough to know what a good day feels like. We headed out glassing breaks country at daylight and decided to change our game plan when silver dollar flakes started dropping and our visibility left us. I made the comment, not truly knowing what was in store for us, that days like this were “two-buck days”.
We decided to amble the truck along a back road that ran through some spaced fir timber. We were a ways into the drive and now had about 4 inches of fresh snow when we spotted a couple does and a small two point 50 yards from the does. Driving by Dave and I both felt that wasn’t quite right and did the old double back. There he was! The big buck had been lying behind a small fir and was now standing. We were scrambling, the buck was on my driver’s side so I piled across to Dave’s side and we both half fell out of the truck. Dave scooted around to the back of the truck and rested on a bank. I was looking with my binoculars because it was a 4 point only season and we had to make sure this bucks big frame had a fourth point. To our good fortune he had a big inline fourth point over nine inches long. Dave instantly hammered him. With a 27-inch main beam spread he was a dandy British Columbia buck. All three of us were dancing. What a morning and great start to a good day.
Jason Gilbert had to leave so we met his grandfather at a pre-arranged spot. Showed him the buck and Jason headed out with a big smile. Dave and I jumped into the truck, headed for camp and dropped off our morning prize. It was not talked about whom would shoot first it just kind of happened. The good news was now it was my turn at the trigger and Dave was the pack mule. We headed off to another nice buck patch I was familiar with.
Ditching the truck in a little thicket we tightened our hiking boots. We were planning to put some miles on in the fresh snow. The afternoon was clearing and turning cold on us. We made a good hour and half walk before taking a break on a scenic vantage point. We decided this would be a good spot to spend the afternoon and made a little fire. The wind was carrying the smoke away from the direction we were looking so all was fine. Pretty soon Dave goes, “look right there”. A beautiful 5x6 walked out, mildaround this little opening and bedded down. We instantly slapped gear together and were moving. A couple of old grey wolves slinking in, we did such a great job being quiet and
sneaking that when we got into position the buck was gone!!! We fiddled around awhile cussing our bad luck, peaking over edges of the bench when we looked back into the hillside of regen fir, there were some does amongst the dense cover. We settled down to some hard glassing at about 350-400 yards. We would pick up a deer leg or flash through a little opening. This went on for a while before we made out that our buck was in there harassing the does. I settled over my backpack for a good rest and Dave was like my sniper spotter keeping track of all the activity. There was one little opening on the hill that was about 10 foot by 30 foot. I focused my crosshairs on that spot and knew if he stepped in I had a chance. We were racing daylight and Dave stated to me to get ready he might come. Then to our fortune the big timber buck did step out and we sealed the day with our second dandy British Columbia muley.
My buck was a classic timber buck with only a 14-inch main beam spread scoring 171. Dave’s buck edged me out scoring 173. The two bucks were so different yet so close. It came down to personnel choice on which one you would shoot. We had a great day and had a good laugh phoning Jason to tell him he should have stayed a half-day more. He was a bit sore that he missed the second half of the “two buck day”.