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Quest For Big Bucks In Northern Utah. 2004
It was middle July, 2004 when I put my fishing poles away and started to scout for mule deer. Destination Northern Utah. The mule deer bucks were finally getting some size to the antlers they had been growing through out the summer. I set out with my new camera and a good pair of ten by fifty binoculars. They are they lowest I would go in optic size when searching for big game out west. I moved my way up a small canyon as the sun splintered the starry sky. I could see deer in front of me but the low light impaired my ability to put antlers on them. I tried to move into position to get a better shot when suddenly off to my right I noticed a buck grazing on the sage brush forty yards from me. I was pinned down but I could see he was a nice buck so I readied my camera and snapped a picture. The low light was to much for a clear photograph but I got his picture none the less.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 2.
A week had passed and I was able to get out again. I found myself further in the back country scouting an area thick with dead fall and under growth. As the story goes my uncle had seen some nice bucks in the area bow hunting back in the early 80's, but all my efforts up to this point had only produced small bucks and there were quite a few of them. Even as I talked to my wife about were I was going I stated that I have never spotted a big buck in the area. The sky was a blue gray, it was late July and the pressure from any hunts still lingered in the future, it was early that morning as I moved into the thick pines, advancing slowly as to not startle anything in front of me when from no were there stood a buck feeding without a care in the world, even after he noticed me he didn't bolt off immediately he continued to feed but slowly worked his way into the brush I never saw this buck again that year but another month and a half to grow his antlers would surely make him a dandy!
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 3.
The next morning I decided to scout the open sage brush. The grey darkness of morning was still casting its shadow on basin. This area seemed to be miles of open country with nothing in it, when a small group of bucks walked out of a drainage and fed a distance from my vantage point. I watched them for a minute and got my video camera ready. They worked their way towards me occasionally sparring with each other. There antlers must be a little sensitive while still in the velvet because when two of the bucks touched one bounced back and shook his head as if it had had an unpleasant jolt. They continued there morning antics until they were within one hundred yards of me. I tried to get my still camera set so I could take a few photographs and when I looked up the deer were all looking at me, it must have been my movement not much more than a head twitch down and they picked me out of the sagebrush. They didn't stay long after they spotted me disappearing into the openness from were they came.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 4.
Late July, summer sun beating down in Cache Valley. Time seems to stand still when your waiting for the weekend, but it finally came. I decided to scout the high elevations pines were escape from the heat is only a step into the shade of large pine tree. I worked my way down hill until I could see out of the pines into a large mountain meadow. As I glassed the distant tree line a small fawn passed within a few yards of me. It wasn't very old, small and still wearing a spotted summer coat. Not long after the fawn passed by the mother deer came through. I tried to remain motionless as to not scare off the doe in hopes that some thing else might pass by. As I watched the meadow far off in an opening above me a bull elk appeared. He feed on the hillside with out a care in the world. I watched him for a few minutes and then looked behind me to find a buck standing in an opening between the pines watching me. He stayed just long enough to get a couple pictures and then he was gone.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 5.
The next morning I found myself watching open sagebrush and quaking aspens patches. As the morning sun painted the sage green tips across the landscape I picked up movement in the trees. After glassing the grove for a moment two mule deer feed out into the open. The larger of the two bucks sported a nice four by four set of antlers but they were defiantly short due to the lack of full term growth. It was still July and the buck would still grow a little more length before his antlers were finished. The deer made their way closer to me not knowing they had an intruder in their mists. I may not have disturbed these deer at all but a few flashes from my camera and they had me spotted. After that they didn't waste any time moving back into the aspens and the vanishing from site.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 6.
The morning started out the same as most driving into the Cache National Forest in the dark with a cup of coffee and high hopes that this would be the day I see the big one. There are still many roads going through the back country and today was a good day to be driving them. Dust was down due to the recent rain and the roads had enough to make a day driving pleasurable not to mention that a hike in the sage brush would be a wet one. As the sunlight pushed through the morning clouds I spotted to bucks in a young growth of quakes. They didn't seem to bothered by me until I got out to take some pictures and then they moved into the thick cover out of site. The sun had finally broken through the clouds and it was just about a perfect day I pulled over to glass a drainage and spotted these two bucks but they only stayed long enough for one picture and they were gone.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 7.
The next morning I went back up the same canyon. It was early as I worked my way up the ridge occasionally spotting deer but only does. It wasn't looking to good, when I reached the top the sky was bright and it would not belong before the deer would be bedding down for the day. I glassed down the drainage on the back side of the mountain trying to spot an ear, antler or maybe the white on a deer's rump but nothing. I started to think my luck had ran out. I knew of a water hole back down the mountain and over the ridge and from the top it wouldn't be to bad to jump over and check it out on my way down. As I got close to the water hole deer caught my eye, immediately the antlers of the big buck filled my binoculars there were of six bucks working there way out of the sage brush to the cover of the trees. they kept a consistent pace never stopping for to long. I was able to set up my video camera and then take a few still pictures before they dropped into a drainage and out of site.
Quest For Big Bucks Pg 8.
The summer days of July have passed into the never ending bliss of time and august was here. I knew I didn't have much time before the Bow hunting season would be underway and the deer would be pressured back into a more nocturnal life stile. So many places to scout and so little time. I started one morning working through the high ridges and pine pockets, my efforts were once again in vain other than to say I think I knew where the deer were not. The deer seemed spread out more than the prior years, the drought had been a factor but this year the food and water was more prevalent. As the day moved on I found myself once again glassing the buck brush and sage. I spotted a young three point cresting the ridge, as I watched the red coat of a second buck appeared from lower on the hill side. These bucks never spooked and I moved on as they continued to feed. On my way out off in the distance I noticed a large buck, but he saw me and vanished before I could close the gap
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 9.
I set out once again moving up the hill side under the starry sky stopping at the bottom of a large drainage that flattened out and had a ravine on the far side. As the dawn light opened up the hill side I could see three deer feeding in the distance, a doe and two small bucks. They moved down into the ravine and out of site. I slowly worked my way to the edge to see them disappear into a grove of trees. After an hour or so of glassing for any sign of deer I spotted movement on the hill side. Upon closer inspection I could see a four point buck bedded down in the open sage. He had been hidden in the brush but something had caught his attention below. I never saw what spooked him but he posed on the hill like a statue set out for every one to admire and then suddenly turned moved up the hill looked back as to make sure nothing was fallowing him and then crested the hill and was gone.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 10.
It was a warm august morning the sun was still hiding in the eastern sky. I was undecided on where to go so I was just driving with a destination unknown. The open sage brush was a blur in the darkness when on the sky line two small bucks appeared. I stopped to look at them and suddenly there were five bucks on the hill. They moved off in the direction the road would take me, so when they were out of site I drove to a point that I thought the bucks would be coming to, grabbed my gear and literally ran up the hill side. The bucks had been moving at a faster pace than I anticipated and they crested the hill before me. We had a stare off for a moment and then they dropped back into the drainage out of site. I sprinted to the top of the hill to see them just down from me seventy yards. The younger bucks were feeding but the big boy was watching for me. I had enough time to snap a couple pictures and he had them all moving out.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 11.
August was moving along and the Utah bow hunt was under way. My son wanted to try this primitive weapon so we set out to find him a big buck, Knowing about the bucks I had spotted prior to the hunt our hopes were high. We started in the high mountain lodge poles and worked our way down the hill to a spot we had seen deer earlier. Hunting can be a long wait for nothing unless you can sit in the wilderness and enjoy the rising of the morning sun as it cast its rays on every thing around you bringing out the natural awe of the great outdoors. The smells the sounds and all I see are why I sit in the dark waiting. We spend our mornings in pursuit of not just deer but wonderful memories. We had a chance to see many creatures in the wild and even though we didn't harvest a deer the time spent in the Cache National forest was very pleasing. I hope my son will think back to these times and smile.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 12.
Early September brought new colors in the mountains and a slight chill in the air it was time to start finding bucks that would have antlers cleaned of velvet and each point defined in the sunlight. August ended in a slump but optimistically thinking I can only go so long with out spotting some nice bucks. The first good sign came when I crossed paths with a large bull moose, he enticed me to spend more time in his stomping grounds. He never again let me get close enough for a picture, but one morning I worked my way down to a water hole where he had been and came across a good four point. This buck saw me break skyline but he must have known he wasn't in any danger because he moved away, but stopped and feed many times before he dropped out of site. Later I spotted a young bull and cow moose with a calf, I kept a good safe distance from them as to not aggravate mom and get stomped. I can run fast scared but not that fast.
Quest For Big Bucks In Cache. Pg 13.
The rain came down as my wife and I set out for our muzzleloader hunt 2004. We hike hiked through the trees to an opening I hoped to sit on and watch when we had to stop in our tracks due to a bull moose. He stood fifty yards from us and watched us as a cow and calf grazed behind him. We moved around the bull but failed to get into position before deer moved across the clearing and back into the trees. Next we choose a high mountain ridge were big bucks had been known to travel. As the morning sun cast it's glow on the day clouds rolled in and encompassed the meadow and we could only hope that a buck would pass by close or he would be undetected. Next we found ourselves watching a water hole when we heard a bull elk scream and moments later we were rewarded with the chance to see a magnificent animal. The hunt ended for us with nothing but great memories. But we did stop by the camps of those who had filled their tags for the 2004 muzzle loader hunt.
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