2 Mexico Muleys
Hunting with his father - one of the best hunts ever
I was already looking forward to hunting the Sonora desert for the second year in a row. But when my Dad began to show interest in going, I really started to get excited. You see, my Dad pretty much gave up big game hunting because it had gotten so bad in the states. Therefore, it surprised me when he started to talk about hunting with me in Mexico. I promised myself right that I would do whatever it took to ensure a good experience for him.
Over the years, I have become good friends with Thomas Baker and after explaining how I wanted to show my Dad a great hunt, Thomas told me that when the time was right, he would call us to come down. Around the middle of January, the phone rang and on the other end was Thomas saying that the weather was supposed to cool down and that he thought around the 15th would be the time to plan our hunt. We arrived in Hermosillo early to do some dove hunting and on the 15th Thomas picked us up and we headed out. We arrived late at the ranch but quickly made a plan for the next morning. Thomas and his top guide, Alejandro, were going to first take my Dad. Thomas told me that he would get my Dad a great buck and then he would help me during the rest of the hunt. I thought he sounded too confident but deep-down I hoped that he was right.
At daylight I took off with another guide and we started to walk from the ranch house toward some nearby hills to glass. I was glad that I was in half decent shape because from the start I could tell this guy could walk. At first light, we immediately saw deer and it was unbelievable - they were everywhere we looked! Not thirty minutes after daylight, the silent morning was suddenly broken by the sound of my Dad taking a shot. A little while later there was another shot, and again a few seconds after that another, and then it was silent. I remember hoping that my Dad had found the mark when suddenly my guide said, “Big buck!” Snapping back to where I was at, I looked up and knew right away that the buck my guide was talking about was indeed a shooter. My guide was desperately urging me to shoot, but there was not rest and the deer was moving. On top of that, I was shooting one of Thomas; guns and I wasn’t 100% familiar with it. However, being confident in my shooting, I quickly assessed that I could make the off-hand shot. As I was coming down on the deer I touched the trigger and the gun went off, which surprised me into a complete miss! Thomas had told me about the trigger but I did not realize how light it actually was. I felt stupid but I quickly put another one in and shot again - nothing! Knowing that I only had one more chance, I really concentrated and fired. Even though I knew that I had hit the buck, he was gone over the hill.
When we got to where we had last seen him, we could not find anything! We looked for signs of a hit for several minutes and just as the thought that I may have missed began to take over, my guide finally found some blood. But even then, I quickly began to worry because there was very little blood and due to the rocky terrain, it was nearly impossible to follow the buck’s track. We took every trail and looked everywhere for hours but we repeatedly came up with nothing. As a last ditch effort, we finally decided to go back and get more help and return to see if we could pick up the trail.
When we arrived back at the ranch house, there was my dad with the biggest buck that he had ever killed! Being extremely happy for him, I still had to tease a little and ask him why so much shooting. He laughingly told me that it had been a while and as he continued on about all the deer he had seen and a couple of other big bucks, I knew that he was hooked again. We took pictures as he retold his story before finally deciding to return to see if we could find my buck.
Armed with some fresh eyes, we made it back to the spot where we had found the blood. We searched and searched but die to all the tracks, and the terrain, it was not looking good. We split up while some guys looked in the washes and other got on high spots to glass. We looked all afternoon but after a very valiant effort, our countless attempts still turned up nothing.
The next morning we all split up to look at more country. Suddenly, Thomas called on the radio. He had five different bucks spotted with one of them being around a bunch of does. He then said that I had better get over there and see if we could try to get the bigger buck. I made my way across the desert in record time and when I got to Thomas, he had the bruiser in the spotting scope. I looked at the heavy-horned monster and we quickly made a plan. Thomas explained that he had watched this buck fight with another buck and that he was constantly guarding his does as other bucks would appear from the desert. He then told me that there were a couple of really hot does in the buck’s herd and that he thought my chances were good. He instructed me to go over to the hills where my Dad was with Alejandro and from there, Alejandro would take me in for the shot. When I arrived, Alejandro and I wasted no time and we immediately went in. Everything worked perfect and before I knew it, we were set up and simply waiting for the buck to come out. After a few intense minutes, the buck offered me the shot of a lifetime and with one well-placed shot, he was mine. The best part about it all was that my Dad got to watch the entire thing!
As we approached the buck, he seemed to grow and grow with each step we took. After placing my hands around this Sonoran trophy, I knew that I was holding the biggest deer I had ever taken. We had a great hunt and I was extremely happy but one thing haunted me…..the buck I had wounded. I did not want to give up on him and I tried repeatedly to convince Thomas that the buck was dead. He didn’t seem so sure but I was able to talk him into letting me stay to see if I could find the buck. So after putting my Dad on a plane and picking up another one of Thomas’ hunters, I resumed my search.
After two days of scouring the countryside for my buck I was starting to think that Thomas was right. Thomas had to go check on some other hunters but he said that as one final attempt, he would return later and that we would go look in the washes to see if the buck went into the thick cover and died. Two hours later, I heard Thomas coming in on the four-wheeler and I could see a huge buck rack on the back of the bike.
I thought he was bringing in a buck from the other ranch to show us but when he pulled up he said, “I found your buck!” I was in shock as he told me the story about how he had seem some vultures in a tree on his way out and how he had told himself that if they were still there on his way back that he would go and take a look at what they were sitting on. When he came back, they were indeed still there so he went to investigate and when he came around a bush my buck was right in front of him! He could tell by the tracks that were left, that the coyotes had killed my buck and that they had almost eaten everything.
Although I felt horrible about the end result of the buck, I could not believe the I had two monster muleys to take home! Thomas was right about coming at the right time, and my thanks to him for the great hunt and the extra effort in finding my other buck! I would not have slept wondering about it.
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