I sat there for about 45 minutes until I heard some rocks along the cliff-side. I got up to investigate and saw a herd of about six doe walking along base of the cliff. On the other side of the valley, I spied a two-point through my binoculars. I think it was the same two-point I took a shot at earlier in my hunt. I decided I wanted to try to get closer, so I started cutting across. I decided to climb up the mountainside and come out nearby to where it was feeding. I knew it would more than likely move on as I got closer, but I figured I it was worth a shot. I made a bad judgement and went the wrong way. At one point it was so steep and rocky that I was on my hands and knees, basically crawling up the mountain. Scared the shit out of me really.
As I figured, the buck was gone when I popped out on top. I tried to take a nap because the sun was up and I figured the deer would be resting as well, but the wind picked up something fierce and I decided to move on. I wanted to push through some brush before heading down, and lucky enough, I kicked that two-point up. It was gone too fast though, I couldn't even get a shot off before it disappeared from sight.
I went after it and made my way down into the adjoining canyon. The picture above is where I stopped to eat my lunch. After watching a couple more doe, I figured it was time to make my way back into my original canyon. So I climbed back up the ridge and over to the other side. The temperature was dropping, and I was getting tired. I spied a couple more doe way up top, and I also found a kill-site from another hunter; nothing more than a few lower legs and a cleaned out torso/rib-cage. At least someone was lucky.
As I made my way down the ridge, I saw a young buck grazing near some aspen trees. It was only a spike, but a decent size spike. Since it was my last day, and only the second buck I'd seen since I started hunting this season, I decided to take a shot. I figure it was about 150 yards away, which is pushing the limit of my rifle, but still do-able. The other issue, was that it was downhill. No I had to play the guessing game of aiming at something far-off and downhill. When shooting downhill, you generally aim under your target because of how the bullet will travel. However, since it was further away, I had to take that into account and aim high, because the bullet will drop. I aimed just above it and fired. The bullet must have gotten close, because the buck took off like a bat out of hell. It ran all the way across the valley, halfway back, then across the valley again before crossing over a ridge.
I didn't think I hit it, but I wanted to be sure. There wasn't any blood or hair where it was feeding, but I wanted to go after it anyway. I hiked over to where it had crossed the ridge and I followed the draw down. I never found it again. I did, however, find a weather station nestled in the draw. Kind of interesting to come across an antenna array in the middle of nowhere.
Near the end of my hike, I ran out of water. Now I packed my iodine tablets with me just in case, so I could have filled my camelback with creek water and been fine. However, I didn't want to have to clean my camelback out and go through that ass pain, so I just endured. Let me tell you something. When you run out of essential items, that's all that's on your mind.
I got back to my ATV and the sun was still up. I could have waited until dark and maybe gotten another shot at something, but I was tired, sore, and thirsty. It was time to go home, my hunt was over.
Although I didn't fill my deer tag, I became more familiar with the area. I'll be even more prepared next season. Plus, any day on the mountain is better than sitting at work. Now please enjoy the picture below of the happiest lichen on the mountain.