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#3030544 - 01/10/17 12:31 PM 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill
huntinaz Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 12/11/08
Posts: 1023
Loc: Flagstaff AZ
Two years ago my boy Paulie from upstate New York came out to AZ and I played guide for him on a limited opportunity elk hunt. While we came up empty on that tag, it was a great hunt and a good friendship has developed and Paulie was bitten by the AZ hunting bug and has been dying for a chance to get out here. On the elk hunt we saw some good muley bucks and Paulie has been curious about our OTC archery tags. He is an avid archer in NY and last year he was quizzing me about guiding him on an archery hunt. I agreed with the caveat that this was going to be a tough hunt. He countered with bringing a friend with him, his buddy Pete. I met Pete on our trip to NY this summer and he's a great guy so at the least I knew we'd have a good time but I told them honestly that archery is not a skillset I have right now so getting them into archery range of good mature bucks is not something I had a lot of confidence in. I said I can find mature muleys in AZ in the rut, that's a skillset I'm confident in and they said let's do it, leave the archery stuff up to us. We want to try our NY bow skills against open AZ terrain on a spot and stalk Muley hunt. Just like that we set it up, picked dates and the hunt finally came around after a long wait.

I did scout several areas and chose one that had good doe numbers before the hunt and where I figured there should be good genes and good places for bucks to get big in. We ended up spending the entire hunt in this area.

Day 1:
What a windy year it's been in Northern AZ. Never died down this year. Monday came overcast and cold with a solid gale from the west and gusts of 40 mph or better. Early we had a herd of deer cut across the road, a few does and a young buck. What caught our eyes though was past them at about 1000 yards were 3 big bull elk, slowly making their way our of the clearing and up into the thick stuff. Picture perfect view, especially of the last two and they were big bulls. Especially the second bull, man he was a brute. This was Pete's first trip to AZ and the first elk he'd ever seen in person and he was impressed, saying that already made the hunt. But we weren't even started yet.

We spend the rest of the morning scouting and finding glassing spots, they were all windy and cold and the action had died down. THe tanks we hit weren't getting hit by deer too frequently and I had a sliver of concern that maybe the deer had moved on.

This concern left me at lunchtime, we pulled over to quick glass a small ridge and eat our burritos before checking out new territory when Paulie spotted a doe on the hillside. We got to looking and then Paulie found the buck, nice tall, heavy 4x4. They were tucked into the ridge good, feeding around and holding tight. Good sign. We went up the road, dropped Paulie off for the stalk and Pete and I got back to the glassing spot and stared guiding him in. He would travel on the far side of the ridge where us and the deer couldn't see him and then pop back over. Eventually we got him right above where we had last seen the buck but he was gone. After awhile Pete and I found two of his does but he was still missing and we had Paulie hang tight since we didn't have eyes on the buck.

The buck had caught us by surprise. When we saw him he was on top of the ridge with Paulie, 50 yards away and walking RIGHT to him. There was a big juniper tree between the deer and the hunter so they couldn't see each other. We had just enough time to say He's at you level coming from your right, he's 50 yards and closing and coming right to you. Paulie caught the movement and didn't even have time to reposition, he had to stay sitting on his arse, draw and wait. The buck kept coming and cleared for a shot 8 yards in front of Paulie. This is all incredibly exciting to see thru binos BTW, I can only imagine being the shooter. The buck actually was behind cover from us at the time of the shot but I saw the flash of him jump and he stotted out down the hill. Watched him go about 50 yards and he was slowing down fast before he cleared my field of view. Paulie got on the radio and said "I smoked him, keep eyes on him." We gave him 20 minutes and made our way to Paulie and sure enough we had a buck down!

Very nice tall, heavy 4x4. This is a great AZ archery buck. Paulie concurred:

One of Paulie and Pete, the boys from Cobleskill NY. The Cobleskill Killers I call them now:

Well shoot, we made that look easy. I believe my exact words were "I don't Freaking believe it!." Always an encouraging response from your guide wink We got him taken care of them kept scouting/hunting.

End of the day driving we saw a herd of deer with an albino fawn. Never sen an albino in AZ, a first for me. Crappy pic but you can make it out. Could make it out better if Photobucket would take an edit, however that function seems to be down. So you spend 10 minutes editing a pictures because the site is so slow and hit save and it doesn't work. Thanks Photobucket:

Day 2:
Nicer weather today. We scouted a tank with good sign the day before, named in Pete's tank, and glassing it first thing yielded a good buck with a herd of does. We didn't have a good way to get to them so we decided we'd try and old trick I learned calling for coyotes. Muley does respond well to fawn distress. I pulled out the open reed call and in two minutes we had 3 does clear 1000+ yards and were right with us. Unfortunately the buck came with the second batch of does and they hung up out of archery range at about 100 yards. Pretty good 4x4 but he got away.

We spent the afternoon at a glassing spot and saw some does, called a bunch of them in with fawn distress but no bucks. Exciting day for sure though.

Day 3:
We were in deer all day this day. First thing at Pete's tank we got a deer in a canyon over so we stalked to the edge of it. Had a little buck come to us at 30 yards on the way, Pete passed.

When we got over there we found a nice mature 4x4 with a doe he had pulled out of a herd. She was a smart doe and they were in a spot that was good for them and bad for us. We stalked on him but she winded us and they got away.

This was an extra super windy AZ special again so we cruised back over to the area we got Paulie's buck, found a nice long canyon that looked out of the wind, and went for a hike to glass. Immediately there were deer everywhere, and the does were hot! We saw numerous mature and also young bucks running does hard, and I was able to see my first act of deer copulation. It was awesome. We got Pete over to their side which was difficult because every time we moved down the canyon so Pete could cross there were more deer. Finally we got him across and he started sneaking over. Had had a good shooter buck within 30 yards twice but he was chasing hard and we never got a shot. This canyon was completely alive and we knew just what to do tomorrow. We all agreed that this was probably the best day of deer hunting any of us had ever experienced. Rutting bucks were everywhere and Pete had pulled 3 sneaks. The deer just didn't cooperate. I figured we needed one more hour on that hill to kill a buck but it got dark on us.

Day 4:
Well we knew where to go. We saw 3 herds of deer before we got out of the truck and they seemed to be heading to our canyon. We put Pete on the deer side right away and Paulie and I got to a glassing spot. WIthin 5 minutes we had located one of the bucks from the day before, a nice wide 4x3. And Pete was already ~100 yards from them. So far, so good. Pic thru the binos:

We tried to keep eyes on him but he got down into the thick stuff. Last we saw he was heading Pete's way slowly but we lost him. When we picked him up he was 30 yards from Pete, eating in a pinon tree. We notified Pete but he'd already seen him. Finally he took a couple steps and I watched thru the binos as he jumped and bolted. Must have gotten arrowed! Pete confirmed this and we were thrilled. Immediately it started to rain and Pete got on the radio and said the blood was washing away fast. We couldn't let him be, we had to track. Paulie went over to help Pete and I went back to the truck. 30 minutes later I got the call; buck down! Filled 2/2 archery tags in 4 days and we have chips on our shoulders. Proved the first one wasn't a fluke and worked just as planned.

Nice wide buck:

Me and Peter:

Day 5:
We spent the rest of day 4 butchering and at the taxidermist. Day 5 late morning we started messing around with the bow I had bought from Paulie the week before. Our draw lengths are very similar but I have been out of the archery game for a number of years. Although I killed a small buck with my bow years ago the archery bug never bit me hard. So we got it rigged with arrows, got it set out to 20 yards and thunk, thunk, thunk, right in the bullseye. Backed up to 30, some tweeners at 25 and it was the same, I was on. So we bought a deer tag and headed out for one more afternoon. Found another good buck, got me within a couple hundred yards but the deer got away in the thick stuff and we lost them. They hadn't come my way. A hat trick was too much to ask for anyway.

One heck of a hunt and these boys are a pleasure to hunt with. They are dedicated hunters and they are experienced. Two different skill sets kind of came together just at the right time for this one and we made the most of it. We learned a lot of key tricks and feel we are poised to do it again next year. I will be practicing hard and scouting more and hopefully I'll be holding a set of antlers with these boys next season. Gonna be a long wait.

Those hard-hunting New Yorkers are

Edited by huntinaz (01/10/17 05:49 PM)
"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw."

#3030576 - 01/10/17 02:04 PM Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer- the Killers for Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
Lazerus Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 12/08/16
Posts: 520
Loc: lost in the desert
What a GREAT adventure! Nothing better than a good bow hunt with good friends(accept maybe throw a few kids in!)

Well done!
Coyote...cowpie...don't make no sense no how...

#3030806 - 01/10/17 10:47 PM Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer- the Killers for Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
Infidel 762 Offline

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 6878
Loc: Okie
Very nice. I like this post a lot. Congrats

#3030996 - 01/11/17 12:49 PM Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer- the Killers for Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
RBO11 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 12/09/16
Posts: 110
Loc: MO
That looks like fun!

#3031285 - 01/11/17 11:20 PM Re: 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
hm1996 Offline
PM Junkie

Registered: 07/23/06
Posts: 15527
Loc: S. Texas
Doncha love it when a plan comes together? Great story, beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.

If what's ahead scares you and what's behind hurts you, look up; He never fails you.

If My people will humble themselves, pray, seek My face & turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & heal their land.

#3031461 - 01/12/17 01:33 PM Re: 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
atd Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 1174
Loc: Miami Beach
I'd say all involved can be very proud of that hunt. Nice going!

#3031875 - 01/13/17 03:35 PM Re: 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
DAA Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 5224
Loc: Salt Lake City
Outstanding. Classic mule deer hunt there. Nice bucks too!


#3031900 - 01/13/17 04:53 PM Re: 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
Tbone-AZ Offline
PM senior

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 6884
Loc: AZ, Phoenix
really nice work. Thank you for sharing.
Have fun being an [beeep].. I hope it's all you hoped for.

#3032500 - 01/14/17 10:50 PM Re: 2017 AZ Archery Mule Deer- the Killers from Cobleskill [Re: huntinaz]
desert dave Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 02/02/11
Posts: 587
Loc: California
Great adventure, thanks for taking us along!

#3033719 - 01/17/17 11:50 AM Re: 2017 Archery Mule Deer- the Killers for Cobleskill [Re: Infidel 762]
beagler Offline
PM senior

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 8806
Loc: lackawanna county,PA
never misses


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