By Don Martin Originally Published in the Kingman Daily Miner: September 16, 2019 7:25 p.m. Published with permission granted to www.crescentcitytimes.com. Refer to PART 1 for the back story.
One of the first orders of business on opening day was Page telling me and her team that she was not going to hold out for a huge buck. McDonald said she wanted only a good hunt and a mature buck. On this hunt, the size of the horns wasn’t going to matter. The age of the buck was what was important to her.
Right away we met another guide who was from the Pronghorn Guide Service. He asked if we were being particular as to a buck we were seeking, and I told him, “No, we were only looking for a mature buck.”
He smiled and said he would show us one. We followed him a short distance and sure enough there was a single mature buck walking and feeding in the wide open drainage 600 yards away! Jay, Page and I went after this buck, which seemed to be on an aimless walk about, but we never did catch up with him. Over the next few days we would end up having several encouonters with this same buck that Page named, “Mr. Curious!
We were up well before daylight and the plan was to locate some antelope we had seen the night before.
But the plan changed when Andy and Marc found a doe and a mature buck feeding almost a mile away. Jay, Page and Marc went on a long stalk while Andy and I watched from a long ways off with spotting scopes. They got to within 60 yards of the now bedded animals when somehow the sharp-eyed doe spotted them and away the antelope ran.
Andy and I had heard a couple of shots north of us and he soon saw a huge antelope buck running across a flat. We last saw him almost two miles away, still running!
As we were heading back to camp that evening I spotted three antelope on a hillside less than 200 yards away. The group turned out to be two does and a very unusual buck. It was a true non-typical; his horns grew flat againt his head and were probably 24 inches between the tips. Unfortunately, Page wasn’t able to get a shot before the group ran out of sight.
The plan was to split up, with Marc and Andy going to one area to glass, while Jay, Page and I went to the area where we had last seen the big buck and a doe.
It didn’t take Jay long to find the same doe and buk that they had stalked the day before. But once again the doe saw something she didn’t like, and off they ran. We never did see them stop.
We looked at a few more antelope, including one herd of nine that had a nice buck with them. Once again, Page, Jay and I made a long stalk after we wached the herd bed down on a hillside almost two mile away. Unfortunately, the herd became alamed when we were just over 600 yards from them.
We had heard about other hunters being successful in the northern part of the unit, so we decided to head up there the next morning.
We were up at 3 a.m. as we had an hour and a half drive to the area we wanted to hunt. We arrived well before sunrise and while Andy and Marc moved to another area to set up their spotting scope, we took a quick power nap. Sleep comes in spurts when you are running and gunning!
Andy and Marc found some antelope, but told us the bucks they saw were all young ones. I glassed up a herd over a mile away with a big buck and tried to get Andy and Marc on them while we tried a stalk. Despite our efforts, we never saw the herd again.
Later that morning, Marc and Andy drove to another spot where we had seen antelope in previous years. Suddenly, Marc spotted some movement in some brush and it turned out to be a large male mountain lion, just 55 yards away. It stayed around long enough for Marc to get photos of the big cat, and it really made the guy’s day!
Marc and Andy told us about a group of antelope that we needed to check out. We found the group of three but determined the buck in the group was too young to take.
Andy had to go home, but Hogan Roberts came up to join us.
Jay would glass up two herds of antelope and both had mature bucks with them. However one group was 880 yards away and the other 1,000. Unfortunately, there was no way for Page to get close enough for a shot.
Some time later we had an unexpected surprise when we drove over a rise to see a doe and huge buck just 150 yards away. Page wasn’t able to get out of the truck and get set up for a shot. The buck and doe actually ran up to within a 100 yards of us and stopped, but Page still wsn’t able to get a shot. The buck eventually stopped and stood broadside one more time at 300 yards. Page shot, but the bullet sailed harmlessly over the buck’s back. It was by far the largest buck we had seen so far.
END OF PART 3. Next up – Part 3 – DAY 5.
Page McDonald is the sister of Douglas Westfall, Publisher.