October 3: Bric Steward

For a Midwesterner, heading out west to hunt mule deer is a different game, especially when it comes to the distance required to take a muley with archery equipment.

Bric had been out west and harvested a mule deer once before. In fact, that was the first animal he killed for Bow Madness with fellow DOD team member Brandon Jennings. On this trip, the guys were hunting with Nelson Outfitters, a first-rate outfitting service run by Dave and Jan Nelson. Not only did the Nelsons know hospitality, they also knew their deer…which makes all the difference when you have a limited amount of time to for the hunt.

Prior to his kill, Bric had had two successful stalks, it was just when it got down to the shot that things didn’t quite come together. The first buck he had unintentionally ranged a bit of brush in the foreground instead of the deer itself…which was 68 yards, the brush was at 52. As you’d expect, the shot sailed cleanly below the buck.  The second deer came the following day while the wind blew strongly. That shot was at 54 yards and the arrow’s trajectory took it harmlessly behind his target.

No one would have blamed Bric for throwing in the towel at this point out of frustration. Missing can get into your head…but he kept after it.

Bric’s guide had located a lone buck in a hillside bed with his Leupold spotting scope so the guys motivated to setup for an intercept. In his western hunting of mule deer, Bric learned the importance of ranging landmarks where the deer are likely to run towards once alarmed since they often stop to look back at what spooked them, sometimes offering a second chance.

Once the guys were in location, they watched the buck get up and cross the coulee, right to a place Bric had already ranged at 70 yards. He came to full draw on his PSE Evolve and began executing the shot. The arrow streaked forward, its path made clear by the Nockturnal lighted nock, and impacted the buck a little back. The Rage Extreme Chisel Tip severed an artery and the buck was down within 100 yards.

Relieved that he had connected on his third attempt, Bric and company took the happy walk over to recover his deer. The buck lay on its side, chocolatey antlers contrasted by brittle yellow grasses. Though it was a long shot to this deer, Bric kept his head on straight after a few disappointments and rolled back home with a beautiful Montana mule deer.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.