Nature Blinds

Campfire Talk Part 22 With Larry Weishuhn

“Senor... It is time to go!” I seemed to be hearing someone say from far, far away.. I shook my head trying to shake the cobwebs. “Senor..we must go...” Groggily I stood up scarcely opening my eyes. Days of travel and spending long and busy hours at consumer shows seemed to have taken their toll on me. It seemed only moments earlier I had leaned against a rough basalt rock, shade cooling me and sun warming me. When I fully opened my eyes I could see Derek Harris my cameraman smiling at me... “Kind of dropped off there didn’t you!” I simply nodded. I’m not one who often takes mid-afternoon naps, and I didn’t intend to take a nap that day. It simply happened. Feet solidly under me, gun secured, binoculars back around my neck and shoulder, I took a couple of steps forward to where Chapo Juvera was sitting and glassing. “Found a pretty good buck on the far ridge. Not a monster, but you should probably look at him. He’s about 26 inches wide, a four by four with browtines. Like his browtines and his front tines, both are really long. But his back splits are a bit shallow.” Spoke Chapo as he moved aside so I could look through the Zeiss spotting scope in front of him. After he had made room for me to see I peered through the Zeiss, made a slight adjustment to the focus. Indeed the buck was a pretty one, and more massive than I had imagined he would be. His antlers were extremely dark. I commented to Chapo, “See why you guys call your operation Sonora Dark Horn Adventures (! Nearly every mule deer buck we’ve seen has had extremely darkly stained antlers.” While I peered thru the spotting scope, Derek was busy recording the moment. “I think we need to move once again,” said Chapo. “With the rut about to get started, probably the more country we cover, the better.” He continued, “The rut here in mule deer pretty much occurs the first days of January. I know other parts of Sonora can be different, but here it’s right after Christmas and the first two weeks of January. That’s one of the reasons we wanted you back down here now.” I had earlier hunted Coues whitetail with Sonora Dark Horn Adventures on their ranches not far from Port Libertad on the western shores of Sonora, and next to the Sea of Cortez that separates the Mexican mainland from Baja. That hunt had taken place in December and Chapo and I had gotten extremely lucky and fortunate in taking a great 5 x 5 with 2 kickers that grossed over 135 B&C. As this is being written I’ll have it officially scored for Boone & Crockett’s record book when I return from my desert bighorn sheep hunt with Sonora Dark Horn Adventures, the 15th of February thru the 26th. By then the deer’s rack will have surpassed the required 60 day drying period. While a whitetail buck score 135 B&C might not sound like much to some people, those who know anything about Coues deer can tell you that such a buck is an absolute monster! Soon as I have it officially scored, I’ll send the rack and cape to The Wildlife Gallery to be mounted. Then I’ll count the days until it gets back her to Texas. Since I’ve mentioned my Coues buck, I’ll tell you. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to take some really good “regular” whitetail, including those that score over 200 B&C. But, to me that particular Coues deer in my opinion is my BEST whitetail I’ve ever taken, anywhere. Several minutes later Chapo, Derek and I were back on the trail in a high rack pickup, a pick up truck with a rack mounted on and over the bed to put us up above the extremely thick scrub brush and cactus. We had driven only about a mile when we spotted a group of does and a young buck. We watched as the youngster with three points per side without brow-tines made some serious moves on the does. He was sadly ignored. Another mile or so farther down the pasture road and we spotted more deer way off in the distance. One looked like a buck of interest! Quickly we set up my Zeiss spotting scope on the back of the high rack. Through my binocular I could see the buck had a tall and wide “frame”, but could not tell the total number of points. “Big three by with short brows, one of the things that made him look eve wider than he really is.” came the verdict from Chapo. Just then my guide turned to his far right. “Now that buck over there looks better, but he just walked into that brushy draw.... Think we should see if we can either slip in there and find him or maybe get on that ridge and see if we can spot him again. He looked like he would easily score in the 190’s. Not unlike that second big buck we saw when we were first hunting sheep in December...” “If he’s that good, we better go have a look... as I recall that buck was easily 28 inches wide with long, tall points.” With that we took off at a fast pace. Thankfully the wind and sun were in our favor; wind in our face and sun at our back. We walked briskly down the slope then started slowly and carefully up the next slope. Last we had seen of the bigger buck he had crossed into a brush draw beyond the ridge we were on. I carried my BOG Gear shooting sticks in one hand and my Ruger American Rifle topped with a Zeiss Duralyt scope in the other in case I needed to quickly set up my sticks for a rest to shoot. As we moved slowly I spotted two does up ahead and slightly to our left. Chapo spotted them the same time I did. We froze. A few moments later the quit looking our way and went back to feeding on the various thorn bushes. When they disappeared we moved forward, hoping to get to the top of the ridge. Carefully we moved forward.... We spotted an antler moving above the cactus and immediately froze. The buck had no idea we were there, for we saw it move without apparently knowing we were anywhere in Mexico. Immediately I set up my BOG Gear RLD shooting sticks and rested my .270 Ruger American Rifle in it’s crux, pointed at the buck. He looked pretty good; wide and tall, a good frame as far as Boone & Crockett score was concerned. I watched through my rifle scope. From a distance the buck had looked like he might have some non-typical points. Now as I peered through the scope with the crosshairs rested solidly on his shoulder I noticed it seemed part of his rack moved independently of his main beams and primary tines..That’s when I saw he had a branch stuck in this antlers, giving him the appearance of having many more points than he really had. I sort of snickered when I saw this...Chapo obviously saw it about the same time I did and too started smiling and softly laughing... As we did we spotted a second though smaller framed buck. I looked at Chapo and we both started laughing. “Thank goodness! We took the time to really look before I started shooting,” I said after we had made certain there were no other bucks in the area. That day we saw numerous other bucks, but none that caused us to try to make a shot. Back at camp that night there were others who had taken some really outstanding bucks, including at least one which was scored over 200 B&C gross. Quite huge bucks when you’re talking mule deer. If that wasn’t enough we had a meal fit for royalty! The morrow would bring other adventures....

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