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  • Writer's pictureChris R Hunter

First Mulie Buck

I mentioned I’d check in again with the full story from South Dakota and some better


Winding back 12 days prior, I jumped off two planes from work, a few energy drinks in

tow, and with a 7hr drive ahead of me I was off on my first South Dakota adventure with

good friend Joe McDougal. 

I’d be bowhunting the rifle season, wearing orange for the first time in a while and to say

the country terrain was brand new to me in a sense is an understatement. 

We’d be mainly hunting canyon country, relying on Joe’s efforts all season behind the

spotting scope and strategizing on how to still bow hunt effectively all the while facing a

few hurdles out of our control at the same time.

The First Morning

The first morning began with our target deer holding a hot doe for over an hour at

115yds in the bottom of the canyon, so we patiently kept on over the next few days. It

was apparent the we were definitely facing severe lockdown with some of our most

mature deer and it would be a game of patience and whether or not it would be “right

place, right time, hot doe tugging one by, etc.”

The Third Morning

Fast forward to the third morning, I got to hear Joe’s trusty 30-06 ring out in the adjacent

canyon and the text came through...” I got HIM” .... Joe’s best deer of his life among

some of his greats already, and his smile and glassy eyes made it that much more fun

to load him up and pay the respects we did to that canyon monarch!

With Joe’s buck down, and lockdown still holding strong we moved onto day 9. I asked,

“how would you feel about helping me chase my first mulie buck?” This was to be back

closer to where Joe lived on a different piece of ground.

That evening we glassed up some great up and comer’s, and one super mature deer

that Joe has had history with for many years now. Darkness finally came over us and as

we thought we knew where to be in the AM, we had two plans in motion.

We would go place a blind quick, as I would sit a few hours in the morning and Joe

would try to find one to possibly stalk if need be within the spotting scope. 

As the sun rose, I had a dozen mule deer doe and a 4yr old 3X4 at 17yds and I was

taking it all in and decided to hold off for the mature one we knew couldn’t be too far off


I decided to sit until about 10:30 and Joe picked me up with a grin on his face and the

question I was waiting for ....” I found our deer, are you ready to try stalking him!?” 

We were able to get a great look at the buck, as he was holding 5 doe along a strip of

round bales, and Joe and I figured with a perfect wind in my face scenario, I might be

able to loop nearly 500yds behind the bales looking to angle in and peer around the far

end trying to figure out what would come next.

It’s been awhile since I felt that different rush of adrenaline induced by the long stalk

and racing thoughts, all mixed with the small pep talks and prayers that I could close the

distance quietly yet also be self-filming the entire stalk. Joe had the big camera

watching from a distance. 

As I neared the bails and placed an action cam on a bail behind me, my stabilizer cam

was rolling also, and I removed my quiver and readied a second arrow along side of me

for that anything could happen feeling that I had.

All I can say is wow, as my heart was running fast and things were definitely starting to

unfold as I couldn’t believe my eyes once I peered over the bail to catch his tines, just

21yds away! He was almost in a full sneak position looking dead away and panting in a

sense and we all know what they look like when they are going away, so I was now

committed on trying him once the opportunity presented itself. 

As I readied myself, and worked closer to the end of the bail, I noticed a small fork horn

at only 8yds bedded broadside and I began to hook up the release. 

The forky rose from his bed and bounced off a bit as I got to my anchor point and side

stepped around the bails only to see our guy jogging away like a dog about to pick up

his tennis ball on a slow he stopped at a hard quarter, I found his off leg and

gapped my pins for 35ish. I watched the Lumenok bury up to the fletching and I

immediately was loading my second arrow. 

As the buck stopped at exactly 65.6yds his hind end was drooping already, and so I

dialed my React Trio to 70yds, gapped my pins and let another one 12 ring him through

everything and seconds later I was watching my first Mulie buck pile up, and reflecting

on the fact we finally did it after 10 days of madness!   

Joe managed to catch the shots, specifically the blow through coming at him on the

second shot and between three camera angles and the entire experience in general. I’m

excited to share the footage with ya’s soon enough!

Getting up to the buck, it was only then that I understood how old this buck was based

on Joe’s history with him and a neck/body/face that you only dream of might carry a 30”

frame one day. 

The experience was epic in my eyes, especially after closing in on a great buck in Iowa

just weeks prior and I couldn’t be more thankful for another “first” of many more type


I want to thank Joe and Neil Hylla again for welcoming me on my SD experience and I

also want to thank all the companies that support me and help me be the bowhunter I

strive to be. I also want to thank you all for your support, and I’m hoping y’all are having

some great hunts of your own out there! 

Let’s continue pushing on into late season the best we can. Thanks again for sharing in

all this with me, and y’all have a great Thanksgiving in the meantime!

God bless!

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