Matthew's 2012 Coues Success
My 2012 December archery hunting adventure ended with a special buck. I prepared hard and long for this year OTC Archery Deer season, with more 2 hour trips from Scottsdale to Globe, AZ than I can account for. I set up stands; set up ground blinds, set cameras, and trimmed half the forest in hopes of luring a Gray Ghost into one of my shooting lanes. With the season opener, I found myself with great friend and now archery addict Michael Armstrong. We successfully put Mike on a stand that had action for the entire 38 minutes it took him to tag out on his first morning. So this left the rest of the season for me to try to tag out myself. [nggallery id=6] The weather really seemed against us the entire season. With two trips hindered or completely shut down due to Winter weather advisories that held true and drop 1-3 feet of fresh snow while on stand or attempting to get to stand. I found myself with just two days to punch my 2012 tag prior to the New Year. I prepared myself for a long weekend with sub freezing temps, tons of snow, and only myself to share it with, I would be solo for the remainder of the season. Just my thoughts, my bow, and me. The first morning of this weekend was very slow, with almost no movement. I attributed it to all the new snow and hurricane like winds, but it could have been just a off morning for me. By mid-afternoon, the action started to pick up! With several pods of does, and yearlings coming through, I just knew if I stood patient enough Mr. buck should be close behind checking for breeding possibilities. Even though, the last weekend ended with a similar situation, with 20-30 does in 4 hours without a single horn showing up before dark. But this time just seemed different! The colors were brighter, the sounds easier to pick-up, and the does seemed almost carefree about my presence. The hours sped by, the sun flew across the sky, and that magic couple hours had arrived. I had been sitting on stand anticipating these last couple hours when all of Gods creatures seemed to come alive and get active, so I would be fresh and ready to stand guard the last remaining hours of light. As a group of 3 does came and left, the woods seemed to get an awkwardly quietness to them. I could hear myself breath, my heartbeat, and the clothes move around my neck. Was it over? Did I miss out again? I stood as a statue, letting my eyes pier through every break in the forest. Nothing!! I reassured myself that it's too close to the rut for nothing to happen over and over. That it would take persistence and time to close this deal. As I stand gazing down the mountain I catch a movement uphill...It's a deer!!!! I look closer as this deer seemed to be moving with a agenda! It's a doe, I say to myself, as I take my hand away from my bow. The deer comes to a halt just 40 yards uphill from my position...I can see Antler!! IT'S A BUCK!!!! I screamed internally! And a Good one at that. In all of about 1/8 of a second I went from doe-to-buck-to-shooter buck-to-THIS IS THE BUCK IVE BEEN LOOKING FOR!! I reach around, grab my bow, look down and engage my release. I look up to see where he is and he is standing 10 yards in front of me without a clue I was there. Within the time it took to grab my bow, this buck had made his way to, too close for comfort. I waited as he slowly steped behind a small tree, and drew my bow. He is still completely oblivious to my intent or my presence...I squeeze. Thwack! "Down goes Frazier!" The buck crumples in his tracks. I place my 20 yard pin on him high, knowing he was closer than 20, but he was so close that the arrow still hits him high and smashes through his spine, dropping him instantly. I am so over whelmed with joy, satisfaction, and pure adrenalin I almost put the Hunter Safety system to the test, as my shaky knees almost gave way and sent me for a fall. I regrouped myself, and climbed out of stand as fast as I could. With the remaining light of this day quickly vanishing behind the Pinal Mountains. I approach my trophy with admiration and great satisfaction. I realize upon placing my hands on him, he was not the buck I thought he was, but had very similar characteristics of the buck I had named the "caribou buck", he surely had to be a genetic offspring. So to this I felt a sense of satisfaction. I take a quick video, and a couple make shift pictures just in time to loose camera light! So off I go to get him off the mountain, before the winter night time chilled me to the bone. All in all, this buck had given me more satisfaction upon his harvest than any animal I had taken with my bow till then. There was just something special about my time from mid September till I placed his body into my rhino that seemed different. Was it the achievement I made with helping Mike get his very first archery harvest? Was it the harshness that I had to endure over and over to prove my commitment was real and nothing would stop me from my archery passion? Maybe it is that I am getting older, realizing that these hunts are far from over, but I'm old enough to cherish the journey that leads me to that 1/100 of a sec arrow release that kills, more than just the kill. What ever it was, I drove down the mountain more at peace with myself, my ability, my commitment, and my respect for my quarry than I had ever felt. It was a very mature moment in my life and I felt very happy to be myself. I was very honored to have helped unlock a door for a grown man to finally get the world of the outdoors opened for him. I felt fulfillment to have succeeded after a very long preparation and to be successful with a great buck. But most of all, I knew I had again accomplished what I had set out to do almost a year ago. I never veered off the path needed for success, nor did I let anything or any obstacles stand in my path. For this I was proud! I settled in that night without the gang, without the campfire stories, and without my beautiful wife...but I went to bed feeling more fulfilled as a man, as a archery only hunter, and a good steward of the outdoors than I have ever felt. I am a archery only hunter and I again was successful!! Thank you Lord.