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UnLucky in Alberta

By Mark Oliver and Jackie Bushman

UnLucky in Alberta

Part 1: Missed It by That Much (Mark Oliver)

One of our favorite places to hunt in North America is southern Alberta. It’s special to watch the sunrise from 30 feet up a cottonwood. And that’s what Terry Rohm and I were doing the last week of September 2007, hoping to catch a dandy buck heading back to its bed after gorging on peas and alfalfa. We’d spent two days in other stands, helplessly watching bucks using this transition zone, so enough was enough.

That stand has been known as the “No Peep Stand” ever since Jackie Bushman drew on a good buck two years ago, only to find his peep sight was gone. So there we were, Terry and I, watching a couple of dink bucks sparring in the field in front of us, when a massive buck stepped out of a strip of cottonwoods about 75 yards out.

The buck’s mass was obvious to the naked eye, and as I got the camera on it, I noticed its right side looked sort of funky, but still impressive. If it took the same trail as some other small deer had done that morning, it would walk about 24 yards from our stand and present a perfect shot opportunity. This buck had no clue as it casually walked and munched. As it hit the opening, I told Terry that the shot was clear — but Terry had a few tiny branches in the way and wisely held off.

But there was another opening behind the tree, so I became a “human pretzel” and managed to get the camera ready for the next opportunity. Terry let his arrow fly at 30 yards. The buck disappeared instantly, but neither of us could
tell what exactly happened with the shot.

We studied the area where the deer was standing but found no arrow or sign of a hit. Concerned, we filmed some cutaways and went back to the house to watch the footage on the TV. And that’s when we realized that Terry had used his 20-yard pin. The arrow just barely touched the buck’s armpit. Disappointed? Absolutely, but that’s hunting!

UnLucky in AlbertaPart 2:  The High Stand Comes Through Again (Jackie Bushman)

Mark returned to Alberta with me in rifle season in the third week of November, probably hoping for a rendezvous with that same buck. Our first morning on stand was in the same transition zone, but a bit closer to the food source. We saw a few small bucks here and there, and then a bull-faced buck appeared. I could tell it was awesome, even from a distance.

Mark struggled to get the buck on camera while it circled toward us. I expected it to come in from my right, which would have been perfect since I’m left-handed, but the buck never offered a shot and disappeared.

The next morning, we set up a brushy ground blind near the river, hoping to confront the buck where it wouldn’t expect trouble. Instead, we saw it chasing does right under the stand we used the day before!

We had to leave for a Saskatchewan hunt, but we returned to Alberta four days later. We wanted this buck and passed on several really good deer. The last day of our hunt, we went to the spot where I’ve taken 80 percent of my Alberta bucks — “the High Stand.” This stand looks into a bedding area, but you need northeast winds or you’ll be busted.

Subscribe Today!We rattled a bit, which drew in a few dink bucks, but nothing we even considered taking. We knew the rancher would be checking cattle at 1:30, which could send deer toward us — and that’s exactly what happened.

Some does popped into the cutline out front; not long after, here came our buck — the same one that poor ol’ Terry Rohm had missed. I grunted three times to stop it, but this buck was on a mission. When it got to 150 yards, I touched off a shot with my Remington Model 700.

I was using Federal Premium’s brand new Trophy Bonded Tip ammunition, and it really did a number on this deer. What a buck! I couldn’t touch my thumb and forefinger around its bases, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Now, if you run into Terry Rohm, please tell him to come by the Buckmasters office to see the mount of his — I mean my — buck!

This article was published in the October, 2008 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.

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