Arizona offers over-the-counter tags for archery hunters during the month of August, and Bob “Mule Man” Wonderly offered for me to come stay in his cabin and hunt Coues deer. This was going to be a pretty laid-back hunt since I was staying in his cabin where he lives year-round and I was within walking distance from his cabin to access the National Forest property. Bob had been seeing a group of bucks at least once a week while doing some pre-scouting. As a result, we spent a lot of time waiting in trees over a waterhole and also sitting, walking, or riding the four-wheeler in an effort to turn them up.
On the evening of the fifth day, I chose to sit on the ground at a trail intersection where I thought they may show up. While quietly sitting, the silence of the forest was interrupted by the sound of seven bucks. Two deer were at 35 yards, but below them were three more bucks that had appeared at 18 yards. I moved my bow and put my 20-yard pin on the nearest buck and immediately released my arrow. I hit him squarely and he even stumbled after the shot, but then he left like a streak of lightning. My deer ran straight for 80 yards then randomly turned right and went for another 80 yards and then died.
Bob marveled at the size of the antlers on this buck and continued to remind me that what I had been able to accomplish was a big deal to any bowhunter in Arizona. To get a 113" gross and 110" net score for a Pope and Young Coues deer is no small feat. Thanks to Bob for offering his cabin, his time, and his friendship to make such an adventure possible.