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The Good Lord and Arizona

June 2024
Story by Marshal Trigg
State: Arizona
Species: Deer - Coues

This hunt really started back in June of 2023. I had originally started just buying bonus points in Arizona in 2022, but after listening to multiple podcasts about how the Arizona draw works, I decided to swing for the fences and enter the draw. I knew I’d never draw the units I put in for with only 1 point, but what did I have to lose?

Early one morning while getting ready for work, my phone buzzed. It was a notification that my credit card had been hit for $300 by Arizona Fish and Game. I was in disbelief. After waiting a couple weeks, the draw results were uploaded to my Portal. I had drawn a December Coues deer rifle tag in a trophy unit with a single bonus point. I immediately reached out to a good friend in Arizona (who is also a member of Huntin’ Fool) about my luck. He didn’t miss a beat and said he’d be glad to meet me out there to help. We both utilized Huntin’ Fool’s Previous Tag Holder List and got a couple spots of interest. After doing some research, I decided the best dates for this hunt would be the week after Christmas. It was a tight window with a full moon, but I was hoping the later dates would have some of the mature deer on their feet.

I started the 1,500-mile drive from my home in Mississippi early the morning after Christmas and linked up with my hunting partner around 9 a.m. on the 27th. We didn’t waste any time setting up camp, and we immediately started looking for a good glassing knob. After looking over miles of country too thick to glass, we decided to check one of the spots we got info on from a previous tag holder. We got in position at around 2 p.m. that afternoon. A couple hours later, I spotted a doe on a far hillside about 1,000 yards away. Seconds later, what looked to be a good buck appeared and started trailing her. I didn’t feel comfortable taking that shot, so I decided to try and close the distance. By the time I reached a good shooting position, I glassed up my partner and he motioned they had fed off into the brush. Although slightly disappointed, I was optimistic for the next morning.

Before daybreak, I started the steep hike to my vantage point I had found the night before and got set up. Then, nothing. My mind raced, wondering if he’d chased that doe to the next county. However, I stayed on my glass, expecting to see deer at any moment. Finally, at around 9 a.m., I got a glimpse of a doe dashing through the brush. The buck I’d glassed up the night before was right behind her. While prepping for the shot, I found out why they call them the grey ghosts. I’d get him in my scope, range him, go back to my scope, gone. Go back to my binos, find him again, get back on the gun, gone. Finally, he stopped to hook a limb long enough for me to get a good range and get steady on the gun. He was at 586 yards with no wind. One shot and I watched him go down in the scope. Somehow, I kept my composure and ran the bolt to chamber another round, but he never flinched. I was ecstatic.

I thanked The Good Lord for this amazing opportunity and for placing an amazing woman in my life who supports my hunting addiction. Without Jesus and a good woman, I’d be in a bind. Special thanks to my good friend, Pete, for helping me on this hunt. I can’t wait to return the favor, brother!