Morning

I spent Saturday with a hunting rifle slung over my shoulder picking my way through hillsides of cat-claw. The search was for a mule deer buck which have an uncanny way of disappearing into the endless miles of rolling hills and jagged landscape. Most of the day was spent hunkered down staring through a pair of binoculars in search of something moving. Having grown up in New York and Pennsylvania hunting deer, the spot and stalk style of western hunting has taken a bit of getting used to.  For the first couple of years in Arizona, I had an extremely difficult time spotting animals. Practice makes perfect and although perfection has definitely not been achieved, I have been able to glass more successfully the longer I am at it.

The Countryside

As the sun started to shed light on the surrounding hillsides, my morning opened up to a herd of javelina being chased by three coyotes. Watching the scene unfold before me was one of the most interesting and intriguing experiences of my life. As I saw these javelina scurrying in every direction and getting lost into the brush with coyotes hot on their heels, it took me back to the years of my youth and the movie The Lion King. Very “circle-of-life-ish” After working my way over several hillsides, I had just finished up grid searching a hillside and repositioned myself to check the hill across the canyon. As I turned, I saw movement through the thick cat-claw and as I drew my binoculars to my eyes, all I could see was antlers. The large mule deer paused several times and looked around, but did not appear spooked as he disappeared over the ridge. I quickly gathered my belonging, made a game plan and made a beeline for interception. Long story short, I made it to my intended destination out of breath and having walked through a mile of the thorniest terrain in AZ and could not find my intended target.

Arizona Sunset

It was enough to get my heart pumping and made for a positive day spent in the field. As I bounced my way out of the backcountry, I was grateful for another beautiful Arizona sunset that never seem to get old no matter how many I see. For a late season hunt I was just happy to see animals, but after seeing such big antlers on a desert deer, I could not help but being a little disappointed about going home empty handed. Next time…

Next time out, maybe I'll go fishing...

 

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