The Arizona mule deer population has been on the decline over the last generationithan extended drought, as well as low fawn survival rate, impacted by predators.
Hunting mature, quality bucks in much of Arizona has been relegated to small, isolated pockets that are unknown to the casual outdoorsman that might be the home of a healthy trophy 4-point or better.
Although, therea north of the Grand Canyon known as the Kaibab Plateauis the exception to this general scenario in that the mule deer herds arehriving and the size of the antler mass on mature bucks is substantially larger.
Consequently, obtaining a mule deer tag in these units called the Kaibab is very hard to come by and coveted by mule deer hunters from all over the country.
Longtime residents of the Rim Country, Kenny and Dejo Goodman, both received tags that provided them the opportunity to hunt for more than two weeks in this mule deer hotspot called the Kaibab.
Dejo's tag was for the early hunt which is often a bit more comfortable with fall-like weather in the 7,000 feet plus elevation, while Kenny had the later hunt where winter conditions are the norm.
Early winter storms, even though wet and cold, actually aid the hunters when the mule deer leave the thick pine forest for lower elevation cedar and canyon country.Kenny mentioned that this is the kind of weather he was hoping to coincide with his hunt.
Their grown sons, Troy and Ty,ccompanied byheir families, also made the six-hour trip in hopesf assisting in the hunt by having more pairs of eyes looking over the steep canyon country.
Many quality bucks were seen during the second hunt, but the right situation did not present itself to make the clean shot Kenny had hoped.
As the last day of the hunt concluded and they were making the long walk back to the road, a trophy mule deer buck was seen onthe opposite side of the canyon.
The stalk was on and the buck was harvested in the last 20 minutes of daylight on the last day of the hunt.
Within the ranks of the hunting population this would certainly be labeled a "12th-Hour Buck" and yes, the biggest Kenny has takenn many hunts on the Kaibab Plateau over the last decades.
This weekend enjoy the outdoors, God's creation.