The Kaibab Plateau, north of the Grand Canyon, is still considered one of the best areas to hunt trophy mule deer in the West.
Consequently, drawing a rifle deer tag is very difficult in any of the three units of the Kaibab. Instead of waiting for a tag every five to 10 years, a number of outdoorsmen have opted for the archery season which gives them better odds to hunt the Kaibab more consistently.
Local archer, Mike Wing, has been making the trip north for the past 14 years with the ultimate goal of taking a real wall hanger.
He has had many successful hunts with his bow having taken nine bucks on previous archery hunts which created even more anticipation for this season.
With a little preseason scouting and the experiences of the previous hunts in the Kaibab, he had found a well-worn deer trail that showed big buck tracks.
Mike hung his tree stand downwind from the spot and was prepared for the long wait which often comes with archery hunting.
On day three of waiting diligently, a big buck finally showed on the trail and presented a 35-yard shot from his Mathews Switchback XT.
This was a distance and angle Mike had practiced many times at home, yet the excitement of having a trophy buck in his sights was a bit unnerving.
He made the vital shot and he said the 20-minute wait which all archers should practice, ticked by ever so slowly.
Mike climbed down from his tree stand and walked only a hundred yards and saw the tines of his trophy buck.
This deer was by far the largest he had ever taken, which scored a whopping 194 by Pope and Young standards, and no doubt was a buck of a lifetime for this veteran hunter.
Mike said, “the hunting experience was very rewarding because there were fewer archers in the woods with the new lottery drawing this year.
The chances for a big buck were increased with a restricted number of hunters in the field.”
If you have a big game tag for November or December, good luck, and enjoy the Arizona outdoors, God’s creation.