We just finished our archery mule deer hunts, and what a season it was! This was by far our best bow season yet, as far as clients harvesting bucks. With good moisture in the spring and early summer it has been one of the better years I have seen in this area for quality antler growth!
Our first hunters started hunting September 1st when all the bucks were still in velvet. Anthony Templeton, Morgan Holms and Brett Harris, all from Texas came up on their first mule deer hunt. Anthony was first to break the ice, harvesting a 165" buck opening day. A few days later Morgan took a 176" followed by Brett harvesting a huge, 28" wide, 183" typical! Lou Edgar from Arizona came opening week as well and harvested his best buck to date, a large framed 4x3 that scored 169".
Next hunters to arrive were Kent and his son, Chris Green from Utah and Dan Boivin of Minnesota. Dan took his buck on the second day of his hunt, this was the first animal Dan took with archery equipment, congrats Dan! Kent and Chris were on their fifth consecutive mule deer bowhunt with us and both took their best bucks to date. Kent got a massive 174" buck and Chris arrowed a 186" giant, our best scoring buck for the 2011 bow season! Brian Violini of California was able to connect on a 158" four point on the last afternoon of his hunt.
Next group included Chris Morris and David Bartley from Texas along with their friend Bill Dondero from Louisiana. Bill and Chris took their first mule bucks on this hunt. Bill taking a 177" buck on the first day and Chris a 180" on the last day after passing up a number of good bucks throughout the week. Dave took a 30 yard shot on a mid 160's buck, but it wasn't meant to be and the deer vacated the scene in a hurry, unscathed! Chuck Trover of Oregon was the last bowhunter of the season and was on his second hunt with us. It took us a few days to find the caliber of buck we were looking for and in the end we had some close encounters. We never had a shooting opportunity at the bucks we were after due to changing wind and other unfortunate circumstances that happen when bowhunting.
I would like to extend a great thanks to both clients and guides for making the 2011 season an unforgettable one!
Every year our bowhunters have great opportunities at big bucks and this year it seemed that almost all of the shots taken were lethal giving us a unbelievable harvest rate of 10 bucks for 12 hunters with an average score of over 170" and an average shooting distance of 34 yards! Unfortunately this does not happen every year and the biggest reason is due to buck fever, the losing of our composure when it is time to make the shot is something all us bowhunters can relate to!
A big factor that make our archery and rifle mule deer hunts successful is the many hours of scouting that is done before our hunters arrive. Of the 10 bucks our bowhunters took we have live video footage of 9 of them plus numerous more that we will be trying to relocate for our upcoming rifle season! Our mule deer bowhunts are 60% booked for 2012 so don't delay as this is a quality trophy hunt at a great price!
Also on our website check out our latest magazine article that appeared in the 40th anniversary edition of Bowhunter magazine. Editor Curt Wells wrote a great story on his mule deer bowhunt he did with us last year when he harvested an old, 30" wide buck!
We now have some more videos on our website you can check out. They will give you a feel for the country, animals and the way we hunt here at Willow Creek Outfitters where you will experience "Fair Chase Hunting at it's Finest"!
We will send out our next newsletter at the end of the fall season. If you have been thinking about booking a hunt, give us a call and we will let you know what we have available for 2012 & 2013.
Until next time, good luck!
Andre van Hilten