Field & Stream predicted Nov. 1 to be one of the top seven days to hunt the rut this year. Being a dutiful staff member, I took it upon myself to hunt that day. That Monday, I found myself hiking up an almost vertical cliff off Uyak Bay on Kodiak Island, Alaska. My quarry: blacktail deer. And as you can see, I got a good one: a 185-pound 10-pointer that came out of a thicket, crossed a small meadow, tore up a couple of saplings with this rack, then made the mistake of walking within range of my Model 700.
He was alone, but there’s no doubt he had mating on his mind. Check out the size of his neck!
When you shoot a deer, the drill on Kodiak is to take your photos and then gut and drag your animal fast. Once the magpies and ravens find the gut pile, which they always do, their activity will draw any Kodiak bears within sight or smelling range. And there are bears everywhere: That’s Doug Jeanneret checking tracks on the beach.
With help from Joe Arterburn of Cabela’s, we dragged this buck in record time – no mean feat when you have to go through a mile of hummocks, bogs, mud and downed trees – all of which ended with us taking the buck down a long, cascading waterfall that ended on the beach. I think I lost five pounds on that 45-minute drag–a memorable hunt, in many ways.