Nov_20_07 “Somebody tell me I’m crazy, looks like an elk down there,” I hollered out from behind my binoculars. It was my last afternoon in Nebraska last week and I was jumpy as hell, scared I wouldn’t get a deer.

“No elk, but a giant mule deer, he’s sleeping with his rack tipped over in front,” Scott Denny said. I glassed again and now it looked right and made sense.

“You wanna kill that deer or not?” Scott asked, inferring that I’d be a nut not to.

We had been chasing whitetails hard for 3 days, having close encounters but never closing the deal. I had less than an hour left to hunt on this leg of my roadtrip, and I had an any-deer tag in my pocket. I about pulled a hammy running to get my .270 WSM rifle.

We stalked fast around the top of a cornfield on a high butte, creeped up to the rim, peeked straight down through the tall grass. Some does had busted us and the buck was standing now, huge and gray as charcoal, a magnificent beast. I aimed my Winchester Super-X rifle straight down; the rangefinder read a 31-degree angle shot to the bottom of the canyon. Damn, I hate too much thinking and compensating in the heat of battle. The buck was only 92 yards down as the crow would fly. I fired a 150-grain Power Point bullet; the does exploded and ran, and the buck tried to lurch up the side of the canyon, so I hit him with another one.

Light was going when we got down there and put our hands on his horns (they are literally antlers, but the hunter’s jargon “horns” sounds better). Scott repeated over and over how this was not just a good muley buck for central Nebraska, he was an exceptional one. He sure was pretty. Check out those deep back forks and the front forks are strong too. Great mass to his grayish-white horns.

Don’t you love the unpredictably of hunting? You can go out for 15 minutes and shoot a buck dead…or go for days or weeks without a shot…or miss…or kill one of the best muleys of your life with 30 minutes left in a whitetail hunt. That is why we have so much dang fun.

Tomorrow, on to South Dakota where I see and hunt a legit 170” buck—whitetail!