I still haven’t figured out if I’m lucky or crazy.
After hunting for three weeks straight, I finally had a little slowdown. A rare break in my schedule to do whatever I wanted for five days … so what’s a girl to do? Well, I did what I love most: Back to the field for another hunting adventure. Now, thinking about it, I guess I never really left the field except for the few hours it took to drive west. I feel truly blessed that my job involves what I love; however, when I do get some time off, all I still seem to do is hunt. Lucky or crazy … you make the call!
After completing an incredible whitetail show with Mark Kayser near Pierre, South Dakota I decided it was my turn. I headed west to Wall in search of giant mule deer with Tom Kruger’s Guide Service (605-279-2240). My younger brother Aaron agreed to come join me as my cameraman and honorary gear carrier.
He quickly found out filming is a lot harder than it looks, and that his sister packs too much gear! We stayed in beautiful, brand new cabins, in downtown Wall. (In case you ever decide to go to Wall it’s nearly impossible to miss as the signs for Wall Drug start hundreds of miles before the town. Everyone who has ever been there knows exactly what I’m talking about!) I had a hard time convincing Aaron this was not how it always is.
He was giving me a hard time that I live a pretty cushy life. But this was an exception; accommodations are not always this nice. We met Tom, our guide and outfitter, at the local café for breakfast. We headed out after catching up and sharing a few hunting stories from the past year.
Within an hour we were on our first big muley, which meant the first big decision. The buck was super wide and in range, however he didn’t have much for forks. I just couldn’t squeeze the trigger knowing what this area has to offer when it comes to mule deer. My decision was obviously the right one.
A couple hours later we spotted exactly what we were looking for: He was a beautiful, wide buck, with nice forks – basically he had the entire package. Only one major problem: He was surrounded with lots of ladies who were extremely wary. Within seconds they turned their focus to us, even though we were almost a mile away! These babies have incredible vision, and we were obviously not welcome in their territory.
So I’ve got a big guy surrounded by smart females … I think I like him already. If I only had to make a stock on him, and only him, life would have been relatively easy. This was not the case and he had no intentions of leaving his girls. They wanted nothing to do with our company … can you blame them? We’re trying to kill their boyfriend!
Before we could get within range, the entire group busted out and headed over the hills. A bit disgusted, we decided to take a break for lunch and let them settle their nerves. With a full belly, we returned and glassed from a distance, quickly locating our buck.
We decided on a game plan and Aaron and set out for a long stalk. When we were finally in range, not only was I trying to focus on the muley but I was also coaching Aaron on the camera. I wanted to be sure he had all the camera settings correct and – most importantly – ensure he was on the buck.
Once he was set on the tripod and I was rock solid, I squeezed off a 257-yard shot. The next thing I knew I was walking up on my first mule deer, and a beautiful buck at that.
Hunting for work is fun, but having my brother involved really made for a great experience. I am afraid I spoiled him though; beautiful accommodations, great outfitter and area, and a muley down in only six hours! I can promise you this is not how it normally goes, but I’m not one to complain. Aaron and I packed up our gear and headed home for a weekend of pheasant hunting and relaxation and my parents’ house in Minnesota.