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Prairie Mulies

Check out Team Hoyt's Ryan Eaves and his approach on Prarie Mulies.

Skirting the edge of the scrub oak, I knew time was not on my side.  I had watched the group of bucks most of the morning; slowly, methodically making their way back to their afternoon beds, unaware a predator was waiting for the opportunity to strike.  The lush alfalfa had held their attention longer than I would have expected, lulling me into a sort of nonchalant trance, convinced time would not be an issue.  Now, with the group closing distance I found myself out of position and scant cover left very few options with which to work.  Nevertheless though, a slight depression, to shallow to be a ditch, and a barbed wire fence looked to be a viable, though not ideal, stalking/ambush alternative that I would have to make work. 

Two of the three bucks in the group were shooters.  One, a tight racked 4x4 with deep forks and good mass had the classic look of a mulie.  The other had the appearance of a whitetail rack, with six points on the right antler and three on the left, absent the classic forked appearance.  To me, either buck would look good wearing my sight pins on their side so I had no intention of being picky when, or more appropriately if, I could make this stalk work.  With my face in the dirt I slithered along trying to move fast while gauging whether or not I was going to make it to the rendezvous point in time.  The bucks had picked up their pace considerably, the heat and bugs finally convincing them the shade of the scrub oak would provide some reprieve from both.  At 47 yards I saddled up beside the last remaining cover, if you can consider a fence post cover.  By now the bucks would take eight to ten steps before the lead buck would stop to survey the surroundings, and even then the surveys appeared to be more out of habit than anything because it was obvious they desperately wanted to get to the cover.  Halfway convinced I was going to get busted before they gave me a shot I continued to hold the rangefinder when normally I would have already been in shoot mode.  Things were different this year though…

As some readers probably know, my family’s business, a manufacturing plant, had been destroyed in April by one of the most devastating acts of nature that you can imagine.  A tornado had sat down directly on my plant and in short order replaced a lifetime’s worth of work with a pile of rubble.  Myself and my family’s time had obviously been spent rebuilding therefore the Hoyt had not seen much action, either in hunting or in practice.  To top that, three weeks prior to leaving for this hunt, my only hunt of 2011, I had busted three ribs and was in considerable pain, more so when it came time to come to full draw.  The long range shots that normally don’t cause me to think twice were out of the question based on these circumstances therefore with the lack of cover at my disposal I expected this hunt to go south quickly.  Then something amazing happened…

The three bucks made a 90 degree turn and started angling my way.  With each step they came closer, in spite of me seemingly in the wide open.  Before I knew it the limbs of the Carbon Matrix were flexing and the sight pins were finding their place on my buck.  At 29 yards, the “whitetail” mulie turned broadside and dropped his head to grab one more bite, his last, before the arrow pierced his heart.  With my knees screaming as well as my ribs I rose from my hiding spot next to the fence post just as the buck tipped over on his face, 60 yards from the shot and no more than 8 seconds after.

Walking up on that buck was a surreal moment.  My good friend Trenton Griffin had watched the whole hunt and like me was dealing with the aftermath of a tornado back home.  My brother-in-law Matt was also on the hunt and we would later learn that he had tasted success that morning also.  Later in the week Trenton would get his buck, his first mulie with a bow, and just like that three Oklahomans would leave Colorado with three bucks.  We would head home with more to do as far as rebuilding businesses and homes, but looking back it became obvious that the hunt had been a gift for the struggles that had been endured in 2011.

The remainder of 2011 would see things improve on a daily basis.  My community rebuilt and came back better and stronger than pre-tornado, and, though my fall hunting season didn’t see me accomplish much I was able to enjoy the gift that only father’s know by watching my seven year old son harvest not only his first buck but also his second.  Through all the hardships of 2011 one thing will remain forever etched in my mind.  The relationships I have made helped keep things in perspective and the words from my friends at Hoyt after relaying the news to them about the devastation of a tornado, echoed a belief that I already knew.  Products keep businesses moving but people make a company.  Because of that I continue to believe that Hoyt is hands down the greatest bow company in the world! 

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