"Oh gosh guys, that's super tempting. They're just standing there broadside. That's a lot of sausage..." I said, staring at my rifle and back at the deer, then back at my rifle.
"Look up there Ryan!" Trevor stopped and pointed to a flat area on the ridge.
"Are those mules?" I asked out loud, already knowing the answer.
"Looks like it. I wonder how close we can get?"
"Let's find out."
We approached slowly. A herd of 10 or so mules fed leisurely on the crest of the ridge, seemingly unafraid or concerned with our approaching presence. On the other side of the mules stood Rick.
"Mules, eh?" Rick said from the other side of the herd.
"I guess. You never know what you're going to run into in the woods." Trevor said, getting closer.
The mules moved off a little ways as we met up with Rick.
"I'm going to try to ride one of them!" Trevor said, with a wild look in his eyes.
"That doesn't sound like a good idea." I warned, picturing a wild bucking bronco and Trevor flying through the air.
"I'm doing it!" Trevor said triumphantly, setting down his rifle.
Trevor walked up to one of the mules, placed his hand on it's side, and jumped onto it's back. I closed my eyes for a moment out of fear and began to open them slowly. The scene in front of me was not one I expected to see on this hunting trip.
The mule picked up his head and seemed to roll it's eyes as if to say, really? The mule stood there for a moment and then began to feed as if nothing happened. Trevor sat on the mule for a few minutes before dismounting and joining us.
"That was cool!" He said, grabbing his rifle.
"Wow, I can't believe it." I said, still astounded.
We hunted that area a while longer before returning to camp for lunch and to plan our afternoon. Rick decided we should head to an area they had seen numerous bucks in the past and plan a nighttime sit over some meadows. We loaded up into the suburban and lumbered down the road. Maybe it was the early morning hike or the soft suspension of the old SUV, but I could not stay awake as we floated down the dirt road. I take great pride in spotting game while driving, sometimes spending too much time looking at the hillsides and not at the road...just ask my friend, Erik Moncada. But this afternoon, nothing could hold back my afternoon nap.
"Whitetail buck! Whitetail buck!"
I suddenly jerked awake as the suburban came to a halt. I opened my groggy eyes in time to see the flashing white flag of a whitetail deer bound away from the road on our left. Trevor and Rick jumped out of the vehicle and crept off the road into the woods in the direction of the deer. I quickly grabbed my rifle and hurried after them. I expected to hear a gun shot as I looked up to see Rick looking through his scope, where 60 yards ahead stood a nice whitetail buck. I heard Rick muttering something that sounded like safety, while I shuffled to the right and loaded a round into the chamber. The deer still stood there looking everywhere but at us. Why isn't this deer running away? Once again, I heard Rick mutter something in frustration about his safety. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew this deer wouldn't stand there forever. I set my bi-pod out, took a knee, found the deer in my scope and squeezed the trigger. BOOOOM! The buck instantly dropped to the ground. Wow! I just shot a buck! The deer kicked for only a minute or so before passing.
"Ryan! That's a nice buck! Good job!" Trevor said, patting me on the back. "Let's go take a look at him."
We approached the buck and admired him.