Eva Hulett shot her buck at 9 am opening morning in the Silvies unit outside of Burns. It's complicated to get a tag there. She was talking about preference points, and trading and sharing and accumulating from other states. To be a hunter of this caliber takes effort, knowledge, research, and planning.
Eva knew the butte she wanted to be on when the sun rose September 29. Her husband wasn't in full agreement, but she had full confidence this was her spot. She started hiking in the dark and made her way to "her" stand. An hour or two later she heard a shot. Soon after two bucks ran past and dropped of the hill out of sight. Six more deer followed and dropped over the edge. She took a breath, drank some water, and hoped that maybe they would circle back. Then she heard him. A heavy footed deer was approaching, and when she saw him, she could tell he had to weave in and out of the trees to avoid snagging his huge rack. She watched him walk. When he finally stopped, all she could see was his rear on one side of a ponderosa tree and his antlers on the other. There was no clear shot, and more than anything, she wanted a clean kill.
Slowly, he walked towards a clearing. She willed him to stop but he kept moving. There was a reason this big deer was still around. He was smart. She was able to steady herself and take the shot. He went down.
When she radioed her husband, she said "Come and get me, and bring a meat bag". Her husband replied "I've got a four point in my truck right now." "I'm sure mines bigger." Eva radioed back.
They easily found the buck and when they lifted his head they all gasped. The rest of their hunting party made their way to the deer and Eva said to her husband. "You know what this means right? Your mount has to come off the fireplace..."
When I took the T measure, (42 1/2 btw) I had to ask if the buck was a mule deer. The antlers are a dark, gray/ rich brown. I was told that there have been a few fires in the area since 2003, and that the bucks rub against burnt ponderosas to remove the velvet from their antlers and that causes the dark stain.
Next year, the trophy buckle will read "Best Rack 2013"