A bowhunter in central Oregon tagged a mule deer buck on opening weekend that he’d been chasing for happening 4 years. The buck that Arnold Fox nicknamed “One Eye Willy” was blind in a single eye, walked with a limp, and had easy, worn-out enamel that had been floor down virtually to his gums.
“He was a real outdated warrior previous his prime,” Fox tells Outside Life.
The 29-year-old hunter lives in Prineville, and says he first caught the buck on a path digicam again in 2019. Fox had arrange round 15 mobile path cams on public land all through the world that yr, and the 4-point stood out from the remainder of the large bucks he’d been watching. He might inform the deer had damaged his again proper leg sooner or later as a result of it walked with a noticeable limp.
He didn’t catch the buck on digicam once more till simply earlier than the archery season opened in 2021. The muley nonetheless had each eyes intact at that time, however as quickly because the buck confirmed himself, he disappeared as soon as once more.
“So this yr I moved some cameras round on completely different water and I caught him once more,” Fox says, “He began coming round fairly common, and I knew this was lastly the yr.”
Fox says that when he took a more in-depth take a look at the path cam pictures, he seen that solely the deer’s left eye would shine within the gentle. That’s when the buck—which will need to have had his proper eye broken throughout final yr’s rut—obtained his nickname.
As Fox explains, he spent a great chunk of this summer season “burning diesel and spending some huge cash simply to determine this deer out.” He slowly pieced collectively One Eye Willy’s habits, noting the occasions the buck would come to water every day. It was a scorching and dry summer season, so when archery season opened on Aug. 27, Fox figured his finest wager was to arrange a floor blind close to the tank and wait him out.
“He had been coming into water at bizarre occasions, like in the midst of the day, so I hunted him all day on Saturday and sat within the blind for about eight hours.”
Willy by no means confirmed, although, and after spending 4 to 5 hours within the blind on Sunday morning, Fox stepped out slightly after 8 a.m. About two hours later, Fox was again in camp when he acquired a path cam picture of Willy on his cellular phone. The clever, outdated buck had proven up on the tank slightly later than anticipated, so Fox went to plan B. He says he knew a spot additional up the canyon the place bucks preferred to mattress, and he and a good friend took the blind there and arrange.
As they sat within the cramped blind by way of the afternoon, they watched an enormous 3-point that was roughly 200 yards out. His good friend wished to go forward and stalk the buck, however Fox made the decision to remain.
Learn Subsequent: Here’s What It Takes to Bowhunt Giant Mule Deer Bucks in Utah’s High Deserts—in August
“My intestine was telling me to simply wait, so I made him keep within the blind,” Fox says. “He was slightly salty with me for it, however that was okay with me, as a result of round 7 o’clock, I regarded over and noticed Willy coming in. He got here in so quick, and my adrenaline was pumping so onerous, that I couldn’t hardly get my bow pulled again. My buddy’s attempting to inform me to loosen up however I used to be shaking so dangerous and couldn’t simmer down.”
By the point One Eye Willy obtained inside 30 yards or so, the buck turned broadside along with his proper eye dealing with the blind. Fox knew he had an edge. He drew and let one fly, hitting the deer slightly excessive and behind, after which settled down to attend him out. He used his satellite tv for pc telephone to textual content one other one in all his buddies, and after a half-hour or so, Fox stepped out of the bottom blind.
“I took ten steps out of the blind, regarded round this juniper tree, and all I see is his ass finish hanging out of the tree,” Fox says. “I noticed that large, white mule deer butt and I simply obtained so pumped.”
After his different good friend confirmed as much as snap some pictures, they rough-scored the buck round 185 and ¼ inches, with an outdoor unfold of 33 and ¾ inches. Fox says he’ll have the deer aged, however he thinks Willy might have been round 10 years outdated.