Editor’s Note: Keith Pullins of Rapid City, South Dakota, has been hunting mule deer ever since he started walking – for about 30+ years. Pullins has taken over 25 mule deer with his bow and 30+ with his rifle. His best bowhunting mule deer scored 164 on Pope & Young (P&Y).
I usually can take a muley with my rifle, my bow, or my muzzleloader. If I don’t draw my mule deer tag, I often can get an any-deer tag over the counter. If you get an any-deer tag, and you’ve already taken a mule deer, then that any-deer tag is for a whitetail. We have some great whitetails here in South Dakota, but in the last 5-10 years, most deer hunters have preferred to take mule deer. On this hunt for my whitetail that scored 150, I was hunting U.S. Forest Service Land.
I’d found this whitetail a month before using trail cameras, and I knew the area where he was hanging out. I’d found a little field behind a rock outcropping that was only 40 yards wide and maybe 50 yards long. From my trail cameras, I’d learned that whitetails fed in this little field before moving into the more extensive fields after dark. I went to my tree stand after work, wearing my scrubs at the hospital where I work with my camo over my scrubs. I’d been in my tree stand for about an hour, stood up, stretched, and looked behind my stand. There, I saw this big whitetail about 40 yards from me feeding. I grabbed my bow as I saw him walking away and moving through some jackpins. I ranged those, and when he stepped out from behind the trees, I released my arrow. The white-tailed buck only went 30 yards, but the trees were so thick where he was that I never saw or heard him fall. I waited about 30 minutes and called my uncle, sitting on the ground blind, about 30 yards from my tree stand. I told him I’d just shot that big 6×6 (12-point eastern count) brow-tined buck (each of his brow tines was about 8 inches long). As soon as I got down from my tree stand, I saw a white belly, and I knew my buck was down.