After chasing deer in four states now I have finally come home so to speak. I live on the "boundary" of where mule and blacktail deer meet and often interbreed. Most folks dont hunt these deer because they are not qualified for any "book." In fact I have avoided hunting the family hunting grounds for years for the same reason. In recent years I have "learned" that the book really isnt as important as the quality of the hunt. I started hunting a new location a few years ago and really enjoyed it. It is open enough to glass but thick enough to keep the blacktail happy. This year I killed this guy... a beautiful and mature public lands deer. He wouldnt score worth a hoot in any book but it sure was a great hunt! I found him while sneaking up an old trail. I had just glassed a brushy hillside and was slowly moving forward. Moving just a little exposed some new ground and I immediately saw his big old black tail as he was feeding away from me. I pulled up the binocs and saw his antlers sticking out as he grazed. Doh a nice one! He hadnt a clue I was around and I saw a spot for a prone shot. I pulled off my day pack and laid it down. As I laid the pack down the buckles rattled. I looked up to see his big ole white face looking back at me. Now I knew I wouldnt have much time so I went prone and fired within a second. I heard the hit and saw the reaction but was leary of how quickly I had to fire. I was prepared for a long tracking job and went to where he had stood and found some blood. I collected my thoughts and moved forward and found him lying only 20 yards away. As I was cleaning him, I found the top of his heart had been removed by my hasty shot! We get lucky every once in awhile. Thanks for looking.