This is one of the hazards of mountain hunting!
It's hard to beat the fun and challenge of a hunt in the American west. The game animals never make it easy on the hunters and you will have to work hard if you want to punch a tag and fill your freezer. Many hunters focus strongly on conditioning to make sure they are in shape to climb up and down the mountains to where the deer are hiding.
Aside from the usual hazards that come with an outdoor adventure into the backcountry, there is something else to worry about that many hunters may not take into consideration. We are talking about the possibility of your game animal falling off the side of the mountain. For as often as hunters take to high elevations for big game, we don't often see this on video.
In this video, Jeff Bynum is in Idaho when he glasses up a monster mule deer. After a long spot and stalk he makes a perfect shot, only to watch in horror as this beautiful buck starts tumbling down the mountain at a high rate of speed. The whole hunt is worth watching but jump to the 14-minute mark if you just want to see the shot.
Aside from the deer falling off a cliff and smashing into multiple rocks on the way down, everything else on this hunt worked out to perfection. They spotted a shooter in an area with low deer density and put a perfect spot and stalk on it before making an incredible 500-yard shot.
The fear in the voices of both men was palpable as they watched that monster buck sliding down the mountain. Had it been a gentle incline with just grass, there would have been nothing to worry about. The fact that this buck's body was bouncing off rocks during the fall was enough to make any hunter nervous.
Fortunately, both the buck's body and antlers seem to be no worse for wear when they finally recover him from his final resting spot. That really speaks to the strength of antlers and amazes us even more when the animals manage to break them in fights.
Congrats on a great buck Jeff. That's a heck of a story you'll have to tell about this hunt!