Just ask about any veteran hunter who helps out others on their hunts, and they will tell you that they get a greater feeling of pride and accomplishment when others take an animal.
Such is the case of the husband and wife team of Kingman residents Mike and Debbi Cobb.
Mike has been an avid outdoorsman for many years, while Debbi has embraced hunting only for the past few years.
But under the direction and tutelage of Mike, Debbi has turned into quite the lady hunter, and this year took the best buck of her life on a recent hunt in Unit 18B.
Mike’s favorite game management unit to hunt both deer and javelina in is unit 18B.
Located east of Wikieup, Mike’s expertise in this unit is almost legendary. Mike had hunted and even worked as a professional guide here for many years. His friends, family and associates seem to get what they pursue almost every year.
This year, Debbi drew her third deer tag out of the last four years.
She has taken a 5x4 and a 3x3 on her previous hunts, and all have been taken within a mile and a half radius!
But this year, Mike had his sights set on a buck they had seen prior to the opening of the hunt, a big, wide and heavily antlered 5x4.
On opening day Mike and Debbi were glassing on top of a mountain. Mike noted that at least 16 vehicles of all shapes and sizes came by while they were looking for and at deer.
Most successful big game hunters utilize binoculars and high-powered scopes to locate game. Cobb is not different. That’s how he finds animals, and lots of them.
While glassing, they received a call from one of Debbi’s brothers, David, who also had a deer tag.
He asked for their assistance and off the mountain they went. Despite their best efforts that day, that buck escaped.
The next day glassing produced the buck they were looking for. And with him were two other bucks, a 24 inch 4x3 and a small two pointer. The two watched as the bucks fed into a secluded area where Cobb thought they would bed.
They moved slowly into the area when suddenly the bucks exploded out of the thick cover. There was no chance for Debbi to get a clean shot.
Sunday was fairly uneventful, except that they did find the small fork-horned buck and a few does. Mike was fairly sure that this forky was the one who had been with the other two bucks the day before. But the bigger bucks were laying low, they knew the drill. Hunters were in the area and that meant danger. They were safe – for now.
On Monday, the fourth day of the hunt, glassing produced the sighting of a 24-inch-wide 4x3 that was alone. He was a long way off, but off they went. They would see other deer, but they would not get the opportunity for a shot.
On Tuesday, they were once again glassing from the same spot when they zoomed in on a nice 3x3 buck that they were able to get Debbi’s brother Ken Daniels on. He was able to bag this buck.
That afternoon they moved to a different area, and found two good bucks a long way off. When it was all over, they would see a good group of deer, including three mature bucks. Debbi did get a shot at one of the better bucks, but missed. As unhappy as she was at the time, it turned out it was a good thing she had missed, as better things were down the road.
The pair came back to Kingman Wednesday and Thursday, but Thursday night they were back in camp. In the meantime Debbi’s other brother David bagged a 3x2.
Friday morning they were on their mountain top glassing. They spotted 9 does and interestingly enough, only three rigs drove past them.
Finally, they spotted a deer a long way off and decided they had to move to get closer to it. They spotted a doe and a single buck and watched as they moved into what Mike thought was a bedding area.
Once they were closer, Mike started to call to try and get the deer to stand up. Suddenly, the two deer jumped up and ran over the top of a nearby hill. Mike and Debbi followed.
When they got to the top of the hill they spotted not the single doe and buck, but two does and a buck feeding a long ways off.
Then they saw a single doe that was looking right at them. Mike thought the doe might have been with the buck, but he wasn’t sure, so they decided to go back after the other buck.
That was when Lady Luck smiled on them. As they were working around through the thick brush, Mike spotted two mature bucks on a mountain above them.
There just over 400 yards away, was the big buck Mike and Debbi had been looking for.
The shot was way too long, so they decided to just sit and wait to see what would happen.
Suddenly, Debbi saw a single javelina move close to where the deer were feeding.
The two bucks became alert, but not alarmed and then without warning started walking down the mountain towards Mike and Debbi.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Mike said.
They pair watched as the deer got ever closer to their position.
From 400 yards out the pair of bucks worked their way off the mountain.
Mike got Debbi set up on the shooting sticks and waited.
Suddenly, the two bucks appeared just 100 yards away. They were moving slowly through the brush when Debbi fired. The shot missed!
The bucks didn’t act alarmed as Debbi reloaded.
Her second shot at 70 yards was on the mark and she had the biggest buck she has ever taken.
The buck sported a 5x4 rack that is just over 28 inches wide.
The only real issue was that the hunters were a long ways back into the hills.
They would have to drag the buck over a half mile to get it to their Rhino. No decision has been made as to whether they will have the buck mounted. But odds are, since it is her best buck ever, Mike would be smart to get it a taxidermist, and soon.