Hard hunting pays off in tough unit for Kingman woman

About a month ago I was in a local doctor’s office when I spoke with Lisa Carley, who works as an LPN in that office.

She told me she and her family had all drawn a deer tag for an upcoming hunt in Unit 18A.

I told her sarcastically: “Good luck. That’s just a glorified camping permit!”

You see, the annual of harvest of mule deer bucks in that unit is among the lowest in the state. In 2021 the hunter success was just 14%!

However, when I made that remark, I had forgotten one important fact.

The Carley’s are one of the few Kingman families that always seem to do well in that unit on deer hunts. They rarely get “skunked” in a unit that most hunters never see a buck!

So it came as no real surprise when a few weeks later I received a text from Don Carley, Lisa’s husband, along with a photo of a mature 4x3 buck that Lisa was holding.

I just had to know the story of her hunt, so I reached out to her.

Here is the story of how Lisa came to tag a good buck like that in a tough, tough unit.

Lisa and Donnie, along with two of her children also had tags, but this would be the first time that Lisa would hunt all by herself at times on this outdoors adventure.

On this hunt, Donnie would drop her off and Lisa would hike into areas where they had seen bucks before,

On the first day Lisa did see a huge buck, but he was laying down in some brush, and when he stood up, she didn’t have the safety off of her rifle and the buck escaped, unscathed.

She would hike several more days before she saw another buck.

Each day the hunters would all go out. Donnie was going to sit and watch a waterhole while Lisa would hike in different areas.

Donnie did see a buck on Wednesday at the waterhole, but it moved so quickly that he never got a shot.

But Unit 18A was living up to what most of us know about the unit. It’s a tough hunt, few deer and bucks.

It was Thursday morning, the seventh day of her hunt, and once again Lisa was hiking the area hoping to see a buck.

Donnie came to pick her up, and as they were getting ready to leave, not one, but two big bucks were seen off in the brush and very close.

Both hunters got out, but only Lisa was able to get a shot off. They were only 50 yards away!

The bucks ran off, but Lisa was sure her shot from her 30-06 rifle was good.

They checked the area, but were unable to locate the buck.

Lisa’s son Derreck was called, and when he got there, it didn’t take him long to find the buck.

This buck was the personal best for Lisa. She has had a lot of success in the past on other Arizona big game hunts.

Lisa has taken three other mule deer bucks in the past, along with three elk and she even got a mountain lion a few years ago while on a deer hunt in the Hualapais.

Lisa plans on doing a European mount on the skull and antlers of her buck, plus her success ensures that the Carley’s have a freezer full of nutritious and good-eating meat this winter.

This had not been an easy hunt. Despite the Carley family having four tags, Lisa was the only one who filled her tag! As it turned out, it was not a “glorified camping permit” as I had suggested, but a hard hunt in a unit where most hunter’s find little success in.

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