Mule Deer Hunter Bags 11-Point Buck, Calls for Help After Suffering Heat Exhaustion

by Lauren Boisvert

A hunter in Saskatchewan bagged an 11-point buck in the 2022 mule deer season, but he also bagged a case of heat exhaustion. Paul Martens of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan was hunting in a small area of land southeast of Maple Creek, where he had bagged a large mule deer in 2019. He was ready on opening day and went back to his lucky spot hoping for more of the same.

“I couldn’t find a mature deer anywhere this year when I scouted around, so I went to the same field I’d shot a good velvet buck in three years ago,” Martens told Outdoor Life. “I went in there on opening morning and saw a buck by himself. So I decided to sneak over and see if there were any other bucks with him. I got busted on the way over there by some whitetails, so I thought it was over, I assumed all the bucks had stood up and that was the end of that.”

Mule Deer ‘Busted’ Hunter Twice Before He Finally Got the Shot

Luck was on Martens’ side, though, because as he went up a hill to reposition, he came upon two perfect mule deer 30 yards away. But, luck is also a cruel mistress. Martens was busted twice by the mule deer before he finally made his shot.

On Sept. 4, Martens was out at 7 in the morning when he saw the distinct antlers of his perfect buck. They were large and thickly velveted, similar to moose paddles. Martens snuck up on the buck, somehow managing to creep through an intensely loud dry wheat field. Finally, at about 40 yards, the buck stood and stared right at Martens. He didn’t have time to do a slow, relaxed shot. He had to shoot on instinct. Luckily, he’d been practicing all summer. “I drew back, put the pin on his heart and fired it right in,” Martens explained.

Hunter Suffers Heat Exhaustion After Bagging Incredible Buck

Martens hadn’t had a sip of water since 7 am, and it took him an hour to find the buck, which had run about 100 yards away after the shot before finally expiring. This had Martens walking in circles through the wheat field in 90-degree heat, with no water, and a mile away from where he’d left his pack. He was already exhausted when he finally made it back. Then, he still had to pack out.

“By the time I got to the buck my mouth was so dry, and I had a bit of heat [exhaustion]. I didn’t actually puke but every time I bent over I thought I was going to,” said Martens. He had to call for help then, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to get the buck out by himself in his condition.

“I tried calling some friends for help, but everyone was either at the rodeo or working or away, so my wife saved the day. She came and helped me debone him and we backpacked him out. She saved my butt,” he explained. “I told her it was quality bonding time. It was a fun day, I’ll never forget it.”