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Colorado 3rd Rifle Muley

SCliving Outdoors

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
916
Location
South Carolina
Back in late September I was lucky enough to snag a third season returned mule deer tag. This unit was a place I had never been before, but I had looked at it and it had peaked my interest. It’s not a high point unit but it had some of the qualifications that I thought would make it good for mule deer hunting, and I was really excited when I was able to get the tag.

I really love mule deer hunting. I think it’s because I grew up chasing Whitetail in South Carolina and still do to this day every chance I get There’s something about big mule deer. Every one is unique and seeing a big muture muley get me as excited as any animal that I’ve ever chased.

I left South Carolina at 3:15 AM on Wednesday morning. I spent the night somewhere in Texas and finished the drive up on Thursday arriving to my unit around 1 PM. I took an hour and a half or so to organize all my things and make sure I had everything prepared to hike in. The first area I wanted to hunt was an area that checked all the boxes for a good mule deer area. My plan was to hike in 2 1/2 miles and camp on a ridge Thursday night followed by a bunch of scouting on Friday before the season opened on Saturday. My goal was to give that area three days or so and if it was not what I was hoping it would be I would hike back to the truck and head over to my second area.

I got my tent set up just before dark and settled in for a chilly nights sleep at around 8000. I was up with the sun and made the short hike up to a glassing point that I had found on the hike in. That morning was a bit disappointing. I did not see a deer anywhere. But there was a lot of sign and a lot of tracks and the sign doesn’t lie, so I spent that day hiking all over the ridge and adjoining ridges looking for glassing areas and good spots to hunt opening morning. The last two hours of daylight I was back on the same glassing point except this time I saw four deer. 3 does and a single deer right at dark that I felt was probably a buck, but I did not have a chance to get my spotting scope on him before he disappeared into the thick cover. The area was pines mixed with scrub oaks anywhere from 3 to 7 feet tall. The deer would just appear and then just as quickly disappear. There were some open grassy areas that would allow you to spot a deer in just as quickly lose them.

After glassing the deer that night, I decided my best option for opening morning was to hike about 15 minutes and 200 feet of elevation to an adjoining ridge where I could see down into the areas where I had glassed the deer. Hopefully I would be able to shoot the whole bottom of the valley, if I was able to find a good buck. I was up with the sun and getting everything to go. I threw a couple granola bars in my pack and figured that would hold me over until the night. I decided I was going to stay out all day glassing in hopes of seeing a buck cruising. Are used to take breaks in the middle of the day on my hunting trips, but I do that a lot less now ans I try to stay out all day glassing because you never know when one will pop out. That paid dividends on this hunt

The sun came up and with it no deer. I glassed and glassed and did not see a darn thing. Finally around 9:30 I saw a couple of does about 600 yards away meandering through slowly. I kept an eye on them hoping a buck would appear, but none did. About 40 minutes later, I heard what sounded like a large animal coming off the ridge going down towards the valley bottom. I stood up and looked around frantically, but I did not see anything. About two minutes later, I saw a big deer standing about 300 yards below me in the bottom. I immediately knew it was a big buck. I looked at him with my binoculars to confirm and yes, absolutely, it was a shooter. I tried to get the gun on him, but with the brush and him moving I just could not make it happen. I was pretty frustrated and ended up seeing him disappear about 650 yards away being pretty unhappy with myself, that I was unable to get a shot on the buck. He would just disappear in the scrub oak, and then reappear for half a second then be gone again.

Nothing else happened until about 11:45. 3 does appeared below me and began to work their way up the bottom in the same general direction I had seen the big buck previously. They disappeared and about 15 minutes later a 3 point appeared where I had seen the two does 2.5 hours earlier he was standing there and sniffing around but he wasn’t a buck I wanted to shoot, so I just watched him until he disappeared. I continue to glass and at 12:54. I looked below me and saw a large deer walking across one of the openings. I threw up my binoculars and sure enough it was a big buck. It looked very similar to the buck I saw earlier. I’m not sure if it was or not , but they were very similar. If it was the same buck he had done a huge loop in the almost 3 hours since I had seen him. I quickly range him at 430 yards. I put the gun on my pack sitting up (shooting prone wasn’t an option) waiting for him to stop. I shot. I heard the bullet hit and saw his right leg wobbling as he ran off. He made it about 30 yards before tumbling into some thick oaks.

I was really excited. I knew he was a good buck. I made my way down to the area and it took me almost an hour to find him because of the thick brush and everything looking the same. When I did find them, I was not disappointed. A super unique mature buck with super long G2s. He’s a 3x4 with eye guards. The dagger on his right side is really really cool. My shot had been perfect. I broke him down and I decided I was going to pack all of him out along with the skull and my gear I had with to the truck that night. That would leave only my camo left to get. It was really heavy but 2:45 later I got it done and as a gift to myself I got to sleep in my mini camper in a nice soft warm bed. I went back today to get the rest of my camp which was only about 25 pounds or so.

It was an awesome hunt and he’s an awesome deer. Colorado is my absolute favorite place to hunt mule deer and I hope I get to do it many many more times.

The smaller buck.
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The pack out.
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The beautiful sunset that God painted for me otw to the truck.
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That’s a neat buck—congratulations! Just a shame you have such a tough time capitalizing on opportunities and don’t hunt more often. Ha.
I had some tags earlier on out west that I did not punch. I was pretty disappointed in myself overall. I try to do everything I can now to be successful on quantity animals and learn from my screw ups in the past.
 
I had some tags earlier on out west that I did not punch. I was pretty disappointed in myself overall. I try to do everything I can now to be successful on quantity animals and learn from my screw ups in the past.
Well, you’re crushing it. Your hunt schedule and success every year is damn impressive. It’s obvious you got a ton of focus and determination, and aren’t afraid to go after what you want. You do a lot of cool stuff, and seem to be a really good dude, and I sure enjoy reading about your adventures.
 
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