This hunt actually began about 17 years ago when some how my dad and I stumbled upon this property while archery hunting. I was about 14 or so, I'm sure it helped that I was young when we asked the farmer if we could hunt. We only had one day left and didn't get one but seen some good deer. The next year we went back with a friend of mine and hunted a long weekend but ended up not taking anything home. My friend had a shot at a good buck but missed and I made a stalk on a really big buck with a drop tine club! He came out of the corn about 20yards in front of me with my bow drawn and as I put my finger on the release to shoot a doe stepped out and wouldn't move! I ended up having to let down and they ran, never to be seen again. After that weekend I couldn't get that big buck off my mind! I can still see it like it was yesterday. At the time it took 3 or 4 years to draw a tag and I found girls and cars to be more interesting than hunting.
Fast forward quite a number of years and I move California for a few years and realize that Colorado is were I belong. I move back and right away get back into hunting. I talk with my dad and he wants to try and hunt that place I had seen the big buck! I look into it and its possible to draw as a first choice with no points now! So we apply with a second choice as Poudre canyon units. We ended up not drawing and have tags for Poudre Canyon. In the middle of all this I bought a house and was gutting it and doing a entire rebuild, so I was only able to make a few short scouting trips and never found what I thought to be a very good spot.
After a few days of climbing ridges and canyons we both realized we weren't in the shape we thought! On the 3rd day dad decided that he had enuf and was going to head home after a morning hunt the next day. After another morning of not seeing anything we were on our way home and seen some doe's run across the road. So I talk dad into one more chase! I get out and tell him to go 200 yards down and walk back this way. I head out about 200yards from the road and start walking down to him, walking at a normal pace to try and bump the deer to him. I come up over a little ridge and there they are 35yards from me! Looking around for dad I see that he is to far down to even see them so I just watch, a small buck appears and I can't get a clear shot. After what seems to be 10minutes (I'm sure it was just 30 seconds) all the deer either start feeding or look away and I take 3 large steps up the hill to give me a shot at the buck. I was now at 30yard and had a great shot, I take it and he runs 10 yards to my right and goes down! Even though he was a small buck I was still very happy with my first buck, though I still lusted over the big drop tine buck.
Fast forward another year and we have drawn tags for the big drop tine unit!! I wasn't able to do any scouting until August and the first stop was the farm we hunted so long ago. I got some depressing news, the land owners wife said that they usually don't let people hunt and I would need to call right before the season. I spent the little bit of time I had there after trying to find a alternate spot, only coming up with a few areas that might hold some good deer but I hadn't seen any yet. I also had a Speed Goat tag for the same unit, so scouting was broke into deer areas and antelope areas. My map is barely readable now with all the D's, A's and questonmarks. I did end up finding a great area for Antelope and took one with my great great grandfathers 109 year old 30/30 at 50yards on opening day. So 3 weeks ago I call the land owner and leave a message and don't get a call back for a few days, but late one night I get a call saying its OK that we hunt!! At that point i was just happier than a two peckered billy goat!! For the next three weeks all I could think of was big bucks! Mom and Dad come into town on Thursday before the hunt and we do the family stuff and Friday go out to the duck pond only to get skunked. All I can think at that point is that I hope that trend doesn't continue through the weekend. Friday afternoon we head out to the range so dad can do some practice and he is shooting pretty well and I wanted him to do some shooting with the 30/30 so if we get a close shot he can use it. At a hundred yards he puts the first 3 shots inside a inch!! I tell him I'm taking the .270 and scope away from him and he's using the 30/30 with the iron sights!
Finally opening morning comes. I was pretty sure the deer would be in the area we were hunting and I didn't want to spook them out in the dark and decided to get there just at shooting light so if we did jump them we might have a shot. We pull up about 15 minutes before shooting light and I walk over to see if the corn has been cut and all I hear is a snort and sound of a Mulie bounding off!! So I go back to dad and tell him we have good and bad news "The deer are in there but I already spooked them" We come up with a plan to move to the other end of the property and wait to see were there at and go from there. Right after we park a truck pulls up and asks if we have permission to hunt and I tell him yes that we do and he says they are good friends with the farmer and they do to, I wasn't quite sure what to say and he said that he would let us be. So that was that?? I start glassing with my brand my Nikon's and I can see deer in the front alfalfa so dad wants to walk around to the back of the property and my son (9 year old hunting buddy) and I to walk to the front to try and push them to each other. I had told dad early on that I wanted him to get the first shot and I began to realize that he wanted me to get the first one so we were both trying to be in the bad spot to give the other the better! He got out about 50 yards and a Huge buck moved out in the alfalfa! I get dads attention and he comes back but by then the buck seen him and moved back into cover. I really thought about taking the shot as it was legal shooting light but it was about 300 yards and raining pretty hard. All I could think of after the buck went back into cover is a saying my boss has "if you hesitate you masturbate" We go back to the original plan and dad heads back out. I wait for the deer to move out the alfalfa and head out by the time we make it to were the deer were they all ready moved into the corn. We found a bedding area like I had never seen, the weeds were laid flat under a group of trees for at least 50yards! We work our way to the back and see a small group of deer that has a few does, a fork horn and a fork with only one horn. We watch them at about a hundred yards for about 15minutes and a small 3 point comes in right at us, he stops at about 30 yard and just looks at us with out much of a care. It was really cool because it was my sons first close in counter with a big game animal. We sneak out on the path we came in on and worked our way to dad. As we see dad he gives the universal get down and shut up sign. We finally make it to him and he says that a small 4x came out with a doe and he was doing the exhale and starting to pull the trigger when the guys in the truck drove through the rear of the property and spooked the buck back into the trees. We glassed for a bit trying to find him and didn't. So we worked out way to were I had seen the fork horn and they were no were to be seen. Continuing on the fork jumps up 10 feet from us! and runs, I grunt and he stops quartering away and dads on him and asks if I want him? I tell him if he likes it shoot!! He passes and the deer continue into the corn. We decide to just sit there for a bit and see if any thing comes into bed down. Not 10 minutes later a group of does come in to about 50 yards and the lead doe knows something isn't right and keep snorting and stomping, the fork with one horn was tailing up the group. after a half hour or so they wander off and we go back to the truck for lunch, talking in amazement that 10minutes never went by that we didn't have a deer in sight
Back at the truck for lunch I pull over to were we can watch the alfalfa field thinking to myself there is no way they are going to come out mid-day. I got one bite out of my sandwich and deer come out! I grab the Nikon's and see two does feeding and then horns in the brush!! the more I watch the bigger they get! he steps out and dad says daym that's a big deer! there about 250 yards out. I ask if he wants it? he says yes but that's far, you take it. I grab the .270 of mine that he's using, since I'm more comfortable with it and I can't get steady on him!!! Buck Fever!!! I get calmed down and find a good rest and shoot. he goes down for a few seconds and then gets up and moves into the brush. I see him put his head down and figured he was done! We finish eating and the truck with the other hunters shows up, they heard the shot and wanted to know the nitty gritty, I give them the run down and they leave. We head out to get my buck and he's not there!! I find were I shot him and there is hair and a little flesh, I really felt I had a good shot and have been going out shooting almost weekly to hone my skills and tune the reloads. we look for almost a hour and dad wanders off (as he does often) I see him off a ways behind a big tree glassing the back of the property to I start glassing to try and see what he sees and see nothing? He makes his way back to us and says he seen a good buck but lost it in the brush. So he thinks its worth going after. I go around one way and he goes the other with my son. I get to the back and kick up the little fork horn again!! he stood about 50 yards in front of me and I hear BANG!! click click BANG!! and the fork runs off I wonder why in the heck dad is shooting at the fork he just passed up? I walk over were I heard the shots, dad and Cody are jumping up and down next to a deer!!! Turns out the buck dad had seen bedded down not 20 feet from were we sat before lunch and it stood up when they walked up. Dad missed the first shot and got him in the spine on the second! It was a big 3 point with what I thought at the time was a huge body. We do a quick photo shoot and clean him. By that time I was just sick to my stomach that my deer had moved into the corn and died and we wouldn't find him till the corn harvest. We get a hold of the butcher and they have space and are open until 8 so we have until 6 to look for my deer. After dragging dads deer to the front of the property and hanging it, I tell dad and Cody to go back to the truck and rest and I'm going to go find my deer. I head out into the corn and move one row ant a time and anything that looks odd I glass to see if its him. After about 300 yards I'm about to move over 100 yards and work my way back and see the biggest deer track I have ever seen and notice it had been moving erratically and knocking over corn. I follow it a few rows and seen 1 drop of blood the size of a pea. Talk about a needle in a hay stack!! (I saved the piece of corn stalk with the blood since I knew no one would believe I found it) I follow the tracks and see more blood as I go and about 50 yards from he first blood he jumps up 10 rows in front of me!!! I was 90% sure it was him but I diden't want to kill another deer knowing I already shot one. He really knew were to hide it was the talliest corn in the field well over my head. We had a stare down for about 5 min while I was trying to make sure that it was him and figure out how to get a shot. Finaly I see one speck of blood on him and still have to wait for him to raise his head high enuff for me to get a clean shot through the corn. He turned his head twice alowing me to move 2 rows closer making it only a 10foot shot!! he raised his head and I got a clear shot right down drom the ears droping him!! As I walk the 3 paces twords him, his horns shunk but his body size grew! The butcher estimates his live weight at around 280lbs! As I marvel at my first mature buck I relize that I left my pack back with dads deer and I don't have knife to clean him. Then reality hits! How in the heck am I going to walk out of here and ever find him again? I tried to tie corn stalks together to make a place to hange my blaze orange off, the the wind made it fall right over. So i just tied my vest as high as I could in the corn and walked straght north the best I could counting the rows of corn as I went, ended up at 150 rows. I finaly get ahold of dad on my cell that barely has coverage and he says the dow is there and he would be up soon. I walk out to the road and the other hunters come up and say they down is running dads tag and all the normal stuff. I mention that I forgot to tag my deer and the other hunter says you might want to save the hassle and go do that. So back in 150rows and my method actually worked! I found him, no pin to sign the tag or string to attach it though! I use string made from corn stalk to tag him and work my way out and dad calls asking were the heck I am? I tell him to come 100yards down the road and wait. I come out of the corn counting and the DOW guy looks at me like I'm crazy! I tell him the counting method and he says "daym thats a good idea!" then "well lets go take a look" right then I ask dad if he has my pack or a knife and he says no there back with his deer. So thats going to make it 4 trips back and forth out of the corn! If you have ever been around farmers you would know they hate people or animals in there crop so now I was agrivated, I diden't want to mess this honey hole up. So 150 rows in with 4 people now. we get to the deer and I tell him I diden't have my pin to sign it so he gave me his to do so. He also said it was the only 2 deer he had seen all day and this was the honey hole of the unit!!
I really need to wrap this up! We get my pack and load dads deer. We get back to the deer and clean him then the chore of draging a 280 pound deer down a row of corn with out knocking over the corn! With a rope my son, dad, and I pulling we got it out in about a hour. After getting him loaded in the truck we do a quick picture with both the deer and make it back to the butcher with just minutes to spair before they close.
Sorry for the length. This has been a hunt that I dont think can ever be dupicated and will never be forgoten. Though niether deer will make the books they are great mature deer and we are both very happy with them and cant belive it only took a day to take them!
Thanks for reading, TIM