I’ve lived in Colorado now since April of 2007. When the wife and I first moved here I only had six very short months to learn the draw system, determine a place to hunt, complete my Colorado hunter education certification, and set up time off from work. It was my work that brought us here to Colorado in the first place. I was an operations manager and had outstanding experience and expertise in fixing broken management and their operations. In three months I had things already straightened out within Colorado and headed in the right direction. I was doing so well the company offered me a vice president position. I had to take it but that also meant I was in charge of an area from Alabama to New Mexico including all areas north from Memphis, Tennessee to all of Colorado. I was in charge of fixing all the management and the entire southwest division’s operations. What did I do to my hunting availability?
I grew up in Ohio. Dad was an avid hunter. Right from a very young age he was taking me out rabbit and squirrel hunting but I was never invited to go with him deer hunting. When I was younger Dad would always travel to Pennsylvania to do his Deer hunting. He would go with a group of guys and stay for a week. I could not miss that much school so that is the reason I and my brothers never went. Dad’s desire to go to Pennsylvania diminished as me and my brothers grew older and were able to spend the time with him. Dave, my oldest brother, joined a hunt club in southern Ohio. Dad joined with him. They had excellent hunting there and that is where Dad did his hunting for the next couple of years. My younger brother joined the same club a couple of years later. Me – I took a job promotion once done with college and moved to metro-Detroit, then later western Michigan. I then was promoted again and took the family to Honolulu, Hawaii. After several years I brought the family back to Michigan and finally back to Ohio. I literally missed out on hunting for 19 years due to work. It was good to be back at home. I was now in a high enough position that I could return to hunting with Dad and my brothers. Yes!
In that time I was gone Dad realized how good the deer hunting was in southeast Ohio. So good he had bought a 151 acre property. Mom and Dad sold the house in northeastern Ohio and built a house on what we call now “the farm”. Now the farm is not a farm at all but actually 75% wooded with old oak trees and the other 25% are fields that Dad mows once or twice during the summer so that the deer can easily use them. The place is loaded with deer! My brothers and I helped Dad build and put up somewhere around 14 deer stands – all strategically placed.
So now that I was living back in Ohio and had the ability I hunted deer (bow and gun seasons) on the farm every year from 1999 until 2007. In that 9 year span I harvested 15 deer – several of them being very respectable bucks. I had returned to hunting and was really enjoying it… until the company decided that I was too valuable to not be fixing more broken management and operations… which brings me back to fall of 2007 in Colorado. Taking on the VP role, while the pay and position was outstanding, I was again allowing work to all but eliminate my plans for hunting.
In 2007 I was able to secure a Bull Elk tag for 1st rifle season. I hunted 1 day… 1 lousy 10 hour day. I also was not able to go back to Ohio for any hunting. 2008 came and went. I did absolutely no hunting – in Colorado or Ohio. Not a good year. I had made the decision after listening to my Dad and brothers tell some outstanding stories of their hunts that I was not going to allow work to dictate my hunting schedule anymore. Who was I kidding? 2009 almost came and went. I did no hunting in this great state of Colorado but I did manage to squeeze in 5 days after Thanksgiving at the farm. I harvested 2 nice deer that year. With that one little trip my hunting desire or maybe instinct was back and I was now looking to capitalize on it. In 2010 I was back investigating prime elk areas and won a draw for 1st rifle season in GMU 055 – Gunnison area. I was to say the least very excited. I didn’t get my mule deer draw but at least I was going hunting for elk. I was a solo hunter that year. I hunted hard every day… but I only saw elk at a great distance away and a whole lot of mule deer real close. The mule deer must have known I could not shoot. After returning home without a filled tag I knew I could rely on the farm. I called Dad and then called the airlines and made arrangements for 6 days after that Thanksgiving to return to the farm. I harvested a nice 8 point buck. I was happy… but not complete.
After spending 27 years with the company… and losing a lot of hunting time I decided it was time to retire. So in late 2010 I retired from the company. I felt free. I now had all the time in the world for my hunting desires!
In early 2011 I introduced a person with similar outdoor interests to the great sport of hunting. I now also just created my hunting partner (that is another story already published on this great web-site). We did all the right and necessary things in setting up hunting in Colorado. And all of our efforts are reflected in the tags we drew and purchased – One Antlerless Mule Deer tag, One leftover 1st rifle Bull Elk tag, One Cow Elk tag good for rifle from September through January in GMU 079, and One leftover Antlerless Antelope tag. We have self-guided hunts planned for September, October, November, and December. January too if needed to fill that cow tag. I’m hoping to need to buy a second freezer!
At the time of writing this story I have already completed my Mule Deer hunt. It was a success for my hunting partner as well as for me. I harvested a very nice Mule Deer doe on the 3rd day of our hunt. One hunt completed successfully and three more to go! More stories to follow!