2005 Colorado Deer/Elk Hunt
I had been big game hunting for a couple years and had gotten myself a mule deer buck, but up to that point, the wapiti had evaded me. So when 2005 rolled around I knew it was time to try a new unit. We decided on a unit that none of the guys in our group had hunted before. Two of my teachers had hunted the unit before which is where our decision to make the switch came from. Many hours in front of the computer screen, many emails, and a couple of summer scouting trips had our camp feeling semi prepared and excited for our third season rifle hunt.
My bro’s first morning was spent with my dad overlooking a small draw near a large park where we had seen two cow elk on our summer scouting trip. Nothing seen or heard but one particularly annoying squirrel sent him and Dad back to camp empty handed but still optimistic. Me and my bro-in-law had made the fateful trip down to a nasty area we like to call Hell-Hole where we were both almost successful. I missed a monster bull due to a barrel filled with snow. My bro-in-law had a doe and buck move by but when they finally stopped for him to take a shot, both of their heads were behind a tree so he couldn’t be certain which one he was actually shooting at.
We were all back at camp recapping the day and thinking about plans for the following day when another guy from our group’s truck pulled up. He opened the tailgate to reveal two massive quarters. His first hour of hunting proved to be a productive one. He shot a massive 6X6 bull within the first hour of his first day of hunting at 200 yards with a rifle that was only bore sighted. The whole camp returned with him to retrieve the last two quarters and the massive rack.
The night was full of excitement and celebration over his bull and the other opportunities. Little did my bro know that he’d get his opportunity the following day. We were headed to the same area as the day prior to chase those deer and elk. My bro and bro-in-law sat on a saddle and hoped for the buck and doe to return; that way their buck and doe tag, they would have all of the bases covered. Dad was going to stay higher on the ridge and I was headed down to Hell Hole.
The bro’s made it through the morning without spotting an animal, except for the mice skittering all around their position. I had some cows filter through the aspens beyond the pond but all I had was a bull tag. Dad had a buck with two does run by at 500 yards and couldn’t get a shot. The lookout he was sitting on proved to be a good one later on that day though. We all met up around 11:00am, we grabbed a little snack and recapped everyone’s morning. Dad made it a point that he wanted to show us the lookout where he saw the deer earlier. The consensus was to hike up the ridge to checkout dad’s lookout then head back to camp for a more proper lunch.
The hike up to the lookout was pretty leisurely and carefree. We were on our way and weren’t in any rush to get anywhere. When we reached dad’s lookout, he was pointing out where the deer were earlier. Just as he said, "They were right there," I pointed and said, "Like those two are." In were running two does straight at us. My bro took his safety off and started to get ready. The deer turned 90 degrees and headed up the ridge at about 350 yards. My bro quickly took off to try and get back to the main ridge to cut them off. He didn’t know, though, that as soon as he left the deer turned and went straight back towards the lookout. Dad, as he says, “ran softly” around the corner and “yelled quietly” to get my bro’s attention so that he could get back to the lookout before the deer got away. Meanwhile, the deer crossed right below the lookout at just under a hundred yards. By the time he got back to the lookout, the deer had entered a stand of trees and were out of sight. He got into position and focused on the spot we thought they were going to step out. Sure enough, seconds later, out she stepped perfectly broadside in the only hole that could be found through the screen of aspens in front of us. He settled the crosshair behind her shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The hole wasn’t big enough; the bullet clipped a limb and deflected down underneath the deer. She jumped up unaware of what happened and turned so she was facing straight away. The steep downward angle allowed him to shoot down through the hole and into her spine. The bullet exited low in the front of her chest. She dropped immediately and the celebration began.
I brought my rifle to see if the buck from earlier was still around. Good thing cause when we reached his deer she hadn’t fully expired and my bro was able to quickly dispatch her with my gun. The pack out involved a steep carry up to the ridge then a moderate sled drag back to the truck. The drive back to camp couldn’t have been more pleasant.
Later that afternoon, another one of our guys took a little fork horned buck on his way back to camp with a peep sighted 30-30 lever action. Two deer in one day and 3 animals over the first two days of the season had our camp thrilled with the new area. One more elk would be added on the third day. I would get my “freak” bull the next day at hell hole with two quick shots as a group of bulls ran by at full speed. But this is a whole different story.