Luke's New Mexico Mule Deer Hunt
Dad's comment: Luke drew his first tag this summer. He has to be at least 12 to hunt big game here in Colorado, so he applied in New Mexico, where all you need is a hunter's safety course and can be younger than 12. Here is Luke's story of his first hunt.
Day 1 - We woke up the first day to rain. It rained for about 3 1/2 hours. So we ate breakfast in the tent. When it stopped raining. We got all our stuff on and walked down a river bed about a mile long. Then we started up a mountain. When a very thick fog set in, we were about half way up. When we got to the top, we sat on some rocks and waited for the fog to clear. While we waited, my dad showed me how to use a GPS. When the fog finally cleared, we went back to camp to eat lunch. When we got back, we cleaned out the tent because it had rained and everything was soaked. While we did that, my dad saw a herd of deer. So we went and began to stalk them from camp. They were about 1,000 yards away. So we went down the river bed and a doe saw us. But she didn't move and kept bedded. When we got about 225 yards away from them, my dad looked to see if there was a legal buck. It looked like a forky but it was a spike. We watched them for a long time. Then it began to get dark so we went back to camp and ate dinner. We also played cards until to bed.
Day 2 – Today we woke up and ate breakfast. We then prayed we would find a buck I could shoot. Next, we went up the river bed and reached a small mountain. We began to hike up, hoping to get the deer from behind. But the deer moved so we went back to camp and ate lunch and then we went hiking where the deer where and got about 100 yards away. When they saw us and ran, there was a spike and fourteen does. We watched the deer for a little while and glassed for other bucks. But we didn't see anything... So we went back to camp and ate dinner.
Day 3 – Today we took down camp and went shopping for a few supplies and went to check out a mountain. So we went up it and glassed for a long time. We went down a little ways and my dad said, "Let's glass one more time." So when my dad looked, he found a whole herd of deer and my dad said, "Let's get ready and go hike and stalk them." Well right now, the wind was blowing right at the deer so we went around the mountain and got close to the deer. But a doe was looking right at us so we went around another tree to stay hidden. And we were about 50 yards from the deer so my dad said, "Get your gun ready." So I put my gun on the shooting sticks and a doe ran straight down the mountain and I thought the deer were gone but my dad said "Get ready... here comes the buck." But I didn't tell him when I was going to shoot. When the buck came, I thought it was a forky but my dad said it was a 4x4 or maybe a 5x5. My dad was looking through his binos when I shot. I thought I had missed. When we got over to where I had shot, a doe ran from the group and it got lost. So my dad said, "Luke, go look for some blood." While he went down the mountain, he found my deer. But, I couldn't find any blood so my dad said, "Luke, go follow the tracks." So I followed the tracks and found a buck laying down and looking right at me. It scared me at first! I thought: "Wow! A sleeping buck!!" Then I saw a hole in his side and I said, "That's my buck!" So we walked over to see it and we kneeled down and prayed, Thanking God for my buck. Then we pulled out the buck from the shade and took some pictures. Then we gutted it and dragged it for about a mile, up hill! My dad drug it all the way out while I carried the camelbak and more. When we got to the truck, I was ready to take a nap. I learned during this trip that being quiet is important, stalking is key, walking quietly is vital, and to listen makes all the difference, ohh and no sneezing. Thanks Dad for taking me!