My First Buck
As luck would have it after my early success with a bow and rifle in Wisconsin my parents decided to move out west. I had dreamed of returning to Montana where I had worked the year before and continue my adventures there but it was not meant to be. The economy was bad in northern Wisconsin in the mid 80's and my dad had been unable to find steady work as carpenter for awhile even going as low as 6.00 an hour. It was tough to do but they put our house up for sale and hit the road to Arizona with what little money they had left and no job at the other end. We decided to stop in Colorado and visit my aunt and uncle for a couple of days while on the way there. One day after we arrived and reading the local paper my dad had a full time construction job in Aspen and our journey came to an end.
We didn't get to hunt that first year as it was already hunting season and we didn't have the money to buy the non resident tags that would have been required. But by the time the next year rolled around we were ready to give our first mule deer season a try. Since we knew very few people we just looked over a lot of maps and picked out small BLM parcels fairly close to town and along county roads. We knocked on a few doors as well and did receive permission for one heavily hunted ranch as well. It was a bit easier to get permission back in those days before leases took control of most ranches.
Opening morning found us several hundred yard from the road overlooking brushy hillsides a little ways apart. We were still hunting in the way we were used to and picked a spot and sat there to wait it out. The first morning was uneventful but my dad scored on his first mulie that night with a little 2x3. We hadn't killed a buck in years hunting on public land back home so this was a pretty big deal. It took me a few more days of waiting but I finally made it happen as well and my first buck of any kind fell to my 30-06. I got lucky really as just as I started walking in about a hundred yards from the truck out jumped a few deer so not really knowing what to do I just picked a tree and sat down to wait. Twenty minutes later 3 deer came walking back down the hill and I spotted a little spike buck last in line. By the time I got a clear shot they were only about 30 yards away but it was probably a good thing because I was shaking pretty bad. One shot at that range and my first buck and first mulie were mine.
I got to do a bunch of rabbit hunting as well that year and a quick trip to Wyoming to harvest my first antelope, a fawn actually but it was my first one. I'm not one of the lucky kids that killed a big buck or bull for their first animal. All of mine have been either very small or female.