MonsterMuleys.com

"Hard Work and Determination Pays Off"
Written by Brian Balfour

Hard Work and Determination Pays Off
Colorado's opening day of the third rifle season had come and gone with no shooter bucks. It was a great day spent with my dad and future brother-in-law, Nic. I was the only one with a tag that season. We knew there were some nice bucks in the area due to the size of some of the tracks.

Morning two was here! We arrived at our hunting area twenty minutes before shooting light. We could see some deer feeding on the horizon. They were already up! We stalked in on the deer, but they hit the trees before we got to them. We spent the morning glassing a large area of grass, pinion, and juniper trees. We saw some bucks that were decent, but still not the one I was looking for. Mid-day was slow with not much activity. We decided to move a little ways from where we were hunting and try something new.

We setup in the shadows of some large trees. It was around 2:30 pm when the deer began heading into the grassy areas to feed. It was an overcast afternoon with a slight breeze. A storm was forecasted to hit soon.
My dad, brother-in-law, and I were spread out along a hillside to see the most country possible. About an hour had passed when my dad motioned for me to come over to where he was. I quickly gathered my gear and quietly headed that way. As I got closer, I could see him signaling to me that he had a buck in sight. I arrived at his location and he told me it was on the tree line, which was 491 yards. He said it was a shooter.

I knew it was going to be a tough shot, so I lowered my bipods and used my backpack to get a dead solid rest. I looked through my scope and could see the buck standing behind some brush. He was a 160-170 class muley, plenty good for me. I knew I would have to wait for the deer to present me with a better shot though.

I kept my finger on the safety and was ready for the moment of truth. About ten minutes had passed and buck fever had set in. He was feeding right back into the trees and still had not given me a clear shot. I noticed there was a very small opening that he was going to walk through. I focused on that point.
Sure enough, he stopped to feed right where I needed him to! I took a deep breath, flipped of the safety, exhaled slowly, and squeezed the trigger. My 264 Winchester Magnum roared and the deer jumped. He was hit! I could hear the loud pop when the bullet hit him. Nic and I gathered our stuff and went to the location of the buck. I finally found some blood about 15 yards from where I had hit him. I heard a noise from below, and it sounded like a wounded animal running. He was not down!

Hard Work and Determination Pays Off
From everything I have learned, now is when you give the animal some time and don't push him. I knew there were other hunters in the area, so that made our decision difficult. What if he didn't stop and walked into the open for one of them? We could see orange on a nearby ridge and figured we better chance it or he would be in someone else's freezer.
We had only an hour of light left---time was running short!

We found blood and began tracking. He bedded several times, but continued to flee. Soon, it was dark and we decided to call it a day and pick up on the track the next morning. Weather was still a concern, but we had no other choice.

The next morning it was my dad, grandparents, and I on the trail---Nic had to work. It began raining, but luckily ended quickly. My dad was on the blood trail while I setup in a nearby sage flat. My grandparents were glassing from some high points.

Soon, my dad called me and said he had just jumped the buck and it was headed my way. My heart began racing and buck fever again set in. The buck was below me, but I couldn't see him through the thick brush. Suddenly, the buck bedded again, so I went straight in after him. Then, there he was only 15 yards away. He broke into a run and I shot----the buck went down.

My trophy buck scored 166-1/8 gross, was a typical 4x4, and was 26 inches wide. With the help of God, hard work, and determination, I was able to harvest this nice buck. I would like to thank my family for their help. Without them, I would not have taken the great trophy.