Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"My Colorado Prize"
Written by Don Swayne

My Colorado Prize
I have pursued mule deer since my first hunt when I was 16 years old. I took up bowhunting when a buddy of mine said I would have better odds of taking a larger deer. That was 20 years ago. Funny, the monster muley never happened.
Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of chances over the years, but failed to connect. Back before all of the high tech. stuff on the market, the quality of deer in Colorado was better, but we didn't know how to be good bowhunter's. Now, there are many references and tech. tips on how to be better archers and hunters and the game has changed.

In this day, drawing a quality deer tag or just plain finding a quality deer is the real challenge. I have spent many years refining my skills as a bowhunter, but my weakness in taking a quality deer in recent years was in my opinion, patience. I had been concerned that going home empty handed was some how, a defeat. Taking the first good shot opportunity on a buck was always the rule. But, this past year things were to be different.

I had recently purchased a home in the rural area of western Colorado and was routinely seeing several large bucks during the summer months. It all started when I planted new, small sapling trees. If you want good bucks around, just invest hundreds of dollars in trees and the deer will appear in masses to destroy them. Of course, when hunting season came around they were nowhere to be found. But, as fate would have it, I located the bachelor group about a mile from where I live on a rancher's property and he was gracious enough to let me go for them.
Three of the bucks were definitely in the monster category!

My Colorado Prize
For several days, I hunted them hard, low crawls in limited cover areas, a treestands along their travel corridors, and spot and stalk when possible. But, the first four days resulted in three blown opportunities. Surely they would feel the pressure and disappear if I didn't get it together soon!
On day five, I was driving to work, bow stowed just in my case. I stopped by the big hay meadow to locate the bucks and to observe the exit trail from the meadow to their bedding area. I did in fact, see them. They were using a trail I was familiar with and I was confident this same trail would be a good ambush trail later that evening. It then occurred to me, why wait? If I hustle, I could be in front of them in fifteen minutes. Is the wind right? Yes, let's go!

I drove my truck to a staging area and literally ran, with bow in hand, to a grove of cedars that I thought the three bucks would travel through. Within minutes the bucks appeared, but my shot was hastened and flew high over the nice velvet covered 5x4. The bucks did not seem alert to the danger though, so I quickly knocked another arrow.
Oh no! The second arrow was low! Get it together I thought! I took careful aim with the third shot, connecting with a well placed arrow at my maximum range.

I knew that the monster was hit, and hit hard. I watched as the buck fell behind pace of his two smaller companions as they bounded through the sagebrush and into another cedar grove.
Thirty minute later, I found my prize a few yards from where I had last seen him. I cannot express what I felt when I saw him laying there in all his glory. He has a 27 inch inside spread with deep forks and good mass. It was everything I had ever wanted, and everything I didn't deserve. He's one great buck!
I know there are bigger bucks taken than mine, but this was the deer, in my opinion, that finally gave me the confidence to know that I have the ability and patience to take trophy animals.

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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