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"Colorado Muley for Clayton"
Photo provided by: Clayton Strahan

Clayton Strahan writes, "My first trip to Colorado was not as promising as I would have liked. For several years my best friend had been going off to Colorado and returning with nice bucks and amazing hunting stories. So, in 2007 I went along. However, once we got there I was overwhelmed with buck fever. On the opening day of the second season, I shot a very small 3x3 that would resemble a deer I could have killed here in California. So, as I prepared for the 2008 season I had high hopes.

As time passed, my dad asked if he could come along with my good friend and I as we headed off to Colorado. I was very excited for my dad to go, but worried as well because of my dads’ poor health. I worried that he may not be able to do much. My dad told me he was going no matter what and thus we were off to hunt.

When we arrived to Colorado, the weather was very warm. The first 5 days of the season were awful hunting and full of ups and downs. It seemed like every little thing that could go wrong, went wrong, for my dad and I. But my dad and I made the best of it. By the end of day 5, we had come to live with the fact that this was likely not going to be our year and we began to ride around in our Polaris ranger and sight see. Our hunting companions and friends were advising us not to give up and that our luck would change. And boy did it ever!

As the day came to a close, we got word that the storm that was supposed to have arrived 3 days earlier was expected to arrive that night. We could see clouds rolling in and we began to get excited. As the night drew on, snow began to fall. The next morning we woke up to heavy snow on the ground. We immediately headed up the hill. As we entered our hunting area the deer were out in force. As we drove in on the road, every turn revealed another group of deer. The sun was just barely peeking out and we were freezing as the temperature gauge registered 2 degrees, and we were riding in a Polaris ranger with no doors or top.

While we were seeing huge numbers of deer, all we were seeing was does, as we had been seeing all week. And then it happened. As we rounded yet another turn we spotted about a 100 yards below us, about 25 deer feeding in a clearing. In the far back of the pack was a buck. You could see him with a naked eye. Yet again the deer demons were out to get us though, as we had apparently lost our binoculars and my dad had left behind the ammo. Fortunately, I had left 6 rounds in the glove box of the Polaris the day before. I grabbed my rifle, the 6 rounds, and my beanie and headed off.

Due to the snow, I was able to sneak back down the road and drop down in behind the deer undetected. It took me what felt like an hour to get within shooting range. As I came up over the last little hill where I had last seen the deer, I thought to myself that I had lost them or spooked them out. Then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted the buck. Frantically, I threw my rifle up and fired. Deer exploded all around me, yet the buck just stood there. I asked myself, "How could you have missed, you are only about 50 yards away?" Then the buck took off and was limping. I had hit him, but it looked to be high in the back.

Immediately, I fired again and nothing, the buck kept on never missing a beat. Then I fired a third time and again nothing; he kept on without a flinch. I was now asking myself how could you be such a poor shot and was kicking myself as I watched the buck then disappear over a ridge.

After reaching the area where I had last seen the bucks, I managed to find very small blood spots in the snow. I tracked the buck for an hour before I caught up to him. He was hit and injured bad, but still he got up and disappeared behind a patch of aspens. So, I sat and waited about 45 minutes to see if he would lie down and expire. I then headed in the direction I had last seen the deer. As I approached, he stood up again and I knew the animal was wounded and did not want it to suffer. I fired one last time. This time the buck dropped.

After getting to the buck, I discovered I had hit the deer with all 4 shots. The first had hit him high in the back and two were right behind the shoulder and in vital areas. The 4th shot had gone through his neck, which was the final shot. This buck, while not a major trophy to some, was a major trophy to me and I coined him “Sammy the Super Buck”. He was able to run virtually a mile through thick snow and over hills with 4 .308 rounds in him, two of which would have killed any other deer I have shot and stopped them in their tracks. This deer was a true testament to the strength and will to survive that wild animals have. I could not believe that this animal was able to go as far as he did.

This will forever be my trophy deer, as it was a hunt to not be forgotten. Oh, I almost left out the best part of the story. The entire time I was stalking the deer and tracking the buck my dad had found the binoculars we were looking for earlier and had watched the entire hunt from high on the ridge. As this was my first father son deer trip, when I found this out, this hunt truly became the hunt of a lifetime."

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