Some background about me: I'm 32, and live in Lakewood CO. I work as a superintendent for a general contractor all along the front range. Current assignment is out in Aurora.
We rolled into town late Friday night, mid April. We decided with the limited time and having no clue where the birds would be it was probably best to bring the scatter guns. Jim was there to great us with a warm fire as we pulled in around midnight.
After a quick hello, that turned into an all night deal, we were off to bed. It was 3AM and morning was fast approaching.
We were greeted with some distant gobbles before first light and started making the journey to where we thought the birds might be. As it started getting light we picked a couple trees about 20 yards apart and took our perch for the morning sit. It didn't take long and the birds were on the ground. They were vocal in the roost but once they hit the ground, not a peep.
about 15 minutes went by and i made a few soft yelps, as soon as they came out of my mouth i saw a bird fast approaching. before we knew it we were covered up in turkeys. there were a couple good ones in the group and i was sitting there with my shotgun up ready to go. Jim was to my right, and KC to my left. I was waiting for one of these guys to touch one off as we were in a stalemate just sitting there watching em strut. Finally Jim let one drive.
I watched the bird Jim shot flop, I picked a redhead and shot as well. I watched the one i shot at flop, get up and start taking off. I shot again and that sealed the deal. I looked over and KC was just there smiling with him phone in his hand taking video. We laughed later than no one wanted to shoot first to be greedy but it all worked out in the end.
We fixed some sandwiches on the tailgate of the truck, and glassed the farmer property. There were a lot of turkeys roaming around midday and also a lot of deer. We hung out for a while, took a nap, and were back at it.
KC still had a tag and the goal was to get one on the ground for him. The area we hunt has a a lot of draws so walking and calling works well. We spent the afternoon setting up and working birds, but weren't able to get one to come in. We spent the evening roosting birds on both pieces and set a plan for the morning.
We heard the birds hit the ground and it was on! Ive got an old box call my dad gave me when i was a kid and thought it would be cool to call one in with it. It took some coaxing with that and the mouth call but 45 minutes later a beauty tom and some hens were working our way.
KC doesn't know too much about turkey hunting as he had never done it until we met. But the bird coming in was a good one, one of the better ones i've seen out there. Once he got in sight i stopped calling and let the decoys do the work. A minute later the turkey was on the ground and KC was smiling ear to ear.
We landed in BC and met our guide. turns out we were in camp in time to get out for the evening. Jake and i grabbed out bows and got some practice in before we headed out for the night.
We spotted a bear about an hour before dark, and he was in a good spot for a stalk. We crawled through a gully to get within bow range. Ryan popped his head up and the bear was walking right towards us. Jake said he wanted to shoot it and i was all for it! The bear was walking broadside at 10 yards and Jake drew his bow and popped over the ditch.
Thwack! I watched a perfectly placed arrow hit its mark and the bear tore out of there.
I hadn't been to BC since i was in high school and skied competitively. I forgot how pretty it is up there. This outfit typically hunts from noon on during the day, so mornings were spend shooting, and chatting with the other guys in camp. We were fortunate that there were some cool dudes to share camp with.
Stay tuned. We still have a long ways to go. Antelope, Elk, Whitetails and the sort.
KB, who is KC's dad has hunted with us for a few years. hes been a long time gun hunter but has gotten into archery over the last couple years. He was game to come along and crawl around the prairie with me, and i was happy to have him. we spent the next three days doing our damnedest to get him an opportunity...
We spent, hours, and days crawling around. either getting busted from 500 yards away, or crawling up to bow range and not being able to draw out bows. I always figure it takes 10-15 stalks on these guys until you find one to cooperate anyway, but that's just me.
We were up before the sun on day two and making our way to the perch to glass a canyon. Once it got light KB noticed a pronghorn directly to our right, about 275 yards away. There were a few rolling hills between us so we spent the next 2 hours crawling our way through the cactus to get within bow range. The goat stood up out of his bed, looked around and bedded again, this time facing the other way. I figured it was our time to get up and cover as much ground as we could to get close to him. We stood up and speed walked until we were within 55 yards of him. We hit our knees and KB loaded an arrow. As soon as he did the buck stood up and started walking at us. I figured he was either dumb or blind but i wasn't asking any questions. he walked to 35 yards and with no cover KB tried to draw his bow. Well that caught his attention and as soon as he was there, he was gone.
On to the next one.
As i approached the next piece of public land i spotted a buck right away, directly in the center of the public section. I parked my truck and watched him for about 40 minutes. He was acting awful strange. There was a water tank in the middle with a small corral and he kept walking slow circles around it, never bedding down. I figured he was protecting the water from other bucks and thought it could work to my advantage. I grabbed my bow and headed towards the tank. I waited until the buck made it half way around the tank and made my move. I had about 400 yards to cover and not a lot of time to get there, and as a self proclaimed fat kid i figured id get my workout in. I sprinted a couple hundred yards and stopped, searching for the buck. I took off again until i saw the buck start to round the side of the tank. I hit the dirt and was met with a thigh full of cactus, better than a rattler i suppose. At ground level i couldn't see the buck so i kept moving, sliding my bow as i crawled until i reached the small corral.
I was up on my knees, nocking an arrow and searching for the buck as i did. I peaked around the side of the wooden post and there he was. Within bow range and looking the opposite way. I took 3 or 4 ranges on him quick, locked on and drew my bow. I had to walk on my knees sideways to clear the post but he was none the wiser. I took my time, settled the pin into the west wind and let it go. I watched the arrow hits its mark and the goat turn inside out as he went on a death run. 80 yards and a few short seconds later he was dead.
The night before the opener my girlfriend, Emily, and i made the climb to our usual OTC spot. Its not an easy one, but one i've done a lot over the last few years. After a couple miles and couple thousand feet we were on a bench above treeline setting up camp. An hour before last light a herd of elk popped out into the basin below us, with a dandy bull bugling like it was middle of the rut. We sat there and glassed them while making a plan for the next day. A few minutes later KB popped up over the ridge looking like he needed some water and snack. We shot the breeze long enough for KB to set his tent and as soon as he had shelter he went to bed. Emily and i were up most the night, excited for the next day.
Off to the next basin. We got to the next basin mid morning and stopped to have a snack. We glassed most of the afternoon from the same spot hoping to hear or see an elk. Sure enough, 2 hours before last light another herd pops out. They are in a great spot for a stalk. We start our way towards them. As we get within a couple hundred yards i look up and see a couple other hunters coming in from above them, i know how this will play out. The lead cow barks, the herd busts and that was the last of it. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.
Wednesday night we were back in the truck and headed on a 4 hour drive to find some elk. We landed around 9PM after stopping in town for some fuel and to fill some gas cans. We could hear elk bugling from our truck tent that night, that was a surprise. The area we chose was PJ country and it was hot, like summer hot. We got up the next day and started our way to a nearby ridge to glass.
We spotted some elk mid morning and made a play at them, but by the time we got there they were gone. That was alright though, at this point we were a couple miles back and it opened up some new country i hadn't been to before. We were able to find some really nice deer and see a few elk back there, and the best part....we had it all to ourselves.
Emily and i hiked into a area we were hoping had some water, as that was few and far between. We sat there and heard a bugle crack off a little before dark. We watched the opposite side of the canyon fill with elk. Talk about luck. It was too late to make a play but we knew where we were going to be the next morning.
After glassing a few areas we went back to where we were that morning. We made our way to our vantage point and dug in for a long sit.
I could see some movement up the hill where the two previous elk had came from, and i was ready for that big bull if he was about to do the same thing. I had ranged where the other elk crossed, 28 yards, and had my release on the d loop. I watched as the third bull came marching on the same trail. I drew my bow when his head went behind some brush. I could tell he was legal and i wasn't going to give him a pass. I stopped him, perfectly broadside, and sent it. Shot looked good and i was a happy dude.
I made my way back up the hill to Emily, who was more excited than i was. She was able to watch the whole thing unfold through her binoculars. Having her there was the coolest part of the hunt for me. We headed back to the truck so she could grab her pack and so i could call my buddy to see if he could help. Sure enough, he was there within an hour and we were off searching for my bull.
About halfway there we watched as a truck started bajaing out through the sage, wtf KC said. We stood there and watched as 4 guys in orange rolled out of the truck and started their way towards the same goat. Well back to the truck we went, leaving them and the buck to figure it out.
On our way to another area KC spotted a buck and couple does on the side of a sage covered canyon. We grabbed the glass and tripods and started watching. He looked like a respectable buck and KC wanted to get closer to give him a better look. It was flat, but we had some cover to get there. Over the course of the next hour and a half we made our way slowly towards the buck, trying to keep tabs on him as we did. At some point we lost him, but figured he either bedded or was behind some taller cover.
We got to a bush we had ranged that should have put us 150 yards from him. We were scouring the sage trying to pick him out. I turned around and spotted him off to our left. I had my spotting scope on the tripod and let KC look him over. He decided he wanted to shoot him so i popped the scope off and he used my tripod for a gun rest.
BOOM. I watched through the binos as the buck stood their and didn't flinch. "dude you missed, shoot again". The buck was unbothered as KC racked another round. On the second shot he took his time and i watched the buck drop at the sound of rifle discharging.
A couple weeks before the hunt the lady and i grabbed my treestand and headed to the national forest in Colorado. The year prior i pulled a boner out of my treestand, wounding a really good buck. I wanted to ensure that didn't happen again. We setup and shot for a few hours while spending a Saturday enjoying the mountains
I spent the middle of the day walking some nearby public land and realized no one was in town hunting yet. This was unusual as the public land around here is usually covered up with people.
That evening i went back to the same piece of property but moved my stand about 60 yards from where i had hung it that morning. The evening hunt was incredible. There were deer everywhere and for the most part i was right in the middle of them. As it was getting dark a really nice buck popped out of the cedars. He was out of range and staring up the hill behind me to my right. I peered over my shoulder and saw an even bigger buck staring back. He snort wheezed, pinned his ears back and made his way to the other deer. They circled each other and the fight ensued. This wasn't one of those play fights, they were full on trying to kill each other and it made for a heart pounding experience. They fought until it was pitch black out, eventually running directly under my tree grunting and thrashing their way past.
After stopping into the land owners house and the farmer that managed the property my dad, brother, and i started walking a new piece to possibly hunt. There was really good sign and a tucked away ag field you couldn't see from the road. There was one really big community scrape with another dozen or so along the field edge. We hung my stand in the only tree we could find to get a hang on into. About 23 yards from that scrape, covering a couple runways to the North. That evening was calling for a NW wind, which was perfect for that spot.
I was in the tree 5 hours before last light, excited to see what the new spot was going to produce. A couple hours before dark i looked to my right and saw a nice buck coming down the field edge. I pulled my binos up and immediately knew he was a shooter. He had a busted G2 on his left side but i didn't care. He was big bodied and had some trash and if he gave me the chance i was going to capitalize.
He was on a march for that community scrape, stopping a freshening up 3 others before he got there. Before he popped out into my shooting lane i drew m bow. I stopped, picked up his back leg and starting scratching his nose. I was at full draw as he stood there for what felt like a minute behind the brush.
I started to shake a little as i was holding my bow back, then he took a couple steps out into the open. I settled my pin and bleated, he stopped and looked around. I let it fly and heard a crack, he donkey kicked and snapped my arrow off with his front left leg. "you stupid MFer" i said in my head. You just shoulder shot a deer at 23 yards. I watched as he ran about 80 yards and cut into the woods. I heard some crashing and then silence.
My mind was racing. I should have been able to hear him for longer, or seen him come out the other side. Is he dead in there? I had to climb down to at least see how much arrow i got in him.
There he was! He didn't make it far and expired within seconds of being hit. I was some relieved and excited to say the least.
Matt found a back corner of the property that looked really good. While he was checking it out he watched a a giant chase a doe for over 20 minutes. That's why you never leave your bow in the truck. He said he could have shot him multiple times from the ground as the buck ran by him twice at under 30 yards.
Well Matt's mind was made up and he was going to be in there in the morning. The next day Matt and dad headed separate directions and i went to another area to try and shoot a doe. I got a text at 9:30 from Matt, "got one down". I sat for another 30 minutes and headed his way.
Matt had seen 4 different bucks that morning and the 4th didn't make it through his shooting lane without and arrow. He was a super cool deer and Matt was happy to kill him.
On the evening of day 6 dad had a nice deer come past him that he chose to shoot. We never know what the buck is going to be so we dub his deer as "Ray bucks". A "Ray buck" may be big, may be small, may be old, may be young. You never know and i love it! Dad doesn't choose his deer for size and makes no excuse for what he kills. He loves hunting more than any man i've ever met and is always happy to fill his tag. Is reverse, we are always the most happy to see him fill his tag out of the three of us.