Drove around all day as I've got 14,000 acres in that unit and got back to him at last light. He had about 15 does with him and they had me pegged at 92 yards. The sun was setting fast and the buck was bedded behind them. I thought it wasn't gonna happen until he stood up to see what the commotion was. That got the does to scatter and in the chaos he jumbled in with them, and I almost stood up cause I knew for sure that they were gonna take off already thinking of how I could come back with work. Then the does took off and he just stood there to make sure that I wasn't gonna chase them down. Alright, I'll take that... BOOM! Not my biggest, but certainly not my smallest and I'm on the board.
He ended up getting in the unit the Tuesday before the hunt started and scouted his butt off. Throughout the week he'd send me photos of bucks he thought were interesting and his excitement was palpable. I got there Friday afternoon and drove around a little with him looking a various goats before deciding I wanted to see what he thought was the biggest goat he could find. He kept telling me he wasn't sure if it was big enough cause he knew the buck was a little on the short side. Can you imagine my excitement when he showed me this freak?
Anyways, opening morning found us watching another hunter driving OUT of the field this tank was living in right at legal shooting light. With all the other hunters driving around we had kind of figured that we were looking for a dead animal. At around 9 the buck showed up after what we assumed was a raucous night of chasing ladies. He strutted his stuff out to the does in his field and Austin was able to seal the deal with one well placed shot. The buck ended up green grossing 81"+.
If that wasn't good enough, he ended up picking up one of the 1st rifle 61 bull tags that hit the list using the app the next week, and while I couldn't be there he took a good bull on short notice. Lucky dog!
While I dearly love him, we haven't gotten to hunt with one another in a looong time if for nothing else I'm a bowhunter and he's a rifle hunter (along with the fact that life just kinda gets in the way, which is a horribly poor excuse). However he was able to pick up a tag using the app here in our home unit and we took the Sunday of opening weekend and found this buck all alone. After a stalk that we kinda figured would end up working he put a well placed shot on his personal best buck and we still had time to go watch the Rockies lose.
At about 4 we spotted a herd of 7 does step out of some corn and I legitimately wanted to move on from them cause we had Tuesday and Wednesday scheduled. My line of thought was that our first night would be just checking fields we had permission on, looking at where the corn was still up, and plan accordingly for Tuesday. However we had our one legged buddy Clint with us and he very unceremoniously kicked us out to see if anything stepped out of the corn that night with the does.
Glad he did too, this buck walked out right in the last minutes of shooting light and Jeremy was able to get the job done. Only problem now is deciding how he wants him mounted, pedestal, on the wall, or euro?
It really started the night that Lionel killed his antelope. When we got back to his place there was a killer buck on his property that really got me fired up. Up to that point I hadn't done a whole of thinking about my tag since I got it using the app. Sure I'd shot my bow, but the thought of hunting seemed so remote that I hadn't even contacted any of my landowners till that point. Hell, I didn't even have my bow in the truck and had to run home to get it just to even have the opportunity at him.
This unit can produce some absolute giant deer and I knew that the only way to kill one, was to not kill a really good deer. So I called my buddy Clint, my personal muley guru mentor, and had him meet me at the property. After a long discussion, we just couldn't put the buck over 180" and with it being opening weekend I just couldn't bring myself to punching my tag given that I basically have till December 31 with a few splits thrown in there for the rifle hunters. Really cool buck though. And before you get on me about how he's definitely over 180, I promise this picture makes him look much bigger than what he really is.
I spent a Sunday the other week on one of my all time favorite pieces of property in Colorado. If you know where this picture was taken than you know that elk, antelope, whitetail, and mule deer can all be found on this 700 acres and some of them get rather large. There were only does on the property that day, but I know it's only a matter of time before some old monster is gonna crawl out of a hole out there on the prairie and start chasing those girls around eventually. However, this day also played a huge role in the days to come...
For some reason there was a 5th buck with them and that got my attention just enough to pull over and throw the glass on them. WHOA!!!! No brainer, any hunt in Colorado, closest thing to sniffing 200" I've seen in a long time type of buck. The landowner used to let my wife hunt out there and this wasn't the first time I'd seen a giant in his field. Back story...
The first time I saw a giant there my wife had the archery tag a few years ago. We pulled in and she got permission cause she's cute. The buck was in a non-approachable spot that night so we just sat there on the side of the road and admired him. Another guy pulled up and we started chit chatting and like a bonehead I let out that the landowner had given us permission. Well, we pulled in the next night and the landowner told us that the same guy I had spilled the beans to had gotten permission directly after speaking with us and had arrowed the big buck that morning. To say that she was a little on the perturbed side with me is an understatement.
Anyways, back to the night in question. I pulled in and got permission again. He told me that he had a guy rifle hunting the first rifle season, but that I was more than welcome to go after the buck before then. He even asked if he could watch me do the deed. I told him, "Sir, you can be the first one to put your hands on him if you'd like". So off we went and it looked like a slam dunk. While he wasn't alone there was a ditch just perfect for the wind that would put me less than 30 yards from them that I could casually stroll down. I parked the truck with the old man in the passenger seat. Grabbed my bow out of the case. Got my rangefinder hooked to my belt loop. Snagged my quiver and got that snapped into place. Then, horror struck. Guess what I had forgotten to take out of my hunting pants from the day before taking beautiful sunrise pictures? This property is CURSED!!!
Spent a morning sitting in wait only to have the 4 amigos saunter by without him. Took a photo of them at 20 yards.
1) He still needs to make it through this weekend. I'm not sure if the rifle hunter has tagged out or not, and I guess it doesn't really matter other than I hope he stays safe until next Wednesday when my season opens back up again.
2) His neck is swollen and we all know what that means. We've had just enough snow and it's been just cold enough that I'm afraid he's gonna start wandering for does. The weather forecast this weekend is just more snow. I've been begging for the white stuff for the last few weeks to get everything moving, but now I'm begging for him to stay put just a few days longer.
That brings you up to speed on the season. It's been great so far with some incredible animals and the best is yet to come, I hope. I'll try to post more photos and updates as the season progresses, but like I said I've got till December 31 to get it done. The old man got the rifle tag for the December 1-15 hunt and already told me that if I don't get it done before then he's gonna have to see the job through. Either way I just wanna put my hands on him. Thanks for following along!
1) He does a loop that's almost scheduled and I have no idea where the loop takes him. This year the sightings have been relatively evenly spread apart in 5-8 day increments with 3 reported sightings. He wasn't there this morning which makes me happy that he's not visible on the last day of rifle season. My archery season opens back up tomorrow and you can bet your bottom dollar where I'll be at first light.
2) I almost think he doesn't go anywhere. The piece that I always see him on has about 6 acres of cattails in the creek bottom. Last Friday morning I watched as he buried himself in there and disappeared. He always shows up with the same 4 bucks and you can almost count on seeing them in the adjacent hay field at least every other day if not every day. Maybe he gets shy? The only contradiction to this theory is that when I do see him it's in the full daylight hours. Sometimes as late as 8:45 and as early as 4:30. Shy bucks don't tend to show themselves anywhere outside of 5 minutes on either side of daylight.
Either way the season opens tomorrow and the boss lady knows that I'll be coming in a little late and leaving a little early every day from tomorrow on out. My only scheduling conflict is that the wife has the week of Thanksgiving off and can't come home because of surgery rotations. Which means that at the very latest I have to be on the road to Kansas the Monday before Thanksgiving. I hope he doesn't make me wait that long.
Outside of this buck, the reason I got the tag was because one of my landowners has been watching a solid 180+ type buck on his land for the last three years. He only shows up for a few days in late November, but it's almost like clockwork with that buck. If he shows up before the Jolly Green Giant makes an appearance I'm going to be hard pressed not to make an attempt at a 180+.
It is on in the morning!
I am headed out to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commissioners meeting on Friday morning in Burlington and will probably head back to see the wife thereafter. She has next week off but can't come back home due to surgery rounds so I'm gonna take the week of Thanksgiving and work from Kansas... And take the dogs bird hunting... And if one of my spies happens to call me I'm not above driving 6.5 hours to come back and put a stalk on this buck. As much as I'd like to get this done before I go I don't see him leaving those does, but I will be here for the last 5 days of November before the season splits again for the rifle hunters. And I still have a few days this week.
On a separate note I was contacted by a fairly well known outfitter that guides for Governor's tag holders yearly about a finders fee that I respectfully declined. It's not very often that I find deer like this even out here and feel like it's only a matter of time before something happens. While the money would definitely help with the wifes out of state tuition, putting my hands on this buck would be that much sweeter. I'll pay that tuition off one way or the other, but I'm not sure how many opportunities like this I'll ever find. Plus, while he's definitely big, I don't think he's as big as the photos let on. Not that the score matters anyways as I'll be beyond thrilled if I'm able to use my tag on him.
Almost had it done last night. Found him following 5 does with another smaller buck. Scrambled like a mad man to get permission where I felt like they were going and the old man told me, "Hell yeah! Shoot that big ol' sumb*&^$." Alrighty then, game on.
Sure enough 4 of the does crossed the county road about 10 minutes before legal shooting light ended with the smaller buck in tow. I was perfect behind a tree at 42 yards when they moved across the old man's pasture thinking, "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God... THIS IS GONNA HAPPEN!!!" Wouldn't you know it, the hot doe procrastinated until a car stopped to look at them and scared her back with Jolly in tow.
Found him this morning about a mile in the wrong direction. He's moving so much right now that I have no doubt he'll make a mistake. The wife might end up waiting without me this weekend... Anybody in Manhattan, Ks willing to take her out on the town? She's cute, she's smart, and she probably shoots a bow better than any of us...
I hope it works out for you.
Abondoned the blood thinking he'd go back to where he feels safe. Sure enough there's blood crisscrossing through the creek. I can follow it into that damn 5 acres of cattails and lose it due to how deep the creek is along with how thick things are.
Circled those cattails for about 3 hours and can NOT find anything coming out of them. I have 2 feelings;
1) He's dead in those cattails and I'm just gonna have to be the man and do this the hard way.
2) The blood trail did start to thin as he got to the creek. I'm worried that it's a non fatal single lung hit and he got back on his feet. The birds aren't indicating that something is in those cattails, but who knows what that means.
Didn't sleep at all last night. Back at the house now for a power nap and to grab muck Boots.
"Not the worst thing in the world although it's a mile away" Am I understanding he has went over a mile? or am I reading that wrong?
I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know... Good luck, we're cheering for you!!!
Good luck hopefully positive results!
Found another fellow who's watched him for 3 years now and pointed me in the direction he thinks he saw him go today after the fiasco was all said and done. He wasn't able to put glass on him, but seems pretty confident he saw the buck this morning cruise past at 300 yards. Not getting permission there.
I'll be at the Commissioner meeting out in Burlington tomorrow and still need to pack tonight cause I'll leave for Kansas straight from there. I have a bunch of spies out there looking including a few from here. THANK YOU! The Parks and Wildlife officer and everyone else knows that if he's seen, I will make the drive home at the drop of a hat. I'll be back for the last 5 days of November and will hit it hard again. Until than, I'm gonna go stew and think about what I could have done differently. Thanks for following along and I promise this isn't the last post.
Wednesday afternoon I was making a service call to replace a light switch and as I was about to step out of the truck to meet the homeowner I got a picture text from a buddy that knows what the situation is. I opened the text and was absolutely floored to see this photo.
If you look closely you can see where the original shot entered high... More on that later. Being as polite as I possibly could I informed the lady that I would have to make things quick as something just came up. As soon as I was done I called my buddy and he told me the photo was taken right before he sent it to me 1/4 mile from where I had initially arrowed him.
Drove as fast as legally possible and got eyes on him ASAP. Thank God for OnX as he was somewhere that I didn't have permission trying his best to chase does. He was in bad shape. Hard front limp, labored breathing, emciated, and when the does jumped the fence in the photo he could not follow and watched an obviously hot Doe walk away with a forky. It took me until after legal shooting light to get permission, but it was clear he wasn't going anywhere and I would be back in the morning.
The only hardship about the next morning was that I only got to sleep about 3 hours Wednesday night. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that it was anything more than a mercy kill as I was able to walk to 20 yards and put him down yesterday morning ending the nightmares.
I took field photos, got him cleaned up and started to decompress. The CPW officer that's been working with me came and took a look at him. Dad took a long lunch to fondle him. After work I was able head over to Clint's house, we caped his head and put a tape to him. I don't want to say what we came up with cause it's so much higher than we had guessed on the hoof, but he's big enough that I'm considering having him scored by an official just to see what it really comes out as.
I'm not gonna lie... I'm really struggling to enjoy this one after that first shot. The 14 days between sightings were excruciating. There was not one single night that I was able to get a full night's sleep from replaying that shot over and over and over in my head. A large part of me was hoping I'd never see him again and that he had died awhile ago. I think it's gonna take awhile to wrap my head around this to fully enjoy him. I can't even begin to express how relieved I feel to have finished him, that he's sitting next to me and the meat was 100% salvageable.
Post mortem showed the first shot clipped both lungs high and a little back. The original wound was nearly completely healed other than the puss on the inside of the rib cage. Both lungs showed the same puss forming. The bottom of the chest cavity was also holding about 4 cups of BLACK coagulated blood. The wildlife officer and I are both on the fence about whether he would have survived. I'm glad that we don't have to worry about it anymore.
And that's that. I think we're gonna mount him on a pedestal where we can slide him on a rod to spin him around. There's so much going on with him that I want to be able to show everything. We also have enough live photos to choke a horse and will probably put a collage together on the back of the mount to showcase just how amazing this animal was.
Thanks for following along on this roller coaster. Glad I was able to give a happy ending to this story. I'll come back and post whether I get him officially scored as well as what the finished mount looks like. Hope you all have an enjoyable and safe rest of the season. Now I can bird hunt in peace.
Congrats on a stud buck!!
Do you think he was in the cattatil patch the whole time you searched it?
I think this is the best possible ending you could have asked for considering the direction things went a couple weeks ago!
What are the laws in Colorado as far as being able to track wounded game onto property in which you do not have permission? I’m assuming that if you are unable gain permission, that you are SOL.?
Ambush- Not sure if he was in those cattails. He very well could have been that first day of tracking the blood, but he ended up nearly exactly where I had originally arrowed him so it's hard to say. In fact on Wednesday night he was trying to chase the same doe group.
T-roy- It's illegal to search property that you don't have permission on. Thankfully the CPW officer here is one of the best guys to have in your corner and I had him on speed dial ready to call when I walked up to knock on doors, and if push came to shove he would have made things happen one way or the other. Thankfully the landowners understood the situation and allowed me to finish my job.
As far as getting him measured I think I'm gonna reach out to Sandbrew at the January RMBS meeting when I bring them another check. I've always just thrown a stout string on them and figured that was close enough for my satisfaction, but not with this one. What I will say is that his main frame is ridiculous, he's 32.5" at the kickers, and that our guesses of 203-206 on the hoof we're embarrassingly low. But again, I'm nowhere near official so those guesses could be spot on and I just don't know how to measure properly. So in order to not embarrass myself completely I'll wait to post anything so you all can't laugh at me later on.
Thanks everyone for the kind words. The last two nights of solid sleep have probably felt almost as good as actually putting my hands on him... Almost. In other news the lady who's land I initially arrowed him on is a realtor and she's getting $5k worth of electrical labor in trade for permission. Every second spent in her houses will be time well spent!
Love the recliner pic that has to be bowsite first? No field pics of you and the deer or were you by yourself without your phone?
We're doing the rifle hunts for my Dad and Lionel now. Lionel's hunting that first big Muley that I posted with his handgun and had him 250 yards today. Needs to be under 50 for it to happen, but it's a long season and he's committed. Dad on the other hand is gonna shoot the first legal buck that makes a mistake.
I guess I say it's "embarrassing" because there were 4 of us that saw him on the hoof and took guesses at him. We all consider ourselves "muley guys" and I'm the only one in the group that doesn't have a 200"+ on the wall yet. If you read the comment that I made the first time I saw him I thought he was "sniffing 200". Prior to this buck we all would have told you we could guess to within a couple inches given how much time we had with him and the photos we took. He's certainly not 230", but that guess of "sniffing 200" was not just a couple inches off. Humbling to say the least.
In other news I met a guy that had been watching him for a few years that had quite a few photos of the buck. I thought it was incredibly generous of him to share these with me and I think this is what I'll put on the back of the pedestal mount along with a few photos that we took of him on the hoof. They don't make them like this very often and I'm very fortunate to have been apart of his life.
Can’t wait to see how he looks mounted and what his score sheet looks like, thanks for sharing!