Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Janis' Colorado Mule Deer 2012

After working/guiding hunts since mid August, I finally got a chance to go cruise the woods on my own, at my own pace.  I had a CO third season Mule deer buck tag in my pocket and was pumped to say the least. My first two hunts were duds.  A combination of warm weather and bad picks of locations on my part.  I had guided the first five days of the nine day rifle season so I was only left with three and a half days to hunt. Seven hunts total.  On my third hunt, I went glassing and found lots of deer but no shooters.  The next morning came with a blizzard.  Visibility was 200-300 yards when the squalls subsided.  I decided it would be best to be in the woods anyway and try hunting the old fashioned way, just slip around and still hunt.  
The drainage bottoms were much less windy and that's where the deer were.  The first depression I came to was holding a dozen deer with four bucks, but still nothing to make me chamber a round.  Cresting the next ridge, I peeked and spotted a lone doe.  I glassed all around her for 15 minutes but found nothing.  Ten steps later, I saw the bedded buck that must have been watching me, bounding away.  I wish I could say I had a shot.  I muffed that opportunity bad!  He was very very close to being a shooter, but I'll never know for sure.  After he bounded away, the other ten does busted out of the cover.  Lesson learned:  Where one mule deer is, many mule deer are.  Patience.
I figured each new drainage was showing promise so why not one more.  I watched as a single doe fed in the bottom.  Soon the one doe turned into six.  An hour later, another deer came into view.  "YES, YES, YES", I thought.  I got to watch this buck push his does around for an hour, never offering a clear shot.  They all bedded around noon, with only one doe in view.  The next four hours went something like this: "Stay here or go."  "Boy it's cold."  "Stay focused." Shiver, shiver.  "He wasn't that big."  "I should go glass somewhere else."  "Man it's snowing hard, again."  Shiver.  Eat something.  Drink water.  Shiver. Repeat.  You get the point.  I was only 200 to 300 yards from these deer, but could not see them.  It was too risky to move to  find a shooting lane.
At 4 pm, the deer were feeding again and soon came right below my position.  Between a numb trigger finger and the shivers, I'm lucky I hit the buck, even at 70 yards.  My patience was rewarded with a beautiful representation of the species.  I feel very fortunate to have had a hunt such as this and am looking forward to drawing a mule deer tag in the future.
My KUIU gear kept me in the game.  I was especially enthused with the Guide pant.  Breathed well on the uphill, and kept me warmer during my sit.  The merino neck gaiter was also a game changer.  After remembering I had it stowed in my chest pocket, the addition of this super small item, seemed to bring my core temp up ten degrees.
Enjoy the pics!

I sat this meadow my first evening.  No deer, but the peace and quiet and dozing made for a great evening.

My KUIU Icon 6000 loaded with hunting gear, three bone in quarters(lost one shoulder to the 300WSM), backstraps, tenderloins, and heart.  Plus chocolate horns!  Must have been close to 100 lbs. but the pack handled it well.  Truly a pack that can go in light and handle coming out heavy.

1 comment:

Arizona Wanderings said...

Great buck Janis. Well done.


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