In-My-Lap Buck

As we pulled into our camping spot for what would be my first-ever rut mule deer hunt, I was concerned with the mild temperatures that this part of Colorado had been experiencing. The reason being is that the resident deer herd is relatively small so until the deer get pushed here by Mother Nature, deer numbers are low. And while the deer migration was likely underway based on the shortened daylight hours, my hope was that by mid-November lots of snow would have fallen and pushed those big boys miles away from their high country solitary confines. However, with the hunting conditions being what they were, we knew we just needed to hunt hard and turn up whatever bucks were around – hopefully a giant!

 towing vehicles  tracker in ditch

            Dually pulling the 5th wheel with Chevy tracker in tow                      Got ourselves into a predicament

During the first few days the hunting pressure was quite high. I did pass on several nice bucks, but none quite the caliber of buck that I was hoping to find this early in the hunt. We heard shots and saw deer that hunters had taken, with two of them being bucks I would have shot had I had the chance. One was a huge typical 4x4 with a 36 inch outside spread (we actually put a measuring tape to it) and the other a mature buck with a nice 4x4 frame that had a couple of cheaters coming off its left side.

 velvet buck in November  rutting buck chasing doe

            Crazy to see velvet buck in November                        Just one of many rutting bucks chasing a doe

Over the course of the next several days we hunted up high, we hunted down low and hunted right until last light but never could locate a giant. On the next to the last day, I passed on a nice in-line 5x5 and a heavy horned 5x4, but neither quite caused me to take the shot even though I had my finger on the trigger for both.

   glassing deer right up until sunset

                 Glassing from dawn 'til dusk, commonly spotting deer at last light

On the last morning we located a nice 4 point that had my trigger finger itching. But I again chose to pass on the buck, along with several other 3 and 4 point bucks we saw. As afternoon approached we decided to head back to a knoll where we had glassed from previously. This spot provided a decent vantage point overlooking rolling oak brush covered hills where plenty of deer had mingled earlier. It wasn’t long before Dallas spotted a nice 4x4 pushing a doe from 1000 yards away. We all took turns looking at the buck through the spotting scopes which proved challenging since the buck was constantly on the move. As it worked its way closer we were convinced that it was the same 4 point from earlier this morning. It’s very surprising at how fast and how much ground these deer cover during the breeding season. These particular deer not only covered 1000 yards in short order, but ended up 150 yards below us in no time. At that point I got a really good look at the symmetrical buck but the greed lurking in the back of my mind continued to cause indecision. Had I seen this buck during any of my previous deer hunts, I would have taken a shot without hesitation but the odds of my seeing big bucks on this hunt still seemed stacked in my favor.

 dark heavy horned mule deer buck  tall antlered buck

          Got a few pics but most bucks were seen in spotting scope               Tall antlered buck mostly hidden in oak

Ever on the move, the buck finally slipped into a thicket of oak and disappeared from sight. My indecision seemed to make the final decision as we searched for the buck for the next 10 – 15 minutes but could not locate him. So we continued glassing only to spot smaller bucks pushing does around here and there. We made the decision to leave this particular area and had packed up our gear when lo and behold we spotted the exhausted 4 point bedded 19 yards away! Somehow the buck had maneuvered his way undetected through the brush and was now lying right under our noses! At this point I couldn’t help but scrutinize this deer at extremely close range, definitely a beautiful buck. Triggered, I decided this buck was for me! Now in a bit of a scramble I wondered if the in-my-lap buck might bolt before I could chamber a round and get off a shot. But after a bit of jostling I was ready and took aim; the buck paused just long enough for me to fire off a round and this Colorado beauty was mine!

   symmetrical 4 point mule deer buck

                          My son and I with a very respectable Colorado mule deer buck