Colorado mule deer hunt |

Colorado mule deer hunt

Jeff McKinney with buck.

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I hunted hard for days and had seen many deer, but the buck that I wanted hadn’t shown himself as of yet. Hunting mature mule deer bucks is one of my true passions, so to spend an extra few days on the mountain looking for a respectable buck is fun and exciting for me. My goal was a mature muley or I would be content with “tag soup.”

Mike and I were watching for a legal bull that I had seen from the night before. I didn’t have a bull elk tag but Mike did, so I had him go with me, maybe he’d be back and Mike could get him. I had glassed with my binoculars until my eyes burned, working the distant mountain in a grid pattern but the bull was no where to be found.

The sun was finally setting and the shadows grew larger with each passing moment. This is my favorite time of day, I thought to myself, the time when the animals start leaving their hiding areas searching for food. Mike, my hunting partner who was to my left, got up to move a few feet to get a different angle of the draws he was glassing to the north. As Mike moved I saw some movement down the mountain … deer! We both locked on them. More and more continued in to the burn area, feeding on the tender shoots. We were watching 10 or so does and a few bucks, one buck stood out from among the rest, around a 24-inch with nice, deep forks, another year or two and he will be a nice one, especially in this area. Good genetics plus good new growth from the burn.

All of a sudden the deer start looking to their right. I locked onto the area with my binos and sure enough a deer was standing there, a big bodied deer to boot. I wasn’t sure he was a shooter until we got a good side view of him, he was 3-4-inches beyond each ear. I quickly got set up on my backpack, settled my cross hairs of my Redfield scope on his chest, held my breath and squeezed off a shot, at the roar of the rifle he tore out of there, he ran 150 yards and we lost him.

I grabbed my binos and looked at the area, nothing, no movement at all. I asked Mike to watch the spot with his binos until I got down there. It was quite a hike, I didn’t realize it was that steep. When I finally got down, I went over to where I last saw the buck and there he was! Yes!!! I said out loud, as I went over to him, I said “Wow! What a beauty,” no ground shrinkage here. He had a huge body too, what a blessing! He will sure help to fill our freezer for this long winter.

I decided to go over to where the buck was standing and I had Mike range me with my rangefinder. The first one was 396 and the second one was 402 yards, so I figure he was around 400 yards. I am very thankful he was at a 25 percent downhill angle as I didn’t hold very high but the 180 hornady innerbond out of my .300 Win. Mag blew right through his heart – 4 inches lower and I would have shot under him. God blest me so much with this buck, I was overwhelmed.

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