I guess this story actually begins in June when the rest of my hunting group and I foundout that I’m the only one of 15 guys who drew a buck tag for Colorado’s third rifle season for our particular hunting area. Fast forward.
After arriving to our hunting camp on Friday the day before season opens, we head out in an effort to locate a deer or elk to set our sights on in the morning. While coming down a trail we spot a mule deer with a unique rack at about 4:30 in the afternoon. This particular deer’s antlers were wide at the base and they curled in at the top. He was definitely a shooter buck and I decided that I would try for this buck in the morning.
Naturally things did not work out that way. We ended up hunting a different spot due to recent elk activity in the area. Well, Murphy struck us, no elk and no deer harvested opening morning. I passed on several bucks, one of which was shot by another hunter as I was watching him!
On the way back to camp we did happen to bump into a truck driver who stated that he saw the biggest deer he’s ever seen just down the road about an hour ago. I took a drive down there and nothing.
The afternoon hunt on opening day turned out to be somewhat more eventful. I returned to the same location that I had seen the shooter buck the day before season opened. I did not see my deer again that I had my eyes set on but a bigger buck with a wide spread and deep forks, presented himself for about ¼ second on the hill side with four does. I was unable to make a shot from my location so I climbed the hill and was met by the does but no buck. The does quickly vacated the area as darkness was setting. My dad and I returned to camp and decided that in the morning we would attempt to locate the buck that had eluded us.
Day two had us upandatom with high hopes. We quickly dressed, ate breakfast and jumped on the Ranger as the sun was rising. We got to the hill side where the buck had been the night before. I gathered my rifle and gear and began a small hike. As I came into an opening, I was greeted by a rather nice surprise.
The buck was standing there facing me on a slight quartering angle, about 30 yards away. I took one look at his antlers and immediately knew that this was a deer that I wanted to take. I was not keen on the shot that the deer was offering me however I knew that the shot was probably the only one that I was going to get. I raised my rifle, found the deers chest in my scope and fired. It looked like somebody had pulled a rug from under the deers feet. Bang flop. Now I was not shooting the 450 Bushmaster. I was hunting with my Tikka T3 in 338 Winchester magnum loaded with 210grain Barnes TTSX Vor-tx ammunition. After examination the shot had entered the deer in the chest, hit the top of the heart, and exited out the left side about 6 ribs back leaving a wound channel of about 2 ½ inch wide immediately after entering the deer. The bullet traveled thru 24 inches of hide, flesh and bone. I’m a believer in Barnes bullets! Unfortunately I was unable to get any post mortem shots of the wound channel.
It is not uncommon in this area that we hunt to have to shoot across canyons often times 400 yards or more. I knew that the 338 and I were up to the task if the shot presented itself, come to find out I could have killed this deer with my 44 magnum that was strapped to my hip!
When I approached the deer I was greeted by another surprise. The deer had an ear tag, and a whitetail mainframe! My deer was a 4x4 with brow tines and a 26 ½ inch spread. He was about 5 years old and weighed around 225-250 pounds! Upon turning in the ear tag to the local DOW office, I was told that the deer was part of a winter survival study. I received a map of the summer and wintering grounds that the deer had been to. In one year the deer had traveled about 25 miles south to his summer grounds and 25 miles back to the winter grounds where I harvested him. The DOW Officer stated that this deer definitely does have white tail genetics in him.
I was hunting for a trophy deer this year. I got what I was after and now I have something to put on the bare spot on my wall and a freezer full of meat. A successful 2012 Colorado hunting season if I don’t say so my self. Even if it was not with Thumper.
Warriors don't shoot bull's-eyes.
” Blessed are those, who in the face of death, focus on the front sight.”
-Col.. Jeff Cooper