Well I'm back and I had a great 9 days in Colorado.
We pulled into our area the Thursday before the season started and got camp all set up. It was warm and dry, which was ideal for getting our tent set up, but not what we were wanting for the hunt. On Friday morning I went out at first light to scout and spent all morning hiking and glassing looking for the deer. I saw about 50 does, but not a single buck. By mid-day it was about 60 degrees, so I knew it was going to be a tough hunt. Not alot of deer had been pushed into our area by the first storm, but I knew from the number of does I had seen that there would still be a few bucks in the area. That night I went and sat in the spot I wanted to be in on opening morning, and I took the time to range much of my field of view(which I'm glad I did). I could see half a mile of clear cuts in front of me, and to my left, with fingers of trees spread through it. As I glassed, I watched a group of 6 does feed at the bottom of my field, then had a few more pass within 50 yards of where I was sitting. As I walked out before dark, I marked my trail so I could get back in the morning. I had killed a deer from that spot on my last trip, but it's always hard to find in the dark.
Opening morning was cool and clear. When I left the tent an hour before first light it was 38 degrees, and I set out to my ridge. In the excitment of opening morning, and only using a LED headlamp I missed my flags and ended up lost. Sweating and frustrated I finally backtracked to around where I wanted to be, and I sat down in the brush to wait for enough light to see. When I could finally see, I was only 100 yards from my spot, so I quickly made my way there.
Because I was walking in after it was light I didn't take the time to set up like I had planned, and I went straight to glassing the fields in front of me. The same group of does from the night before was feeding along the bottom of the field, but I wasn't seeing alot of other movement. They moved on and I didn't see anything for the next 30 minutes. Suddenly movement caught my eye, and I threw my binoculars up to see a buck crossing in front of me, and I could instantly see the antlers. I didn't even take the time to count the points, I knew it was a shooter.
Like I said before it was crossing so I knew I didn't have alot of time. Unfortunately I hadn't set up when I got there, so I quickly grabbed my rifle and got into possition. My rangefinder and ballistics card were still in my bag, but I had ranged every major opening and tree the night before, so I knew the deer was at just over 400 yards. I didn't even take the time to dial in my elevation because I knew at that range I could make the shot with hold-over. The buck briefly stopped and I let my first shot fly, which ended up going right over his back. He didn't move, so I ran another round home and I set up for my second shot, only to hear a click when I pulled the trigger. For some reason my gun hadn't loaded the next shell from the magazine, and the chamber was empty. I quickly loaded again and the deer was on the move. It walked through the next brush finger, and cleared the other side. This time it didn't stop, and if it went another 20 yards it would be gone. I led it slightly, putting it right over its neck, and pulled the trigger. That shot put him down, hitting about half way down his back, still high but right in the backbone. He wasn't dead, so I put one more shot in him as he was attemting to crawl away.
I waited about 2 minutes and didn't see any movement, so I made my way down. As I approached I could see it was nice, but didn't see all the points until I was right up to it. This would be my first 4x4 in my 5 deer trips to Colorado. While I have seen much bigger deer in the area, I was never able to make the shot. That was part of the reason I bought my new Savage this year in .300 Win Mag so that I could make these types of shots. I ranged it back to my spot at 437 yards, my first semi-long distance kill.
The view from behind my rifle, and the orange spot is my backpack sitting next to my deer at 437 yards.
I was excited to share the hunt with my dad, and we were both relieved that we could drive the truck all the way down to my deer.
We ended up getting snow Tuesday and Thursday, and that moved alot more deer into our area. My dad took a smaller 4x4 Wednesday morning, and 2 of the other hunters in our group missed shots at smaller bucks. I also went out most days with the other hunters, and Thursday morning saw another smaller 4x4 stop broadside at 200 yards while I was glassing him by myself.
Overall we had a great time. We had both warm and cold weather, saw a good number of deer, and made it home safely.
My buck scored 149 7/8 gross, 146 5/8 net. I made the shot at 437 yards with a Savage 112 BVSS in .300 Win Mag and a Bushnell Elite 4200 6x24 Tactical scope. The load was a 210 gr Berger VLD with 76 gr of MagPro behind it.
I hope to go longer next year.
Our camp the day before we left.