The One That THOUGHT He Got Away

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This was a great third season Colorado muley hunt for me. It started three days before the season started when a new guy at work started talking about maybe getting an OTC elk tag, but did not know any of the country around here. As we talked I felt he was a pretty good guy and I was not going to be hunting in my usual hunting spot, due to the deer tag I drew, and asked if he would like to go up with me. Of course he said yes!

The next day I received a call from another guy I knew and he asked if I could help him out with a spot that his son might have a chance of taking his first bull, he also had an OTC bull tag for third season. I told him that if he wanted he could also go up with me and hunt the same area. This is the first time I was going to have guys hunting with me that I did not know real well and had never hunted with, but accepted the challenge with a smile (especially when it comes to kids).

Opening morning I had Bill (from work) pick me up bright and early, and Bruce and his son would meet us in Debeque. The spot I was going to hunt had about 12 inches of crusted snow and made for a tough walk as the sun was just coming up. I was going kind of fast, because I was in a hurry to get in "the hole" and they were having a very tough time keeping up. I had to slow way down for them and I remembered why I let them come with me, to help them out. We got to "the hole" a little late, but no worries, no one else was in there due to all the snow.

I started glassing to see if anything was out and about, but did not spot anything, so I made a plan. There were tons of elk tracks in the snow so I had high hopes for them, but there were not many deer tracks at all. Because of the lack of deer tracks I told then I would dive into the thick nasty stuff and have them stay up higher and see if I could push the elk out to them. They would stay up on the ridge heading north slowly and then drop down to me in the very bottom.

I headed northwest down through the thick nasty cedars. I would stop every fifty yards or so and glass back up under them in the oakbrush just in case an old muley was laying up on the ridge and they may make him move, but to know avail. I did not bump a single elk or deer the whole way down and was starting to get a little depressed myself. We met up down in the bottom and they had not seen a single critter either. So I decided I would have them spread out in the bottom about 100 yards apart and I would head a little further west and meet them back at the top.

As I got up to the top I glassed down to see how they were coming. They were still a long ways down in there. They were super tired from plowing the snow and were moving very, very slow. So I headed over to the old two track where I told them we would meet. It sat at the top of the ridge we started down and was a saddle in the terrain, so I took off my pack right in the middle of the road, dug out some snacks and made myself comfortable for a long wait.

After sitting there for over an hour I stood up and stretched my legs and looked around a little with the binos. As I was glassing I heard some noise from where they were to come up. I put down the binos and looked around some, but saw nothing. Just as I was bringing my binos up again I heard the noise and this time caught a glimpse of something moving just on the edge of the oakbrush, "It was him!" Here was a decent buck about 90 yards from me with no clue I was even around. I could not tell how good he really was from the side and I was looking for something good. I did not even grab my gun yet and it was about 5 yards from me in the brush. The old buck moved right past me and turned to cross the road about 50 yards in front of me. He then turned and headed right at me and I could see he was a very good buck. He came to within 15 yards of me then turned and finished crossing the road and started heading away from me. I grabbed my gun as he stopped about 45 yards from me and he had still not seen me standing right in the middle of the road. He was quartering away from me and I put the crosshairs on the base of the neck and squoze the trigger. He went straight down without even a flinch. I walked over to him and realized I had taken the widest buck I had ever taken (taped him later at 29 1/2" wide). This old buck had snuck out ahead of them and had thought he had gotten away!

When the guys got up to me they asked if I had shot and I smiled and pointed. They could not believe how it all went down and it was the biggest buck the young man had the priviledge of seeing on the ground at the time. I had them help me skin and quarter him and we packed him out, but I could not get his head and cape in the same trip. So I told them where they could have a chance at some elk the next day and I would come back and get the rest the next morning.

Even though they did not take an elk that weekend the young man called me in the middle of the next week and thanked me for letting him come hunting with me. I told him it was my priviledge! I took them hunting and it was them that actually helped me take my buck.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the story. I

Thanks for the story. I really enjoyed and appreciated it. They may nothave had the opportunity to take a deer or elk, but you provided them with a very fundamental experience. Plus, they got to see the biggest deer of their lives. What a bonus!!!!! Thanks for the story and the awesome pictures.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Boy Quinton, that is one heck

Boy Quinton, that is one heck of a deer.  I like how his rack sweeps way ut and around.  Very wide!

Great story!  Thanks for sharing!

groovy mike's picture

God rewards us for helping someone else!

Quinton – that’s a great buck!  This is another one of those times that God rewards us for helping someone else!   All the self help books call it ‘networking’ or ‘karma’ depending on whether you are looking at it from a secular business or spiritual perspective.  But the bottom line is that when you help others, God makes sure that it comes back to you in a positive way.  I have seen this so often that I don’t even question it any more.  If you want to be wealthy, start being generous.  You are so right that it is amazing the difference one person (you) can make in someone’s life.  We have immense power for good or bad influence.  It is truly amazing the difference it can make in ones life.Remember that one time that someone said something that made you beam with pride?  Remember that jerk that cut you with a harsh comment years ago?  We all should strive to be the first man, not the second!

Arrow-flipper is right about the deer too.  No matter where you are or what time of day it is, without a doubt you have to be ready because when you least expect it, a game animal might just appear.   I took my last buck after I had actually stopped hunting and just sat down to rest!   It’s true that somehow they seem to sense when we are acting like a predator and when we aren’t.  But I somehow seem to see far more deer when I am not hunting than when I am.

Thanks for sharing the story and the photographs.  That is some fantastic taxidermy work.  This is one of the very rare times that the work on the wall looks even better than the photographed game on the ground in the field.  I think it is usually the other way around.  But your taxidermist did a great job. 

Did you tan the hides yourself or have them done?  That’s a neat set of trophies you have there. I've never seen the antler and the tanned deer hide combined into one display like that.  By the way, that is a good looking bear too!


elkkill06's picture

Awesome Mike !!

Hey Mike thank you very much for reading my story and the wonderful comments. I have never looked at helping others to get me ahead, but I was raised to always help others.

I had my taxidermist send off the hide on the deer and elk hides I have. The antlers and hide are my wifes 2nd buck and her first doe. I put them together to see what it would look like and I thought it looked nice so I left it. Her third buck is right beside it also. The bear was my first and biggest bear I have taken.

Thanks again Mike ! ;)


hunter25's picture

Great story Quinton. It shows

Great story Quinton. It shows we must always be aware and ready. I have have been in many similar situations taking others out or my own kids but have never had the good fortune to make out that well when doing it. I have taken a few animals that way but seems like it's usually a two point or something. I almost feel guilty sometimes if I end up getting a bigger buck than my kids do. The satisfaction though of seeing the look on the faces of kids when they get something or even get to witness it is great.

The best I ever did was on the drive down once on a 4 wheel drive road we pulled over to eat lunch, after about 20 minutes sitting and watching a couple of other trucks drive by we had a small 4x4 buck walk out of the brush at about 200 yards and start to feed across the hillside. A few steps over to some brush to get a rest and it was all over but a short downhill drag.

elkkill06's picture

Thanks Wade !

Thanks for reading my story Wade. My dad and sister had almost the same thing happen one year. They had driven up to a pond at which the road also dead ends. They stopped and ate lunch which took around 30 minutes. My sisters kids were playing and making noise the whole time. They loaded up and started to take off when two big bucks jumped up and took off from the tall sagebrush. My sister ended up getting the bigger buck which ended up being her first non typical buck also.

You just never know !


arrowflipper's picture


Thanks for sharing a great hunt.  It points out to me that no matter where you are or what time of day it is, you have to be "ready".  It seems like that at the time we least expect it, up pops an animal.  I can't tell you how many times that's happened to me.  We'll be field dressing a deer, talking and having a good time and all of a sudden, here comes a nice buck right beside us.  It seems like they don't have any fear while you're talking and acting normal.  It's when we creep along that it bothers them.

Nice job of taking a youth along with you.  I wish more guys would take the time and effort to spend time with kids.  I have been fortunate enough to have been with two of my own kids and four of my grandkids when they shot their first big game animal.  Spending time with them in the field beats going to visit them in juvenile.  And when you don't know the youth, that makes it even more special. 

Proves the old saying that it's when you are helping others that good things come to you.  Congratulations on a great buck and a good story.  Thanks for sharing the pictures as well.

elkkill06's picture



Thanks much for reading my story and the great comments. ;) I, like you, have had the priveledge of seeing my kids take some great animals along with my nieces and nephews. You are very correct in saying these things keep them out of trouble. I feel I was a huge influence on my nieghbor kid across the street, especially after his dad took his own life, I started taking him hunting and camping with us (my family) as much as possible. It is truely amazing the difference it can make in ones life.