So I posted the story here a while back about how we came upon hunting this place:http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbth...-_L#Post6322657
This is the second part of this story. So dad drew the Colorado Mule deer tag and I didn't. Our landowner friends also drew no vouchers for this year either, so I was along as a cheerleader, a chastiser and a extra set of eyes to spot. Which is almost just as fun. Bri and her husband had been sending me pics of a big buck that they had spotted in one of their uncles pastures. See below:
So needless to say we are super stoked and ready to get there. My little girl had her first ballet recital on December 4th, and season started December 1st. I couldn't let my little girl down so I had to be there for that. Dad wasn't super stoked. As soon as we got pictures taken with her we were off to the races to get to Colorado as fast as we could. We got there in order to hunt Monday afternoon and immediately began looking for Big Guy (is what they were calling him) which the last time . Before the week was over we renamed him the Balerina buck since they saw him on opening day and we were still in Texas watching my daughter being a Balerina. We hunted for him Monday night when we got there, but could not locate him. We put a lot of traffic through his neck of the woods so we decided to head south in the unit to check out another 5,000 acre ranch and to see what might be frequenting the corn fields. We got down there and spotted some deer in a draw that spotted us also. There was a really nice 6x6 in the bunch that we debated if dad should shoot or not. We decided being this early in the hunt we would name this buck Plan B and see if we could go find the Ballerina buck. There was a northerner blowing in and bringing snow that night, so we figured we would go see if the Ballerina buck had come back into the wheat and hemp fields he had been frequenting the week before. No luck and not really that many deer. Wednesday morning we wake up to a blanket of snow and 0 degree weather. We decided to go west from where the Ballerina buck had been and see what was in the Bijou. The Bijou is a long wooded waterway that has 90% of the trees that are growing in the county. Bri's dad farms the east side of it and so we could hunt the part of the Bijou that touches his land boundaries. This becomes very important later in the story. While we were driving the top of the ridge looking down into the Bijou, we started picking out does everywhere. But no bucks. Instead we saw groups of does like the ones below.
We decide since we aren't seeing any mature bucks we are going to go back down south and see if we can find Plan B again. On the way down there we decided to stroll through Ballerina bucks kitchen and just make sure he's not around. We don't find him but we do find a buck named Frankenstein which is a gnarly 5x5 that is super heavy and basically goes straight up and crowns. We decide he is our Plan C. Ballerina buck and Frankenstein had been running together basically all season and had only just recently split up. We glassed trying to find Ballerina buck but to no avail. We go down south to the corn fields and expect to find Plan B in the same draw out of the wind. Dad gets his gun ready as we drive up by a row of cedar trees that are a northern wind break and look down at the bottom of the hill near the mouth of the draw on the south side of the trees and Plan B is laying there staring us down at about 80 yards. We tell dad there he is and he hopes out to lay his gun over the hood. Plan B gets up and is rather uneasy about the situation and dad can't find him in the scope. My dad is about to be 71 years old and I didn't learn until this trip he was diagnosed with cataracts a couple of years ago. After the trip, I can tell his eyesight has gotten terrible. He used to be able to spot deer a lot better than me and that skill of his is gone. As the deer goes over the next rise dad is looking at a fork horn and telling us "I don't think it's that big." We tell him to get in the truck and we go on the offense trying to head this buck off before he gets out of this corn field so dad can get off a shot at him. We get to the next rise and the buck is hauling across the top of the snow covered corn field booking it to the neighbors and a deep canyon that we don't have permission to hunt. Dad gets him in the cross hairs on a couple of different occasions but for one reason or the the other he doesn't feel comfortable taking the shot and Plan B gets down into the deep canyon and disappears forever. We decided to go check out another ranch that was around 19,000 acres that Bri has permission to hunt on and drum up a few more does before dark. We make a plan to meet up the next morning a little later because it's supposed to be super cold and the deer won't get moving very early so we want either. Boy did it ever get cold. The lowest we saw was actually -25 but I took this picture at -23. Wind chill they had between -35 and -40.
We get going about 7am but the diesel pump at the ranch is froze up so Bri has to run into town to get some diesel before we get to far into hunting this morning. About half way there her DTE light comes on and says you have 30 more miles. No big deal, we've only got about 4 to go to get to the gas station. We come down the ramp to enter the interstate and her light comes on and her truck dies. We coast to a stop 3/4 of a mile from the gas station and her truck won't start. Out of diesel. The plunger that tells how much more fuel you have evidently had frozen in place and made us think we were better off than we were. She calls her husband to bring a diesel can and they get a couple of gallons to get to the fuel stop. To give you an idea of how cold it was he diesel was turning into gel before it would come completely out of the tube trying to fill up the tank. We got that debacle out of the way and went to looking for Ballerina or any of his buddies. We go to the wheat field and see that there had been tons of tracks and started following the ones that looked like the Autobahn, We crest a few hills and finally catch up to the group of deer as we crest the top of the last one on the property she has to hunt. Sure enough there's Frankenstein and a large young 3x3 with a herd of does. On the next hill back walking up to the top and just cresting before going out of sight was a heavy horned tall racked beast of a buck. Could this be Ballerina Buck? Don't know couldn't get a long enough glimpse of him, plus they were on land we couldn't hunt. Bri gets on the horn with the landowner and I'm trying to relay to my dad that we can't shoot, they are on ground we can't hunt, and not only is he blind, but he can't hear what I'm telling him. He finally gets the message and puts his gun up. Bri gets a hold of the landowner and tells him what we are trying to do and he tells us to go get him. So back out to the main road we go and back south we head to try to cut them off. Long story short we never did get a shot at them because they would stay low in the draws and pop out in different places for just long enough for you to see them, but not get a shot off, so we ended up backing out so we wouldn't spook them.
With as many does as we had seen in the Bijou the day before, we decided we would skirt the edge again. Sure enough we saw quite a few does and a buck that evidently had been shot in the right rear leg. He was young and about a 150" deer, We debated on whether to put him out of his misery and came to a consensus that he was getting around good enough that we thought he would make it just fine and have a funky rack next year. We finished out the Bijou on the south side of the county road when we come back onto the gravel to head into town to grab a bite to eat. We didn't have permission to hunt the Bijou on the north side of the road, so we hadn't been paying much attention to it. Headed east on the county road I spotted a doe beaded down in the north Bijou. I told Brianna, "Deer". We stopped and I glassed where the doe was a picked out a couple of more. She said man there's a bunch of them. I was scratching my head as I was only seeing 3, when I looked up and she was looking further north than I was. About 1,200 yards away there were deer scattered underneath the trees. We started picking apart the landscape and I said that looks like a buck on the right side. She said I think it is, but I can't tell what it is. We decided to go look from another angle. We looked through her spotting scope and could make out a faint gray outline of what looked like a really tall rack. I really wanted to get a better look at this buck because the frame was outstanding if it was what we thought it was, but we couldn't confirm because of poor glass in the spotter and light/ heat waves wiggling off the reflection of the snow. It's kind of weird to say heat waves when the high was 13 degrees. We decide to go eat and get my spotting scope and see whose land they were on. We grabbed my spotter from my truck, talked to her dad about whose ground it was then hit up Dairy Queen. Her dad said he knew the guy who owned the east side of the Bijou and told us to go talk to him. We went and knocked on the door and a little old lady answered. We told her we would like to check out some deer down in the Bijou and hunt them if she would allow it. She said, "Oh, those are my garden deer, you don't want to shoot those. Let me call my son and make sure he doesn't have a permit. Well I can't get a hold of him, so go on down there and see what you think. Just don't be a very good shot. (She said with a smile). We go to the spot where we had spotted them before and all we see is one little runt laying under the tree. Where did all those deer go. We decide to go to the west side where we were able to make out the outline of his horns. We look and still, only one little guy. We decide to drive down the fence line towards where we thought they were. On the north side of the fence was another landowner. To the south was where we could hunt. To the east of the Bijou we could hunt and since the land we had permission to touch the Bijou in 3 different places we could hunt the Bijou. So we were really hoping he would be somewhere visible in that Bijou or on the rancher we could hunt. As we are looking where we thought they were to be I look to the left and there's about 20 deer standing there looking at us at 100 yards or so, with one of them being a really nice buck. They are headed west and are in the pasture we can't hunt. We back up a little bit and point our truck towards them and it makes them just uncomfortable enough to head back toward the Bijou. When the buck turns we see that he is tremendously tall with deep matching forks on both sides. A beautifully symmetrical 5x5 that I think has to be close to 180" I tell dad that's a good deer if you want him, he can't answer fast enough. Once confirmed he wants to put his tag on him, we have to wait him out to jump back onto the Bijou. Fortunatley for us he did just that. Dad again was having trouble picking him up in the scope and I was beside myself that he was taking so long to shoot. For whatever reason the whole group turns back and starts to head to the corn field that we can't hunt. Now I'm really in a panic. We're going to let this buck get away because he can't find it. We're also a little worried that he might see horns, think that's it and shoot a fork horn. He finally says I see him. We tell him get to shooting before he makes it back to the fence line. He shoots, all the deer jump and the buck takes about 5 bounces toward the fence and then stops and starts looking around. I'm really about to lose it now, because I'm thinking he just walked a dink or a doe and big boy is still standing there. They are all looking around wondering where the sonic boom came from and we figured out it was a complete miss and badly enough that it didn't run them out of the country. The buck is now standing there looking around and we tell dad to shoot again. One problem there is a junked out Winnebago behind the buck. Dad's eyes are good enough to see that it is a Winnebago, but not good enough to tell that it is one that has been shot at for a backstop for the last 20 years and he refuses to shoot. We're about to lose our minds now. The buck finally starts going back east deeper into the Bijou and clears the Winnebago. Last problem, he's dropping down behind a little draw and we tell dad to wait until he comes up the other side. About that time a nuclear bomb goes off and the buck completely disappears and deer go flying everywhere. We are frantically trying to figure out what happened and I'm trying to get the ringing out of my ears. We are looking for the buck but can't find him. Dad says he hit him, I have no idea and Brianna says she thought she heard the thud. Dad hops back in the truck and we take off across the Bijou and just over the decline we was going down, we see the buck laying there with his head coming up off the ground. Dad shoots him again and we discovered the first shot hit him square in the butt and dropped him. The next shot was right behind the front shoulder and ended the bucks rear end issues. We ended up naming this buck, butthole, since that's basically where dad hit it. We walked up on him, and his forks got deeper, his mass got heavier and he started looking better and better. We put a tape on him and have a pretty good idea of score, but I'll let some of you take guesses. Needless to say we are ready to come back and hopefully hunt the Ballerina buck or one of the many other young bucks that we've seen over the week.
Sorry if this is incoherent reading, but I'm not proofreading tonight. Ready to go to bed.