I hunted mule deer in Unit 67 near Gunnison last week. Flight delays prevented me from hunting Saturday, so didn't get to hunt till Sunday. Didn't see anything but does on Sunday morning, but switched gears and headed into a different area and immediately started seeing way more deer, including small bucks, on Sunday afternoon. Pretty big snow started coming in that afternoon, night, and all day Monday.
Monday was great and I was incredibly close to pulling the trigger on a big 5x5...but it was 3 minutes past legal shooting time. Really wanted to shoot, as the buck was broadside and still and less than 150 yards from me. But, I opted to play by the rules and didn't shoot. The next morning, I hiked straight uphill a couple of miles in -2 degree temps to locate that buck. Saw his tracks in the snow, but couldn't find where he was bedded down. Ultimately, I never could find him.
Over the next two days, I saw lots of smaller younger bucks hanging near or with does, but the mature bucks were harder to spot. That's how it goes with 2nd season rifle, which is why they are easier to draw than 3rd season. The small herds of does typically had 1-2 young bucks with them. After seeing lots of deer and helping my buddy get on a buck, fast forward to when I saw this one on Thursday morning. I was up on a saddle looking downhill and spotted ~10 does. About 100 yards from them were 2 bucks. With only 1.5 days left, I knew this might be my only opportunity, so I acted very quickly. He was only about 75 yards downhill when I shot. The blood trail in the snow led right to him about 75 yards further downhill. Perfect shot and he expired quickly.
I had the rest of that morning to field dress, quarter, and take him to town to get CWD tested. Back at the shop that afternoon, I caped and butchered him completely. Certainly not the biggest buck, but such a great hunt overall especially since it was DIY on public land.