When I drew this deer tag and signed a contract with an outfitter I had a lot of huge expectations. I figured the guide was going to find a record book deer and we’d close the deal with little trouble. If I can hunt Whitetails then Mulies with a guide would be no problem, WOW did I ever learn a lesson on this trip. Starting, if I had tried to make this a DIY event I would have failed miserably, I’m glad I went with an outfitter. My guide had guided all over from Sonora Mexico to Alaska and I was lucky enough to have him guide me on this trip… I thought.
The first morning we suited up and headed over to a little school house built in 1890. We parked my truck next to the school house and hiked to a ridge line over looking several arroyos, the prairie and as a bonus Pikes Peak in the distance. As we approached our first spot to glass my guide quickly knelt to the ground as he spotted two young bucks on a hill in front of us sparing. We crawled into some bushes not to spook the bucks while we glassed for a bigger one. We moved from one vantage point to another seeing several deer and one possible shooter the guide spotted but nether Flores a friend I brought from Austin or I could spot it. I thought to myself this should be an easy hunt guide says he can spot deer an average hunter couldn’t; especially someone not use to the terrain. So all I needed to do was be patient and the guide would find my buck, I hoped. We spent the next two and a half days glassing for hours and walking mile after mile. I started to contemplate having to drive all the way back to Texas with an empty cooler and a tag that wasn’t filled. That wasn’t a drive I was looking forward to.
On Wednesday morning we return to the pasture behind the old school house after leaving the area alone for two days. This time we setup on the ridge line closest to the prairie with just one arroyo/creek bed between us and the horizon beyond. Just as the sun came up my friend from Austin Cory Flores spotted a buck just before it disappeared into a thicket of trees. All three of us trained our binoculars to the area where Flores had seen the buck but nothing was coming out. In a later admitted move of desperation the guide sent Flores down a fence line about 200yrds to our right. He had instructions that once he came to the fence he was turn left and follow the fence about half a mile. At that distance he was far enough past the trees that he could then turn around walking back towards us at an angle that would flush the buck out in the open on our side of the arroyo. After a good half hour we started to glass the area we discussed he was to pop out of expecting to see him at any second. After another five minutes I spotted Flores way out on the prairie about a mile the next thing beyond him was Pikes Peak. I looked a the guide and said “do you want me to put a round in the air”, knowing if I did so I would blow our hunting in area for at least a day. He said no let’s just watch this is getting amusing, I said “it won’t be funny if he walks out if sight”. We watched Flores walk at least another mile before he looked up and took note of where we were. I later asked him how it felt when he saw my blaze orange hat and vest as a tiny speck in the distance, he just gave one of his trade mark giggles and said “yeah I was way out there”.
After Flores was done wondering the prairie like Pea Eye in Lonesome Dove; The guide once again asked Flores if he was up for one more walk before breakfast, always the trooper Flores said sure. We dropped him off with specific instruction to walk the creek until he ran into us where we would be positioned further down the creek bed. I drove my truck further down the creek to a spot where the road crosses to the south side of the creek. We parked my truck and we waked to the south side of the creek. The guide set us up with our back to the direction Flores was supposedly coming from. In frustration I asked we’re looking for a 7 year old 3×4 with loads of mass right” he said yes. I told him I’m moving to the east side of the road so at least I would see whatever Flores was pushing towards us before it saw the guide and I facing the wrong way. Just before I started to wonder if Flores was turned around again a buck came bounding over the ridge headed straight for our position. I started to call out to the guide, ” he’s tall, wide, and real dark looks like a white face too”, as I was describing him the buck dropped into a cluster of trees, what seemed much too fast a buck came out to our side of the trees. I wasn’t able to get a good look at him, “is that the one” (the 3×4) I said and the guide replied back “yes.. do you want him”? “Yes” I replied, “150 yards” he whispered, I waited for an opening in the brush put the cross hairs of my Tika T3 30-06 behind the buck’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The shot was right on, the report of the bullet hitting the buck was clear, but when I looked up he’d disappeared below the brush, I knew I hit him hard and he wasn’t getting back up. The guide said lets go make sure he’s finished. First I yelled at Flores as he came into view, I said “I got him!” Flores stared to run in my direction, a few steps after he began to run towards us a freaking MONSTER buck jumped up 10yrds in front of Flores. The buck ran over the horizon; but stopped just long enough for me to see that he was a least 30″ larger than the buck I just shot. As I yelled “that’s the one is way bigger than mine” I looked over at The guide; he was just standing in silence with his hands on his head. We loaded my buck in the bed of the pick-up and headed back to camp, after the guide caped him out, we measured the rack, it came out to 175″ gross. Many questions from the readers of this blog, followers on twitter and Facebook have questioned that score. I assure everyone as soon as I hear back from the taxidermist after the drying period I’ll report the actual score. One thing is for sure he isn’t the record book buck I told the outfitter as well as the guide I was after and because I was from Texas I was completely dependent on their judgment.
While the guide was capping out my buck he said this is the 5×6 a muzzle client had missed the week before. Little did the guide remember that he told Flores and I a story if how he left that muzzle loader client alone one night on an alfalfa field and that the hunter took a shot and missed a tiny 5×6 that if he (the guide) had been there he would have never let the client take the shot. So now this same deer he wouldn’t allow to be harvested the week before hangs before me caped out.
The bottom line is even with a highly experienced guide mistakes are made. My recommendation is know exactly what kind of deer you expect to harvest and never let a guide rush you in to a shot so he can wrap up the hunt and have a kill on his record.