2016 in Colorado was looking pretty uneventful for us, as neither myself, Kelsie, her younger brother Bryce, or her younger sister Alaina had drawn any tags. After some phone calls and running around the country we ended up with land owner antelope tags for all of us. A rifle buck tag for me, a rifle doe tag for Alaina, a muzzleloader buck tag for Kelsie, and a muzzleloader doe tag for Bryce.
With Bryce and Alaina in high school and sports, we only had the weekends to hunt with them. After a couple days and a few missed shots Bryce was able to harvest his doe, his first big game animal, at 150 yards. Very impressive for a novice with a muzzleloader.
The next afternoon we found a gnarly old buck I had seen earlier in the summer, and after obtaining permission from the land owner, Kelsie was able to harvest the old battler. Her trashy old buck beat my expectations and score 79 3/8".
With only a few days left until the rifle hunt started I was in the neighboring unit making sure the buck I had been scouting was in the same general area. The day before season I found him, but I was not the only one. The night before season was a long one as I worried about the other hunters in the area possibly getting him after all the time and miles I had spent scouting.
10 minutes after legal shooting light the buck came from across the county road, past me at 100 yards but never slowed down as he continued down over the hill. He was headed straight for the highway! I got back in my pickup and drove to the highway to see where he had went. He had gathered his foes back up and was heading back away from the road. What a sigh of relief. At this point the stalk was on, and after a quarter mile run, keeping a windbreak between me and the antelope, I poked my head around the windbreak to find them 300 yards away. I dropped to a prone position but there was a small enough rise that I couldn't see them trough my scope. I belly crawled until I had a clear shot and let my 260 Remington bark. I watched the buck run 50 yards and pile up! My father could hear my war cry as he watched from 1/2 mile away. As I walked up to the buck he kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, completely blowing my expectations. With 7 3/8" & 7 1/8" prongs, and both bottom mass measurements well over 7" he green scored 87 1/8" gross. A once in a lifetime goat for sure.
Two days later it was Alaina's turn, and after struggling to find any antelope in an area where they are usually very abundant, we finally found a doe on property we could hunt. After what seemed like eternity and the antelope playing a cat and mouse game with the property line, the doe stood still long enough for Alaina to make a 340 yard shot, and a short follow up shot to take her first big game animal.
Even though I harvested an antelope I won't soon be beating, the highlight of the season for me was being able to take the kids out to get their first animals.