1 For 2 in 67 3rd Muley

AaronS

Active Member
Messages
136
This turned out to be pretty lengthy post, so long story short, my dad and I had a very memorable trip using our points together in 67. Didn’t come home with the monster we had been dreaming of, but wound up taking a nice mature, big bodied buck on the last evening. Pics below….

I put a post or two out there in advance of this hunt, but just to recap, my dad and I chose to burn our 20 NR muley points this year in 67. He started helping me put in as soon as I had my hunters ed, so I feel very fortunate to have been able to draw this tag at 34 years old. Dad is 62, and he as well as my uncle and grandfather before he passed taught me to hunt growing up. Dad loves mule deer and it was important to me to burn my points on a hunt he and I could do together. No outfitters, just the two of us doing our best to learn new country and find a big deer (or two). A couple years ago I started working on deciding where we’d burn them, and like many others when CPW released the latest 5-yr season dates I knew 2021 was the year we wanted. Research on the best units we could afford a 3rd or 4th tag (4th was ultimately eliminated because of Thanksgiving week) and anticipation of point creep led me to 67. I started e-scouting this unit well over a year ago, and my OnX and paper map were full of notes and waypoints before we ever set foot there. I’ll take this opportunity to thank those of you on here who were so open with your experience in prior years and in 2nd rifle this year. You were all very helpful, and I hope I can pay it forward to those with hunts starting this Wednesday and in future years.

After much anticipation we arrived in Gunnison a couple days ahead of the hunt. Scouting the areas I had picked out on the map, along with some others had advised of, revealed what I expected. Lots of does, lots of young bucks. Despite anticipated warm weather, we were hopeful the rut would kick in harder and help us find a big boy at least in the back half of the hunt. I’ll spare you all the daily details, but suffice it to say we covered tons of country and spent many hours behind the glass. We hunted high, low, defaulted back to areas we had found the most does and checked them as often as we could for new bucks. We saw a ton of deer, and had many other really cool sightings (huge herd of elk with a 320-330 6x6, bald eagle, antelope, etc – pics below).

Despite my strong desire for Dad to be the first shooter, I’ve learned over the years not to argue with him about that sort of thing, so I was first up. After the first couple of days, and given the conditions, I knew finding two bucks of the caliber we were after would be very difficult, so I decided I’d put my tag on the first mature decent 4x4 I saw to force him into the shooter’s chair and spend the rest of the time finding him a toad.

Unfortunately that opportunity didn’t come until the afternoon of day 6. We felt like looking over some different country, and despite reports of fewer deer found on the east side we ventured over to some BLM east of Cooper Mountain. It was some terrain that looked much like that where we had been finding deer in so I was optimistic we might locate some new bucks. We found a large bodied 4x4, not the type we spent our points for, but a deer I would be happy to take nonetheless. I was already thinking about the best way to get him back to the truck and how we’d be able to at least spend the last day looking for dad’s trophy, let my guard down and blew the stalk. I couldn’t help but kick myself over the rookie mistakes I know better than to make, but I was ready to get after it one last day. The morning hunt turned nothing up, and the afternoon wind was kicking up. Spirits were deteriorating as time ticked away. We spent the last afternoon the same way we did the prior, hoping for another opportunity at the one that gave us the slip. Located the buck with the same group of deer about 100 yards from where he was the previous afternoon. This time I kept my head on straight and got it done.

He’s not the giant that we had on our minds, but I’m proud of this deer and what he stands for. The time spent with my old man and going on this trip together is something I’ll never forget. I pulled the trigger, but this deer was harvested by a team of father and son, and we both got what we wanted out of our points. To be able to hunt in an area where we felt like at any moment a 200+ could appear through the glass and enjoy a week pursuing that opportunity together. This buck will hang on the wall and serve as a reminder of that experience for many years.

With what we saw happening toward the end of the hunt, I wish we had 3-4 more days. Also wish I had another crack at the unit. Fortunately, my brother is sitting on 16 points and building. Maybe I’ll be able to take him for a similar experience in a few years and leverage our learnings. Another big thanks to all those that offered guidance on here, and those of you I was fortunate to run into out in the field. I look forward to swapping hunting stories with you all for a long time!

A

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twopointdn

Active Member
Messages
159
Great story. Congratulations. I was in a neighboring unit for the second season and said the same thing as you in that it felt like it was just getting good and I wish I had 3-4 more days on my season. I thought for sure the third season was going to be a slam dunk from what I was finally seeing on my last day of my hunt. Sounds like it was hard for both seasons this year. Maybe the fourth season guys will have better luck. I hauled my old man a long on my hunt as well to be my camp cook. It was nice spending some time with him on the mountain. Have fun.
 

CCity65

Member
Messages
79
Looks like you did just fine! That trip will live in your memory banks until you both breathe your last breaths. Congrats!
 

elkhunterUT

Very Active Member
Messages
1,643
Awesome -congrats on an amazing experience with many memories. It was a tough 3rd season this year with the warm weather, etc. A big buck is always nice (and you did get one), but nothing is better than banking away memories with family, especially your Dad!
 

WesternSky

Active Member
Messages
446
Congrats Aaron. It was a pleasure meeting you and your Dad on the mountain.

I had the same desire of a bit longer season. I'm happy with my buck but think I could have done a bit better with some snow or a couple more days in the hunt.
 

AaronS

Active Member
Messages
136
Congrats Aaron. It was a pleasure meeting you and your Dad on the mountain.

I had the same desire of a bit longer season. I'm happy with my buck but think I could have done a bit better with some snow or a couple more days in the hunt.
Same to you! Was neat to run into a fellow poster and thanks for all you did to try and help us out. Congrats on your buck, glad you got it done as well. Agreed on your last comments... I've spent more than a few minutes imagining just how awesome that hunt would have been with some nasty weather!
 

wweaver79

Member
Messages
85
Sounds like you still had a great time. Can not control the weather, a lot of bucks will get the slip without the cold and snow this year. Good memories.
 

AaronS

Active Member
Messages
136
Sounds like you still had a great time. Can not control the weather, a lot of bucks will get the slip without the cold and snow this year. Good memories.
I think so too. Part of why I wanted to go ahead and burn them this year is I expected it to be a bloodbath across the state with a significant number of mature high end deer hitting the dirt. Seen some awesome bucks posted on here from 3rd, but based on what we saw and heard from talking to wardens, other hunters, etc, I would not be at all discouraged going into next year if you failed to draw a tag for 2021.
 

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