My son Wyatt drew a 2nd season rifle tag in the Gunnison area this year. We made the long trek from Oregon to get there. There was 4" of snow on the ground on Thursday before the opener where we were at. I had to chain up all 4 tires to get around the BLM roads we were hunting. It was a gooey slimy MESS!
About a year and a half ago, Wyatt was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I knew this trip and hunt would be a struggle but I wanted to get his mind off of things and enjoy a fun road trip and hunt with him. He is 17 years old and I also was hoping to save the extra $300 on the NR tag. LOL.
We made camp late Thursday night. It froze hard that night and I woke up to a herd of easily 100 ELK 600 yards from camp with two big 6 point bulls bugling in them! What a sight to see! We scouted around that day and saw some bucks above camp. Nothing big. 22" 4 pt. and a 24" 2x3 with a number of does around. We talked about the 4pt. and Wyatt was wanting to hunt and kill him. In my heart I knew he wouldn't last too long on this trip with his UCD. That disease just simply wears him out and it is a struggle for him to keep up his energy.
Saturday morning Opening day came and I glassed up where the bucks had been above camp. Sure enough there was an orange vest and hat standing not 50 yards from where the bucks were the day before. I just let my son sleep in and kept glassing other areas from camp. Fortunately for us, we didn't hear any gun shots so hopefully the bucks were still around there somewhere.
That same evening I made a plan for us to hike up along an 800 yard long row of cedars and pinions and just sit back in the cover and shade and watch that hillside we saw the 4pt. on. It worked great and soon does started coming out of that area into openings we could see at 300 yards and less. An hour before dark, I spotted a big white ass and soon could see a nice rack of antlers. I told Wyatt there is a buck! He was 580 yards away so we gathered our gear and went in hot pursuit!
We closed the distance but soon it was a cat and a mouse game. The buck was hanging tight with a doe and luckily neither of them spooked really bad. I got Wyatt setup on my spotting scope with tripod as a solid rest. At 250 yards, he let the .270 kick and the 130 grain nosler found its mark right behind the shoulder! Wyatt had killed his first ever Colorado mule deer! We took some pics to capture the moment and he was really happy with him! I know he is not a monster muley but I was very grateful that my son "got one" with him battling his UCD symptoms.
The buck ended up being one we hadn't even seen yet. We had a great time together and I'm so glad he made the trip! Boy there was TONS of Orange all over the unit we were in. Side by sides everywhere. LOL! Never did see a buck over 150" but obviously we weren't there very long. Did hear of one big buck 28"+ that was with a group of does on Sunday morning. ELK hunters told us about.
View attachment 92664
View attachment 92665
View attachment 92666