Do You Remember This Buck?
Location: Southern Colorado
Dates: November 15-16, 2006
Weather: Mild weather with highs in the 50s and 60s
Ralph and I had one heck of a Colorado hunt this year, which started off with a fun side trip to Nebraska. We left early Tuesday, November 14 and drove to Nebraska to surprise Christy and Shorty Christiansen and their children, the winners of The Quiver of Dreams drawing. We conducted this drawing as a way of thanking the forum members for their support. The Christiansens won a hunt with us. After we drew their names, we told the Christiansens that we would call them, but we decided to make a surprise visit with tons of presents from our sponsors instead. When we got to their town, we got lost and had to ask for directions from a police officer. Once we arrived, Ralph called Shorty on the phone from the front of his yard and asked him strange questions like, "What color is your house?" I think Shorty thought Ralph was losing it. Then Ralph told him to go outside and look at the color, and that's when Shorty realized that we were in his front yard. They were only expecting a phone call from us, not a house visit. It was awesome. We spent some time with them and gave them a bunch of gear making quite a mess out of their house.
Off to Colorado
After we visited with the Christiansens, Ralph and I headed off to Colorado for some whitetail and mule deer hunting with our good friends Billy and Gayla. We drove for a while then stopped at a hotel that evening. The next morning, we woke up early and continued on to Colorado.
We got there around noon on Wednesday. We caught up with our friends and ate some lunch. Then we got cleaned up and went to the stand that afternoon at around 2 p.m.
We decided that I would hunt and Ralph would film. As I was pulling my bow up into the stand, I could see deer coming from the tamaracks going into the green field. Within minutes, a small 1 1/2-year-old buck and a doe walked underneath our stand. He stood there and grunted for a very long time. I picked up my Nikon binoculars to glass the field and watched as a nice 8-point with a doe came into the field right in front of us. Since he was looking right at us, I couldn't put the binoculars down to get my bow. After several minutes had passed, he and the doe moved on. That evening, we saw 30 deer, but nothing else came close enough to shoot. We waited until after dark to get down from the stand because we didn't want to spook the deer on that field.
The next morning (Thursday), we went to a stand that is set a little bit off of the green field that we had hunted the night before. When Ralph started to climb, the filming stand slipped a little bit. He could see all of the deer out in the field and didn't want to spook them by fixing the stand, so we got out of there fast and went back to the truck. We drove around to where we could do some spotting on the field, and boy did we see some beauties.
Cruisin' for a Bruiser
We hopped in the truck and drove down the road. As we drove we glassed the field and could see several large bucks, including one giant one. We also saw a ton of does. We were obviously excited. We returned to the hotel and had some lunch. We did a little bit of computer work and returned to the Ameristep ladder stand that we had hunted the previous night that overlooked the green field where we spotted the huge deer.
That afternoon it was technically supposed to be Ralph's turn to hunt, but he let me hunt because I didn't get to hunt in the morning. (Boy, I bet he wishes he had hunted that afternoon.) As we were walking to our stand, we spooked a doe out of the field. We got into the stand a little before 3 p.m.
At that time, several does came out into the field. I did a little bit of rattling and about 15 minutes later a group of bucks came out into the field all at once. We thought that was strange because they should have been chasing does that time of the year. They ranged in size and age from small button bucks to mature 4-year-olds. We saw at least four deer in the field that would measure more than 140 inches, including a nice mainframe 8-point with a split G2 that would probably measure 150 inches.
Here He Comes
Then, the big guy came into the field. When I saw him, I started shaking so badly that the tree began shaking as well.
Ralph asked for the rattling horns. He was facing away from the green field so as not to draw too much attention to us. He rattled, but the bucks didn't respond. He then asked if I had my snort-wheeze call. I don't hunt the rut without it now. We wheezed and that drew some attention, but not enough to make them move. When we wheezed again, the big 8-pointer with the split G2 and the big guy started walking toward us. I can't begin to explain how excited I was.
When the nice 8-pointer saw that the big guy was walking in our direction, he stopped in his tracks and turned away. He didn't want to mess with that huge buck.
I had just gotten my new Hoyt about a week and a half earlier and had sighted it in for 20 and 30 yards, nothing farther. As the big buck started walking along the fence line, I realized that if he made it to the corner, I'd have to make a 40-yard shot. I began to get really nervous. But then to my immense relief, at about 70 yards from us, he jumped over the fence into the tamaracks and started heading slowly in our direction.
Make or Break Time
At 40 yards, he stepped behind some tamaracks, so I drew my bow. He continued to walk toward us. During that time, I was thinking, I better hunker down. I better make sure that I've anchored properly. As he got closer, I worried that he wouldn't give me a broadside shot. But when he reached exactly 20 yards from me, he turned broadside. He was walking slowly and had no idea that we were there. I held my pin on him and released. My Beman arrow tipped with a NAP Shockwave passed right through him. He ran about 20 yards and stopped. He stood there for a few minutes then did the dead deer run into the tamaracks and out of our view.
That's when I began to shake out of control. Ralph was telling me to be quiet so that I wouldn't spook the rest of the deer in the field, but I couldn't help myself. My adrenaline was pumping harder than it ever had before. I couldn't believe that I had just shot such an awesome whitetail. We waited for 45 minutes before we climbed out of the stand. We recovered the arrow, which was covered in blood; a clean pass-through. Then we followed the blood trail right to where he dropped. He ended up running approximately 70 yards. I was so thrilled with the outcome of the hunt that I started to cry.
I couldn't believe that I had finally shot my first Booner -- a mainframe 10 with 11 extra scorable points. We gross scored him at 202 inches. He had 50 inches of mass circumference. He's just unbelievable.
He's by far the biggest deer I've ever taken with the second biggest scoring 164 inches. Of course, Ralph was thrilled for me, but the first thing he said was, It was supposed to be my turn. Ralph's biggest deer so far scores 188 inches. So, currently, I've taken the biggest buck. He'll never live this one down.
I feel so blessed, especially when I think about the number of hunters who've hunted for years and years without even seeing a 200-inch deer, and I was fortunate enough to take one.
Get more information about Ralph and Vicki at www.archersvoicemedia.com.
Editor's note: This was originally published February 9, 2007.
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