By Levi Garrett – Great Plains Polaris
Tagging In For Colorado’s Mule Deer Is Easy…Packing Out To Head Home Is Hard.
In the early summer two of my hunting buddies called me about a hunting trip for mule deer they were putting together in Colorado. The bow hunting adventure would take place in late August. Having lived in Colorado during the summer of 2006, I feel like it’s my second home. Anytime I can go back I jump at the opportunity, but I have never had the desire to hunt out there. Pursuing Whitetail Deer in Oklahoma and Texas is what I am used to and is what I know. The high altitudes and expansive views of Colorado and the idea of hunting in the rugged mountains wasn’t for me. I was wrong.
The process of getting drawn out for a Mule Deer tag was fairly simple. Having had a fishing license when I lived there, I was already in the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s system. So with only a few simple clicks my application was completed online.
Our hunting party which consisted of three hunters made the final steps of the process by selecting the unit in which we would hunt. Now the long and anxious waiting began. The long hot days of summer dragged on and so did the anticipation of the hopes of a successful drawing. We had never put in for the drawing before so we were not hopeful but sure enough on June 11th I received my hunting license in the mail as did the rest of the hunting group.
After we confirmed that our hunting licenses had come we started making the plans to execute a hopeful bow hunt. I have hunted most of my life, but this was going to be a different style of hunting than I was used to. I am comfortable taking long shots with my bow but in this case I practiced some extreme distances in case the opportunity presented itself. Having somewhat of an idea of what kind of terrain I would be hunting in I began to do some research on how to hunt Mulies. Every article that I read pointed towards spot and stalk which was very different than sitting twenty feet up in a tree. The other tips I read were to find water and sit on it. The drought we experienced in Oklahoma was just as prevalent in Colorado so I
felt optimistic about hunting a watering hole.
Now that I had my game plan and gear ready the excitement started to build even more. We left out on a Thursday evening and drove through the night. The hunt would take place during the last weekend in August. We had selected our spot from Google earth and computed the other factors that would play into our GPS mapping. We arrived at the spot early Friday morning and as we began to set up camp my feelings of Western style hunting changed dramatically. With the gorgeous landscape, smell of the mountain air, and the feeling of being the only ones in the world, I couldn’t wait to start scouting. At first we tried to walk an area out. We figured out real fast that was a waste of time and energy so we found a high place and started glassing. We saw several bucks moving in the valleys which prepared us for the morning hunt.
Our camp was perfect. We had views that looked like post card pictures and no one was anywhere near us. We felt as if we had the whole mountain to ourselves. The camping experience was as big of a part of the trip for me as the hunting was. We hunted hard for three full days and never drew our bows. We had underestimated the degree of difficulty, but spirits were still high.
As we packed up camp to head home, I felt myself wishing we had one more day. One more day in this beautiful county. If not for another chance to fill my tag at least a chance to absorb the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. I had fallen in love with hunting in the Colorado Mountains. The challenges were different and to say the least they were extreme. The mountains had won this trip, but I will definitely be back.