After spending over two hours sighting in my X2, I headed to the Shipping Trap pasture in order to do some late afternoon scouting. It was the day before the Colorado deer rifle opener, and I was curious to see if there were any animals worth pursuing. The wind was blowing hard from the northwest so I walked into the stiff breeze using the trees as cover. It did not take long to find the first buck. He was 500 yards north of my position, and he stared at me for thirty seconds before trotting further north. My binoculars revealed he was young and unimpressive. I continued my walk for another one-half mile and then noticed movement far ahead of me. Although I was quite a distance away from the deer, it was obvious that a few bucks were intermingling with does. I managed to stay concealed as I got closer to the herd. At about 200 yards, I poked my head out from my position behind a thick cottonwood. There were nine does and five bucks, and it was obvious that the rut was on. One of the three big bucks was mating with each female. If another buck challenged him, the dominate male knocked him away. I had never witnessed anything like this so I decided to take a risk and move closer. I did not need my optics when I got to within 100 yards. The dominate male eventually spotted me, and stared at me for five minutes through the trees. Realizing it was important to keep these deer on property, I slowly backed out of the area.
Saturday morning we entered the pasture about 20 minutes before shooting light. The wind was blowing directly from the west, so my strategy was didn’t differ from the night before. I weaved my way along the dry creek, glassing the landscape every 30 yards. The rising sun started to reveal animals moving around the western portion of the land. A small buck slowly walked 200 yards in front of me, seemingly unaware of my presence. Thirty minutes later, a group of five does and a young buck spotted me and stopped. I ducked down and remained motionless on the ground. When I picked my head up minutes later, the buck had made his way to me and stopped just thirty feet from my position. Eventually I stood up and spooked the herd. The good news is that they ran south, leaving everything to my west intact. My pace slowed when I was 250 yards from the area where I witnessed the rutting bucks. While there was no visible action, I glassed in and around the trees. I first noticed a few does bedding down, then a large rack appeared from the tall grass. My heart started to race as I was looking at the stud from the day before. Concealed behind a set of trees, I put a plan together to stalk the buck. The tree closest to him ranged at 240 yards. A small berm kept me hidden as I belly-crawled to the next set of trees. After picking cactus thorns out of my knees & thighs, I rose, keeping my back against the cottonwood. I was now 180 yards from my target, so I put my crosshairs of my scope where I thought his back was in the tall grass. Twenty minutes went by and the buck barely moved. The doe that was laying with him stood up and he followed. He took one step in my direction and I shot him in the heart. As the buck collapsed another big buck rose from his hidden position in the meadow. Seemingly confused at what just transpired, he walked towards the dead deer, and actually gave him a slight knock before moving on.
I approached the downed old buck with excitement and pride. His face and antlers confirmed years of dominance. While my adventure was over quickly, the memories of the event are forever etched in my mind.