Editor’s Note: Mike Magrew of O’Fallon, Missouri, is Mossy Oak’s whitetail regional ProStaff manager for Illinois, Missouri and Kansas and has been hunting whitetails for 35 years.
When I went to Colorado in 2014 (see Day 1), I had a mule deer archery tag and an elk archery tag. I had planned to hunt mule deer first, because I knew that the elk probably wouldn’t start bugling until later in my hunt. For 2 weeks I hunted hard, covered a lot of ground and only saw one spike mule deer buck but plenty of does. Since I had hunted this place before, I knew there were some big mule deer bucks there.
I hunted a drainage that I had hunted in the past where I had seen several big mule deer bucks. But on this hunt, those big muleys never appeared. So, I decided to go up the mountain to some high country and look for mule deer up there. I moved to a new region I never had hunted before. When I finally got to the top of a mountain, I started hiking and looking, but I never found any mule deer. However, I did locate a good number of deer beds. So, I started still hunting (stalking) with the wind in my face. Then if I saw a good-sized mule deer buck in front of me, I knew he wouldn’t be able to smell me. As I crested the top of the mountain, the foliage became very thick. I spotted several mule deer bucks. As I stood still and watched the bucks, I noticed that they were moving in my direction. I thought surely I would get a shot. Before they got within bow range, they turned and went to my left. If I was going to get a bow shot, I knew I’d have to get closer to them. I decided where I needed to be to intercept the bucks. I moved as slowly as possible to get to that spot to not spook the deer I was trying to take.
As I stalked, I continued to watch the bucks with my Leupold binoculars. There were two really nice bucks in this bachelor group. The deer began to move down the mountain, and I saw that the biggest buck was the last deer in this group. When the bucks walked into the timber, I lost sight of all the other bucks except for the last buck - the big one. I picked out one spot where I knew I could have a clean shot. When the buck stepped into that place, I was already at full draw, and I released the arrow. To be honest, I really thought that all those bucks were going to get away from me. But I hoped to get lucky. Once I heard the arrow go smack, I knew that I had made a good shot. After recovering my buck, I couldn’t believe his massive antlers. I knew he would score in the 160s. Also, he was in the velvet which made him a really pretty trophy.
Tomorrow: A Buck Deer at My Back