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The Pajama Mule Deer Buck


Colorado’s mule deer and elk season arrives at about the same time. I usually buy a tag for both mule deer and elk to try and take one of these animals for the freezer, because we enjoy the meat. I was at home one day last season taking a break from guiding. My boys woke up a little before I did on this particular morning. They came running into my bedroom, shaking me and hollering in a loud whisper, “Dad, Dad, Dad, wake up! Wake up! There are three, big mule deer bucks in the backyard.”

I live outside of town and own 20 acres behind my house. I got out of bed in my pajamas, snuck out to the back porch and saw the three big buck mule deer feeding behind our home. Immediately, I went out the side door of the house, opened the door to my truck and got my bow, arrows, range finder and binoculars. I studied the three big bucks and ranged the biggest one – a 5X5 (10 pointer eastern count) at 62 yards. In the back of the house where the bucks were standing was a drainage ditch that led to my pond. Apparently, these bucks had come down the drainage ditch to drink water out of my pond. Now they were heading back to from where they had come.

As I drew my bow, these mule deer were wide open. I knew I could make the shot, because there was a small piece of ground between my house and the garage. I could see the bucks, but they couldn’t spot me. When I pulled my bow back to full draw, I aimed to make a 65-yard shot and released the arrow. An eternity seemed to pass from the time I released the arrow, until I saw it hit the big 10-point muley. The muley only took about four steps before he went down. I couldn’t believe I’d been guiding hunters all year long and hadn’t seen a buck this big. But on my off-day, when I’d planned to sleep late, this muley buck showed up in my back yard.

MikeM_day4Often I’d hunt for 3-5 days to either find a nice mule deer or an elk. Then I had come home on my off-day to get some extra sleep, and I’d bagged one of the biggest mule deer I’d ever taken not 15 minutes after I’d gotten out of bed, and I was still in my pajamas.

When people come to hunt with me, I always recommend that they get an elk and a mule deer tag, because we often see really-nice mule deer that any hunter would be proud to take. But if they don’t have a mule deer tag, and they’ve only purchased an elk tag, they’ll have to watch that mule deer buck of a lifetime walk off and never get a shot at him. Also, if I have a hunter tag out early on elk, then we can forget about the elk and strictly hunt mule deer. So, I always recommend that hunters get both tags. Then we can take the biggest and the oldest animal we see while we’re elk hunting - whether that animal is a mature elk or a mature mule deer.

One of the reasons I keep guiding year-after-year is because we often see something new and different almost every day that we’re hunting. I feel very fortunate to be able to go out in the mountains, show my hunters all the unique animals we have here in the West and try to put a mule deer or an elk in front of them to make our hunts the trips of a lifetime.

For more information about hunting mule deer and/or elk, you can contact Mike Miller at or call him at 719-240-3738.

Day 3: The Strangest Muzzleloader Elk Hunt Ever

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