In 2008 we were planning our wedding for August 31, and we thought it would be great to hunt mule deer on our honeymoon. We thought we had enough preference points to draw for deer, but it didn't happen. We still honeymooned in Colorado, but we couldn't wait until the day we could return to try our luck hunting.
We applied for muzzleloader licenses in 2009 and were lucky enough to draw a deer tag for me and an elk tag for my wife. We practiced shooting all summer. It was difficult to go back to shooting with open sights, but we got better as the summer turned into fall. We also walked several miles a week with weighted backpacks to strengthen our legs.
My friend, Barry, and I left for Colorado on September 10. We traveled the 1,900 miles in 34 hours of straight driving. We pulled a pop-up camper and set up camp at a Colorado State Park. Our wives flew out on Sunday night to join us for the week.
Barry was bowhunting for elk, and he connected with a large cow early during our hunt. I divided my time up between elk hunting with my wife and trying to find a deer for myself.
The area we hunt had deer and elk sharing the same terrain, so we never knew when we might see a deer or an elk.
We came back to camp one afternoon to get something to eat and to get some rest, when the residents of the camper across from us asked if anyone had a deer tag. He and his wife were out on the lake in their boat that morning when the biggest buck he'd ever seen wadded onto an island in the lake. I wasn't sure whether to believe him, but I thought it was worth a look.
CHASING A GHOST
Priscilla and I drove around the lake trying to spot this mythical buck on this island.The island was void of trees except for a few small pine trees. I was really having trouble believing that a large buck would be hanging out on this island with boaters and fishermen all around, but after a quick search we found a big deer bedded on the west side.
We got the spotting scope out for a better look, and boy did he look good! We were told that we could hunt part of the State Park, so we went to the ranger station to confirm. The ranger brought out a map and, sure enough, we could.
So my wife and I went back to watch the buck and come up with a plan to kill it. Priscilla agreed to wade over to the island and put on an old-fashioned Pennsylvania deer drive. She circled around the east side of the island and popped over a small ridge above the deer. The buck jumped up and ran straight to me. I placed a hand-cast ball—that my wife cast—in the middle of the buck's neck from 60 yards, and he dropped in his tracks.
Priscilla came running over the hill, waving her arms and grinning from ear to ear. We took our time admiring the buck, and then we managed to drag it the ¼-mile to the parking area. I was so happy that it worked out the way it did. I wouldn't have been able to get this buck if it wasn't for my beautiful bride. Not many women will roll up their pants and wade through a lake to help her husband kill the buck of a lifetime.