Deer Diligence

By Bill Crowley
Colorado, 2010, DIY, Public Land
Deer DiligenceMar/Apr 2011 EBJ (Issue 64) - After waiting five years to finally draw a coveted archery deer tag in far western Colorado, my journey began. I didn’t know very much about the area, as this was the first time that I had ever gotten a chance to hunt it, but I was ready. I knew that if I was going to be successful, I would have to put in some quality time scouting and that’s why I started in early July. My first scouting weekend ended without finding a single deer, and as I drove home that night, I was discouraged and disappointed.

Before I made my second scouting trip to the area, I decided to try and contact some of the locals. I came across a meat processing plant on the internet and decided to give them a call. The owners were happy to give me any information they could and told me to stop in on my next trip. Armed with the BLM maps of the area, I drove to their place of business. This proved to be the most important step in my journey, because their wealth of information was priceless. They helped me mark out a dozen places where the deer could possibly be hiding when the season rolled around. Armed with newfound knowledge, I headed out to try and locate some of these areas. I only had one more day to scout on this trip and spent most of that time driving the areas to get familiar with the unit. I still had not located the deer yet, but I now had a great idea where to begin my next scouting trip.

My third trip proved to be nothing short of amazing. As I set up to start glassing the first canyon, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were eight bucks feeding on the ridge across from me. Two of the bucks were at least 30 inches wide and two of the others were non-typical bucks with points sticking out everywhere. The rest of the bucks were in the 25-inch range and were beautiful. That weekend, I saw 41 bucks - and 31 of them would be exceptional trophies with a bow. With the season only two weeks away, the long drive home that weekend brought a new excitement.

On August 26, it was finally time to pack up all of my gear and get on the road. I made the three-hour journey on Thursday afternoon so I could find a great camping spot and still give myself some time to scout for a full day before the opener. After getting my camp set up, I glassed several canyons until dark that night and found several areas that had potential for opening day.

I was up early the next morning to begin my search again and found that quite a few hunters had moved into the area and set up camp. I knew that opening weekend was going to be crucial to my success, as I was obviously going to be competing to get into some of the better areas before the other hunters. The rest of the day was not extremely productive as far as the number of deer that I saw, but I did have a great encounter with an enormous buck that was definitely the biggest buck that I had seen. I got back to camp about dark and began to put all of my gear together for the next morning. That night was filled with restless sleep and anticipation.

Bill Crowley

For a full account of Bill's adventure, go to page 44 in the March/April 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.