Patience and Persistance

By Rylan Rudebsch
Denver, Colorado
Rylan RudebschRylan Rudebsch - When my dad asked what I wanted to apply for the 2009 season, I told him I wanted to shoot an elk and deer because I hadn’t taken either yet. I’ve hunted for them for a couple years, but hadn’t had any luck.

My dad’s best buddy, Nate, knew of a tract of land on the eastern plains that I could hunt. We scouted a couple times before the hunt and saw large numbers of deer and quite a few bucks. I would have been more than happy with any one of the bucks we seen because it would be my first. One of the bucks we seen was exceptional, but I just wanted to get my first deer.

Opening morning found us looking at numerous deer and several bucks, but dad wouldn’t let me pull the trigger, saying, “We can do better.” After passing on a real good 4x4, I was getting pretty frustrated and told my Dad that I didn’t understand passing on a buck to find a buck? He gave me a story about having this golden opportunity and he wanted me to make the most of it. I think he forgot that this would be my first deer and I just wanted to get one.

The morning led to late afternoon and that’s when my dad said, “I think I found your buck...we need to get closer because it looks like he’s sleeping.” We moved to a position where we could get a pretty good look at him. When glassing, we seen that he was just a three point, but a huge three point at that - he looked to be 28” wide. Dad insisted that we should pass on him, which lead to more frustration by me.

As we continued to glass, we seen a couple more deer that were bedded. One of the bucks turned out to be the buck we had seen on a scouting trip. Dad said, “this is your deer”. We only had about an hour and half of daylight left, so we had to make something happen.

It took us about 45 minutes to get into position and the last 100 yards of which forced us to crawl through the snow. I got set up in a sitting position on my sticks and waited. The two bucks were still bedded and didn’t present a shot, so we waited. Finally, with only 15 minutes of light left, the small buck stood up. We waited and waited, but the big buck wouldn’t get up.

It got too dark, so I reached up and closed the scope cap. I couldn’t believe that we sat in the snow for the last half an hour of daylight and the big buck never stood up to feed? Dad assured me that we’d find him again in the morning.

The next morning found us back at the same spot we glassed the buck from the day before. Within the first 15 minutes, we could make out a silhouette about three-quarters of a mile out on top of a ridge. We only got a brief look at him as he moved over the ridge. We needed to see what was on the other side of the ridge, so the hunt was on.

It didn’t take long to cover the distance to the ridge. As we started to crest the ridge, we found three sets of tracks, so we slowed down - we started to crawl again through the snow and high weeds. Out of nowhere, we seen two bucks feeding away from us. I quickly got set up on the shooting sticks - it was the big three point from the day before and the smaller one, but the big buck wasn’t with them...or so we thought. All of a sudden, the big buck jumped up and headed straight away from us, leaving the other two bucks behind.

The two bucks decided to follow their leader, and bounced off, quartering away from us. As fast as they took off, they stopped to give us one last look and I was already on him. I squeezed the trigger - at the shot, he bucked, went ten yards and stopped again. The big buck didn’t look back this time, he was holding his head straight out, so I squeezed off another one and he hit the dirt.

We watched for a couple minutes and then the celebration started, a few high fives and a big hug from my dad. I finally got my deer, my first one. It only took a second or two to cover the 242 yards because I was pretty pumped, but I don’t think as much as my dad was. My dad said it was the first time he didn’t have to tell me to smile when he took my picture.