|Brice Lewis with his 2012 Colorado Mule Deer.|
“Lesson in Patience” Colorado Mule Deer by Alby Lewis
I would describe my brother, Brice, as a meat hunter with an itchy trigger finger. Everyone has a family member or a friend like this; if it’s legal, it hits the ground. Being the one who always holds out for the bigger rack, I was determined to teach my brother some patience the next opportunity we had to hunt together, and it just so happened 2012 was the year.
I had a busy 2012 lined up between guiding, family, friends, and my own hunts. I assured Brice I would definitely be going with him on his hunt. Someone had to keep his itchy trigger finger under control, since the tag he had drawn was a buck in a great unit.
As the days came closer to this hunt, my brother informed me that he had only three days of the season to hunt because of work. I knew it was going to be difficult to tag a nice buck having a second season tag, which in Colorado is a tough season to hunt deer, especially in the area we were hunting with so little time. I was able to do a little scouting in advance, spotting several deer but only a couple that were potential shooters. One was a nice four point with a cheater off the left side. The problem was both the nice deer were on the wrong side of the fence. After some further scouting, I decided we would make camp in a different area and hunt from there with a lot more ground to hunt on.
Opening morning had finally came, and we were all set to begin the hunt with a long hike straight up the side of a mountain to a little mesa I predicted would have some good bucks. While my brother was pulling out his rifle, he mentioned it had been shooting a little funny. I quickly examined it while he continued to get ready and noticed to my dismay, a scope ring was damaged allowing the scope to move. I couldn’t believe it- no extra rifle with us and a long drive back home.
We had no choice. We gotta go; in the truck and down the road back home we went. We swapped his rifle for mine because I knew it was dead on, and back to the mountain we went. I decided we should hunt the area I had scouted the nice deer in since it was late morning already. We started out into the area only seeing a couple does. We pushed farther into the area, and as soon as we crossed the first ridge, the deer started filing out. Now, anyone who hunts with a meat hunter knows he can see nothing but steaks, hamburger, and sausage right in front him, and he isn’t about to let it get away. After nearly taking the gun from my brother, I talked him into passing on about six bucks that were all small two or three points.
In the back of my mind, I was a little worried considering one of the two days this weekend was half over, and he only had one day next weekend. After lunch at camp, we set out for the afternoon and evening hunt. We covered tons of ground turning up nothing but some does here and there. The deer had moved down that far in elevation already. For me, the pressure was building quickly wanting my brother to take a nice buck for the first time in his life with hardly any deer to be found.
We debated back and forth about what we should do and finally decided to leave this area first thing in the morning. We decided to try our luck back on the mountain where we saw the most bucks. I reassured my brother to be patient; there had to be a good one in there. He reluctantly agreed, and said he would try. We set out into the area we had visited the day before slowly moving along. Right away, a few deer popped up, one being a small two point.
Brice started to get excited and said, “I can shoot him.” I told him “I know you can, but you’re not going to” with a little laugh. He was a little upset thinking his last chance just walked away, but he held out. We moved on and crossed a little draw and up to the top of the hill only fifty yards from where we saw the last buck. We started down the hill, and I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Quickly scanning, I realized it was a buck and he was no more than fifty yards away feeding in the shadows of the oak brush. I quickly glassed him and realized he was super wide, but I couldn’t tell how many points. I whispered to my brother, “He’s wide. I can’t tell how many points, but take him if you want.” He immediately responded, “Ok, I’m gonna take him.” He slowly took a knee, aimed and squeezed the trigger. Waiting for the sound of the rifle, nothing happened. I looked at him and said “You better shoot or he’s gonna run.” Brice responded, “Your gun won’t fire.”