Dateline: 11/7/09 – After a slow start in Idaho, the next stop in the West put The Bucks of Tecomate in the winning column. On October 23th, I flew into Denver and was joined by my old hunting buddy of many years, David Shashy of Ocala, Florida, for a whitetail hunt in Eastern Colorado. We drove from Denver International Airport southeast to near the small town of Kit Carson, right in the middle of the wide open spaces. During our two-hour drive, David and I kept asking each other where in the world could even an adaptable, wily whitetail find a hiding place in these high plains. When we finally meet our guide and booking agent, Aaron Neilson of Global Hunting Resources, he laughed at our doubts and assured us that big whitetails did indeed inhabit the seemingly empty spaces of Eastern Colorado. After meeting our outfitter, Sean Sander of Royal Mountain Adventures, and looking at photos of past hunts and listening to stories, we were believers and anxious to get out and see this strange whitetail country for ourselves.
Since deer season didn’t open until the next day, we had time to sort our gear, check our rifles and spend the last three hours of the afternoon scouting. I’ve hunted whitetails from Mexico to northern Canada and Idaho to the Atlantic, but a stranger place to hunt whitetails I’ve never seen! As the day wound down, we found ourselves sitting in the bald open, looking over miles of wide open spaces for whitetails, not a tree in sight! As the sun dropped lower and my doubts grew higher, whitetails slowly began popping up here, there and yonder. Pretty soon we were zoomed in tight on several whitetails with the Leupold spotting scope. It wasn’t long before Aaron sounded the alert. “There’s a good buck. On that far hill, about a mile and half away. Wow! He’s a stud. Looks like … a big 10. Wide with long tines, maybe a sticker or two. Looks like he and that doe are headed up the hill, probably going to fed on the milo field up top.”
As we watched the buck slowly make his way the last half-mile to the milo field in waning light, we were busy making a plan. A simple plan, really. Aaron had a strategy that had been tried and proven many times before – get in place the next morning well before daylight and watch for the buck to come out of the crop fields and move into the plains to bed down for the day. When he bedded down, the trick was to mark the spot as best we could, considering there were virtually no landmarks. Then, map out a route that would allow us to sneak undetected to within rifle range of the bedded buck. Then, now comes the next trick, get a decent shot at the buck without blowing him out of the country. Sounded simple enough, but I knew that success depended on 1) finding him the next morning (long odds, I figured); 2) seeing him bed down in a place that would allow us to make an unseen approach ( the gently rolling topography didn’t give me much encouragement); and 3) making what was sure to be a long and hurried shot (with a cameraman needing to capture at least 5 seconds of “pre-roll” and the killing shot!). No problem, right! With a big whitetail, the one thing I was sure of – things would NOT go according to plan! Well, I was wrong … almost!
You’ll have watch the show to see exactly how the hunt unfolded, but I will say this – seldom does the end result a plan work turn out as well as ours. And not only did the plan work out for me, but we repeated the whole routine the next day with David Shashy … with the same BIG results. No, it didn’t all go without wrinkles. Never does. There were lots of up and down moments of doubts and panic intermingled with intense excitement on both my hunt and David’s. But in the end, we both shot great bucks in the high plains of Eastern Colorado, mine a whopping 173 basic 10-pointer with matching stickers on his G2s and David’s a heavy 10-pointer grossing 168 and carrying more mass than any buck he had ever taken. And most amazing of all , we took the bucks in the most open country I’ve ever hunted whitetails!
I’ve hunted with lots of guides in my time. Most of which, frankly, I would have been much better off if they had stayed at home. Not so with Aaron! Seldom in my hunting career have I hunted with anyone as tuned in to his area and his deer as Aaron Neilson. He knows those high plains bucks … and they ain’t the same as any other whitetails I’ve ever hunted. My hat’s off the Aaron and Sean. They’ve done their homework and have great country and monster bucks, both whitetails and mulies! Indeed, The Bucks of Tecomate camera even captured a great hunt for a monster mule deer with father/son hunters Howard and Brian Ingram of California, who shared our camp with us. This is one show you don’t want to miss – two great whitetails and one 190-plus muley in the most alien place imaginable for cover-loving whitetails!
For information on hunting Eastern Colorado with Sean Sander of Royal Mountain Adventures, contact Aaron Neilson, Global Hunting Resources, P.O. Box 620459, Littleton, Co. 80162 or call 303-932-0550 (office); 303-619-2872 (cell). Or you can drop Aaron an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website at www.globalhuntingresources.com
Next up – The beautiful Black Hills of Northeastern Wyoming with Jadee Kroeger, Kroeger Country Outfitters, 13251 Bessemer Bend Rd., Casper, WY 82604. (307) 277-1118. Guaranteed to be fun!