Retro B & C Mule Deer
By Steve Mahurin

It was 1968 and my first time to Colorado to hunt Mule Deer. I was to hunt with my father - in - law, Bill, and two of his neighbors. Being the only " FLATLANDER" in the hunting party, they said they would take it easy on me. We headed out from our home base in Salida Colorado to Bill's cabin in the mountains outside of Ohio City, Colorado. At about 7000 feet my flatlander lungs had to work twice as hard to keep me going in the rarefied, it felt like, air, compared to sea level in my home town of Houston, Texas.

We had an old W.W.II Willy's jeep to use, so off we went. The cabin was great with water and a great looking antique wood burning stove used for both cooking and heat. But you haven't lived till you have to go to the outhouse at 5 a.m. and sixteen degrees outside. The cabin was situated about fifty yards up the slope on the side of a mountain overlooking a narrow dirt road lined with gold and silver mines mostly abandoned, but a couple working a few months of the year. But the best thing about it was the view off the front porch. A steep slope covered in thick evergreens and quaking aspens running down to a creek that was broad and shallow and full of swiftly rushing crystal clear water, teeming with small rainbow and native cutthroat trout. They weren't very sophisticated and you could take one with almost every cast.

We spent two or three days climbing steep slopes and checking out sagebrush and aspen choked canyons and ravines. We saw quite a few deer, but no shooters. Finally Bill thought about a friend whose gate key gave access to a whole mountain of private land surrounded by public land. We jeeped to the top of the mountain and dropped off a hunter on ridges on either side of a narrow valley. Bill's neighbor and I drove to the lower end of the valley to try and ambush anything the two drivers might push past us. As we waited, with our guns laying on the hood of the jeep, I had a sudden hunter's instinct hit me right between my shoulders. I grabbed my Remington Model 700, 30/06 loaded with Remington 180 grain soft point ammo, and a Weaver 3 - 9 scope on it , whirled around and the biggest Muley buck you could believe was sneaking past behind us. I locked the crosshairs on it,shot and the deer stumbled, clearly a hit. But before I could put in a finisher he circled around the end of the ridge. I decided to race to the top of the ridge to cut him off while my companion followed in his tracks.

Of course halfway up the ridge my flatlander lungs gave out. I was laying on my back with my rifle across my chest, gasping for air. While trying to get my breath I heard a shot from the opposite slope. Sitting up I saw my father-in-law shoot underneath a running doe with his Sharps. I decided to try for her. So still gasping for air I tried a shot. The first one was behind her as was the second one. Number three was in front of her but # 4 was true and she was down with the Remington, 180 grain bullet through her heart. My hunting companion found my buck down a few yards from where we lost sight of him. Final score, FLATLANDER 2, RESIDENT'S 0. It took all of us to load them into the jeep and get them off the mountain.

The buck scored 192 6/8 B&C points which was a green score and would put it in the top 100 at the time. It was also prime table fare. But, during the 60 day drying period before it could be scored officially B&C had the unprecedented audacity to raise the minimum entry score by a full ten points. To my knowledge, such a large increase had never been done before.

Alas!, this knocked my buck out of contention by 2 3/8 points, thanks to an extra point of that same length on the right side of his rack not matched on his left side. Every time I look at that mount on my wall it's with pride and pleasant memories.

Then in 1992, I read an article in a hunting magazine stating that the B&C committee had reviewed scoring entry records and found that their standards were unreasonable and thus they lowered the minimums for entry for Mule Deer. I contacted them to find out the procedure needed. I was told I would need affidavits for the following. Either the original Colorado hunting license or a letter from Colorado game commission stating they didn't keep records of hunting licenses that far back. A letter from the original taxidermist stating he had scored the deer originally or have it rescored and hope that 30 years of drying out hadn't shrunk it to the point that it still wouldn't qualify Clear pictures showing all four sides of the antlers. a signed statement of fair chase.

So thru trials and tribulations of time, letters, and phone calls my Muley buck qualified for the all time B & C record book as number 53. A great finish for a first time Mule Deer hunter and a great deer.

Written by Steve Mahurin on October 4, 1997.

Mule Deer

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568

Email: samahurin@comcast.net

Copyright 2001 - 2011

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