Published by archerchick on 06 Jan 2011 at 08:56 pm
Colorado…Where The Big Muleys Come To The Hunter!
And Where An Easterner Finally Realized His Western Dream
By Ed Welch as told to Roy Hoff
THE ONLY ADJECTIVE in my limited vocabulary that can adequately
describe my l975 bow and arrow deer season at John Lamicq’s is outstanding!
We, the “Boys From New York,” scored four for six during the two weeks of our hunt.
After two rather dry years for myself at Lamicq’s, dreams of a record muley finally
materialized. For background music, my bowhunting experiences date back to 1946
when I arrowed my first whitetail at ten yards with a fifty-three-pound homemade recurve. Since that time, I have scored on over fifty whitetails in both New York and Pennsylvania.
After this rather impressive record, and with confidence at a high level,
my bowhunting partner Ben Swan and I decided that 1973 was the year to
hunt with John Lamicq in “Colorful Colorado.” Swan took a nice buck in 1973,
drew a blank in 1974, and scored again in 1975 with a typical four-by-four.
My first Colorado muley came suddenly on the second full day of our 1975 hunt.
Nelson Harrington, Swan and I were planning a stalk near upper Four-A – which is a section of high-timbered ridge — early in the afternoon of the second day of the hunt. lt was August 18, with temperatures in the eighties. My plan was to still—hunt just below the rim of the ridge, meeting Harrington and Swan under an out- crop of rocks at about 3:30 p.m. part way along the hogback.
They, in turn, would hunt the opposite side of the ridge to the prearranged spot. Having hunted this area in previous years, l was alert for bedded deer just under the rim, It seemed as if I had
hardly begun my stalk through the sage and scrub oak when I raised my head to scan a long, narrow, grassy area directly on top of the ridge. To my surprise, heading toward me at a
trot with nose to the ground was the largest-antlered and biggest-bodied mule deer I have ever seen!
I suddenly realized that I was standing in the open and entirely exposed to this monster. Not only did I feel inferior and inadequate to cope with such an animal. but it was also immediately apparent that I was standing directly in the middle of the very same deer run he had chosen. My only recourse was to drop down onto one knee and try to hide myself behind a small blow-down consisting of one three-inch-diameter branch of aspen with no leaves.
Imagine my feelings when he continued at a trot, pausing only long enough to raise his head and test the wind. Fortunately, the wind was in my favor so on he came! At fifteen yards the impossible happened. He stopped. raised his head and decided to change direction ninety degrees.
His new course took him directly behind a small pine tree, screening him entirely from my view. Now was my chance! Raising on one knee, I brought my forty-four-pound custom recurve to full draw and held at his approximate point of reappearance. It seemed like ages, but probably only a
second or two passed when he stepped from behind the pine tree, offering me a perfect lung shot.
As my arrow left the bow I knew I had him. His heavy antlered head swung in my direction with his eyes and facial expression appearing to ask, “Where in hell did you come from?” The arrow buried itself in his huge body directly behind the scapula, penetrating completely through the lungs and exiting between the first two ribs on his right side.
With an excited lunge, he bolted over the edge of the ridge and down the canyon wall. Suddenly, all was quiet. Needless to say, I was shaking like a leaf with the excitement and anticipation of finding my once-in-a-lifetime trophy. After taking a moment to calm down, I descended the canyon wall and scanned the area for the direction he had taken. A short walk brought me within
sight of him, sprawled precariously in the middle of a large scrub oak which had retarded his plunge toward the bottom of the canyon.
After taking pictures, I glanced at my watch – exactly 3:30 p.m., August 18. I had finally realized a life-long ambition – to hunt Colorado and successfully take a trophy mule deer.
The remainder of this story is rather anti-climactic. As any dyed-in-the-wool hunter knows, when the kill is made, the work begins. After completing the field dressing, I made my way to our prearranged spot, only to find Harrington and Swan heading in my direction. Their stalk had been
fruitless, but as they approached me, I could contain myself no longer. The excited look on my face together with my bloodied hands had them begging for the story.
As we made our way to the kill, I still found my good fortune hard to
believe. The deer had fallen in a tangle of scrub oak on a steep shale slide,
making it nearly impossible for three people to drag it up to the, top of the
ridge. In addition, my pickup was still about two miles away, parked near
Lamicq’s narrow dirt road. With the deer, estimated at about 250 pounds, field dressed, we had no recourse but to quarter it and backpack it out. Three trips were necessary to gain the top of the
canyon with the cape and meat. After arriving at Lamicq’s and more picture taking, the story was told again. Some friends of ours from Florida, Cecil Hatcher and his family,
were overjoyed at our success as their luck so far had been rather lean. The next day required a trip to Colscotts Locker Plant in Grand Junction to package and freeze the meat and a stop at the taxidermist to make final arrangements for mounting my muley. The next week was to see a repeat of this story when Swan connected with a fine, typical four-by-four. His story will be arriving by mule deer, as well it should, because that, as you know, is the “name of the game”! <—<<
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