Getting out West with my brother has been a long time coming. We’ve both independently traveled to several mountain states for outdoor pursuits—him typically toting a fishing rod, me hauling a rifle—but until last week we had never taken on the West together. We’ve collaborated to make meat from a handful of whitetails and wild turkeys on our home turf in Minnesota and its neighboring Wisconsin, but this fall we opted to expand our borders and team up for a Colorado mule deer hunt.
When one envisions wilderness settings and back country hunts, typically images of steep mountains and massive tracts of hardwoods are the first to come to mind. However, as we discovered in northwestern Colorado, the high desert is as remote and rugged as any wilderness. We spent a week in this solitudinal rolling sage country in search of my brother’s first mule deer—his first-ever Western hunt.
Success graced us during the first evening, as a rutting buck crossed an open sage flat between two cedar draws, fresh on the scent trail of an estrus doe. We worked together to range the buck, choose the proper aiming point to account for bullet drop, and stop the buck for a broadside shot. I glassed the buck at the report of the Mossberg rifle: He kicked up his hind legs and sprinted away, his left side erupting with crimson proof that my brother had cleanly squeezed the trigger and delivered a lethal hit.
In the headlights of my truck, we eagerly replayed the evening’s fortunes while breaking down the animal into quarters. When our blades grew tired, we ran them across the Guided Field Sharpener to keep things moving smoothly and safely. The following day we transformed the quarters into fine cuts that were suitable for plate and fork, all the while laying groundwork for our next Western adventure.
Contributed by Pro Staffer Josh Dahlke with @TheHungerOfficial