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Once in a Lifetime Tag

By Chuck Duvall

Ever get that once in a life time Tag, Location, and shot. Yeah it’s called the perfect hunt. This year I was finally able to draw the tag that I needed; the spot that I have scouted for years in the Colorado Mountains. This year I was amped. The weather was calling for a major arctic blast opening weekend for my tag. That wasn't about to stop me. I was ready. I have scouted this section of National Forest for years and I knew what it had to offer.

The morning of opening day was brutal. It was a very windy snowy -7 degrees with wind chills into the -20's. I set out not knowing if anything would even be moving. As I hiked in in the dark and got set up on a ridge waiting for sunlight, I thought to myself I have got to be the only thing out here stupid enough to be looking for food. As day break my thoughts were confirmed. I waited for about an hour after sunlight and decided to call it quits and got to a new spot.

As I started to get up a shining silhouette caught my eye on the next ridge. It was a doe and she was bright with the sun shining and the snow filled background. I decided to sit and see what would follow. She set out across the ridge and then one after another, other does just started pouring out onto the ridge. I thought to myself this just has to be my luck, opening day, freezing cold and a bunch of does. Just after the last doe had made an appearance, “Old glory” decided he couldn't take it anymore and came out to rut. He started chasing does like whack the mole game.

I put the range finder on the group and it ranged them at 531 yards. A little bit of a poke for my 6mm Ackley improved. However, I have had great groups with it out to 600 yards. I waited to see if the buck would move my direction because of ridge line I would be spotted if I moved.

Nope, they weren't having it. So I decided to use all the practice that I have had and go with the shot. I settled in, got a good rest, and practiced pulling the trigger with no ammo loaded. I was ready so I loaded my hand loaded 85gr Nosler Ballistic tip and took a good breath. As I released my breath I squeezed the trigger. BOOM the rifle rang out through the valleys. As I got back on target the buck was down. The shot was perfect. The buck never took a step.

I was ecstatic. It all paid off, the work, time, and now this moment of successful satisfaction. The hunt couldn't have been more perfect, well except for the weather, but that never stops us hunters from surviving. This hunt was about survival, will, and patience. Survival meaning we will hunt for nourishment to survive. Will and patience is something every hunter possesses, some stronger than others, but it’s there, sometimes we just have to be reminded on how much we truly have inside.