Scouting for Whitetail Deer on the Plains of Colorado
Today was my second day of scouting for deer on the southeastern plains of Colorado, and it was much more productive than yesterday. I saw four whitetail does today, and one of them would have been an easy 75 yard shot. Of course no shot is easy when you are hunting, but she was standing broadside and didn’t even see me at first. I hope that happens again tomorrow when I can actually take a shot.
I started out the day from a different place than yesterday; a little further southeast and a little harder to get too. For the second day I didn’t see any other people, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be other hunters there tomorrow. The terrain around where Big Sandy Creek cuts through the land is remarkably different that the surrounding plains and hills, which are covered with tumble weeds and other rough vegetation. But along Big Sandy Creek there are big cotton wood trees, smaller hardwoods, a lot of brush, and some green grass. While there were some places that held water, there was no creek flowing. But as could be seen from the flooding last month, the area gets its share of water, just in large intermittent doses apparently.
I parked my truck along a one lane dirt road that wound its way through the massive prairie and rolling hills. If I didn’t have a map there is no way I would have parked where I did because it didn’t look like an area that would hold any deer. Click here to see a video. But a mile to the north Big Sandy Creek cut a wide swath through the plain, and the area would be prime deer habitat.
I was encouraged as I got closer to the creek to find some game trails and fresh tracks. I went down into the creek bed, which was about thirty yards wide and covered deep with sand. Since the creek is dry most of the time, trees grew all throughout the creek bed. There were piles of logs, twigs, leaves and grass pushed up against the trees; it must have been five feet deep last month when it flooded. I even saw a dead white bass that was about 14 inches long, who knows how far he came downstream in the raging waters.
I worked my way down the creek looking for trails or signs of access coming in from the hills on the south and the plains to the north. I found several well-used trails, and I followed them away from the creek each time I found one. Some looked promising with fresh tracks and droppings; others didn’t materialize into much of anything.
It was warm out, about 60 degrees, and the leaves on the ground were dry and crunchy, it was impossible to walk without making any noise. At one point I stopped to look around, and there were two does about 80 yards away staring at me. I had jumped them out of their beds, and they stood there watching me for a minute or so before they bounded off to safety. After that, I decided to find a place to sit still with a good vantage point and glass the surroundings. Click here to see a video.
I went back to one of the bluffs above the creek bed that I had explored earlier. It gave me a good view up and down the wide path of the creek for about 300 yards in either direction. I could also see out over some of the sage and tumble weed plateau on the south, as well as a good view to the plain on the north. Some hazy clouds came in from the south, covering the sun as a slight breeze picked up.
It was 4:00 o’clock, and I saw some movement to my left. Two does walked out from the south side of the creek and headed across the sandy bottom. I stood up to take a picture, and the lead doe heard me rustling and stopped. She was looking right at me when I took her picture. After taking a couple of pictures, I stood completely still, and the does meandered on their way, not sure of what I was. I was wearing full camouflage; and they weren’t alarmed, which is good. That is the place I am going back to tomorrow.
I decided to leave so that I would not disturb the area any more; I knew where I wanted to hunt the next day. I made the two mile hike back to my truck in pretty quick time, and then headed back to Limon to clean up and have dinner. I am excited about tomorrow!