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Try the plains of southeastern Colorado for trophy mule deer

One of our favorite outfitters operates on several ranches in northern and eastern Colorado. He has more than 400,000 acres under lease and manages the property conservatively so that every hunter has the maximum opportunity to take a trophy-class animal. These ranches consistently produce high success on mature muley bucks. Most of the bucks his hunters kill score between 175 and 185 Boone and Crockett points, and several have exceeded 200 B&C. There are several reasons that the area produces great bucks, but chief is that all tags are extremely limited. All hunters, residents and non-residents, must draw a tag in a computer lottery or buy a transferable landowner permit. You must reserve a landowner permit early if you don't have enough preference points to draw a tag or if you don't want to use your preference points on this hunt.

You can acquire one preference point per year if you're unsuccessful in the annual permit drawing, or you can just apply for a preference point. Because most of eastern Colorado is private and because most of the better ranches are leased by outfitters, it's relatively easy to draw a tag in these choice areas. A hunter with only one preference point can draw in some units, but most require two to five.

Buck densities are usually low on the eastern plains, but quality is high. You'll usually have to pass on bucks in the 160s and 170s to take on in the 180s or more. In some areas your chances of taking a big whitetail are excellent. Bucks often score in the 150s and quite frequently in the 160s with the bigger animals scoring in the 170s, 180s and 190s. One of the leases has produced a non-typical whitetail scoring 230 B&C. The outfitter typically takes just two hunters per year on that lease, which has also produced muleys over 200 B&C.

One of his ranches covers 13,000 acres along the Platte River east of Greeley and next to the famed Eagle's Nest area. You can fly into Denver and rent a car for the drive to the ranch. The biggest whitetail taken on the ranch so far scored 232 B&C, and the biggest muley so far scored 216. A 200-class whitetail was missed on this ranch during the filming of a TV hunting show. The outfitter worked for three years to get the lease because every year he saw some great bucks while driving by the property. You'll stay in a ranch house on the property.

Typical muley scoring 190 B&C.

Hunt MD3802EC

Hunt Price
5 days $7,000 1x1, $6,000 2x1.
Hunter success Trophy size
Hunter success has been 100% most years since 2002. Occasionally a hunter will pass on all the bucks while looking for a monster. Most years the bucks range from 160 to more than 200 B&C with most deer scoring 175 to 185.
Licenses Lodging/meals
Not included in the hunt price. Click here Colorado's latest price. You usually need one to three preference points to draw a tag, or you can buy a landowner voucher, which allows you to purchase a tag without drawing one. Not included in the price of the hunt on most leases. One lease includes ranch accommodations. Motels typially range from $50 to $70 a night.  Restaurant suppers are typically $10 to $15.
Travel Area
Fly to Denver or Colorado Springs, rent a car for the drive to a town near the lease you'll be hunting. Over 100,000 acres in several different units.
Season Notes
Two seasons: late October and early December. Bucks sometimes have broken racks during the late hunt, but the end of the rut and a better chance for snow sometimes makes hunting easier. License, taxidermy, butcher fees, transportation to the ranch, lodging and meals are not included. Do not expect to see a lot of deer. This part of Colorado is well-known for producing some great bucks, but deer numbers are low. You might average seeing two to 10 bucks a day.

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