Craig resident ‘bags the big one’ on hunting trip |

Craig resident ‘bags the big one’ on hunting trip

John Vandelinder

— It’s not supposed to be this easy.

Hunting is all about tracking the animal, staking it out, researching its habits and finding out its routines.

Hunting is about skill, stealth and strategy.

In the early morning of Nov. 3 – the first day of the third rifle season – Darwin Vesely didn’t utilize any of the aforementioned techniques.

There was no research or tracking.

No stalking, no watching.

“I did everything wrong,” Vesely said. “But it sure worked out.”

The lifetime Craig resident bagged “the big one.”

Vesely shot and killed what could possibly be the biggest mule deer in Moffat County history.

Vesely’s prize, a typical mule deer, measured in at a net of 203 inches. The current Moffat County record is a net of 197. The world record is 226.

Vesely will find out if he official set the record after the ruling from the Colorado Division of Wildlife in about 90 days.

His deer easily broke another record by stumbling into the path of Vesely’s .280 Remington rifle.

The total circumference at the base of the antlers of his deer measured 6 1/8 inches. The current world record is 5 1/8 inches.

All of this, and it only took a little more than 50 years.

He had been hunting since he could walk. His father had taken him hundreds of times.

His first kill was at the ripe-old-age of 13.

Vesely was about to turn his hunting license in.

He had just turned 63 years old, recently gone through a divorce and moved in with his 94-year-old mother.

He was about to end it. Pack away the Remington.

“I went out for muzzle season a few weeks ago,” he laughed and said. “I had a cow in my sights and decided I didn’t want to shoot. I haven’t been in the mood lately.”

Fortunately for Vesely – and unfortunately for the mule deer – his brother-in-law, Michael Coleman, was.

“My brother-in-law came and picked me up at 6 in the morning.” Vesely said. “I didn’t want to go, but I did. Boy, am I glad.”

The pair drove to game management unit 2, “the Douglas Mountain area” referred to by Vesely.

He found a spot he wanted to turn off the road into.

Coleman passed it.

Vesely then wanted to turn right.

Coleman turned left.

He passed what he called two “smaller bucks,” then three more.

“I have a five-pointer at home,” he said. “I wasn’t going to stop until I saw something worth it.”

He didn’t see it, but Coleman did.

“The buck was following a doe, walking away from me,” Vesely said. “He turned to face me about 300 yards out, and I dropped him. One shot and he was down.”

Vesely looked at his watch a few minutes later.

“It was barely past 8,” he chuckled and said. “Just about two hours, and I was done. It’s not supposed to work like that.”

However difficult hunting is supposed to be, Vesely made it look easy.

“I have always wanted to shoot ‘the big one’,” he said. “I’m going to hang the antlers in the Chamber of Commerce so people can see. I’ve earned some bragging rights.”

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