In Colorado, continuing subscribers may remember my column in the March 1998 issue in which I highlighted emerging mule deer outfitter Rex Beach of Wildbuck Outfitters. At that time, I noted that Beach had already produced several mulies that measured over the magic 30-inch mark for his clients in only a few years of outfitting. This past season, Beach continued to produce good mule deer bucks for many clients on the 200,000 acres of private land he hunts in southeastern Colorado. Five of 11 clients on Beach's hunts this past October and November collected bucks with spreads of 30 inches or more. Many of these wider bucks had kickers and in-line points that many avid buck hunters find desirable, but that don't score well under the traditional scoring systems. In fact, the highest-scoring buck on this hunt was a typical 4 x 4 with a 28-inch spread. Still, most of us could care less about score when we can have a chance to kill a massive, 30-inch buck. Beach also had some hunters out in the field for the December season at press time.
There are many positive aspects to Beach's operation. For one thing, permits can be obtained with as little as one preference point or even no preference points in some units he hunts, although other units he hunts require as many as five preference points to draw. Another good thing about Beach's hunts is that his pricing structure favors the hard core trophy hunter. He uses a combination of a reasonable base cost plus a trophy fee to encourage harvesting older deer. This season, his base cost varied between $2,500 and $3,250 depending on the unit and season hunted, along with a $1,500 kill fee. You can see that given the quality bucks he produces, this pricing program costs him money in that he could easily raise his prices and use a flat rate. But when I asked Beach about this, he told me he wants his clients to shoot trophy bucks and he feels that the kill fee promotes that objective. Toward this end, he also voluntarily limits the number........(continued)