The thermometer outside the wall tent registered 16 degrees when we awoke on the morning of day 3. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, tortillas, canned peaches and coffee, we loaded into the trucks to head out for the day. Matt and Dave motored west, while my Dad and I drove as close as we could to the kill site of my buck. With the cold weather we were in no huge rush to get to the quarters that we'd left in the field. We worked our way in slowly, hunting all the way in an effort to fill my Dad's tag.
We weren't a half mile from the truck when we started seeing deer, and lots of them. The first bunch consisted of 7 or 8 does and a lovestruck 3x3. Moving on, we quickly glassed up another herd...by the time we arrived at the kill site a couple of hours later we'd probably glassed about 50 deer, including 4 bucks - but nothing large enough to pull the trigger.
The quarters were hanging right where I'd left them - nothing had disturbed them overnight. I skinned out the skull and we loaded up the Eberlestock pack with meat and antlers for the hike out.
On the hike back to the truck I picked up a nice 6 point elk shed, it wasn't 200 yards off the road! We arrived back at camp and got the quarters into a cooler before enjoying a leisurely lunch and completing a few camp chores. For the afternoon hunt we decided to drive into some new country to the west and do a bit of glassing. On the drive in we passed by Matt and Dave's rig parked above some good looking country - we later learned that they saw many deer in the area, including a nice 3x3 that Matt couldn't quite talk himself into taking at this point in the hunt.
The afternoon was bone chilling, with a bitter wind blowing out of the north. Prolonged glassing sessions were miserable, but we did see several does on distant ridges as the sun set.
At the end of day 3 our camp was 1 for 4 on mule deer. With my Dad having come all the way from Arizona for the hunt, I really wanted to be sure that he had an opportunity to fill his tag. In fact, I'd practically begged him to shoot the buck that I ended up harvesting, but he wouldn't hear it. I'd spotted the buck he'd said, it was mine to take. We had two full days of hunting left, I was confident that we'd get him a buck.