The fishhook once netted me a big, wide-spread buck with only 3 main points on each side. He was no Methuselah, just an unusual middle-aged buck. But middle-aged and older bucks were as scarce as flying pigs that season, because it followed a killer winter in Colorado that wiped out up to 50 percent of the deer in many areas. Typically, a harsh winter takes the oldest, youngest, and weakest deer, and the next season requires intense still-hunting to ferret out the survivors. I had just reversed my course on an oakbrush slope when I caught him quietly crossing a small opening in the bottom of a draw, just 70 yards away.