Roofer and Son-in-Law Share Epic Colorado Mule Deer Hunt on Brotherhood Outdoors
by Kate Nation
Whether serving his union, his community, his family, or his country, Mark Conroy—Business Manager of Roofers Local 96—has a big heart. He exemplifies the meaning of brotherhood, and that is what took him from Clearwater, Minnesota, to the mountains of Colorado for a mule deer hunt with his son-in-law for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Brotherhood Outdoors series.
Conroy worked in the field as a roofer and foreman for 29 years while also serving in the U.S. Army Reserve for just over 20 years. In 2013, he became the apprenticeship coordinator for Local 96 and served in that role for four years before becoming business manager in 2017. Since that time, Local 96 has experienced steady growth and expansion.
Simultaneously, Conroy has been a driving force in growing the USA’s annual Roofers Twin Cities Sporting Clays Shoot each year and breaking the all-time attendance record for USA shoots in 2021 while also supporting the USA’s longest running Get Youth Outdoors Day.
When offered a Colorado mule deer hunt for all he has done for the USA and his union brothers and sisters, Conroy’s response was to pay it forward. He asked to pay the way for his son-in-law, TJ Delaney, to join him on the hunt as a thank you for donating part of his liver to Conroy’s daughter when she was fighting liver disease.
Accustomed to hunting whitetail deer with slugs in Minnesota, Conroy and Delaney knew the altitude and longer shots in Colorado would be a challenge, but they were extremely excited for a different type of hunting and landscape.
When the hunters arrived in Colorado, they met up with USA’s Jason Lupardus, Jeff Musgrave of Western Outdoor Adventures, and show producer Jamieson Crast, and the group hit it off right away.
Adding to the jesting between the men, Musgrave’s dog, Cash, continually snatched boots and shoes and headed straight to a nearby creek.
“TJ left minus one Croc,” Conroy said.
During the first two days of the trip, the hunters spotted several nice bucks, but they were far out of range. The tide turned on day three. Musgrave brought his rifle in the event of a longer shot, and TJ got a chance at a monster mule deer. “They told me they would need to pull out the tape measure for that one,” TJ said.
Unfortunately, the combination of using an unfamiliar gun and the pressure of being filmed took its toll, and TJ’s shot didn’t hit its mark. “That one will haunt me for a long time,” Delaney said.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
As the crew tried to relocate the buck, they spotted two other bucks on a hill. The deer went out of sight but one reappeared higher on the slope, and TJ made a successful shot at 321 yards. Just as the hunters began celebrating, the producer noticed another buck even higher.
“TJ rolled from behind the gun, and I rolled in,” Conroy said. “I put a shot on the second buck and dropped him at 342 yards. Our shots were probably a minute apart.”
That’s when the real celebration began as Conroy and Delaney savored their successful shots in such close succession and the experience of their first western hunt together.
Watch Conroy and Delaney’s thrilling adventure
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Presented by ULLICO, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Carhartt; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Electrical Contractors Association; and United Association/International Training Fund’s Veterans in Piping Program.