Nate’s First Buck

My oldest son Nate harvested his first Mule Deer buck two weeks ago.  Congrats Nate!  A nice 5×4 counting the eyeguards, Nate’s first buck is a great harvest.  Scroll down to read the story of Nate’s hunt.

Big Dog

 Nate’s story starts two days before opening morning.  Nate had missed over a week of school due to a serious respiratory infection and had only recently returned to some of his normal activities.  One evening I came home from work and said, “Nate, get off the couch.  We are going to sight in your rifle.”  He wasn’t so sure.  Even mom was worried that too much hiking would be a problem.  We agreed to keep Nate in the car as much as possible.

Sunny DayA good day's huntThe Men

 Opening morning came early.  On the road by 5:30-arriving at the ranch by 6:30.  After helping to jump start Ben’s jeep, we were on the road.  Around the first corner we jumped three bucks.  Between the eastern sunrise and having to literally pull Nathan out of the car, by the time we got glass on the bucks, we couldn’t tell if they fit the management buck category (no more than 3 points-excluding eye gaurds-on a side). We passed.

An hour later, another group of three bucks.  One of the three was clearly a small two point.  The other two were much better, one of which we thought was a very large 3X4.  However, neither of these larger bucks would give us a clear view of their antlers.  By the time we decided to shoot, they were slipping out through the trees.  Another opportunity missed.

The afternoon hunt was perfect.   A little warm, but a beautiful sunny day.  Our friend Gary who is initimately familiar with property suggested a push where several three pointers are known to hang out.  Matt and Nate would drive to the other side of the draw and see what might pop out on the other side.  Gary, Ben, Zach and myself waited until they reached the other side and got out of the truck.  We were only 20 yards into the push when a shot echoed from the other side of the Canyon.  I will never forget the visual image of the moment.  I looked up and Nathan was down on one knee aiming at a rocky knoll.  I saw Nathan’s body recoil, followed by “BOOM.”  The second shot anchored the buck in his tracks.  Matt immediately let out a celebratory round of whooping and hollaring.  The buck was a 3×4 with eyeguards-9 total points.  The shot was over 220 yards.

As Matt describes it, “I will never forget the shot.  The buck was skylined next to a rock outcropping.  Perfectly framed between two groups of mountain mahogony.  Nate took two steps, dropped to a knee, and sized up the buck.  I told him that the buck was a shooter.  He missed the first shot, but immediately followed-up with a great second shot anchoring the buck.”

Thanks Matt for taking Nate for his first buck!

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