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"Velvet Envy"

Velvet Envy
Michael's buck is 23 inches wide, Paul's is 29 inches wide.
The 2000 Utah muzzleloader hunt found us hunting a familiar area in central Utah. But after five days of hard hunting, my brother Paul and I were beginning to get a little discouraged. We had been seeing only small bucks, and many more people than we wanted.

This was my last deer hunt before leaving for my two-year mission, so I really wanted to make it a successful hunt. On the sixth day of our hunt, we moved to a new area. Our hopes were to get away from the other hunter's, and possibly find some mature bucks. We had scouted this new area prior to the season opener without seeing any good bucks, but we figured everything else had failed us, so why not give it a try anyway.

We had only been glassing for a few minutes when we spotted a group of deer feeding. We could tell that there were atleast two good bucks in the group, but couldn't tell exactly how big. Though both bucks were real good, we could tell that one of the two was much wider. We waited for the deer to bed in a pocket of thick Cedars before making our move.

I had only been sneaking along the stand of trees for a couple minutes when both bucks stepped out right in front of me. One of the bucks began kicking some butt on a Cedar tree, trying to remove the velvet from his awesome antlers. I was only 80 yards away, so I took steady aim and fired at him, thinking he was the bigger of the two bucks.

The buck immediately dropped. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I began jumping up and down with joy, thinking I had just shot the biggest buck. When I found the buck, I discovered that he wasn't the big one we had seen earlier that morning.

Just after reaching the downed buck, I saw the rest of the group cutting out the backside of the Cedars. The big one was definitely leading the way. Paul also saw the bucks making their getaway and moved quickly to head them off. Once in position, he made a great 191-yard shot to drop the big boy.

Paul and I were excited to see that both our bucks were still in full velvet. My buck measured 23 inches wide, while Paul's was 29 inches wide. It was a hunt that neither of us will ever forget.

Written by Michael Painter