Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Rachael's Day"
Written by Randy Tice

Rachael's Day
It was Sunday the 8th of October of the 2006 Nevada deer season. My family and I were leaving for deer camp in the beautiful Nevada Mountains east of Carson City. We were a day behind due to that bad four letter word "WORK". My son, Logan, and daughter, Rachael, had drawn junior tags once again. This would be their 3rd season hunting Nevada. My wife, Rosa, and I could only seem to draw archery tags, so we used our time in the field as a scouting trip for the kids' rifle hunt.

We arrived at deer camp where my buddy, Dan, had a campsite held for us. We unloaded the truck and made camp in record time. Another of our friends was hunting that morning and had not returned yet, so I was hopeful for him.

We loaded a small amount of gear on the quad and were off. I headed to a large bowl where I had seen some very large bucks during the archery hunt. Now, please don't think I'm one of those guys who drives a quad up and down the mountain deer hunting. I don't want to preach, but you will never kill a big muley driving a quad around!

Anyway, we stopped the quad and began hiking up the road. There were quad tracks in the road, but I was still hopeful that others had just driven in and back out without getting into the woods.
As we rounded a corner, there sat three quads and two hunters. "Ah crap!" I said to myself. We eased on up to the hunters and spoke with them. As we chatted, I glassed the bowl and saw five other hunters wandering around.
After a short time, my buddy Allen came down the hill with nothing good to say, so we decided to try another bowl to the north.

As we hiked, I didn't see any quad tracks in the road. I thought this would be good hunting. Allen had to leave shortly because of that bad four letter word, so we said our goodbyes and I continued towards the bowl.

We sat down about halfway up and began glassing. My kids began to eat (that's what teens do best) as I searched the sage and pinions. Finally, I spotted a couple does all the way across the bowl. We kept an eye on them as we continued searching. At one point, I looked to the does and caught movement in the aspen grove above them. Then, he stepped out. I woke Logan and Rachael from their snack and said, "Big Buck! Big Buck!"

Rachael's Day
Between wanting a good look at him and Rachael and Logan desperately wanting to know how big and where he was I could barely direct them to where he was. I watched as the buck came down through the aspens tilting his rack from side to side. What a sight!!

I was really excited! Rachael was probably just as excited because it was her turn to shoot first this year. The buck finally came out of the aspens into the open, and I let Rachael take a look. Once she laid eyes on the buck she said, "Dad, I think I see an elk". I told her, "No, that is your buck!"
We quickly formulated a stalk route and began moving in. We were still way out of shooting range when we stopped to glass his whereabouts. Panic set in on me as I searched and searched the hillside. We glass for an hour or so with no sign. There were deer pouring out of the aspens, running and playing everywhere, but no big buck.

I moved up the hillside for a better view while the kids remained below. I glassed and glassed from above, but with no luck. I began to think he may have bedded once again and wouldn't move again until dark. I was heartbroken for my daughter. I am very sure you all can imagine how disappointed I felt.

I decided I would remain until dark and keep glassing. Suddenly, I got lucky and near the tip of a finger of aspens, there he stood! I couldn't believe it, he was only 400 yards away! I watched as he and another very nice buck slowly fed into a large sage field, then I hurried back down the hill to my kids and pointed out the bucks.

We jumped into a creek drainage for cover and closed the gap to 250 yards. After setting up the shooting sticks, Rachael and Logan set up on both bucks as I pulled out the video camera.

Rachael's Day
Rachael was nervous and excited and shaking. She took several deep breathes and touched the trigger, followed quickly by Logan's shot. I strained to here the bullets report, but heard nothing from either shot. The buck ran to our left as Rachael put another round in the chamber. He ran parallel to us for about 100 yards and stopped. "Shoot him!" I said.
The shot rang out and the buck remained standing there. Again I told Rachael to shoot, but she didn't. As I looked at Rachael she said, "Its jammed dad!" I thought this can't be happening. She quickly ejected the jammed round and put a fresh one inů.BOOM! With that, the buck dropped like a stone and we all shouted, "He's down, he's down."

Logan had missed his buck, but he wasn't too disappointed. It turned out that Rachael did hit the buck on the first shot. We looked at the video to be sure Logan's shot was a miss and it was. I looked at the knockdown shot a couple of times and forgot to advance the film and ended up recording over that part of the video. But the best part was saved, that was my little girl shaking like a quaking aspen as she prepared for that first shot. It's beautiful and I watch it often.

My son and daughter know this caliber of buck doesn't come easy, believe me they both have hunted hard to take the deer they have taken. I am so very proud of both of them. I can hardly wait until the 2007 season.

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Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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