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"Sweet Dream's Buck"
Written by Richard Hansen

Sweet Dream's Buck
Fall of 2006 was one to remember. My family usually muzzle load hunts, but this year my daughter, Atesha, and I decided to rifle hunt with my brother Lynn. We all put in for the Northern Utah rifle deer hunt and waited for the results….which came back as "Successful".

We have a spot in Box Elder County that our family has hunted since I was too young to hunt. I can remember my dad, Gary, harvesting nice four pointers and I couldn't wait to get my chance. He always told me that the key to a nice buck was hard work and patience. Now I try to teach my kids the same.

Atesha told me that the bar was high this year for her because in 2005 she drew a CWMU deer tag here in Utah and was lucky enough to harvest a real good 4-point buck. Since then, she shows it off with pride and tells people, "Hunting isn't just for the boys!"

September came and my nephew, Dillon, had a muzzleloader tag. We headed to the old stomping grounds to do some hunting and scouting. It worked out well, as we saw some good bucks in the area and Dillon harvested his first buck….a nice 3-point. He was sure excited!

October 21st found Atesha, Lynn, and I in deer camp with high hopes for big deer. We all headed to our favorite spots. Around 11:30, Atesha and I found ourselves looking at some good bucks about 250 yards away. The best buck was a 24-inch 3x3, not quite what I was looking for. Atesha on the other hand got in position for a shot.
She kept looking the buck over and finally decided that she wanted a bigger one. I was shocked that she passed, but he will be much better next year.

Sweet Dream's Buck
That night at camp, we compared notes. Lynn had seen a good 4x4, but couldn't close the deal. We hunted hard the rest of the week, but the hunting pressure was high and the deer were holding tight during daylight hours. On Friday however, we got lucky. Atesha connected on a nice buck right before dark. We looked for the buck until dark, and opted to return on Saturday morning to continue searching. The next morning, we all headed back up the mountain to where Atesha shot her buck. We spotted a 4x4 and Lynn closed the deal on that buck.

After taking care of his deer, I headed into the canyon after Atesha's buck. The tracking was easy, but what I found at the end of the trail was real disappointing and sobering. There is a problem with cougars in the area and you guessed it, the cougars had taken care of the deer for supper. I had to come back out and tell my daughter what I had found. She was disappointed, but also understood that you don't always get them.

The last day of the hunt found us trying one last time for a good buck. So, up the mountain we headed to a spot where we had seen a nice buck earlier in the hunt. We were glassing a bowl, with sagebrush and aspens. Seeing nothing from where we were, Lynn said he would stay there and Atesha and I went higher to another vantage point.

After glassing a few minutes, we spotted a couple does below us. Shortly thereafter, Atesha spotted another deer and it was a good buck. He was heading straight for the trees and we needed to act fast. I let Atesha take the first crack, but she missed and we had no time to waste. I fired two rounds, taking him down.

After some high fives and lots of work, we had him taken care of and were headed back to camp. The buck is 29-5/8 inches wide and gross scored 171-4/8 inches. The daddy-daughter team did it! 2006 was a hunting season I will remember always.