Justin Tabor Pete (JT), took this dandy buck in 2007. You can read the story to his hunt below.
12 year old JT’s first deer 2007
It was first thing in the morning at daylight. We hadn’t seen any deer because it had snowed about 4” through the night and nothing was moving. I drove to this ridge that we never drive to because I wanted to look in the canyon to see if there was anything in there. JT didn’t want to go because it was too cold and the wind was blowing really hard. Needless to say I made him go threatening him that I’d make him shoot a spike if he didn’t want to hunt. Reason being is this day was his only day to hunt because of school and football before his deer season would end.
He reluctantly went stomping his feet and not talking to me. The very second I walked over the ridge I spotted a deer feeding in the wide open on the opposite hill about 600 yards from us. I put my binos up and instantly noticed he was a shooter. I told JT to run back to the truck and get the spotting scope so we can get a better look at him. He brings the spotting scope to me with the window mount on it instead of the tri-pod. I forgot to be as explicit to him as possible, but he did what he was told. As I’m checking the deer out through the spotting scope I was telling JT what he was. I told him he’s a really heavy buck and about 27” wide. JT pipes up and says “how many points does he have?” and “does he have big deep forks”? I told him he has at least 4 on the right and I can’t tell what he has on the left. Just then he lifted his head and turned his head towards us. I instantly told JT we need to shoot this deer he’s huge. He again asked me “how many points does he have” I told him he’s a big 3x4 and he’s 29” wide, but doesn’t have deep forks. JT said, “I don’t want him” I turned to him and said we’re going after him.
We snuck back to the truck got everything ready and took off on the stalk. We walked around this mountain and snuck through some trees. As we were going through them we jumped another deer, a small 3 point which at the time I didn’t even know we spooked him. This small buck ran to the same place the big one was when we last left him before the stalk. The smaller buck was running up the hill and I told JT “there he is, he smelled us and he’s going to get away” I looked through my binos and noticed it was just small buck not even what we had been looking at earlier through the spotting scope. Here I am wondering where the big buck went; I’m frantically looking around, but couldn’t find him. I take one last look at the small buck running up the hill and as I’m looking at him he stops and looks to his right towards a bunch of other trees. I told JT “come on I know where the big one is at.” As we where heading down the hill I kept looking into the trees that the small buck had looked at knowing the big one went that way. All of a sudden I spotted him looking at us in a semi sneak mode slightly turned to his left looking right at us. He was going to hold tight and let us walk right by him if I didn’t see him. I stopped, told JT “there he is sit down and shoot him”. The very instant we stopped he bolts and takes off running full speed to our right. I told JT shoot him; he says back to me I don’t have a clear shot. I yelled “I don’t care just shoot”!!! Boom he misses, I yelled “shot again”…Boom he misses. I tell JT come on let’s get over to those rocks to get another shot. JT says wait dad he’s going to go through that opening and I can get another shot. Sure enough he runs through the opening JT was talking about and he stops and looks at us for a split second that’s when JT let him have it!!!!!!!! 282 yards JT hits him with my 270 short mag., but he takes off running.
We had to track that deer for over a mile. As we were following his tracks in the now melting snow across a side hill, down to the creek, across the road, and up the bottom of another canyon when suddenly his tracks just stop. Not knowing where the heck he went. I started walking in a big circle to see if I can find his tracks, as I’m doing so I found out why he didn’t go any further up the canyon. I ran into an extremely fresh large Mtn. Lion track. The deer must have either smelled him or saw him and did a 180 to get out of there. We lost the deer’s tracks for quite some time because he ran in some brush and up a rocky hillside that the snow had completely melted off. I finally stumbled back on his tracks and eventually found some blood so I knew we were on the right track. We followed it for about three hundred yards and lost the track again because he got into some grass and wasn’t leaving a definite track and wasn’t bleeding anymore. So here we are looking for any sign of blood or tracks. Every now and again I’d find a small spec of blood and maybe move 10 feet further looking for more. Eventually I lost the trail completely, so thinking to myself we’re doomed I tell my dad’s brother in law that caught up with us to keep looking for blood or anything. I told him JT and I was going to walk in the general direction I think he went. We take off not knowing where the deer was.
By this time JT is tired and asks me to carry his gun for him. We no sooner go about 100 yards and come to a small swell in the mountain. I stop and look around and see nothing. I tell JT for the first time that I think we aren’t going to find this deer. I no sooner say that and up the deer jumps about 60 yards away from us. I instantly take the gun off my shoulder and give JT the gun and he takes a running shot and misses, the deer runs over the ridge. We take off running to the ridge as fast as we could like two little kids. As we get to the ridge I’m huffing and puffing and out of breath looking around for the deer just knowing he’s still running. As I’m breathing really hard JT tells me “there he is dad” I didn’t hear him because I was breathing so hard. I tell JT “I don’t see him anywhere” JT tells me “dad I already told you he’s right there”!! JT had spotted him lying down next to a small ditch in the sagebrush. I tell him to get a good rest and shot him. JT aims, and aims, and aims….I’m thinking to myself “shoot” he’s gonna get away again…just then BOOM and the deer tries to get up and does a back flop and expires. JT shot him right in the neck which was his only shot.
When we finally got to the truck JT couldn’t wait to text pictures to his mother and friends of his trophy fist buck of a lifetime.