Paul Brenneman writes, "Here is a photo of my 15 yr old son, Kris, and the 178 gross, 26-inch wide 21-inch tall 5x4 buck that he took in Southern Utah during the 2004 rifle hunt. This is his first buck and his second year hunting. During this years muzzleloader hunt, he had several long shots at decent sized bucks, but he missed. He took this buck during the second weekend of the rifle hunt. On the first weekend, he got upset that I wouldn't let him shoot a "just barely legal" spike. The horns were probably long enough to make the buck legal, but I wasn't convinced so I made it an object lesson. Looking back now, it was the right thing to do, but thank heavens he was successful later. It would have been a long winter listening to him complain about how it was my fault that he didn't get a buck.
On the second weekend we made a quick trip to an area where we usually hunt turkey's. We've never hunted deer here, but with heavy snow up high I thought it was worth the look. On the first night we traveled lots of miles looking and glassing. Lots of does, but not a single horn. Oh ya, we decided on the "any legal buck" philosophy for this hunt was the way to go.
Early the next morning, we went up into some high snow filled bowls where we could look over the low lands and all the hunters orange that comes with easy access. After seeing nothing, we started a sneak and peak through the bowls and snow. Still, nothing, but lots of day old tracks. After several hours and several miles it was time for some serious contemplation on a high up ridge.
It was here that the sun finally caught up with us and the deer. We finally started to see deer moving. First, there were several groups of does and fawns. All at fairly long distances. Then, at about forty yards I saw horns coming towards us. I told Kris to slowly raise up to where he could see the end of a clump of scrub oak. I told him, "When you see the buck, shoot!"
As Kris stood up, the buck stopped. Kris fired and the buck disappeared. The range was short, 20 yards. As I stood up, I could see the buck was down hard. I told Kris to get another round ready and that if the buck moved that he should shoot again. The kid, who seconds later was rock solid, was shaking so hard that I told him to sit down and set up his bipod so that he could shoot if he had too. He got set up, but told me he couldn't keep the cross hairs on the animal. Thank heavens his first shoot was so well placed.
What a great experience for me. Watching the look of awe and amazement as Kris got a good look at the size of his trophy. The smile on his face in the pic tells it all. The smile even remained through the 1-1/2 mile drag job to the quad.