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"Caysen's Great Day Afield"
Photo provided by: John Leslie

12 year old, Caysen Leslie, writes, "It was 4:30 a.m. on 25 October 2009 when the alarm clock finally went off. I didnít sleep well that night. All I could think about was how opening day would go. My Uncle John picked me up at 5:00 a.m. and we headed to his friend Richard Burtonís house. Richard lives in the area where we were going hunting and he eagerly agreed to help us out.

We finally got to where we saw the big buck the day before. We got out of the truck, got our stuff and started hiking around 6:30 a.m. Soon we saw a couple of bucks, but they disappeared over a ridge and I never got a shot at them. Around 9:00 a.m., we spotted another buck with a couple of does. It wasnít the big guy, but it was a legal buck. I got set up for the shot. Just as he was about to go over the ridge he stopped to look back. He was in the middle of a small bush. All I could see of him was his upper chest and head. As I waited for a better shot, he slipped over the ridge and out of sight. We quickly moved to the top of the ridge, but he was nowhere to be found.

We had been hiking around and glassing quite a bit. Suddenly, Richard crouched down and said to get up to where he was. He had spotted a group of deer about three hundred yards away. There was a big buck in the group. Its body was huge. The antlers were not as big as the big buck I was hoping to get though. I squeezed the trigger. I missed right over his back. As they were running off, I was watching them through the scope. Finally, they stopped to look back. I tried to get a shot off, but I didnít want to risk a bad shot. Darn. I wasnít very happy with myself.

Around 1:30 p.m., we stopped to take a break. I was getting pretty worn out. We had been hiking for about 7 hours straight. I asked my uncle if he could get lunch out of his backpack. He said that he didnít bring lunch, he thought that I did. Well, I didnít. What made it worse was I didnít have breakfast that morning; I also only brought two water bottles. So I was out of water and no lunch or breakfast! We sat on the hillside for about 30 minutes just glassing. Finally, it was time to move on. We just kept on hiking and glassing, hiking and glassing, hiking and glassingÖ around 4 p.m., we stopped to take another break. As we were glassing, my uncle spotted the big buck we saw the day before. It was about 800 yards away. We got up and started stalking. After hiking maybe 10 minutes we were about 300 yards away. Richard thought we could get closer. We went up to the top of the hill and walked along a little road. Finally, we were straight above the buck. We walked a few yards down the hill and sat down beside a big bush. The wind was perfect. We were just under 200 yards away. I could see the buck without the scope. He was in the middle of a bush rubbing his antlers. I got set up. I could see the buck easily. I told my uncle I was not going to miss this shot. As I sat there watching the buck through the scope, my heart was racing. I was trying to catch my breath from the hike. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the buck walked out of the bush. He was facing away at an angle. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. I hit him good. Because of the angle, it went through the lungs and out the center of his chest. He went a couple of yards and fell down in the middle of a cactus. I had just shot my first mule deer!

We watched the buck for a few minutes just to make sure he wasnít getting up. When we got to the buck, we all were surprised at how big the buck was. The buck scored 155 and had a 25-inch spread. I couldnít believe that we actually found the big buck again."




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