Audra’s first deer
by Danny Howard (aka coueselk)
(this story is taken from the discussion forum where he posted a “day by day” report of the hunt of Audra, a 10 year old girl on her first deer hunt).
Here is a hunting report for today. I was out helping my buddy try to get his 10 year old daughter her 1st buck. We saw a few, but couldn’t connect. She had an opportunity at a spike, but wanted to hold out for a big one.
Here is a picture of the spike.
About 4:30 this afternoon, I spotted this nice buck out around 1,500 yards. It was a 3×4 including eyeguards. She decided that this would be a shooter. Time was on the bucks side, with dark coming. They attempted a really quick stalk to get within range, but ran out of daylight.
Sorry the picture is not very good, I tried to zoom in, but wasn’t getting enough light through the spotting scope.
We are headed out in the morning again. Hopefully we can locate this buck for her.
We did see some other hunters this morning take a fine coues buck. He looked like a 5×4 including eyeguards. We watched them bring it off the mountain. The buck looked as if he would go around 105″ or better, from what I could see through the spotting scope. Hopefully they are visitors to the site and will share pictures and story of the buck.
Ok, day two started with a couple of new youngsters to the hunting party. Myself, Rusty and his daughter Audra had hunted yesterday. Audra holding the tag. Today we were joined by my son Chase and daughter Alex, along with another one of Rusty’s daughters,Amanda. Which also happens to be Audra’s twin.
We started the morning by attempting to find the buck that we couldn’t get to last night. We were searching the general area that I had last seen the buck, but without much luck. Rusty was glassing a nearby ridge finding a spike and a doe. I turned my binos onto a far ridge only to see 4 does. I kept turning back to the area that I had seen the buck, hoping that he would again reveal himself. Around 8:00am I finally located the buck. He was feeding in some ocotillo not 100 yards from the place I saw him the night before.
This shows the excited kids after finding the buck. Everyone wanting a turn at the binos and spotting scope.
We watched as the buck continued a steady climb up the mountain, feeding along the way. Rusty became concerned about being able to reach the buck, especially since we had 4 youngsters that needed to go. We decided to bed the buck and make a plan from there.
I watched the buck for around 30 minutes, until he started to feed away and entered a shaded canyon. From our vantage point, we were unable to see where he went in the canyon. I was pretty confident that he bedded there and would be easily found.
(This is a picture of him way off in the distant. Hard to see, but he is dead center in the photo.)
After a brief discussion, it was decided to go after him. I would take my kids and we would hike to an adjacent peak to get a better vantage point for glassing the canyon. Rusty would take his two daughters and they would start up the bottom of a drainage and eventually work there way to a point to possibly shoot from.
My kids and I made it to our peak. I set up and went to glassing. I searched every crevice that I could see, but no deer. After around 45 minutes and seeing Rusty and his group pass below us. I decided that we need to move farther to the west to get a different angle to all the brush and rocks.
We met up with Rusty and his girls, and did somemore glassing. Still no deer to be found. Rusty and the kids were loosing confidence in finding the deer. Still, I persuaded them all that he was bedded in the canyon.
I then decided that I needed to climb a ridge with a nice peak that would offer the best vantage point of all for locating the bedded buck. Rusty would take his girls and move to a small ridge that ran just below where I thought the buck would be.
I set out with my two youngsters in tow. As we were climbing the ridge I wanted to be on top of, I stopped every so often and searched for the buck. On an unexpected stop of listening to my boy tell me that he was starving to death if he didn’t get something to eat. I setup and searched for the buck.
Low and behold, there he was staring at us from under an old gray tree high up in the canyon. I notified Rusty and gave him the good news that I found the buck. I then tried to give him a possible good location to top out on the small ridge he was on to offer Audra a shot. The buck was not in a good location, he was tucked up deep underneath the tree and had a rock in front of his vitals from my angle. I hoped that Rusty would be able to find a position for a clean shot.
All I had left to do now, was guide Rusty until he found the buck once they topped out the ridge. The rest would be up to him to get his daughter the best possible vantage point, for a clean shot.
Rusty and his girls started for the ridge top…………………. to be continued tomorrow.
(Here is a photo of the buck laying underneath the tree)
Here is the rest of the story.
Rusty and his girls made it to the top of the ridge. Now came the hard part. I had to guide him to where the buck was laying. We talked back and forth for around 10 minutes. I would describe some features he would reply with not seeing that. Finally, we both hit a good landmark. I told him to pan right until he came to 3 gray dead looking trees. The one that had the most shade under it was where the buck was laying. He found it. Now it was up to him and Audra.
My kids and I just sat back, watched and waited.
From Rusty’s position, they could only see the bucks head and rump. They moved to another position about 50 yards down the ridge. The buck just watched. I figured that he thought he was well hid and wasn’t going to move.
Rusty helped Audra get setup. He ranged the buck at 240 yards. From the angle and the way the buck was laying, he was having a hard time explaining to her where to aim. Being well prepared for this particular hunt. Rusty had cutout pictures of bucks from magazines showing all different kinds of positions. He had a few different ones of bucks laying down. He showed her on a picture of a simular position, where she needed to place the crosshairs. She then got into a comfortable position and took aim.
From my vantage point, I couldn’t see Rusty and the girls. It seemed like and eternity was going by. I started to get nervous, since the sun was starting to hit the buck. I was hoping that he wouldn’t get up and decide to move to a different location.
Looking through the spotting scope at the buck, I saw the buck throw his head back and then heard the crack of the shot. He didn’t even get up. He shook his head, rolled over and expired. After waiting for about 10 minutes and not seeing no movement. We decided it was done.
Audra had made a perfect shot with the .22-250. Hitting the buck in the chest.
Here are some photos of her very nice 1st deer.
This is Rusty with Audra and Amanda.
Here is a picture of the whole hunting party.
I would really like to thank my lifelong hunting partner and best friend Rusty, for allowing me the chance to help him with his daughters 1st deer hunt.I would also like to thank Audra, for allowing me to help her on her first deer hunt. And for her forgiving me for finding a buck so far up the mountain. It was an exciting hunt and a long haul back to the trucks.