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A bunch of kids and some Coues.

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This year, my oldest son Hunter, decided he wanted to invite some of our family friends to put in with him. Two of these boys (Dallin and Romney) had never been on a deer hunt before. Their dad Mark, who is also new to hunting came along with us too.
The boys were unsuccessful in drawing a Jr. hunt but they did draw a general tag in 36 c. I have always been intrigued by this unit but never had the chance to hunt it. I love learning new country though, so I was up for the challenge. I made several scouting trips and felt like I had a pretty good plan.

Opening morning we were up at 4 am and hiking by around 4:30. We covered a couple miles in the moonlight and got into some pretty remote country. I remember thinking to myself that Mark and his boys probably thought I was a little crazy for hiking so far in the dark. Luckily, it didn't take too long to glass up some deer. I picked up 4 bucks, but they were way out there. I could tell two of them were pretty good bucks so we took off after them. The deer were feeding downhill into an obvious bedding area. It was a nasty hike, all up hill, but the boys were ready to go. We started our climb stopping frequently to relocate the bucks. It took all morning, but finally, we crept over the last hill that we thought would put us into shooting range. We were glassing into the tree line where we last had visual of the bucks and Mark found one of them standing broadside in the open. We ranged the buck at 288 and we decided Mark's oldest son, Dallin,would take the shot. I got Dallin behind the rifle in a comfortable position and gave him some last minute coaching. Dallin touched one off and made a perfect shot with a 140 grain Berger out of my 6.5-.284.
Mark took an awesome slo-mo video through his binos.
Fast forward to about 2:10 in the video. Hopefully the link works.


After the shot the buck tumbled down the side of the canyon just out of the field of view in the video.

Dallin with his buck

All the boys

It is always such a cool experience to be a part of someone's first big game animal. I was really proud of Dallin and I know his dad was too. He made a great shot and he never complained about any of the hiking. In fact every time I turned around he was right behind me, even on the steep hills.

We took care of the meat and started our long hike back to the truck. We got back to camp a little after dark. It was tough, and we were all sore and tired when we got back but it was definitely worth it...it always is.

Part of our crew on the spine trail, next to the reservation fence.

Saturday morning, our friend Jared and his son joined up with us. We looked like a group of illegals hiking through the mountains. We glassed up some does at first light but no bucks. We decided to split up and cover some different areas. I took my two sons and walked high up on the ridge-line. As soon as we got up there we found 2 bucks but neither offered a shot. Before the day was over we found one more buck. My son Hunter had him in the scope for a while, but he could never get steady enough for the shot. We just couldn't find a flat piece of ground to get into a comfortable shooting position. After that close encounter we bailed off the mountain and started heading back to the truck. Unfortunately between us and the truck was the thickest patch of catclaw I have ever seen. I hated to drag my kids through it, especially in the dark. I knocked it down for them as much as I could but we all got pretty tore up. It was really bad.

Sunday we all took a much needed day of rest.

Monday we were back at it but only saw one buck and he disappeared quickly.

Tuesday we glassed up 8 bucks and a mountain lion but we couldn't get a shot at any of them including the lion.

Wednesday-Friday the boys went back to school for the rest of the week.

Saturday was our last chance but only my son Hunter and I were able to go. We hit it hard and climbed up to the top of a big mountain in the dark. We got into a position to overlook a saddle we saw bucks in earlier in the hunt. It didn't take long to find some deer. We had 3 bucks and several does feeding on a shady northeast facing slope. I ranged them at 450 yards and started making a plan. One of the bucks was feeding in the open. I got Hunter into position and he found the buck in the scope pretty easily. Over the next 45 minutes it went something like this:

Me: Do you have him?
Hunter: Yeah
Me: Ok, when he turns broadside squeeze it off.
Hunter: Ok
A few minutes pass
Hunter: I have to sit up I'm getting uncomfortable.
Me: Ok
As soon as he sits up the buck turns broadside and offers a perfect shot.
Me: Get back on him!
Then the buck would turn again. Lol
This went on for a long time. Finally he gave us a quartering away shot and Hunter was steady on him. The kid made a great shot, I knew he was capable at that distance but to see him maintain his composure throughout the whole thing really impressed me. I wish I had that ability when I was 12 or even now haha.

Getting ready for the shot

After the shot

I got a video of his shot too but it is not nearly as clear as the other one.


Hunter with his buck.


We recovered the bullet in the offside shoulder. It retained about half its original weight.


This makes two Coues bucks and one Kiabab doe in his short hunting career. We have been beyond blessed and I am so thankful to for these times together.
Both of his bucks required a lot of hard work, which looking back just makes them that much sweeter.


I never got around to posting the story from my October hunt this year in a different unit so here are a couple of bonus pics from that hunt.

We found this buck on opening day but decided not to shoot. On the second to last day we located him in the same spot.


Then there is this pig. My buddy Aaron found him about noon on opening day. When we looked at him through the binos we could tell he was a shooter but definitely underestimated his mass and overall size. We were both blown away when we got to him.




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great story and photos.

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Congrats Scott to you and the boys. It was great hunting with you on the elk hunt. Come up on let's kill some turkeys!

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Congrats to you and your boys! Those are all some great bucks you guys tagged!!!

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great story and pics, thanks for sharing.

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Awesome post! Thanks for sharing

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Outstanding Scott! Congrats to everyone on some great deer.

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.....Outstanding, love seeing this and congrats to all of you!!!!

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