Jim Mortensen sent us this story about his 12 year old niece Christina’s first deer. We’re big here on getting kids out to experience the outdoors. It takes a lot of dedication to sacrifice precious time during your hunting season, but it’s worth it. Great job Jim, and thanks for the story.
My niece’s first deer hunt started a little late as we encountered problems getting through the gate due to uncooperative cattle. We eventually made it through and arrived at our hunting area around 3:00 p.m. Finally, let’s hunt deer!
We drove around to the top and saw quite a few does but no bucks. We were hopeful a fork horn would give Christina a nice 100 yard shot but no luck. We continued to scout the north side and then made our way around to the south. We encountered deer but still no bucks. As we got to the top of the south side we noticed some does were making their way up toward us. As we watched them my brother spotted a decent buck bedded down in the bottom of the canyon. The hunt was on.
My brother took Christina and headed down the canyon to try and get close enough for a shot. As they were making their way down the canyon I kept glassing for other deer. They had only walked about 100 yards down the canyon when I noticed a bigger buck about 1000 yards away on the far side of an adjacent canyon. I yelled to Mark (yes, yelled) to come back so we could go after the bigger buck.
Once we got to the area where we thought the buck was we could not locate him. As Mark and I argued as to which way the buck might have gone, I noticed him and his does up on the hill to our left. Mark said, “He’s big enough for ME” and bailed out of the Suburban to try and maneuver for a shot. The only place he could get to for a shot was in the wide open, and the only shot presented to him was right on the sky-line. I took Christina on down the road in the Suburban in hopes that the buck would watch the truck and give Mark time to sneak around for a better shot. As I drove around the curve I was telling Christina, “I could shoot him from here” and told her to climb into the front seat. We drove around the curve, turned the Suburban around, and started to come back up. The whole time I was expecting to hear a rifle shot which never came.
As we drove around the corner, I could see Mark in the same spot, he hadn’t moved. As we inched forward I was able to see the buck and he was standing broadside about 120 yards up the hill. I, again, thought to myself, “I could shoot him from here”. It then clicked in my head, “If I could do it, she could too!” I told her to get out and sneak around the back of the Suburban.
As I climbed out, I loaded the rifle and put it on safe, and met her at the back of the truck. We set up the shooting sticks and I told her to get comfortable and settle the crosshairs of the scope on the buck. Once she said she could see the buck I asked her if she was comfortable and to sight in on the front shoulder (I don’t know why, I never aim there).
Once she said she was comfortable and sighted in on the deer, I reached over and clicked the safety off. I said, “OK, when you are ready, put it on his shoulder and slowly squeeze the trigger. A few seconds went by and BANG! The .243 barked and the bullet hit its mark an inch behind the front shoulder. He dropped, rolled, and kicked down a boulder the size of a big block Chevy. I yelled out, “You got him”. She turned to me with tears in her eyes and gave me a hug. I then told her to run up to her dad (about 150 yards around the corner) who didn’t have a clue what had just happened.
Together we climbed up the hill at mach II to see her buck. It was a perfect shot on a nice buck. This is a hunt I’ll remember as if it where my first deer.
by Jim Mortensen
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