Double Down


After a long ride home from our Wyoming antelope hunt, we caught a few zzz's and turned right around and headed back out for the Utah rifle deer hunt.

In the faint light of the waning crescent moon, we hiked forty minutes down off a ridge until we had positioned ourselves overlooking a small valley below. It was opening morning and both of my boys had deer tags to fill. This would be Colton’s first chance to look at a deer through his scope should the right opportunity present itself…so he was first up.


utah deer hunt
                                                            Hanging out at deer camp


It wasn’t long until we spotted our first deer and both were bucks. They were working down a different ridge about 450 yards to our south. We decided to make a play for them but as it turned out, we covered 250 yards just in time to see the bucks turn further south and bound hundreds of yards away over the horizon. As we evaluated the situation, we looked back toward the area we had just left saw several deer feeding out across a sidehill. Had we stayed put, these deer would have been a shootable 150 yards away. We quickly backtracked, but were unable to close the deal.


A couple of hours later we were hanging out in a spot where four separate draws spilled out into the low lying bottoms when all of a sudden we heard crashing behind us. We spun around as 3 bucks came storming down off the hill to the north. Colton grabbed his gun. Clearly the deer had been pushed because they were packing the mail! In their haste, a small 2 point nearly ran us over, coming within 10 yards of us before realizing our presence. Total chaos ensued, deer scrambling to escape, all of us positioning ourselves to get a better view of the deer. A shot opportunity seemed impossible, so I mewed to see if I could stop the deer. It worked! A nice 3 point and a huge 2 point eased their gait until they stopped to look in our direction. Colton didn’t hesitate. The crack of his .243 dropped the big 2 point 100 yards away! Colton had his very first deer!


big mule deer two point, 2 point
                                           Big 2 point...Colton's first deer


The hike out was grueling, but a couple of hours later we intersected a road and the task at hand was complete. Now it was Dallas’ turn.

packing out deer  packing out mule deer

          Cinching up the frame pack for the hike out                           Dallas trudging along...half way there


We hunted the rest of the afternoon and Dallas passed on some smaller bucks, which made for an entertaining time. Then just at dusk Dallas spotted a heavy 3 point. He’d need to hurry if he was going to get a shot before the buck disappeared. Just before the buck slipped behind a group of trees, Dallas got the crosshairs of the .270 on the buck and squeezed the trigger. All I saw was a tree branch explode near the buck, but I couldn’t tell if the branch was behind or in front of the deer. Dallas shouted “I hit him”. Since light was fading quickly, we hurried to the spot where we last saw the deer. But there across the sagebrush flat 100 yards away was the buck sneaking away. He appeared hit, but was still on the move and disappeared before Dallas could fire another shot. After several minutes of cat and mouse, Dallas again spotted the buck as it disappeared through the trees 150 yards back from where we came. On a mad dash Dallas caught up to the deer and put a final round into the heavy 3 x 3.


i went hunting deer, big heavy three point mule deer, 3 point
            Out of daylight, but got our buck. Note the little cheater drop on his right antler


What an exciting way to end our fun-filled hunt, the boys bagged their bucks…a double for the day!