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Posted: May 30, 2012 || View More Images Below!
My First Buck
By Ally Legg, 12, Winlock, Washington
The two long weeks of Hunter’s Ed were finally over. I was legal to go out and hunt. In Montana you had to turn 12 by a certain date, or already be 12 to hunt. And, of course, you had to pass Hunter’s Ed. Even though I was 11, I would turn 12 before the deadline, so I was ready to go.
The night before the hunt, I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. Usually, I complained about getting up at 5:30 am, but that day, I couldn’t care less. By six, my mom Amy, my dad Steve, my little brother Garrett, and I were all piled in Dad’s truck. All I could talk about was ‘my big buck’. Mom and Dad warned me that I might end up shooting a doe, or (even worse) nothing at all because this was our last week in Montana before we moved to Washington. Boy, did I think they were wrong! I told them okay, that’d be fine, but in my head, I was thinking about the monster I was about to kill.
After what felt like months, we were up on a butte (a large, rocky, flat hill) watching the meadow below us. The sun was giving the sky a rosy glow. The cold weather felt like needles on my face. Perfect shooting-a-monster-buck weather. We sat there for a while when a few does came out…followed by some HUGE bucks! It was all I could do to keep from squealing in delight.
“Can I shoot ‘em?” I whispered to Dad. He shook his head.
“Nope. They’re a good 300+ yards away. You aren’t behind a good enough gun.” I was using my mom’s gun, a .260 youth model, and taking a shot over 300 yards was pushing it with that gun. My dad had his .270 Remington on him, just in case we needed to take a long shot. But we all wanted the shot to be under 200 yards just to be safe. “We’ll get you behind mine in a minute.” Talk about a long “minute”! And by the time that ‘minute’ was over, a coyote and road grader had spooked the deer away. We watched a little bit longer, and then headed home for lunch. I was a very unhappy hunter.
Later that afternoon, Dad and I were hiking back up the same butte. (Mom and Garrett were at a youth program at our church.) This time we were going to set me up behind Dad’s gun. We brought Mom’s gun, but left it in the truck.
I looked at the sky. The sun was going to drop below the horizon in three to three and a half hours. You cannot hunt in Montana after sunset, so my buck had to be a willing deer.
Fifteen minutes later, we were back at the same spot we had been earlier that day. We sat there for an hour. Dad leaned over to tell me we were going to leave in about an hour and a half. I only nodded. My spirits were dropping low.
Finally, FINALLY we saw a couple of does and their yearlings. Dad and I strained our eyes for a buck to follow. After about half an hour, I gave up. Dad thought he saw something a few times, but I think the excitement was getting to him.
Then we saw him.
A tall, wide, beautiful buck mule deer stood four hundred yards in front of us.
Dad leaned over and whispered, “He’s ‘bout 400 yards away…you wanna try and shoot him?” I nodded. My heart was pounding so hard I thought the buck would hear it and take off. Dad set my scope for 400 yards. I loaded the gun.
Bang! Smack! My contact lens felt like it popped off when I pulled the trigger. “Oh, my gosh, I killed a deer!” I let my girl instincts take over and squealed a little bit. “Oh, my gosh, I killed a deer!” At 412 yards I had hit and dropped my buck!
Within seconds, my buck stood up and staggered toward us. I loaded, aimed and shot. It went over his back. Dad had forgotten to re-set my scope in the excitement. The deer had come closer to us and he needed to dial the scope down Realizing his mistake, he set it and I shot again. It hit him in the shoulder.
“He’s down!” Dad and I ran down the rocky side of the butte. The last rays of daylight were fading fast. Finally, we were down next to my 2 by 3 muley. “Nice one, Bug!” Dad said. Our shouts rang through the air. “Look at that drop tine!” “Oh, my gosh, I killed a deer!” Our shouts rang through the air. I was so excited, and I know Dad was too.
We loaded my buck up on to a cart and drug him out. I was a little scared of hiking through the dark-actually a lot scared- because I had read on a sign that there were black bears in the area. Thankfully, we got back to the truck safely.
Now my buck is in my room. We took it to the taxidermist, and he did a skull mount. Whenever any of my new friends come, I am proud to tell them my “Buck Story”. Shooting my buck was probably the best day of my life. In a few years, we are going to visit Montana and I hope to shoot another big buck.
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