Big Montana Double!!

thecrittergitter

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Well, after going to Kansas and scoring big on his first deer ever, I told Braden he would have a hard time finding a deer that caliber in Montana. Of course, when the youth rifle season arrived, he would prove me wrong. And not only would he prove me wrong, so would his buddy Tate…….
Tate and Braden have been good buddies for all the years of their lives, likely due to the fact that his dad Zach is one of my best friends and hunting partners. This year, Zach was very fortunate and drew a moose permit here in Montana which was going to require a lot of time and dedication. Zach also has a very busy work schedule so to shuffle in hunting time is very difficult. During the youth rifle season in Montana, Zach got stuck in meetings in Houston, TX which wouldn’t allow him to go deer hunting with us. So on the youth opener, Tate, Braden, and I took off in search of bucks in an area I had been hunting for a number of years. When daylight rolled around, we started seeing a few bucks but no shooters.
 

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thecrittergitter

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After a few hours of glassing, we decided to go get some lunch and head back out to another spot that evening that we have some tree stands set up for archery hunting. With the deer still pretty patterned, we figured we would find Braden a buck and possibly Tate a doe. The three of us climbed into our tree stand with high hopes of a buck coming by.
 

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thecrittergitter

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About 1 hour into our sit, we noticed some deer headed our way. One was looking like it was headed our way. Tate asked if he could shoot a doe with his bow if one of them came by. I figured since it was early, we could arrow one and still have time for things to settle before the bucks would show. About 3 minutes later, one of the does was about to come by at 20 yards. As it crossed the opening in front of us, Tate hit full draw. As soon as the deer came to a stop, he put a perfect shot on her. I told the boys that we would wait till dark and go find her as we didn’t want to mess up our chance for a buck.
About 15 minutes before last light, a handful of bucks started moving out from the trees to the east. As each of them appeared, it seemed like they were gradually getting bigger. One of the bucks cut out into the open to our right and I got the binos on him. I could see he was a typical 4x4 with a split g2 on one side. Braden looked him over and was having a hard time deciding whether he would shoot or wait. Knowing we have seen bigger deer out there, he decided he would let this 120” buck walk. A good decision as a no brainer buck walked out of the trees behind him. The buck locked up about 70 yards out and a little behind us. All of the other deer that had come out were starting to get a little nervous as our wind was starting to hit them. The buck was not moving until those deer eased and I was concerned the gig was about up. I whispered to Braden to get in behind the gun and see if he could see the buck. I wanted the buck to come out in the wide open but wasn’t sure the buck was going anyplace but back into the timber. Braden slowly eased into his .243 and said he could see the buck no problem. I looked over his shoulder to make sure there were no branches on our tree that could be in the flight path of the bullet. I again asked if he could see the buck clearly, and I got a confirmation that he had a clear view and shot. I told him to go ahead and take the shot. I watched him as he held his breath and slowly squeezed the trigger. I was very impressed with his composure, it was probably better than mine. Boom! The buck jumped and whirled and it looked like a perfect shot! It was high fives and high emotions as Tate and Braden were talking about how cool that buck was. We heard the buck crashing in the timber behind us and knew it was the end of the line for the big buck. We climbed out of our stand and got out our flashlights. I asked them which deer we should find first and they both said we had to go find the buck first……silly guy, what did I think they would say
 

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thecrittergitter

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With a very short 50 yard blood trail, we found our prize. Braden’s first Montana deer at 10 years old ended up just over 21” wide and just over 152”. Lucky little bugger! Real proud of this kid for making a perfect heart shot and keeping his composure.
 

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thecrittergitter

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The next morning we were all still on cloud 9 as we headed back out to our state section to see if we could find any different bucks than we spotted the day before. About 1 hour into glassing, we picked up a nice 5x5 whitetail heading along the brush on the river bottom.We took off after the buck but by the time we got there, he had boogied into the thick brush with no way to effectively hunt him. I was surprised he moved in so fast as our wind was perfect. Well, turns out, some bowhunters had set up a tent in the willows along the river and had been hunting all the brush on the upwind side of the deer. With the other hunters hunting down along the river, we decided to head a mile up into the hills and look for deer in the draws. As we were hiking over one of the little ridges to glass into the coulee, I spotted a coyote about 300 yards out. I have learned that no matter what you’re hunting with kids, whenever you see a coyote, it turns into a coyote hunt Tate quickly lined up the 300 yard mark on the yote and fired. Just over him. We realized after the shot that the scope was on 6x which means the line wasn’t set for 300 yards, only at 12x. Tate told Braden if we saw him again, he should take a shot. Well, sure enough, two draws later the yote appeared at 340 yards. I ranged it as Braden quickly laid down and chambered a round. He said he was on him as I got the spotter on it. I said, “I’m on him bud”. Boom! I watched the fur fly and him roll down the hill. Coyote down! Man this kid can flat out shoot!
 

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thecrittergitter

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We decided to head back for the truck as we were nearing mid-day. As we crossed the end of one of the small coulees, we jumped two whitetail bucks at 25 yards and one was a BIG one! I couldn’t tell for sure what he had going on but looked like a kicker on one side and a split or extra tine on the other. The buck hauled butt to the next draw and disappeared. As bad as those two boys wanted to go in after him, my years of doing that unsuccessfully knew it was a bad idea. I explained to them that if we left him alone, he would settle down and I was pretty certain I knew where he would come out to feed that night. A long restless few hours went by as we could only hope we could catch up to that buck again. Knowing the buck went into a draw that is partially on private land, we stopped and asked the landowner if we could hunt their property near the state section in case the buck ended up being on that section. They said no problem at all and good luck. Hard to find landowners like this anymore it seems. We took off and hiked up the west side of the draw the buck went into. With the wind out of the northwest, we should be able to stay on the lower side of the draw and keep a good wind.
 

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thecrittergitter

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As we crested the edge of the big draw, I was looking for a place to set up and sit the rest of the evening when I caught a glimpse of a buck heading across the hill on the opposite side. The second my binos hit him, I knew it was him. I told Tate it was him, and to chamber a round in the .243. The buck was behind some juniper trees so I told Tate to crawl with me to the crest of the ridge to lay down for a steady shot. I ranged the juniper bush at 262 yards and told Tate to hold the second line at mid body when he steps out. I threw the spotter up and got the video going and waited for the buck. Sure enough, the buck stepped out and I heard Tate say, I’m on him. I hit record on the video and watched as Tate drove a perfect shot right through the heart!! Both boys were just ecstatic and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just the same! What an awesome buck! We hiked over across the draw and found the first drop of blood right away. The 155” buck only went about 80 yards and piled up.
 

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thecrittergitter

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There is a very high likelihood that these two boys may not top these bucks for many years! It is more fun watching these boys in the field than me packing a weapon myself. I would say there are going to be a lot of kill photos with these two boys in the upcoming years. Super proud of these boys for their great shooting and their teamwork. And it’s pretty unreal that these two totaled up 307 inches of whitetail horn in two days! I have a feeling my trophy room is going to get overrun by this kid soon…..
 

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npaden

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Congrats!!

Both of them are better than any whitetails buck that I've ever shot!

Some really neat character on them as well.
 
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ashersdad

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Now that is just awesome! Those boys will remember that hunt forever. I love how you have gotten your kids so involved. They are obviously very talented hunters already. Congrats!
 

RobG

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Nice, uh, starter bucks ;) I'm not sure I can bear to see what they will turn up elk hunting.
 

izquik72

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This story really gets me excited.
Way to go dad!
Congrats to both boys on great shooting and GREAT deer.
 

Gerald Martin

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Let's see.... 26 years of hunting for me and both of those boys beat my best whitetail by about 20 inches.

I don't need you to adopt me, Matt. Can Braden just take me hunting? :)
 
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