Braden's First Buck- Best Hunt To Date

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
When the April 24 deadline came to apply for youth hunts in Kansas, I decided to phone a buddy in Kansas and ask him his thoughts on applying Braden for a youth hunt down there. He said that I had better do it and come on down if he drew, he would help us get lined out on some deer. At this time, Braden was 9 years old and due to the current laws in Montana, would not be allowed to hunt deer until he was 12. Many will say that 9 years old is too young to have a kid hunting but I think some kids are ready for it, some aren’t. Braden is one I felt was ready. This kid has been a part of more big game hunts at the age of 9 than many kids will have by the time they are 16. He lives for any chance he can get to be out hunting and I love spending the time with him out there so it’s a win win for both of us.
Mid summer brought us an envelope holding Braden’s first ever deer tag! I’m not sure who was more excited, he or I. We knew this meant he needed to spend a good amount of time behind the rifle and practice his shooting.
Our first expedition was out to the local rifle range to sight in his new youth .243. Some fabulous shooting that day! Braden was busting clay pigeons like a natural on every shot. We went out to another spot to get some longer shots for him to practice out to 500 yards. We set up milk jugs every hundred yards from 100 to 400 yards and he busted them on every shot. I was really impressed with his ability to acquire targets quickly and make good shots.
 

Attachments

  • SHooting 2.jpg
    SHooting 2.jpg
    84.9 KB · Views: 920
  • Shooting 1.jpg
    Shooting 1.jpg
    55.2 KB · Views: 918

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
With a departure date of September 4th, we decided on the 2nd, we better go for one more final round of shooting to make sure everything was good with the gun. With clay pigeons being destroyed at 225, I think we both knew a Kansas buck was in serious trouble!
 

Attachments

  • Braden sighting in.jpg
    Braden sighting in.jpg
    63.7 KB · Views: 917

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
September 3rd, we were so excited, Braden and I decided we would just take off after school and drive for a few hours so that we could be to our spot in Kansas for an evening scout on the 4th. We drove until about 1 am and took a rest near Casper, WY. At 6 am, we were on the road again heading for the land of big deer!

Every couple hours, Braden had to do two pages of homework to make sure he stayed up on his school work.
 

Attachments

  • Road Trip.jpg
    Road Trip.jpg
    30.6 KB · Views: 930
  • Homework.jpg
    Homework.jpg
    29.2 KB · Views: 915

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
And for some reason we had to stop for a picture of the roadkill coon The backroads of Kansas gave us a good opportunity to start teaching Braden how to drive
 

Attachments

  • Driving.jpg
    Driving.jpg
    34.8 KB · Views: 923
  • Dead Coon.jpg
    Dead Coon.jpg
    63.5 KB · Views: 937
  • Kansas Sign.jpg
    Kansas Sign.jpg
    60.5 KB · Views: 926
  • Hitting Nebraska.jpg
    Hitting Nebraska.jpg
    34.1 KB · Views: 912

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
We got to our friends, the Hogans, just in time to run get some scouting in before opening morning. We would be meeting a friend of mine, Kris, from Colorado as his son drew a permit as well and Joey would also be on his first deer hunt. The evening scout produced an area with 4 or 5 nice bucks that we thought we would focus on for the morning hunt. Kris and Joey mentioned that they would only be able to hunt Saturday and Sunday and would have to go home. Braden and I planned for 4 days if we needed it. As we were heading back to the farm after dark, Braden told everyone in the truck that he wanted Joey to get the first shot at a deer since he had to go home first. There are very few moments I can recall that I’ve ever been more proud of anyone in my life. For a 10 year old kid on his first deer hunt to have the unselfishness that this kid showed, is pretty dang impressive.
Opening morning came and the excitement was high! 4 kids with youth tags and happy dads is pretty tough to beat!
Although a couple great bucks were spotted that morning, no shots were fired as the bucks gave us the slip through the Milo and into the timber. The bucks were bedding up early and coming out late due to the 100+ degree temps. Made the window of hunting pretty narrow. We ended up finding a rattlesnake that wasn’t happy we were there so we made him disappear with a few shots from the 9mm……
 

Attachments

  • First morning.jpg
    First morning.jpg
    91.8 KB · Views: 921
  • First Morning 2.jpg
    First Morning 2.jpg
    78.3 KB · Views: 929
  • Rattler.jpg
    Rattler.jpg
    51.6 KB · Views: 927

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
But in Kansas, when it hits 100 degrees, you go find the nearest cattle pond and go swimming and catching frogs! These kids had a blast swimming and catching frogs in the mid day heat! I honestly think they would have just stayed at that pond all day instead of deer hunting if we let them
 

Attachments

  • Catching Frogs.jpg
    Catching Frogs.jpg
    115.2 KB · Views: 918
  • Huck Fins.jpg
    Huck Fins.jpg
    42.3 KB · Views: 920

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
Braden got to spend some time feeding the ranch cows and learning a little roping from Kyler and Hunter! Now Braden wants a rope………I’m sure to rope his brother and sisters. Let the harassment begin.
 

Attachments

  • Toads.jpg
    Toads.jpg
    50.7 KB · Views: 908
  • Roping.jpg
    Roping.jpg
    56.4 KB · Views: 920
  • feeding cows.jpg
    feeding cows.jpg
    56.5 KB · Views: 909

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
That evening we loaded up and decided to head back to the same spot as the morning. Figured the bucks went in early enough that maybe they would emerge a touch earlier. We parked the truck at the edge of a Milo field and hiked up to the hill to get a little vantage to sit and glass all the bean fields, timber, and milo below us. After about 5 minutes of glassing, I picked up the rack of a nice buck walking through the milo. I had Braden jump behind the spotter to look it over to see if it was a nice buck to him. He looked it over and said it was definitely a nice buck! Justin looked at it and said there was no doubt the buck was a shooter, and to head down and kill it! I looked at Braden and asked him what he wanted to do, he said…..”Dad, I think we should let Joey shoot it, he has to leave tomorrow”. So, with that said, I signaled to Kris and Joey to come over to us so he look it over. They told us to go get it since we found it. I told Kris that Braden wants Joey to go after it, so we will sit and watch you guys go get it. After another, “are you sure”, they took off after the buck. We watched as they got set up and waited for the buck. As they were waiting, we spotted another buck come out of the trees and into the milo. This one was a no brainer. The minute I saw it, I told Braden he didn’t even need to look, we needed to go get this deer right away! This deer was probably a 170 class whitetail. Braden and I took off through ½ mile of Milo and were closing the distance when we heard the report of a rifle. Joey had gotten an opportunity at the buck but unfortunately didn’t connect. The shot caused our deer to run over the hill a half mile to the east. Braden and I had about 30 minutes of shooting light left so we made a plan to hike up to that hill and see if we can get another look. Keep in mind, we are hiking in 4 to 5 foot milo and Braden is only a little over 4 feet tall. Getting a shot is going to be very difficult. As we were heading that direction, Braden said he just watched another nice buck run over that hill. I didn’t see it, but one thing I know with this kid, if he says he saw something, he absolutely did! So we continued up the hill and over the top. We stood there glassing for about 5 minutes and I spotted a doe. Braden says, “can I shoot her with my doe tag dad”? I said, “we aren’t shooting a doe way back here from the road, plus, we would scare that buck we are looking for”. He agreed. About 1 more minute of glassing and I notice the velvet covered antlers of a dandy whitetail at 100 yards! I told Braden I spotted one that I want him to look at and see if its big enough to hang his tag on. I put him on my shoulders and stood up so he could see. He looked in his binos and within seconds says, “oh, I see him! He looks like a nice one Dad, I’d shoot that one”! Now, we after leaving the shooting sticks a half mile away in the truck, I had to devise a plan to get him solid enough standing to take a tough shot. The only option was for me to be the shooting sticks. I made my arms into as solid of a rest as I could and told Braden to lay the gun across my arms and see if he could even see the buck through the milo. I hit the rangefinder one last time and read 98 yards. Braden looked through the scope and said he could see just the side of the deer’s head. I asked him if he could see the ear of the deer. He said he could and I told him to hold right at the base of the ear and slowly squeeze the trigger. I held my breath to be as solid as I could, and kept my eyes on the deer. Last thing I heard was, I’m on it dad, I’m gonna shoot him. About 5 seconds later, Boom! The buck instantly dropped in its tracks with a perfectly placed shot, within an inch of where he was instructed to shoot. I turned to look at Braden and he looked at me with the biggest grin ever and without knowing even what happened, says “ I think I drilled him Dad”!!!! I knelt down and got the biggest, most excited hug ever! Pretty tough to beat moments like that! I told him the deer dropped so I was pretty sure he nailed it. After a long search in the Milo, we found him dead. A perfect one shot kill on a beautiful buck!
 

Attachments

  • great shot.jpg
    great shot.jpg
    61.8 KB · Views: 900
  • Happy kid.jpg
    Happy kid.jpg
    50.9 KB · Views: 903

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
I couldn’t be more happy for this kid! I explained to Braden that although we made a great plan and did everything just right, we still had a lot of good luck and were blessed to be here. I explained to Braden that it was such a good thing he did letting Joey have the first opportunity, that it probably had a lot to do with his success. I have been blessed with a fair number of awesome experiences in the field, but this one will be hard to beat. I think the smiles say it all!
 

Attachments

  • Hug.jpg
    Hug.jpg
    62.2 KB · Views: 906
  • Braden n dad.jpg
    Braden n dad.jpg
    68 KB · Views: 905
  • Braden buck.jpg
    Braden buck.jpg
    64.6 KB · Views: 911

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
And against most Kansas traditions, we hiked out far enough that you couldn’t get any motorized equipment there. Therefore, Braden and I got break down this bugger and make the pack back to the truck. Real proud of this kid as he packed both front shoulders and a back strap. Pretty impressive to pack the 40 lb pack considering he only weighs 53 lbs.
 

Attachments

  • Pack out 2.jpg
    Pack out 2.jpg
    62.4 KB · Views: 898
  • Pack out.jpg
    Pack out.jpg
    53.3 KB · Views: 905

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
We got back to the ranch late and had some fantastic beef brisket for dinner. Braden ate a bit and headed for the living room chair. Apparently that pack out did him in Tired bugger! There is no way that could be comfortable……
 

Attachments

  • Super tired.jpg
    Super tired.jpg
    72 KB · Views: 898

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
That night I asked Braden if he wanted to head home the next day since he had his deer. He said he wanted to stay and help spot deer for the other three boys, and especially wanted Joey to get a deer before he left. Next morning we found a nice mule deer buck and as a non resident, Joey couldn’t go after it. So we stayed up on the ridge and watched as Kyler, Justin, and Hunter made a play on the buck. 30 minutes later, a crack of the rifle indicated we were one more deer down. Kyler made a great shot on the dandy buck! 2 deer down, 2 to go!
 

Attachments

  • Kyler Buck.jpg
    Kyler Buck.jpg
    59.2 KB · Views: 897

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
That evening would be Joeys last opportunity so I thought the best odds of finding him a buck were to split up in different areas and glass. I told Just to drop Braden and I off on these Milo fields that looked promising and we would glass it until we found something. Just as we were getting dropped off we found a nice buck! I told Justin to leave Braden and I and we would just keep an eye on the buck, and to go get Joey and Kris.
 

Attachments

  • Glassing Bucks.jpg
    Glassing Bucks.jpg
    50.3 KB · Views: 882
  • buck in milo.jpg
    buck in milo.jpg
    56.3 KB · Views: 885

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
After Kris and Joey arrived back, we made a stalk on the buck that put us all within 130 yards. Joey got set up and I told him the same thing as I did Braden…….”put the crosshair right in the ear and slowly squeeze”. Boom, his buck dropped like a rock! I turned as Braden slid up behind Joey (who he had never met before this trip) patted him on the back and said nice shot buddy, you nailed it!! Another moment that will ever be tough to beat.
 

Attachments

  • Joey Buck.jpg
    Joey Buck.jpg
    45.7 KB · Views: 877
  • killin crew.jpg
    killin crew.jpg
    45.2 KB · Views: 871

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
Then on the evening of the following day, the last kid to shoot, Hunter, shoots what may be the biggest deer he will ever kill A 198” Kansas bruiser! What an unbelievable weekend.
 

Attachments

  • Hunters Buck.jpg
    Hunters Buck.jpg
    66.3 KB · Views: 895

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
These four boys may never top a weekend like this. I couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it all, watching the comradery these boys had and the unselfishness they all showed in trying to help one each other out instead of racing to see who shoots first. I was certainly impressed and proud of all of them. I’m not real sure where Braden will go from here, pretty tough to top a 156” typical 8 point for a first deer. 22” inside spread and 26” main beams make for a heck of a deer, be it a first or last one. I have a feeling, my trophy room is hitting the end of my contributions, I think it will be over run by Braden’s critters going forward.

Hope you are all having a great season!
 

justdada

Active member
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
947
Location
Colorado
That's one of the best hunting stories I've ever read, congrats to the boys and to you critter. Livin the dream. Can't wait to experience this with my little ones.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
94,684
Messages
1,413,752
Members
29,704
Latest member
gaddman
Top