First Buck, First Deer, and Two Young Hunters

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
In response to the @neffa3 post about the current HT state of affairs, I decided to try to do my part to uplift the atmosphere and post about my November 2019. It's overdue. This should've been shared earlier. I apologize.

I grew up at Yellowstone Park headquarters and attended school in Gardiner, Montana. I love that slice of the world, and even though I no longer live there, I maintain strong ties to the people and deep emotional bonds to the place, itself. Many childhood memories center around hunting with my dad north of Gardiner. I took my first buck in the A-B Wilderness as a 12-year-old in 1990. It was a 2.5-year-old deer, and I couldn't have been happier. From the looks of the smile on Dad's face, he felt the same way.

Deer_and_Elk_Hunting_001.JPG
 

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
Twenty-nine years later I was, once again, hunting north of Gardiner with Dad. But this trip was different... and new. I had an elk tag that never left my pocket. My rifle stayed in the truck. Dad never carried a gun, and we had the time of our lives. This time, my 12-year-old, Caleb, was after his first buck. And my 10-year-old, Ethan, sought his first deer.
 

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
I'm raising my boys in San Antonio, TX. Though we visit Montana often, the last week of November can bring weather to Yellowstone country that my boys rarely ever face. The cold air is also thinner. The country is steeper. And I wanted this trip to be fun. I didn't really dictate to my boys what I wanted them to do. I hoped we could show them some elk and deer. And I wanted to give them the freedom to tell me what they wanted to pursue and when they'd had enough.

The first morning, Dad, Caleb, Ethan and I sat in a pickup with a friend of Dad's looking over some familiar country. A small herd of cow elk filtered out of the timber at first light. Caleb's elk A tag permitted anterless harvest for kids 15 and under. The elk were a long way away, but we drove in a big loop and parked in a spot that I hoped would allow us to intercept the elk before they bedded for the day. Ethan stayed in the truck with Dad since he wasn't old enough to take an elk, while Caleb and I left the truck and slipped through the timber toward the elk's last known position. After just a few minutes of hiking, Caleb started pointing out elk. I felt pretty dumb, but I hadn't seen them. The rising sun cast long shadows through the trees, and I guess my aging eyes weren't picking up the finer details. Caleb let me know that he didn't appreciate me blundering into his elk. I apologized. :)
 
Last edited:

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
The elk moved off without us getting a shot, but we pressed on, eventually breaking out of the timber. We couldn't catch up to the departed cow group, but we did find a mule deer buck chasing a hot doe. They remained oblivious to our presence as we tucked back into the timber and slipped through the trees to cut them off. The preoccupied rutting buck had other things on his mind as Caleb and I closed the distance. At 48 yards I got Caleb set up on a downed log, and he put the 7mm-08 round right into the 2.5-year-old buck's lungs. "Congratulations, son!" I yelled. "You just got your first buck." My boy looked up from his scope and got emotional. And that was just fine with me.
IMG_4750.JPG
 
Last edited:

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
A couple of days later, Ethan and I belly-crawled along the banks of Big Creek. A young doe lay in the deep grass at the base of an ancient cottonwood, and we hoped she'd stay bedded long enough for Ethan to get a shot. At 91 yards, we ran out of options, so I propped up the rifle on the bipod and scooted Ethan into the stock. He found the young whitetail in the scope and waited patiently for her to stand. Eventually, she did, and Ethan filled his first-ever deer tag. Dad watched the whole thing unfold from the road where he waited. The memory and the three-generation picture are two items I will cherish forever.
IMG_5408.jpeg
 

rmyoung1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
1,373
Hunting is taking on a new flavor for me these days. I love where I'm heading. There's a certain contentment that accompanies a successful hunt. Feelings of deep gratitude filled me after these. It's a blessing from God above to grow up where I did, how I did. It's a blessing to have a father who hunted with me. And it's almost too much to be repeating the process with boys of my own. An embarrassment of riches, for sure.
 

wnc2500

Active member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
121
Location
North Carolina
Thanks for sharing. I would think you now have hunters for life that are hooked and you will be the next one in the generational pictures YEARS from now
 

Sawtooth

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
1,449
Location
Idaho
Thanks for sharing a fantastic story with us. You couldn't have picked a better time to share it with us.
 
Top