Sunday, October 25, 2009
After only 10 years of diligently drawing out for the deer hunt, he got one. Middle of October Dave and a his family (boys only) get together and set up their posh little camping village, complete with; kitchen sick, carpeted tents, heated showers and big screen movie theatre. They spend who knows how long doing what up there, but I can attest to what takes place before they go. For Dave it is: Curing and drying 8 pounds of meat, which takes close to 10 hours (for the hunt), filling propane tanks, buying enough food to feed at least 4 people. Making sure he has enough snacks for at least 10 people (6 pounds of gummy bears-of which only 1 pound came back), and packing. So on the first day of the actual allowed hunting days Dave ventures out into the hills above squaw creek near Strawberry. . . wait, wait wait, Dave wants to tell the real story, so here goes. It all began at 6:30 am on a chilly Saturday morning, October 17th to be exact. We head out from camp and drove to our predetermined destination at which point the party separates, while my two brothers drive up the backside of the hill. Pops and I walked up the hill. It was decided that I would sit on a hillside overlooking a valley, but as I sat I realized I was not in a very strategic location, I noticed that if I moved a little farther back down the path that we had come up I would have a better view of not only just one valley but several different locations that deer might be pushed through. I found a good spot and sat there for about 45 minutes or so, quietly observing, by this time it was getting close to 9 o-clock. I figured it was a good time to move around and look for a better location. So I put on my gear, and started up the hill towards the ridge. As I was walking up I noticed ahead of me that my dad was moving east along the ridge. I also made my way to the ridge and began walking North, down the backside. One thing I remember was that the wind was blowing and the sun had risen giving off early morning light. It was a lovely Aspen grove. As the wind was blowing and the leaves were falling off the trees it was a very beautiful and serene experience, to be there. As I continued walking I noticed a skull on the ground, I went and picked it up and noticed that it belonged to a young buck, not too big. It was then that I heard the tell tell sound of deer walking briskly through the forest. I looked toward the sound and noticed, about 100 yards out, three deer walking my way, they were weaving thorough the trees, it was then that I noticed that there was a buck in the midst of a doe and a young deer. So I bent to one knee, made sure my gun was off safety, shouldered my rifle and followed the deer in my scope. I remember saying to myself. "wait for the right shot, don't rush it." All this while they didn't notice me, they didn't get any closer than 50 yards, they were walking in a west to east direction towards me. I had that buck in my scope, adjusted my magnification to ensure the best shot. I continued to follow him keeping my cross hairs square on his chest, waiting for the best shot. When I felt the time was right I squeezed the trigger. I quickly chambered another round. I noticed he hadn't fallen but seemed more confused, he wasn't running but he hadn't stopped either, he was more looking around. In his confusion I took aim and fired a second round. By this time I could tell he was definitely wounded by the way he was acting. I chambered one more round and just to be sure I took aim and fired a third time. I watched him as he fell. I chambered one more round just in case he jumped up as I cautiously started walking over to him. My thoughts were "I can't believe this just happened, I can't believe I just killed my first deer." When I came up to him, I noticed he wasn't dead yet, he was struggling for breath, making a gasping noise, but he quickly expired. Then all was quiet. With my ears ringing from the shots, I stood there and thought to myself, "this is what i came out here for, now what do I do." First order of business was to cut his throat, and allow the blood to drain. I then took out my deer tag and attached it to it's antlers. At this point, my dad having heard my gun fire, came over with a big smile on his face, gave me a high five and said "alright! Dave, you did it." I also saw, coming from the other direction, my brother Jon who was making his way towards us. Having never killed a deer let alone cleaned one. My dad immediately took out his knife, put on his gloves and instructed me to do the same. He then showed me, step by step, how to field dress a deer. (details will be spared during this part of the story, for obvious reasons, blaaaah). I than posed for the "Happy hunter got his kill" picture. Jon and I each grabbed an antler and drug him down the hill where my uncle was waiting. Boy was he heavy. He was a good 4 point-probably 150-200 pounds of solid dead wait. We then took turns dragging it back down to the truck. We hung it up back at camp, skinned it and then I proceeded to call my wife and tell her the good news. He says the end, but that is not where it ends. He came home hung the dead carcass in the drive way, unpacked his stuff, and that night began cutting the meat off the bones. It was really windy that night, but he and Jon toughed it out and finished the job. Since then Dave has had this fabulous idea (not) of cleaning, boiling, and bleaching the skull to a brilliant white complete with antlers still attached, just perfect for hanging in an unpopulated location, to revel in his victory. We figure that, the meat was at least 50 dollars a pound. After 10 years of paying to draw out and camping expenditures that was the most expensive deer ever. But hey, he did it and no doubt he will do it again. Until next year. . .