Idaho 2023 - Youth mule deer success

Boomstick

Active Member
Nov 16, 2011
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It seems like every year when the draw results from different states are posted, a feeling of disappointment and frustration typically follows. The 2023 results started out no different, as I casually crossed out state after state upon reading “unsuccessful”, “not selected”, “bonus point earned”. I had almost accepted the fact that another season was going to click by without someone in our family getting lucky as I logged into the Idaho fish and game website in late June. I entered our names one by one, and like normal, “Not selected” appeared in the results. As I typed in Taylor Patterson and hit enter, I could not believe my eyes when the search results turned green and read “Selected.”

Fast forward to a cold mid-November morning. The anticipation of this hunt had been building for me, and more appropriately, consuming me for the better part of 4 months. I knew what a special tag Taylor had drawn and could not wait to share this hunt with her, my son Kaleb, and my dad. As we unloaded the quads and side by side, with the sun still hidden from the horizon I could not believe it was finally happening. As we started to make our way up the trail, I could only hope that the next week would turn out to be the experience of a lifetime.

We settled into our first glassing spot just as the sun shared its light with the landscape, and the hills before us were alive with activity. I knew within minutes that we had timed our hunt dates perfectly with the rut, and our elevation was exactly where the sweet spot was for the herds to congregate. There were deer everywhere we looked. We spent the day getting familiar with the area and quite honestly there was not a place we went that did not have a pile of deer in it. That first day was one of the most incredible days I have spent in the field. We had stopped counting deer in general after lunch and as daylight ran out, we had looked over more than fifty bucks.

Our problem on this hunt was not going to be finding a mature buck. Our problem was going to be finding that special buck and having it give Taylor the time she needed to decide whether she wanted to pursue it or not. These rutting bucks were traversing the hills quickly, bouncing amongst doe groups and quite literally never stopping. The entire time leading up to this hunt, Taylor and I had discussed that whatever deer she wanted to go after and try and harvest was going to be her choice. I wanted this hunt to be about what she wanted and during the first few days she found herself consistently asking me what I thought. “Dad, is that one big enough?”, “Dad, would you shoot that one?”. I reminded her each time that the choice was hers and when the time was right, she would know. By the end of day three, we had looked at every horn configuration imaginable. We had seen tall and narrow bucks, bucks with broken horns, wide bucks, short and heavy bucks, and even a buck with a 3” cheater coming off one side. None of them had been “the one,” but she told us that evening that if we could find a perfectly symmetrical 4X4, she would probably be shooting.


This was the turning point in the hunt that I had been waiting for. She was finally making this hunt her own. The morning and early afternoon of day four turned out to be pretty discouraging. We were unable to relocate a buck from the previous day, and all the bucks we were seeing were young. I began to wonder if the mature deer had moved on from this area down to some lower elevations, as the weather was turning colder by the day. After lunch I gave the kids a little pep talk reminding them that everything could change in an instant. We needed to stay positive and keep after it.

As we popped over the crest of a small hill around 3:30 pm to investigate a hidden sage covered pocket, we were shocked to see over twenty deer tucked away in it. Within that group 250 yards below us and now staring directly at us, was a beautifully symmetrical 4x4 buck. Taylor looked at it through her binoculars and immediately said to us all, “That’s my buck.” She got set up behind the gun and began to get comfortable for the upcoming shot.

I wish I could say that I held it together as her guide. Again, for the second year in a row, Taylor was the one under control and I was the one who was a mess. I was trying to help her locate the buck within the group as they began to move out of the draw in front of us. As a result, I was inhibiting her more than helping her. With her brother and Grandpa standing behind her watching the buck walk away and her dad acting a fool next to her, she remained composed. The buck finally revealed himself again and after regaining my composure I told her; “460 yards”. Taylor said “dad, I’m ready.” Watching through my binos I saw the signature back kick of his legs and knew she had made a great shot. He made a quick death run down the hill and disappeared from sight.



There is always a sense of pride as a father when your kids accomplish a goal or succeed in an endeavor, they have challenged themselves with. As we walked together up to her fallen buck, the ear-to-ear smile on her face was priceless. She grabbed his horns, turned to me, and said, “Thank you dad, he’s perfect.” With the sun quickly fading, we took pictures, made short work of caping him out and loaded the boned-out meat into game bags. With our backpacks now heavy, and the moon beginning to rise, we all turned our head lamps on and began to make our way back up the canyon.IMG_5415.jpegIMG_5422 (1).jpegIMG_5520.jpegIMG_5459.jpegIMG_5472.jpegIMG_5499.jpeg7555E746-11EB-4384-9B1F-E8E0310CC731.jpgIMG_5527.jpegIMG_5528.jpegIMG_5534.jpeg
 
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Boomer,

Thanks for sharing this great story...Congrats to your daughter and especially you for being a great dad...Felt like I was there.... :heart: ...........:clap:
 
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Im not crying..you're crying!! Great write up!! My 12yr old daughter just got her hunting license and I can't wait to share an experience like this with her. We are starting with turkeys and hope to work up to big game with her. We are going on year 2 of living in Idaho and I'm still trying to figure out the areas myself to put her on some animals. Congratulations on an awesome hunt and a memory she will talk about for a lifetime!
 
Im not crying..you're crying!! Great write up!! My 12yr old daughter just got her hunting license and I can't wait to share an experience like this with her. We are starting with turkeys and hope to work up to big game with her. We are going on year 2 of living in Idaho and I'm still trying to figure out the areas myself to put her on some animals. Congratulations on an awesome hunt and a memory she will talk about for a lifetime!
Thank you. Once your kids start harvesting animals, you will find no better feeling as an outdoorsman!
 
It seems like every year when the draw results from different states are posted, a feeling of disappointment and frustration typically follows. The 2023 results started out no different, as I casually crossed out state after state upon reading “unsuccessful”, “not selected”, “bonus point earned”. I had almost accepted the fact that another season was going to click by without someone in our family getting lucky as I logged into the Idaho fish and game website in late June. I entered our names one by one, and like normal, “Not selected” appeared in the results. As I typed in Taylor Patterson and hit enter, I could not believe my eyes when the search results turned green and read “Selected.”

Fast forward to a cold mid-November morning. The anticipation of this hunt had been building for me, and more appropriately, consuming me for the better part of 4 months. I knew what a special tag Taylor had drawn and could not wait to share this hunt with her, my son Kaleb, and my dad. As we unloaded the quads and side by side, with the sun still hidden from the horizon I could not believe it was finally happening. As we started to make our way up the trail, I could only hope that the next week would turn out to be the experience of a lifetime.

We settled into our first glassing spot just as the sun shared its light with the landscape, and the hills before us were alive with activity. I knew within minutes that we had timed our hunt dates perfectly with the rut, and our elevation was exactly where the sweet spot was for the herds to congregate. There were deer everywhere we looked. We spent the day getting familiar with the area and quite honestly there was not a place we went that did not have a pile of deer in it. That first day was one of the most incredible days I have spent in the field. We had stopped counting deer in general after lunch and as daylight ran out, we had looked over more than fifty bucks.

Our problem on this hunt was not going to be finding a mature buck. Our problem was going to be finding that special buck and having it give Taylor the time she needed to decide whether she wanted to pursue it or not. These rutting bucks were traversing the hills quickly, bouncing amongst doe groups and quite literally never stopping. The entire time leading up to this hunt, Taylor and I had discussed that whatever deer she wanted to go after and try and harvest was going to be her choice. I wanted this hunt to be about what she wanted and during the first few days she found herself consistently asking me what I thought. “Dad, is that one big enough?”, “Dad, would you shoot that one?”. I reminded her each time that the choice was hers and when the time was right, she would know. By the end of day three, we had looked at every horn configuration imaginable. We had seen tall and narrow bucks, bucks with broken horns, wide bucks, short and heavy bucks, and even a buck with a 3” cheater coming off one side. None of them had been “the one,” but she told us that evening that if we could find a perfectly symmetrical 4X4, she would probably be shooting.


This was the turning point in the hunt that I had been waiting for. She was finally making this hunt her own. The morning and early afternoon of day four turned out to be pretty discouraging. We were unable to relocate a buck from the previous day, and all the bucks we were seeing were young. I began to wonder if the mature deer had moved on from this area down to some lower elevations, as the weather was turning colder by the day. After lunch I gave the kids a little pep talk reminding them that everything could change in an instant. We needed to stay positive and keep after it.

As we popped over the crest of a small hill around 3:30 pm to investigate a hidden sage covered pocket, we were shocked to see over twenty deer tucked away in it. Within that group 250 yards below us and now staring directly at us, was a beautifully symmetrical 4x4 buck. Taylor looked at it through her binoculars and immediately said to us all, “That’s my buck.” She got set up behind the gun and began to get comfortable for the upcoming shot.

I wish I could say that I held it together as her guide. Again, for the second year in a row, Taylor was the one under control and I was the one who was a mess. I was trying to help her locate the buck within the group as they began to move out of the draw in front of us. As a result, I was inhibiting her more than helping her. With her brother and Grandpa standing behind her watching the buck walk away and her dad acting a fool next to her, she remained composed. The buck finally revealed himself again and after regaining my composure I told her; “460 yards”. Taylor said “dad, I’m ready.” Watching through my binos I saw the signature back kick of his legs and knew she had made a great shot. He made a quick death run down the hill and disappeared from sight.



There is always a sense of pride as a father when your kids accomplish a goal or succeed in an endeavor, they have challenged themselves with. As we walked together up to her fallen buck, the ear-to-ear smile on her face was priceless. She grabbed his horns, turned to me, and said, “Thank you dad, he’s perfect.” With the sun quickly fading, we took pictures, made short work of caping him out and loaded the boned-out meat into game bags. With our backpacks now heavy, and the moon beginning to rise, we all turned our head lamps on and began to make our way back up the canyon.View attachment 61665View attachment 61666View attachment 61667View attachment 61668View attachment 61669View attachment 61671View attachment 61672View attachment 61673View attachment 61674View attachment 61675
I appreciate the time you put into writing this up. As someone who appreciates good writing, thank you. Great pics. That deer belongs on a wall. Tell your daughter she did really good. I remember when we got my niece on her first deer. Girls just listen a lot better and are more patient then most of the guys I know. Tell her cool nails. What caliber and rifle did she end up using?

John
 
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I appreciate the time you put into writing this up. As someone who appreciates good writing, thank you. Great pics. That deer belongs on a wall. Tell your daughter she did really good. I remember when we got my niece on her first deer. Girls just listen a lot better and are more patient then most of the guys I know. Tell her cool nails. What caliber and rifle did she end up using?

John
Thank you. Appreciate the comment, and taking the time to read the story. The deer is definitely going up on the wall. She was shooting a .270.
 

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