I’m a 20-year-old college student. I come from a family who has enjoyed the sport of hunting from way back. I have great memories of getting up with my family at 4:00 am to brave the dark, early hours of morning preparing to leave for the “big hunt.” I loved the smell of the early morning air as we piled into my dad’s Chevy truck and were handed our styrofoam cups of hot chocolate and our Little Debbie chocolate doughnuts. We also had plenty of deer jerky from the year before. Come to think of it, my dad never goes anywhere without some jerky in his truck.
My mother and I drew tags for the Book Cliffs the fall of 2004. My dad was so excited about us drawing out on this hunt that we took our whole family and some friends. Our professional guide and photographer (my dad) came along to make sure we got very little sleep, just enough food to survive, and a lot of hiking in. It was the hunt of a lifetime. We had a great time spotting deer while in pursuit of bucks big enough to take home.
Our drill sergeant-I mean, our guide-kept us hunting hard all day, with few rest periods. There were moments when I wondered if Boot Camp would be easier. Then dad would spot a buck! The excitement and adrenaline we felt were sure signs “buck fever” was setting in. I remember crouching down and running as fast as I could through the sagebrush and cedars, balancing my gun on my shoulder as I tried to keep up with dad. I saw several big bucks-but dad would emphatically declare they weren’t big enough!
Around 5:00 p.m., just about the time I was completely convinced dad was crazy, we came upon a small herd of deer. I was lazily scanning the herd with tired eyes when I happened to glance up and across the side of the mountain. There he was! My eyes got wide and my mouth fell open as I stared at the sight before me.
Standing just above the face of a small cliff was a four-point buck big enough to more than get my dad’s attention. This buck would make my hunt the hunt of a lifetime! I’d spotted this buck myself. I took careful aim, and the rest is history.
I killed the buck with a .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum loaded with 85-grain Triple-Shock bullets. One shot from 160 yards took out both shoulders. After I’d shot the four-point buck, I then shot a cow elk at 458 yards with this gun. Dad told me the gun was mine.
Happy Hunting!-Jennifer Branson
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