I was able to get it done on the Utah general muzzleloader hunt! We had such a fun hunt and made tons of memories! We had a little bit of everything weather wise; rain, hail, heat, cold, wind, and up to 8 inches of snow of the ground in some places.
The story behind this buck is a fun one! We first found him on July 23rd on an overnight scouting trip and at that time he really didn't look like much, he had cheaters but they were only about an inch or two long and his back forks were just barely splitting, in fact he wasn't even on my radar until the next time we found him. We got trail cam pictures of him about 3 weeks later and he had grown his split cheater and hook cheater so we dubbed him as "Captain Hook". We then found him a few more times during the archery hunt and again the night before the opener of the muzzleloader hunt. He had stayed in the same basin for those 8 weeks and I killed him about 500 yards from the first spot I glassed him up on July 23rd.
I found him first thing opening morning and quickly made a plan to make a stock. I dropped off a steep side hill from our glassing knob and began my stock just after 7:00 AM. With my dad on point watching the bucks and guiding me I made it to 304 yards and had him in my sights but I was still breathing hard from hiking and didn't feel comfortable shooting that far anyway. So I closed the distance to 207 and every time I had him in my sights he would move behind a tree or start sparring with another buck so I couldn't get a shot. He was just slowly feeding across a side hill and had no idea I as there so I dropped my pack and sneaked in closer to 178 yards. I thought for sure I was going to get a shot at this distance but he just never presented a clear shot. Eventually he and another buck worked their way into some pines in the bottom of a basin and I couldn't see them anymore so I backed out and got my pack and then started a new stock. I had a good idea of where they were going to go so I checked the wind and it was blowing straight at my back, crap! So I made a big loop around and got on top of them and could hear them sparring in the bottom again. I finally found them and the two bucks were running around like a couple little kids, kicking and jumping and sparring, so I could never get a shot again and at this point I was only 75 yards above them. Finally, they calmed down and were just milling around in the trees. After about an hour of playing cat and mouse I spotted him moving through the trees into an opening so I moved again and positioned myself to where I could see an opening I thought he would move into. I ranged it and with the steep angle it was only 55 yards away! He took a couple steps into the opening and I made a perfect shot and he dropped in his tracks! What an epic stock and hunt! From start to finish of the stock it was 2 hours.
What a rush and feeling of pride and accomplishment I felt! He isn't the biggest buck out there, but I loved his character and love the history behind him. Since we were staying up there for 4 more days to try and fill 2 more tags, we had camp meat and cooked up the tenderloins and backstraps for 3 different meals. They were BY FAR the best deer meat I have ever eaten and made the hunt that much better! A special thanks to my dad for helping me get to the bucks and for teaching me how to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. Also a special thanks to my friends Hudson and Chet who helped cut up the deer and eat it and for making the trip one with tons of laughs and good memories, you guys are great hunting buddies! And lastly, thanks to my two uncles who came up at the end of our hunt to help us pack my deer and some of our gear out.
My little boy was pretty enthralled with the buck when I took him home and I can't wait until he is old enough to start hunting with me as well!