A GUIDE’S ULTIMATE DREAM – I’ve had the privilege of being a hunting guide in Utah for a few years now. Being a guide is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a young man. However, there were many things that impeded my ability to pursue that dream. Those impediments weren’t necessarily bad things. They included starting a family, finishing my nursing degree, and establishing a career that would provide for my growing family. Ultimately, I did accomplish the goal of becoming a guide. My first several hunters that I took went well, but nothing can compare to the hunter I was able to take in October of 2022.
Booking with Pine Creek Outfitters
I’ve been blessed to work for two separate outfitters as a guide. MTN Outfitters was the company that gave me my start. Luckily enough, the owner of the company is a good friend of mine, and he was generous enough to sign me up without a lot of experience guiding. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of experience as a hunter, but being a guide is a completely different challenge.
Pine Creek Outfitters, another good friend of mine, is another outfitter that has given me a chance as a guide. Early in 2022, Trevor Hunt, the owner of Pine Creek Outfitters, reached out and asked if I’d be willing to take a guy that had booked with them. He said he was a solid dude, and that we would have a good time together. I told him yes, especially because it was in an area that I knew very well.
The Hunt Starts
Prior to this hunt, I had spent a lot of time helping a friend on an elk hunt and doing my own hunt in Alaska. I didn’t have the chance to spend a ton of time in the area, but I was able to locate a couple shooter bucks that I thought my hunter, Chandler, would be happy harvesting. As Trevor had told me, Chandler was a cool guy and was looking to just shoot a mature deer.
Opening day was uneventful. We went to a few areas that I had seen some bucks, but we didn’t see anything worth shooting. It was good to spend some time with Chandler and get to know him as a person. He’d been on some cool hunts and had harvested some good animals, but he had no idea what was about to happen in the coming days.
The second day of the hunt was a Sunday. At Pine Creek Outfitters, we try to observe the sabbath day the best we can. We give our hunters a heads up that we try not to hunt that day, and we try to be home with our families. That’s exactly what Chandler and I did. We went home, which was a significant drive for him, and spent the day in church and with our families.
A Day We Won’t Forget
On Sunday evening it snowed a significant amount and got very cold. Chandler went back to camp Sunday night and I went back out Monday morning. He had a pretty rough night that night with the CO2 alarm in his trailer, but when I got there he was ready to go hunting. I told him we had two choices, we could either freeze our rear-ends off on the side by side, or we could get in the truck and go to an area that was easier to get to. I did tell him that the area we would go in the side by side had more of a chance of producing a big buck though. He thought for a minute and then said, “let’s go in the side by side”.
We started off going to a spot where I had seen a 195” buck. There were a couple does in that area, but we couldn’t locate the buck. Since he wasn’t there, I decided to take Chandler up a canyon that I have seen nice bucks in historically. We saw a lot of does and a couple small bucks, but again, nothing worth shooting. We had some guys on a four wheeler behind us, so we had to keep moving up the canyon faster than I would like, but it paid off.
The Moment of Truth
As we went up the canyon, we hit an area that is full of giant pine trees. We saw several deer moving through the trees, but again nothing amazing. Then there he was. I got just a glimpse of him, but as soon as I saw him, I knew he was the buck. Since the buck wasn’t far away, I told Chandler to get out of the side by side, go around back, and take the shot. I was watching through my Vortex Razors as the buck watched us. He obviously wanted to get out of there. Chandler was quick to get out, get into position, and pull the trigger. The buck hit the dirt immediately! We celebrated there where he shot, and I told him he had shot a really nice buck, but we didn’t realize how nice.
Joining a New Club
Once we knew things had settled, and the guys behind us had continued up the road, we started up the hill to find his buck. I got ahead of Chandler as we climbed the mountain, so I saw him first. I was honestly blown away. I knew this buck was big, but he exceeded expectations. As Chandler came up behind me, I told him, “do you realize what you just did? You just joined a new club. The 200” club.” I will never forget Chandler’s face when he saw that deer for the first time. He was so excited! He kept saying, “we did it!” We most certainly did. We took pictures, took care of the buck, and got him loaded up. On our way back to town, I called Trevor to tell him the news. We took the buck over to his house to get him measured and caped. He ended up measuring out at 224”. Chandler’s biggest buck to date.
When I became a hunting guide, this was the hunt I dreamed of doing. Chandler was a great client, I was able to hunt one of my favorite areas, and we were able to harvest an unbelievable buck. I look forward to the next adventure as a hunting guide. I look forward to meeting more amazing people and being able to be part of more unforgettable experiences.