I think I’ve found my good luck charm when it comes to hunting. That’s right I’ve figured it all out. All I have to do is take my son, Cole (6). Over the last few years, my young son has always loved to go set up and check trail cameras with me. However, he hasn’t been completely sold on the going hunting part. I’ve taken him out from time to time and I’ve always tried to make it fun for him. He usually has a good time but is usually excited to be done and heading home at the end of the day.
The Good Luck Charm Legend Begins
This year I drew a Dedicated Hunter deer permit in Utah. This permit allows hunters to hunt all 3 seasons. The beauty of this tag is it gives hunters a lot of time to hunt and look over a lot of deer. Starting in the middle of August I went out on the archery hunt. It was hot and dry and I only saw a few bucks here and there the first two weeks of the hunt.
On the 3rd weekend as I loaded my gear in the truck Cole came downstairs with his sleeping bag. “Dad I want to go.” I was somewhat shocked, I told him “Ok, let’s get your gear in the truck.” After a mad dash of getting all of our stuff in the truck, we hit the road for the desert. Knowing full well that bow hunting with a six-year-old was going to be a challenge.
I decided to try an area I had hunted before. Earlier in the year, I had checked this area out quite a bit. It had a few seeps and I thought sitting on water may be the best chance at finding us a buck. There was only one major problem, in all my time scouting and hunting I had yet to see a buck in that area. As we rode into the area in the dark I wasn’t expecting to see much that morning, little did I know that I had my good luck charm with me.
A Close Call during the Archery Hunt
Before we made it to the seep I wanted to sit at, I noticed a few deer feeding on the nearby ridgeline. I showed them to Cole and I began glassing them. After a quick look, I was surprised to see a decent two-point in the herd. With my boy with me, any buck was a shooter but the buck was pretty nice, even if he was a 2×2. I asked Cole if we should try to get him. He responded with “Yeah he is big!” After a quick game plan, we decided it would be better to get into the next draw over and wait for them to feed down to us.
Once we got into the next draw, I decided I needed to move to a nearby tree. I told Cole “sit down and watch me try and get to that tree.” As I got to the tree I could see the buck feeding in the opening just beyond the tree.
Suddenly my heart sank as I felt a stiff breeze hit the back of my neck. The buck half-heartedly blew out of the opening. However, for whatever reason, the buck stopped before going over the small hill. He was standing at sixty-four yards, a distance that I am comfortable with. I drew back and everything felt good. I still don’t know what I did wrong but as I released the arrow my string smacked my arm. The arrow hit the dirt harmlessly just in front of the buck. At that point, the buck decided that he had seen enough of us and he took off for good.
Bucks Everywhere We Went
Once I got back to Cole he was full of excitement. “You almost got him, dad!” After a quick talk, we decided to head to the seep to hunt the rest of the morning. However, before we could even make it to the seep we seen two more bucks along the way. Both bucks were in pretty tough areas to get on. The wind was bad and there was very little cover. After I had botched both of those attempts we finally moved on to the seep.
Once we made it to the seep, I had Cole sit down and I started checking my trail camera I had left there over the summer. Five hundred and seventy-seven pictures and not one of them was of a buck. Soon after I finished looking at the pictures, I heard something coming up the trail. A herd of nine deer suddenly walked into view. They stopped and looked in our direction. That’s when I noticed that the last deer was a small 2×3. Cole saw that one was a buck began excitedly saying “shoot him, dad! shoot him.” There was only one problem, the herd was one hundred and eight yards away and after all our noise, knew something wasn’t right. They left in a hurry and we were left to talk about the events of the morning.
About an hour later we decided it was time to head back to the SXS. We loaded up and hit the road back to camp to get lunch. As we left the area once again we spotted another buck. He was on the move and I was unable to cut him off. All in all, we had seen five bucks in a single morning where beforehand I had never seen a buck in the area. The good luck charm was in full effect.
Fourteen days in the Desert
After our archery season adventure, I spent another fourteen days in the desert looking for a quality buck. I saw a few smaller bucks here and there but nothing I wanted to take. I also never saw another buck in the area with the seep that Cole and I hunted. The Muzzleloader season came and went without me even seeing a buck. At that point, I was feeling pretty crummy about my prospects of finding a quality buck.
About a week before the rifle hunt Cole told me that he wanted to go hunting with dad and grandpa. He also told me that grandpa would get a deer before me because he’s a much better hunter than I am. There’s nothing like getting made fun of by your six-year-old.
Looking for bucks during the Rifle Season
The morning of the rifle season arrived with us picking up grandpa well before light. My dad had drawn a rifle permit for the same unit that I had my Dedicated Hunter permit for. Daylight found us glassing a few high desert basins. To our surprise, every one of the basins seemed to be crawling with deer. However, due to some maple stands in the bottom of the basins we were unsure how many deer were actually in each canyon. I decided the best course of action was for me to walk across the top and check each basin. My dad and Cole would stay down low and watch the bottoms of the basins.
After crisscrossing across a steep canyon and getting on top I was greeted by deer in every little pocket I checked. After working into my fourth basin I saw a small 2×3 buck. He saw me almost immediately and took off running. It was a snap decision, I decided that with my son here it would be really cool to get a buck.
The Good Luck Charm Strikes Again
Two quick shots and the hunt was over and the work began. I worked my way across the basin to where I had last seen the buck. He was dead just a few yards from where I last saw him crest the ridge. I took a few pictures with the help of a friendly rock and started to get my gear ready to lug him off the mountain top. As I got ready to move my buck I heard a rifle boom in the bottom of the canyon. “Maybe that was Dad and Cole” I wondered aloud. Little did I know that the good luck charm was in full effect.
Being somewhat ill-prepared, I had left my backpack and most of my gear back at the SXS. I made the slow trek off the top with a buck in tow. With no way to contact my old man, I was hoping they would venture up the road along the bottom of the mountain and see me. As luck would have it they did just that. Spotting me they parked the machine and headed up the mountain towards me. A little while later found me meeting up with them about three-quarters of the way down the mountain.
Two bucks in one morning
When I reached them I was greeted by Cole’s smiling face, he blurted out “You got a buck too!? We got two deer! Grandpa got one, he’s down there in the bushes.” I had to walk to the top of a mountain and across four canyons to get a buck. Meanwhile, the good luck charm had produced a buck for my dad right off of the road. They had been driving along the bottom road trying to find what canyon I was in. As they drove along, a two-point ran across the road in front of them and stopped to look back at them. Grandpa was ready and waiting on the buck to stop. One-shot and the rest was history.
We took a few pictures of both deer and started lugging them down to the road. Once we made it to the SXS we loaded both deer into it. It was at the point that we realized my dad had lost his phone. We backtracked and scoured the area for quite some time but could never find it. Unfortunately, it had the photos of me and Cole with my deer but at least I had my phone, which had pictures of Cole and my dad.
Hunting with Family
After hunting for two weeks by myself looking for a mature buck and striking out constantly I thought I was burned out on hunting. What I think I was burned out on was hunting by myself. I think back to all the laughs and good times we had that Sunday morning and it’s the most fun I’ve had hunting all year. Or maybe that’s the effects of the good luck charm talking.
Over the years I’ve taken some quality mature bucks and had some good hunts. But after seeing the excitement in Cole’s eyes I’d trade any one of those bucks for another hunt like we had a few Sundays ago. I just hope in the future that the good luck charm lets me tag along with him again.
Hunting with family is the best part of hunting. It looks like Seth and Cole have a lot more hunting to look forward to. Do you hunt with your kids and family? Send us your success photos, we’d love to see them!