This article was written by Luke, the oldest son of Got Game Tech founder, Tayler Tibbitts, putting into words his first big game animal hunt where he was the shooter.
Although I’ve been hunting with my dad before when he’s shot something, this late whitetail deer season was my first time having the gun in my hands. On December 29, 2018, I had turned ten, eight days ago, which is when youth can hunt big game in Idaho. The only general season open in my area was a late short-range weapon whitetail doe hunt. I was hunting with a Savage bolt-action .20 gauge shotgun with a slug.
My dad and I woke up at 6 a.m. and planned on hunting the river bottoms that bordered some fields. I had butterflies in my stomach as we left the truck and headed down to the creek bottom. We first saw some whitetail does around 7:30 a.m., but shooting light wasn’t until 7:45 a.m.
At 7:45 a.m., the does we had seen moved to about 160 yards away. This gun was sighted in for longer ranges than a typical shotgun and had a scope, but that was still a long ways away. I tried to find the deer in my scope to see how I felt, but had a hard time finding the deer.
Fortunately, another group of deer walked out in front of me at 30 yards! I held still and was really quiet. I had some trouble taking the safety off the gun as the first deer came into my sights. I thought I had it on fire, but when I pulled the trigger nothing happened. This happened a second time too! Finally, I was able to get the safety all the way off and settled the cross hairs on one of the does.
I was resting the gun on the fence in front of me, and when I pulled the trigger, the doe didn’t even run. She just dropped. I shot her through both lungs. After I shot this deer, I felt happy and proud of myself because I managed to shoot my first big game animal. My first phone call was to my mom, and she was really excited for me. I also called my grandpa and uncle, and they were excited too.
I helped field dress the deer by unzipping the hide on the belly and holding the legs while my dad worked with the knife inside. After finishing, we dragged the deer through the creek and across the field to our truck. We aged the meat and turned it into steaks and jerky. We’ve eaten the meat from my deer for dinner. It feels good to provide food for my family.
My favorite part of this hunt was the feeling of shooting the deer, because of how exciting it was. I like hunting because of how hard it can be–you might need to walk a long ways and do hard things to get the right shot.
In 2019, I plan on shooting a mule deer buck and a bull elk. I am going to apply for controlled hunt tags in Idaho, and if I don’t draw, I’ll hunt over the counter. I am planning on scouting with my dad during the summer and fall to prepare for my hunts.