Sons & Smoke Poles

By Kevin Holt
Idaho, DIY, Public Land

Kevin Holt - Sons and Smoke PolesFebruary/March 2014 EHJ (Issue 141) - On November 15 my son and I headed for the mountains to start hunting the foothills just outside of town. We didn’t see anything that morning except a little buck and a doe so we headed back to the house to get some lunch. That evening we met up with my other son and headed out to a larger nearby drainage.

We drove up the canyon and didn’t see anything there so we turned around at the summit and headed back down the canyon. After we drove about a half-mile my son noticed a doe standing on the ridge, so we pulled over to look and spotted a big buck standing behind her. He was a really big 4x4. We only had about 15 minutes of daylight left and decided to come back the next day.

The next morning my son-in-law decided to go with us too, so the three of us headed back to where we saw the big buck the night before. The weather had gotten worse that night; it snowed two inches and was very foggy. Thankfully, when we got back to where we saw the big buck the previous day the weather started to clear up, so we got out of the truck and started glassing.

Suddenly, my son-in-law hollered, "Big buck!”

We turned around and my son-in-law was looking across the road, two canyons over where a buck was coming across the hillside. After we put the spotting scope on him it was obvious he was a shooter. We didn’t know exactly how big he was, but knew he was big. At that, my boys and I started up and around the mountain, hoping to get a shot at him across the saddle.

My son-in-law stayed back to watch the buck through the spotting scope. When the rest of us reached the saddle, we ranged the buck at 525 yards, too far for a shot. He was bedded down in a spot where he could see everything and I knew we couldn’t get any closer, so I told the boys we could come back that night and try again.

The boys offered to backtrack around the mountain and come in behind him and try and try to nudge him to me. I told them it was a big hike for them to do that and reinforced the fact that the odds of him coming my way were one-in-a-million. They said they wanted to try, so I agreed.

Off they went around the mountain and I stayed, keeping an eye on the buck. About an hour later I noticed the buck was standing up and staring up the canyon; then I saw the boys coming across the saddle. The buck had spotted them but never moved a muscle. The does took off. Not knowing where they went, I kept an eye on the buck. The boys couldn’t see the buck but they could see me, so I motioned them by hand signals to keep coming. I reached over, picked up my muzzleloader and got ready.

Kevin Holt - Sons and Smoke Poles

For a full account of Kevin's adventure, go to page 22 in the February/March 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.