The DIY Hunter

Two X-Bolt Rifles.

My X-Bolt Gray Laminate Long Range in 28 Nosler and Kaden's Hell's Canyon Speed X-Bolt in 300 WSM.

Kaden glassing for mule deer.

Kaden glassing for mule deer.

Mule deer on the skyline.

I watched these deer while I was working on my cheater buck.

Kaden hiking.

Kaden hiked a bunch this day as we explored looking for deer and elk in other draws.

This summer it became necessary for me to make some course corrections in my life's priorities to keep my job, family, physical health and emotional health... With this change in my life, I was now starting to collect some vacation days that I could use on myself, doing the things I love most and the things that emotionally recharge my batteries. So unlike last year where I hunted the least of my adult life, I actually had a few vacation days to use on hunting this fall. Yeah!

With Kaden being a youth hunter he can hunt all the seasons with his general deer tag. With that, we packed in four miles during the rifle elk hunt at the same time as the early rifle deer. Both of us had elk tags we could fill and Kaden could also use his deer tag.

Kaden really impressed me on this trip. We covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of deer, a lot of deer but only two bucks. I believe the total was somewhere around 190 deer but only two bucks and neither buck was in a location we could get them had we wanted. We did hear some cow elk in the middle of the night but only found elk droppings in the daylight.

The opening weekend of the general rifle deer we decided to pass on going knowing that the place would be crawling with people. The following Tuesday Kaden and I set out again headed back into where we hunted the week before. We took an alternate route on the way in that proved to just be a harder hike however we learned from it. That evening we set up our tent and then set up to watch a couple of draws just to the north of our tent. We started picking up deer coming out to feed all over the place. It wasn't too long and two bucks emerged from the maple trees and were sparring in some sagebrush at about 400 yards away. One buck was a two-year-old two-point and the other a 3x4 buck. This was perfect. We watched them as we dialed Kaden's Leupold 30mm 4.5-14 VX-3i for a 350-yard shot as the bucks had worked their way a little closer and were now at 363 yards.  The 3x4 turned broadside and Kaden was on him and fired without hesitation. The shot was perfectly placed heart shot from his X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed rifle in 300 WSM shooting 200 Gr. ELD-X handloads. The buck ran 20 yards and tipped over. Way to shoot Kaden and nice buck!

I love this rifle. It shoots 1/2" 100-yard groups and its total carry weight is only 8 1/2 pounds. See more here:

Kaden with the 300 WSM case that killed his buck.

Kaden with the 300 WSM case that killed his buck.

Kaden with his 3x4 mule deer.

Kaden with his 3x4 mule deer.

Kaden with his 3x4 mule deer.

Kaden with his 3x4 mule deer.

We boned out the deer and brought it back to camp. If all went well I would find a buck in the morning and we could pack them out together. Well, we didn't find a buck for me the next morning. We did enjoy roasting fresh tenderloin on our stove in the tent that evening.

The next morning we loaded up camp and Kaden's deer and headed back to the trailhead.

I refueled Wednesday evening and was headed back in Thursday to try and fill my tag. I was really wanting to help Landen get a buck as well but he was sick and also behind in school from missing school from being sick... so I was going in solo this time.

I headed back to the same location Kaden shot his buck. I had a good feeling about this location and have been monitoring the deer patterns of the area for a few years now. This location seemed to be the best for my style of hunting. I like to hike hard to get into an area that has a good vantage point then sit and glass for critters. I'm not into brush hunting. I like to just sit and watch and watch. 

That evening I was out watching the draws. I had deer coming out everywhere. I saw three small bucks and for just a split second, about 600 yards from me, I caught a glimpse of what looked like a mature buck as it moved through some maple trees. I hoped that he would emerge again that evening but he didn't.

X-Bolt Gray Laminate Long Range in 28 Nosler and High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks.

My X-Bolt Gray Laminate Long Range in 28 Nosler setup on High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks. Learn how I get Prone Position Steadiness From a Sitting Position with this setup.

The next morning I slipped out of the tent to the frosty ground and immediately started seeing deer all around me. After a half-hour, I debated relocating to look off a different direction of the point I was located on. Just as I was about to move I looked back and there was a mature buck headed up the draw below me and almost to disappear in the maple trees that were in that draw. I didn't have time to range so I guessed and dialed for a 300 yard shot and the 28 Nosler spoke. I heard the whop of the 180 Gr VLD hitting its mark and when I got the deer back in my scope all four feet were straight up in the air with him on his back. The shot ended up being a 229-yard shot and I was dialed a minute of angle high giving me an impact that was little higher than I aimed, hitting high in the shoulder but it crushed him.

The buck is only 20 inches wide on the frame and he had broke off one of his long 4ths while in the velvet but I couldn't be happier. This was my first buck with a cheater and my first critter with my newest 28 Nosler X-Bolt. A Gray Laminate Long Range with a 1 in 8 twist rate. I love this rifle. It's not the lightest weight but it's a long-range gunning machine.

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Next up: Dallen's 2019 Durst Mountain CWMU Utah Mule Deer Hunt

My favorite hunting treat, Swedish Fish.

My favorite hunting treat, Swedish Fish.

Cooking fresh tenderlion in the tent.

Back to camp enjoying some fresh tenderlion from the comforts of our tent.

Three point buck.

I watched this buck the one evening. I believe this is a buck that was later taken by my friend's son in that same area.

Kaden glassing for deer.

Hanging out with my hunting bud Kaden watching deer all over the place just no bucks at the moment.

Deer camp.

This is our deer camp for 2019.

Kaden's X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed in 300 WSM.

Kaden's X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed in 300 WSM.

1x2 buck.

We'll pass on this buck. :).

Ruffed Grouse.

This was a very freindly Ruffed Grouse that Kaden and I enjoyed watching one day.


A little bitty lizard we watched on the trail.

My cheater buck upsidedown.

My cheater buck upsidedown.

Dinner Time.

Dinner time.

My 2019 Cheater Buck.

My 2019 Cheater Buck taken with my Gray Laminate Long Range X-Bolt in 28 Nosler.