Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada

My First Whitetail Deer

First Deer 2015 Whitetail

We spent many miles on the trail and even more on the road during our first hunting season, with little success. We saw a few whitetail deer early in the season, but as it progressed it seemed that we couldn’t turn anything up, at least within our range. 

The next year we began archery hunting, so during our second hunting season we spent more time in the badlands. After hiking approximately 200 kilometers with our bows over the course of the season, we found ourselves without any meat in the freezer. We then grabbed our rifles and headed west to the mountains hoping to turn something up.

Due to my work schedule that year, it was not uncommon for me to get home at 1 am. J and I would leave around 4:30 am so that we could make it out to the mountains before first light. On the drive, we would usually see an abundance of deer on the private land, but once we hit public land, we would only see a few. Usually, our sightings included a whitetail bouncing away at 100 yards or more.

The morning that I was able to shoot my first whitetail was no different. We parked our truck and set off on a large loop. Trying to move slow and spot deer feeding on the side slopes. We had seen 2 does but they were both too far out of our comfort zones to take a shot. After 3 hours of hiking, we began to loop back towards our truck and were planning on moving to a new spot.

It had snowed the night prior and during our large loop we had not seen any fresh tracks. So we slung our rifles and made a straight line through some bush on a game trail to the truck. As we were walking, we caught sight of movement up ahead. J had his Solo Hunter rifle cover on his gun. I pulled mine off my shoulder and quickly racked a round. There was a nice Whitetail doe about 75 yards up the trail from us so I shouldered my rifle, took a breath, and punched the trigger. The deer disappeared.

At that point, I was sure that I had hit the vitals (it was such a close shot), but then J asked me “Did you miss? Because I don’t see her”. My response had to have been something along the lines of “I think so?”. Full of anticipation, we walked up to where she was standing… and there she was! She died on the spot, she hadn’t even taken a step.

first whitetail deer

This was such an unforgettable experience to share with J. Two seasons, full of lessons and many miles, and we finally harvested our own meat! It was an amazingly rewarding feeling!

Once the high had settled a bit we both looked at each other and had no words. Then came the interesting part, we had never gutted a deer before, nor had witnessed one being gutted live. We had both watched YouTube videos prior to the season. But let’s be honest, a video does not do it justice.

I’m sure if there was anyone watching us they would have had quite a laugh. We managed to get some cell phone reception and had to wait a good 20 minutes for a video to download so that we could consult it.

Gutting that whitetail deer likely took us almost 40 minutes. Each cut was watched on the video, discussed, debated, and then taken very slowly. It was comical and an experience we will never forget.

whitetail deer drag

Once we finally got her dressed out, then came that right of passage, the drag!J carried both rifles as I dragged her through the fresh snow toward the truck. The final approach (500m) to the truck was a 45o slope up to the truck. J took my pack and I tied her legs together, threw them over my shoulder and slowly climbed that hill.

carrying out a whitetail deer

We finished off the day by looking for a deer for J, but no luck! On our way home we got a text from our buddy, TL, who had taken a mule deer buck that evening. Naturally, TL met us at my place and we butchered the two deer together. TL was able to give us some pointers as we again consulted YouTube videos on how to butcher the deer. I will also never forget that experience.

These days, I look forward to and always enjoy the evenings that we spend beside each other butchering our wild game! Not only are we filling our freezers, but we are also spending some hard earned quality time together.

I hope to inspire anyone that is thinking about hunting or butchering game themselves to do so, you will not regret it! And hey, there are tons of YouTube videos to help you along the way.


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