Friend and longtime Big Deer blogger Luke Strommen writes:

So proud of this young lady! Summer, who turned 10 two days earlier, was so excited to go hunt for her first buck.

MT summer buck 1

It was 25 degrees and really foggy on opening morning of the two-day youth hunt. After setting up in a blind on edge of a wheat field, I told Summer that we would try to tag the first buck that gave us an ethical opportunity, if we saw one.

She was hunting with a .308 and low-recoil 125-grain loads. The bullet really drops after 300 yards, but I won’t let my girls shoot that far anyway. Our rule right now is to keep it under 100.

This buck tantalized us at 60 yards for 20 minutes before legal shooting light arrived. Then Summer raised the rifle and delivered a perfectly placed shot. Meat in the freezer and memories for a lifetime.

MT summer s buck

At home, we pulled out the tenderloins and ate them for lunch, 6 hours after she killed the buck. #America’sprotein!

MT summber buck 4

I am very thankful for the Hunter Apprentice Program administered by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which allows responsible hunters 21 years of age or older to take out kids for two days of hunting before the general season.

My girls are taught rigid firearms safety and have to recite the safety rules and demonstrate safe firearms handling before they are allowed to participate. I don’t force my girls to go…it’s their choice. If they don’t want to hunt yet, they don’t have to. So far they lose sleep over anticipation of hunting for a buck.

I’ll take these hunts with my girls over any hunt I have ever had or ever will.—Luke Strommen