KINGMAN – Each fall, a lot of Kingman area parents introduce their children to the time honored sport of hunting.
Lady Luck will smile on a family and one of the younger members will have the opportunity to go into the field and share all the experiences associated with the great outdoors.
For one young resident, 15-year-old Kylie Vest, her deer hunt will undoubtedly be something she will never forget. Despite putting in for both elk and deer tags, this was the first deer tag that this young lady had drawn.
Kylie, who graduated from Arizona Hunter Education program when she was 12 years old, is now a sophomore at the Kingman Academy of Learning. The tag represented an opportunity to share time in the outdoors with her family, including her father Brandon, who noted that Kylie was his, “new best hunting buddy.”
Kylie drew one of the 350 deer tags that were offered in Unit 16A this year. But she wasn’t the only one in her group that had a tag for this hunt. Steve and Chris Vest had also drawn tags, as had Brandon.
But for Brandon, Kylie’s tag was the most important tag in camp and he was really looking forward to sharing the hunting experience with his daughter. Kylie had been on an elk hunt in 2014, so hunting wasn’t new to her, but pursuing mule deer in the Hualapai Mountains was.
Prior to going into the field, Brandon had prepared his daughter for what is the arguably the most important aspect of hunting, being able to hit the target. They had practiced with her Savage scoped rifle and Brandon was confident that if they could find a buck, that Kylie would do her part.
“Kylie is a very good shot,” Brandon said.
On opening morning of the two-weekend hunt, father and daughter were out early, scouring the low desert hills for a buck.
Though they saw a few does, no bucks were seen.
They went back to camp for lunch and the obligatory “power nap” that many sportsmen take during the mid-day on hunts.
Later in the day, the duo was back in the field and ready again to look for a buck.
That is when Lady Luck smiled and Brandon found exactly what they were looking for.
A large mature mule deer buck was feeding all alone, and they watched as he fed over top of a ridge.
They quietly moved into the area and soon saw the unsuspecting buck, which carried a large rack of velvet-covered antlers.
They were able to close the distance to 75 yards and Kylie got set up on the shooting sticks she uses. She was naturally nervous and the wind was blowing fairly hard.
With nerves calmed, Kylie got behind the scope and saw her target.
At the crack of the rifle, the buck literally dropped in his tracks and her hunt was over.
They waited a few minutes to make sure the buck had expired before they headed up the hill. Guess who made it there first?
“Kylie beat me up the hill,” Brandon said.
Kylie’s first mule deer is a dandy. It’s a 4-plus year-old buck sporting a well-formed 4x4 rack that is 27½ inches wide. With antlers that still had the velvet on them, the buck is a true trophy.
No decision has been made as to whether the buck will be mounted and will adorn the Vest’s Kingman home, but for the young hunter and her dad, memories were made that will never be forgotten.