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Kelly Hicks Didn’t Know What a Whitetail Deer Looked Like


I always hunted mule deer, I grow up in town called Mountain Green near Morgan, Utah, and I started hunting with my BB gun as soon as I could walk. There was a stream behind the house where I could catch fish all day long, and I stayed in the woods or on the water as far back as I could remember. My mom had a big bell in the back yard, and she would ring the bill loudly to call me home for dinner. 

Khicks_day2I began hunting mule deer with my dad when I was 10-years old, and when I turned 17, I could hunt in my own. Over the years, I’ve taken 40+ mule deer, all of them in Utah. The only out-of-state deer hunt I’ve done happened in 2014, and that was a whitetail hunt in Missouri. A friend of mine invited me to go with him on the hunt.  My friend told me that whitetail hunting was very different than hunting mule deer. He explained that we would sit in a tree stand, and when the buck came within the range, we could take him. Because of my rheumatoid arthritis, I had to give up shooting my compound bow and start shooting a crossbow. Also due to a serious car wreck in 2013, I wasn’t in nearly the physical shape as I wanted to be.

Because I didn’t know much about whitetails, I let a lot of nice bucks walk on this hunt. Once I spotted the deer that I finally took, I thought he was big, even though he only scored about 120 inches. On this hunt, we could take a buck, a doe and a turkey, so after I took my buck, I sat on the edge of the cornfield and hoped I’d see a turkey. I heard something moving through the corn, and this monster buck stepped out within easy bow range that would score between 150-160 Boone & Crockett. I said to myself, “Oh, that’s what a big whitetail looks like.”

That was the only private-land hunt I’d ever been on, since mule deer and elk hunting always had been on public lands where I lived in Utah.

Day 1: How Kelly Hicks Hunts Mule Deer and Elk and Guides Other Hunters

Tomorrow: Kelly Hicks’ One-Hour Mule Deer Hunt

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