The day after Turkey Day and again we have a lot to be thankful for!
My two children and I have been hitting the woods hard during the 7 day antlerless season looking for any deer – with antlers or not. My 12 year old got his 2nd deer this past Sunday morning so I began focusing on helping my 10 year old daughter Kaitlyn get her first deer. Just like in a typical hunting story it took till the last day of the season with just a few minutes of light remaining for it all to work out.
After a number of early morning hunts without seeing anything she was a tad run down with dark circles under her eyes and coming down with sniffles and a sneeze. I told her to sleep-in on Turkey Day, catch up on some sleep, and we’d try again on Friday - the last day of doe season.Friday morning
: This hunt was a pretty one but uneventful and filled only with squirrels and a ton of robins.Friday afternoon
: We took our last stand earlier than usual and with NE winds I was concerned I made a bad stand decision but this stand had the best potential. Winds were swirling but mostly light so I gambled that it would work out. Knowing it was going to be a longer stand than normal she wanted to bring her iPOD I Touch but I’m not crazy about electronics, especially in the blind so she packed a book to help keep her from getting bored (and fidgety).
In the stand, mosquitoes greeted us and I reluctantly fired up the Thermo-cell thinking that this wasn’t gonna help. She didn’t want to wear her jacket but I knew she’d soon cool off and then all the moving, noise, and commotion of putting on the jacket would help even less. I got her to put on the lite jacket and she settled in with her book. The squirrels were playful as usual and all was quiet. Well, except for her occasionally turning some of the book pages loudly (I swear it was louder than heck). Halfway into her book she asked how much longer and I said just another hour. Twenty minutes later she stated she didn’t think it was going to work out. She got tired of having her rifle resting in her lap and she wanted me to take it. I told her that was probably gonna be a mistake but she was adamant.
With the sun setting a number of mourning doves landed next to the hog wallows and started drinking. Five minutes later they all took off in a flurry. Hearing a little bit of crunching in the background I told Kaitlyn something was coming. We’re both leaning forward trying to see what’s causing the crunching. I catch some movement, whisper to Kaitlyn that it’s a deer, and take her book so it wouldn’t fall and make noise. The deer clears some thick brush and pops her head out only to immediately lock onto us sitting in the stand. I’m thinking this is not good……….
We were both learning forward and were fortunately low in the stand. We both froze and did not lock eyes with the doe. About 15 seconds later the doe drops her head and steps forward walking through another clump of thick brush. I hand Kaitlyn the NEF 243 rifle and tell her that the doe is nervous and that she’s gotta make the shot as soon as possible. As she’s getting down on the gun I remind her to Aim Small Miss Small
. The doe steps out, stops, and starts feeding. Kaitlyn’s got the gun on her and I’m just waiting for her to shoot. It’s a nice broadside shot. The doe jerks her head up and I’m thinking she’s gonna bolt. Still no shot. I’m thinking “Come on, Come on, SHOOT!!” Kaitlyn finally pulls the trigger and the doe takes off, swings to the right, and we lose sight of her. It’s quiet and she appeared to be circling.
Kaitlyn is pretty excited and I ask her how she felt about the shot. She said that she was aiming just behind the shoulder and that she had done a 1-2-3 shoot count. I asked her why she didn’t shoot sooner and she said she didn’t want to pull the trigger because she was smiling so much and she thought that might shift the shot. For personal reasons that warmed my heart.
We down climbed the double man stand and immediately found bright red blood indicating a pretty good shot. With failing light we turned on the headlights and started tracking. Forty yards later we find her doe piled up!!
Right before we took a few photos I asked Kaitlyn to give thanks for the deer and she gave a very nice heartwarming prayer of thanks to the Lord and to the deer for giving its life to feed our family. After that I applied the ritual-of-deer-hunting, the First Blood. She was NOT HAPPY about that and was incredulous that I had done that. After I explained the ritual she took it in stride but no sooner than we got back to the truck the first thing she did was to remove that blood!!
A well-earned big doe for Kaitlyn!
My 2011 hunting season couldn’t get any better!
.....good times Brian, here's one for you too ....:thumbsup