Daughters First Deer
For the last four weeks or so we have had a group of 9 doe and a four point buck feed on the acorns in the back corner of our property each morning and evening. My daughter and I were out Saturday to try and intercept the buck, but he fed early and although we saw him, it was too dark to shoot. Even had it been light enough the angle of the shot was not safe (we have 3.5 acres, but still have to be mindful of other houses around us). She was disappointed, and even said that she was "jinxed". A little background on her, both of her sisters have shot a doe before, she's the only one who hasn't connected even though she has been trying for the last four years. Last year she missed three times and the year before that the deer would always see her.
Sunday evening we had all the deer in the back feeding on acorns, so I told her that if she did not have a lot of homework we would go out Monday after school.
Monday afternoon she gets home, homework load is light... so we go out to sit in the blind around 4:45. At 5, a doe walks out 10 yards from us and starts munching on acorns. Sitting behind her I ask her if she wants to shoot.... she says "no, I want to wait a bit to see if the buck comes out". So we wait. The doe and her fawn feed in front of us for 15 minutes or so, then walk away. 20 minutes after they walk away she says "dad, there's a deer coming" and we proceeded to watch 9 deer come down the hill to eat acorns. After some whispered discussion, she decides that she is no longer holding out for the buck... that she will shoot a doe (having 9 deer within 20 yards of you will do that I guess). In continued discussion with her, we select a big doe for her to shoot. Now we just have to wait for a clear shot. Believe it or not, it takes awhile... the way the deer were feeding, there was always a deer directly behind the selected doe so there was no shot. Finally though, the doe takes two steps and is clear for just two seconds... Gwen puts the safety off the crossbow, gets ready to shoot and..........all the deer scatter! What!? My first thought was that they saw movement from us, but that thought quickly went away as I saw a buck trotting right into the group of does. "Buck, Buck, Buck!" I whispered to her... "shoot it! shoot it!" the buck was broadside at 12 yards... she let the bolt fly, and I saw him do the mule kick that normally signifies a fatal shot!
She jumps up and says "Dad I got him!" Muted but enthusiastic celebration happens in the blind... we are both ecstatic. I tell her, "that wasn't the four point... he was at least a six if not bigger."
Barely able to contain our excitement we walk back to the house to give him time... it was a very long 30 minutes as I waited... I had filmed the whole thing on my iPhone, so I looked at the shot and just knew he was dead. It was a perfect shot. But..... there was no need to risk it by going out too early and possibly pushing him, just wait I kept saying.... just wait. Finally, we go out quietly 40 minutes after the shot to see what the blood trail looks like. We pick up blood very quickly, not a lot, but enough to follow. She helps me by staying at the last found blood while I find the next. We trail him for 15 yards across the field to the woods edge... she says, "Dad, I think I see him.." sure enough piled up 10 yards into the woods lays the buck!
So, here is my daughters first deer... an 8point. If you look carefully you can see that one of his brow tines is actually a drop tine. Beyond thrilled that this happened.