Finally got a chance to get out again yesterday. I took my 9 and 11 year old sons with me too! Even though there's a lot I like about the hunting here, one of the things I hate is that I can't mentor my kids like I can back home. So getting them interested is a challenge. One that I'm not backing down from!
It's a 2-3 hour drive to my hunting area, and being it's still light out for over 14 hours a day I figured it be better for us to not hurry in the morning. We got there around 10. Talked to them a little about what we were going to do, safety around a firearm, and a little bit about the area. The logging roads through the area make it great for sneaking along the hillside quietly when it's too dry and noisy in the woods. Or when you have two boys in tow that haven't yet mastered putting their feet down softly.
We slowly made our way along the upper road, a method I've successfully taken deer in the past there. We hadn't seen anything by the time we got to where the road loops around the end of the hillside and becomes the lower road. I was showing them a deer trail that came down the hill and crossed the road and decided to follow the trail down to the the lower road. About half way down we jumped two deer which quickly put about 100 yards between us and them. But important to me was that they saw them and the excitement they showed. We sat and hoped to catch site of them again, but didn't. We then made our way to show them the stand we planned to sit in for the afternoon and evening, then headed back to the truck for lunch. After we ate we took a ride over to the Forest Office just to show my face and let them know I'm still alive. The head of the hunter section was there and gave the boys a little tour of their place, to include the game walk in cooler which had a few pigs, some Roe deer, and some Red deer hanging.
We got back to the woods and started walking the lower road to the stand. As we were walking along, mostly gabbing and not paying much attention to the woods around us, I saw something out of place about 75 yards ahead of us on the road. I put the binocs up and there's a Roe deer doe standing in the road staring at us. I put the glasses down and the gun up, the boys almost instinctive like dropped to their knees right behind me. After about a minute she turned and went into some thick saplings and out of sight. When I put the gun down both boys questioned me as to why I didn't shoot her. I then explained the importance of knowing what's beyond what your shooting at, and how on a straight level road there is no way of knowing. I wanted more than anything to get a deer while they were there, but not at the risk of teaching them something that unsafe.
We then made our way up the hill to the stand. That deer didn't really spook, and I was hoping she was one of the two we saw earlier and maybe hanging out in that area. But we didn't see anything. We did have some excitement when we heard something walking heavily and fast towards us from behind. It was making some grunting sounds that had kind of a bark to it, similar to what I've pigs doing when they were moving quickly like that. They were both on the edge of the seat looking and looking intently when we heard coming on a way that was going to have it pass right next to the stand and head out in front of us. It did, and did quickly, come out of the thick stuff right in front of us, down the hill and across the hollow in no time at all. Wasn't a pig though, it was a dog! Didn't hear anyone calling it or walking, but my one son said he thought he heard a bell on it as it ran off. The plus side of it is that they both got that adrenaline rush excitement and anticipation when you hear something coming like that.
Even though no animals made there way into the bed of the truck, I had one of the best days in the woods that I've had in a long time. They both told their mother about what a good time they had. And I can't wait until I can get them out again. Hopefully the fire is lit in them!