The 2014 season has been by far the best one I've had. In the early inline season I took a good sized doe. Throughout archery I saw a lot of deer, buck and doe. On the last Friday of archery I got to my sister's house where I hunt and realized I left my coat at home (an hour away)so I decided I would hunt as long in the mid 20 degree weather we had as I could take it and then go swap out my cards in the trail cameras. I made it until 9:30 and gave the last little button buck I saw about 10 minutes after he was out of sight. I began walking down one of the logging roads to the first of my cameras looking up on the ridge watching that little button buck as he paralleled me. Movement along the road caught my attention from the corner of my eye. Right on the road I was walking down a doe stood up, then a buck, a nice buck, followed by another doe. I knew I was busted obviously, but none of the deer spooked. I'm not sure how big that buck was but we practice strict management and there was no question he was plenty big to shoot. I couldn't believe it when that old buck turned his head away from me and I thought it's now or never. I was only about 35 yards away. I took aim and let my arrow fly, and he ducked it. Clean miss I bet I looked up and down that arrow 25 times to make sure there was no blood or hair on it. The buck and his two lady companions made there way up the mountain. I was mad at myself for letting it happen, but happy to actually see one of the nice bucks I had on camera instead of just the yearlings.
Fast forward to rifle season. On day 1 I had to be at work at 3 PM but I had a hunting buddy to take with me. My 16 year old cousin Dylan. He went with me last year for his first time hunting and we didn't have much luck. The only deer we saw were doe, and apparently you can get doe fever as well as buck fever. He hunted with me and then I dropped him off with my father when I had to leave for work. We only saw 3 deer and they were all doe, but he did a great job sitting still and was patient. The next time I got to take him out was Saturday. It was pouring down rain and I had intended to sit in my same double ladder stand that we were in on Monday. Dylan has proved to be safe with his firearms and his target practice has shown him to be a great shot so I gave him an option. Either sit with me in the double stand again, or I'll drop him off in a blind if he was comfortable with being by himself. At the last minute he decided that being dry outweighed being wet so the blind it was for his first solo hunt. I headed to my stand and waited. I immediately saw 9 doe and was so upset thinking about how easy of a shot it could be for him and he could have gotten his first deer already. Then I saw a small 6, then an 8 point that was headed toward him. I saw the the 8 point around 7:25. At 7:48 I heard a shot that seemed like it could have been him as he was only 100 yards away but I guess it was the rain that made it sound muffled. I waited for a call, but nothing. Finally I broke down and called him. He was so excited I couldn't really understand him. I asked if he saw where it went down and he let me know it dropped in it's tracks.
Then he probably couldn't understand what I was saying because I was so excited. I was more excited for him than I would be if I would have gotten that big buck in archery. We decided to sit it out until 10 and that maybe he would have a shot at a doe too. I asked him to send me a picture, which he tried to do but it was blurry because he was still shaking. Around 9:15 the fog was so bad I couldn't see 30 yards so I let him know I was headed to him. Then I heard my dad take a shot. He called to let me know he got a doe. We all rendezvoused at my cousin shortly there after.
His first buck was a respectable 15" wide 8 point, he made a great shot through the lungs at about 40 yards. It was awesome to see his excitement.
Dylan with his buck
Myself, Dylan, my dad
Little better look at the buck.
This was a special day for me as I know I got a new hunter hooked on the sport. He did everything right and he did it by himself. Last year when he got his rifle I noticed the scope was not very good so for Christmas this past year I passed on the Burris 4-12 scope off if my 7mm-08 that my grandfather gave me shortly before his unexpected death. I felt like it gave my grandpa the ability to see Dylan's first deer, even though he never got to meet him. If it's this exciting to help my cousin get his first buck I'm afraid I'll have a heart attack when I have a child old enough to take hunting!