What a day, What a deer…..What an unbelievable daughter!!!
As this season approached I couldn’t wait to start planning how to get Katelynn back on a decent buck, so she could accomplish the goal of getting her first buck. As the season neared I was getting resistance from her that I could not explain. It was almost as if she didn’t want to go, and if she did go she wanted to lower her standards way down even to the point of killing one right around our house (we live in an area where we have several neighborhood deer….some decent bucks). It just wasn’t the same little girl I had taken hunting last year. After much…much…much discussion I found out that she had put so much pressure on herself this past year due to the missed opportunities last year that she had decided she just didn’t want to feel the pressure anymore. I explained that any goal in life you strive for will come with letdowns and failures and there will be immense pressure especially when seeking the most important goals and accomplishments. You have to work through the failures and never quit because of them. She finally internalized the lesson and then couldn’t wait to get after them again.
Now….cut to the opening weekend of youth gun season. It was a beautiful calm morning. Even later in the morning (around 9 AM) it still seemed much earlier. The wind had not picked up and the sun had never fully broken from behind the clouds. It was eerily calm. At this point, we had only seen one doe which had busted us and snorted multiple times before running off. Being busted in bright hunter orange was a bit expected due to the fact we were in the middle of a field with only a small amount of tall grass to hide us. At 9 AM, with not much deer movement happening, I asked Katelynn if she wanted me to try rattling. I rattled on and off for a couple of minutes and Katelynn heard something behind us. She stood up and placed her rifle on the shooting sticks she was using for a gun rest. Another couple of minutes passed and I saw movement on the hill in front of us. I told Katelynn to turn around and get ready. I helped her get the shooting sticks repositioned and I continued gently rattling. After another minute or so I paused and we waited. At this point, I had no idea what I saw moving on the hillside but I assumed it was a buck since we were actively trying to call one in. After a bit more waiting I saw a buck making his way to us. I knew instantly it was a shooter. I told Katelynn to “get ready….here comes a deer and he is a shooter.” The buck cleared the trees and jumped a fence which brought it fully out into the open. I told Katelynn to wait until it turned broadside, but it kept coming straight at us. When it was about 90-100 yards away it saw us and locked up facing straight at us. I continued to tell Katelynn to wait until it turned broadside before shooting. A couple of minutes passed and the deer wouldn’t turn. Instead, he started stomping and stepping toward us very slowly. I realized at this point she may have to shoot the deer in the chest. I quietly asked her if she felt comfortable making the shot. She was adamant she wanted the deer to turn, and that was my wish as well. Another minute passed. We are now about 3 minutes into the stare down and the deer is roughly 80 yards away. At that point, the deer stomped and snorted. When he snorted I simply said “shoot him”, knowing full well he was about to bolt and be gone. As soon as the words, “shoot him” cleared my mouth the rifle cracked and the deer dropped in his tracks. Katelynn instantly busted into tears from the excitement, adrenaline, and offloading of all the pressure she had placed on herself the past year. We both sat there in awe for a minute as neither of us expected, nor could we believe, what had just happened. The entire experience was amazing!! We are both still in a bit of shock and disbelief at how everything came together between last year’s near misses and the way this particular hunt played out. These are memories that will never be forgotten!!!
I might have to send the pictures in a couple of different emails due to the size limit of the email. Speaking of size, this animal was huge!! His giant body makes his impressive rack look smaller than it is. Thanks again for all you guys do. The work you do literally helps people’s dreams come true at times. Enjoy the pics…..