motorized vehicle. While we practice shooting bottles
and balloons with her .22, we talk about hunting and she would inquire
from time to time if she could come along. Last year we had two
tentative dates set and as each time grew near, she determined playing
with a friend that Saturday was more important than going huntin’ with
dad. She just wasn’t ready.
year we set a date and I could tell she was serious. Two days before our
scheduled date we started our plan. In preparation, I let her help put
together our gear. My fanny pack had a rattling bag, my extra bottle of
Special Golden Estrus and a pruning saw exchanged for a
"Game-Boy," candy bars and a Junie B. Jones book. I wanted her
to have a good time even if we didn’t see a thing.
may have seen the bumper sticker, "Teach your kids to hunt and you
won’t have to hunt for your kids." I believe this to be true.
There is no doubt in my mind if they get hooked on hunting the chances
of them getting hooked on much less appealing activities is dramatically
purchased several Big-Buddy ladder stands and I’ve had them set up in
good spots for over a year waiting for this time to come. This way we
could sit together but yet still have the advantages hunting out of a
treestand gives. And although I am a bowhunter at heart, we hoisted a
gun up the treestand that day. I use the gun season around my home
property to help thin out the does. I also wanted us to have the best
possible chance for her to be subjected to success. I was hopeful
through this experience she might understand what makes me feel so
excited about this thing called "deer hunting."
can remember going with the "big guys" when I was a kid. My
dad would sit me in a spot and say, "Don’t move, I’ll be over
there a couple hundred yards…sit here until I come back for you."
I would sit there for hours and freeze my little toes and fingers solid.
Back when I was twelve years old we didn’t have disposable
hand-warmers and high-tech boots. I don’t know…maybe freezing your
toes is a good thing, because I sure wanted to go back every year – I
absolutely fell in love with the sport of deer hunting in spite of
freezing my little digits. I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable in
any way. It was a perfect November day, but we were very well prepared
with everything necessary to spend a comfortable afternoon regardless of
the weather conditions.
had action right away. As I was glassing down the ridge, Veronica said
in a nonchalant voice, "Dad…there’s one." Both my girls
come glassing with me during late summer and they’re great at spotting
deer, so I knew she wasn’t kidding around. It was a single doe.
that time I asked her, "What are we hunting for today – a big buck
or a doe?" She said, "Anything but a fawn." 170 yards
away through brush, and although walking slow and stopping, it wasn’t
a shot I wanted to chance with a 12 gauge slug-gun even with a Nikon
scope that is dead on. I wanted this "kill" to be as
"clean" as possible for her first experience. I told her,
"It’s early, let’s wait and see if we can get one to come a
minutes had passed and since we had early action it was easy for us both
to keep alert. She used binoculars and my Woodland Whisper hearing
enhancer to help keep her attention and seemingly to help spot the next
two whitetail. I am a grizzled veteran who has made a living out of
hunting whitetails and my seven-year-old daughter was making me look
silly that day – she obviously has a gift for spotting whitetail.
time it was a doe with a fawn. Again, it was a fair distance and they
were moving at a good pace so I didn’t take the shot. At this time
Veronica said, "You can shoot anything daddy, even a fawn, I just
want to get one!" She wanted to bring pictures back to her 2nd
grade class. (Now the story comes out!) With the anti-hunting message
that gets passed around at many schools, I thought that would be great!
But I told her, "No, we’ll hold to our standards, just be
the next ten minutes we saw several more does and fawns that all would
have been a "fair poke" for the ol’ 12 gauge slug.
"Veronica, I hear something coming behind us," I said in an
excited but quiet voice. A doe and a fawn came running into view. They
were moving fast but this time they would come within 30 yards of us. I
said, "Plug your ears I’m going to shoot." I put the
crosshair on the doe’s shoulder, did the ol’ deer bleat – "maaaa"
– the doe stopped and I pulled the trigger. It came running right at
us and stopped at 12 yards. I’m sure it would have expired from the
first shot, but I added another through the chest to make it fast. Our
prize lay before us.