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Deer Hunting With Your Kids – 9yr Old Son Calls in Nice 8pt Buck for 50yr Old Dad
- Deer hunting with your children can help instill family values.
On Friday Nov 11, 2011 my youngest son (9) and I stopped for a kneeling prayer on our way as we headed out for a short evening deer hunt. We thanked the Lord for the opportunity to hunt together and asked for His guidance. We also prayed that we might have a successful hunt or learn something that would bring us one step closer to a successful hunt, and that we would have a safe hunt.
- Short hunts are perfect when deer hunting with your kids.
By the time we got up and set up, we had less than 40 minutes until the “Hunt Ends” calendar alert started vibrating on my phone. Not much time – some may have passed up the opportunity thinking it wasn’t worth the quarter mile trek there to hunt for that short time. Decades of experience have taught me to get out there – because you certainly won’t shoot a deer if you put off hunting yourself when you get the chance.
- Involve your children in the decision-making process – mentor them through it.
I talked to my son about 4 places we could go that were set up for two people. I told him that one of them we should probably assume was too far on the other side of the road for the time we had to hunt – it would take us too long to walk there – so that left us with 3 options on our side of the road. road He thought we should go to one of our back corners and suggested the SW corner. I told him I agreed we should go to one of our corners but because of wind direction I thought the other corner – the SE corner might be better – so we agreed to go to the SE corner.
- Give your kids something to do while hunting – rather make them part of the hunt.
I then commissioned my son to call. Before we went out, I let him choose between just the boss bleat box or the whole clicking sequence. He chose to go with just the boss bellow. (If I were on my own, I would choose clicking for bucks hearing it from a longer distance – the timing was right for an IF calling approach so I gave in to his choice.)
- Modify tactics to suit a shorter chase.
Since we were set up with so little chase time, I explained to my son that we should probably not wait the typical 20-30 minutes before calling – instead we would wait about 5 minutes. (We did our best to sneak in – move a little – stop and watch a little – move a little – so we sounded like deer rather than people moving through the woods.)
- Mentor your kids on the deer hunt with “woodland wisdom” you’ve learned.
As our five minute wait was about to expire, I heard a squirrel chirping at something well south of us. I explained to my son that we couldn’t tell what that squirrel was upset about but it was most likely something moving through the woods to the South of us. It could be another human hunter, someone’s cat, fox or coyote, or maybe a deer, maybe even a buck. I told him that I thought we should start calling right then if that squirrel was scolding a house we couldn’t see. I then coached him on when to call – how long to wait before calling again – and whether to do one bleep or two or three bleeps in a row. He did a good job painting the sound picture of an estrous doe waiting near a scrap (a fake scrap with a scent drop over it) and calling for a buck. Daylight was quickly fading as he let out his last two bleats. Within seconds of those last two bleats I spotted a deer heading north from property we can’t hunt. I said to my son “We’re coming one – it’s a dollar – it’s a nice dollar.” I failed to get into position to shoot a crossbow when he hit the first shooting lane on our property but I got into position to shoot as he passed our property to another property that we have permission to hunt. I bellowed through my mouth to stop him – found him in the range of our GT Flex crossbow – put the 30 yard reticle on the heart area and squeezed out the shot. I heard the arrow/bolt hit the deer but couldn’t see where I hit.
After watching and listening to see where the buck went after the shot, I pulled out my phone and it read 5:49 PM – exactly one minute before Hunt End time. Typically we wait 30 minutes after archery has hit a deer before going down to look unless we saw the deer fall and stay down. I explained to my son that with the light fading fast we would assume good luck and try to find the start of the blood trail before we lost the last light – then if we made the house higher we would retreat and wait longer. . We went down and thanked the Lord then asked His help to recover the house. We then tried to use the rapidly fading light to find the start of the blood trail but very quickly realized it would be wiser to go to the house and get bigger, more powerful flashlights than the 1Watt LED I carry.
I took the opportunity at the house to get out of my ScentLok and into jeans, etc. that I wouldn’t mind smelling of diesel exhaust and deer blood. We prayed again for the Lord’s help to recover the house before we left with 2 – two “D” cell LED MagLites and as we walked I explained to my son that it often kills a deer’s head due to thick cover and water. I suggested that based on the direction of travel when hit this buck would probably either go north out of the woods into the adjacent standing corn or maybe go NNE into the river bed because of the water there. So we looked at exit points from the forest (into corn or a riverbed) and also scanned cornstalks for blood – we didn’t find any. I suggested that maybe he didn’t get that far or maybe he went further east where there was thick cover and water inside that forest area. We entered the woods and I explained that we should look all over the ground as we worked from where we thought he was going to where the arrow/bolt hit him because we might find the buck before we got back to where he was. hit If we didn’t find him, then we would have to find and then follow the blood trail. As we were moving, my nine year old son suddenly looked back and to the side and said “there he is Daddy!” So this nice 8pt was called by a 9 year old – shot by a 50 year old – then found by a 9 year old. We weighed him before and after field dressing. Before field dressing he weighed 198 lbs. After field dressing he weighed 160 lbs. — Oh my son said “Next year you are the caller Dad!” And I’ll be happy to be his “caller” – I can’t wait to help him tag his first deer. It was a GREAT hunt. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!! Happy Hunting!!
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