A boy's first big game hunt

p_ham

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Fallon, NV
My oldest boy turned 6 this year, and finally with an appropriate tag to take a young kid on, he got to go with me. He's been excited about it since we found out in May. We both have been excited.

He's been rabbit and bird hunting a few times and enjoyed it. He's always fascinated with the animals- as children often are.

His school is out on Fridays so that allowed us to slip away opening day without missing anything. An early 4 AM wakeup, some donuts and chocolate milk, and we were eastbound to our hunt area.

We waited until sun up to start driving two-tracks. Mass flooding the weekend before had cut and washed out roads all over the place. Several roads and trails in the area were completely closed. We had to turn around a few times.

We headed up into the foothils where I've heard the pronghorn get pushed into after the general rifle season. Hiking was kept reasonable. We did some glassing and turned up deer, horses, cattle, rabbits, ravens, magpies...everything but antelope. I did find some areas that I wouldn't mind hunting deer in.

We decided to make a short drive into another valley where the biologist said most of the herd was hanging out. The road in was trashed but mostly passable.

Heading into a canyon I spotted the tell-tale tan and white of a couple of pronghorn. They were at about 400yds when spotted and ran to 650 or so when we stopped. I confirmed there was a doe and a small buck. We strapped on our packs and made a plan.

The animals were spooked but didn't just book it out of the area. Their mistake. They trotted up into the mouth of a draw a bit further and milled around a bit. I decided they were stalkable after I noticed there was a big wash between us and them. Perfect.

We worked our way through the ankle high scrub into the wash and followed that up to where the animals hopefully were. There was an offshoot that pointed to the draw where we had last seen them. I slowly peeked over the edge. The doe was standing perfectly broadside well within my self imposed range limit.

I sat my boy down out of sight of the doe with a quick "stay quiet." I slid my pack off, chambered a round, and slunk up to a small rise that looked like would be a good spot. Able to get prone over my pack I was rock solid. I ran through a quick rehearsal to fight off the rush of adrenaline that suddenly hit. Satisfied, I settled the crosshairs.

She took a couple steps and fell over. I turned to my boy and said "guess what?" "What?" He said. "We got one!" I exclaimed.

Excited, we took off our jackets, drank some water, and headed up.

He was apprehensive to touch it at first. I assured him it was fine. He said her hair felt weird. He still doesn't believe me that it's hollow. We gave our thanks to the animal. I explained that we love these animals, even though we occasionally kill one. I told him it's OK to feel a little sad but there is only one way to get meat. He's always been aware that meat comes from animals, but I do my best to explain things while we're processing anything.

We took our photos and then started the breakdown. He helped hold legs and helped move game bags. Once everything was removed we loaded up packs and headed to the truck. He was happy he got to help carry meat.

We did some more exploring throughout the afternoon and went to a well known creek to camp. Junk food and roasted marshmellows capped the evening. It was a short hunt, but a pretty dang good day.

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Great hunt and great write up. It's lovely to see the little guys getting out and enjoying the hunts, I'm sure he'll remember the experience forever. Thanks for sharing!
 
What a special experience and introduction to big game hunting. Your comforting words and explanation to your son were just perfect. I’m willing to bet when you’re old and look back at all the hunts you’ve ever done, this one will stand out bright. Awesome, awesome stuff.
 
My son just started college and your story reminds me of so many outings I had with him when he was younger. Well done! Neither of you will forget that moment and hopefully you'll get to do it many more times before he grows up.
 
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