A Wisconsin Youth Hunt

After our morning hunt we headed over to Maplewood Meats to pick up some hot dogs they just finished making for us out of last year’s deer. Then it was a little drive down to my sister’s place. The kids are getting to the age where they want stuff all the time, which is something I think lots of kids do. Actually, I should say they’re getting to the age where they can start to understand that stuff costs money and hard work - part of the reason for the trip to my sister’s house. So we headed down there so my son could shovel up and move some gravel and my daughter could vacuum and dust.

We spent a couple hours down there learning how to work and the value of a dollar - or in this case $30. In between the work we took a short break for some hot dogs and play time with the cats and dog. The kids like visiting their aunts and uncles because it gives them some play time with their pets - we’re a no pet household. I had to help my son shovel a bit towards the end because we needed to get going. They were overly compensated for their efforts. And it was a rush to get back and get ready for the afternoon sit.
For the afternoon sit I had to weigh the benefit of time in the blind vs. attention spans. My hope was to be set around 3:30 pm given 6:45 closing time. I figured a 3+ hour sit would be pushing it, but in the past I’ve had deer bed close enough to the field that they’ll get up from their daytime bed, grab a few bites, and go back and lay down. My hope was to get lucky and pick off one of these does early and then have plenty of time for things to settle and hope to get lucky on a buck near dark.
Yep, within a half hour or so they were out. I was fairly disappointed because I told them they needed to take first watch so I could nap. I thought they’d take a short nap but they just continued to sleep and sleep. Every so often they’d stir and I’d look over to see if they were waking up - nope.

So I sat and I watched. Nothing. I listened to the interstate din. Then some goose hunters started volleying again - I wished them luck. Five o’clock rolled past. Nothing. This time last year we were covered in does and fawns and the field was already plowed! Of course this time last year there was only one subdivision under construction within a quarter mile or so, not two. So that, along with the other hunter’s activity, had me worried.

We’re coming up on six o’clock and now they’re waking up. Per usual they have a hard time believing they were really sleeping and there’s NO WAY they were out for almost two hours. I assure them that was the case and now we need to be super vigilant. I tell them we sit here for hours on end for the last half hour to an hour of daylight. Usually this time of year if it’s goi g to happen, this is when it happens.

But we just woke up and we want fruit snacks. I tell them it’s too noisy. Nope, not having it. I open the packs and dump them in their hand to try and eliminate as much noise as possible.

At around 6:20 pm I look left. Finally, a deer. I get the kid’s attention directed there and they see it. Its head is down feeding in the stubble. Then the head comes up - it’s a buck. Not big - but not a forkie either. I ask my daughter if she wants to shoot it. No hesitation - yes.

The tripod is not in position and neither is she. So the rodeo begins. She and her brother have to switch places. I have to move the gun and tripod. I get everything and everyone in position as quickly and quietly as possible with one eye on the buck the whole time.
Waiting patiently.....well what happened?
Sorry, I kinda promised @TOGIE some B roll. I was over in production (the garage) cutting the pictures for the hack (I think that’s the term the kids are using these days) post of this thread.

I think I have mentioned both of these tips in my time here but they are worth repeating. I wouldn’t sit in a blind with kids without a tripod. They make the shots so much steadier, keeps the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, sucks up recoil, etc., etc., etc.

The other is the bow hanger - a NEWHunter original as far as I know. So if you can’t afford to have a hanger in every set or squirrels chew them all up - you carry them around in your pack like I do. The problem is the threads and point on that screw scratch every thing up and poke holes in your pack.

The solution is that couple inch piece of plastic tubing. It holds the hanger together and covers the threads and the point. Voila - no more holes on your pack or scratched up rangefinder case.
When the buck stepped out he was just over 100 yards away and slightly to our left. The repositioning took about about 30 seconds. While this happening, the buck is slowly making his way along the edge of the woods away from us and further to left. He went about 25 yards and stopped to grab a bite to eat.

In the photo below, if you look closely, you can see a row of a couple dozen corn stalks along the woods. He stopped in the middle of the row and started to grab a cob off the stalk. At this point, we were in position for a shot; however, my daughter couldn’t find the buck anymore because he blended into the corn so well.

I asked her if she could see the cornstalk shaking like crazy. “Yeah, Dad,” she said. I told her to look closely because that was him. She picked him up and got ready to go. The buck is now about 125 yards away but facing away from us. So we wait . . . The .243 is zeroed for two hundreds, so POI is a bit high at this distance, but not anything I let her worry about.

Note this is a stock image taken earlier in the day.
He takes a few steps and turns to his left a bit and looks out in to the field. He’s on a very slight quarter away. I tell her ease into the trigger when she’s ready. He starts to move and I call her off. I tell her to go ahead when he stops again. Two steps later he stops and the trigger breaks.

He turns further to his left and starts hauling directly across the field. I help her work the bolt and put the safety on. He’s covered just over 50 yards and I can see the red on his side starting to grow. Higher and a bit further back than I’d like. He keeps getting closer to us and closer to the fence line to our left. After about 80 or so yards he turns hard left and starts running right at us.

A few bounds later:
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I tell them he’s down. The blind erupts, but I’m blocking their view. They want to see, but I distract them. It was a high lung hit and he was still fighting. Seeing the life leave is something I still struggle with and not something they should see yet.

I quiet them down by telling them the big guy was still out there and if we’re quiet we might get a chance - there’s still fifteen minutes left.

Then it happened.
My son reaches over and gives his sister the world’s biggest bear hug. He says he’s so proud of her and happy for her getting her first buck and he loves her. They were the two most genuinely happy smiles I’ve ever seen. They couldn’t have been happier and neither could I.
Its 6:30 pm and I start texting everybody the white belly. I register her buck online and we spend the next 15 minutes waiting for Hank, but he never shows. At dark we unload - safety first. They burst out of the blind and it’s photo time.

I think I got it right with the first picture. IMG_2331.jpeg
I don’t know yet if either of my kids will grow up to be hunters, but I’m trying to give them every chance. Based on my daughter’s reaction to the deer I’m hopeful. She was genuinely excited and both interested and curious about the gutting process. I think that excitement is evident in the photos.

I got the deer gutted and we made the half mile trek back to the truck, which included 20 feet of elevation gain. They were troopers. I called my brother to help with the pack out, but he was a solid 45 minutes out. So we stopped at the aforepictured Culver’s for a celebratory dinner and vanilla custard. Afterward we went back and met my brother and packed out the buck like we were Canadians. A three foot lift later and all four quarters, plus meat and cape in one trip!


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