Kaedyn is a deer hunter!

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
5,225
Location
Wichita
Outdoors Mentors (https://www.outdoormentors.org/) every year arranges for Kansas youth hunters to hunt quality lands during the antlerless whitetail weekend. Land owners who are wanting to reduce their deer population, and are wanting to give young hunters a good chance at a deer allow private land access for these hunts. I look forward to this hunt more than any other, as this hunt gives me the opportunity to go out with a young hunter usually going for their first deer.

The weather forecasts at the start of the week were predicting Saturday afternoon highs that would set records for heat. Mid 90's with gusty winds of 20-30 MPH aren't generally thought to portend good deer hunting.

We were supposed to meet at the Kansas Forestry Service demonstration farm headquarters at 2 pm. This farm has classic Flint Hills riparian woodlots, large pasture/hayfields and agricultural fields. The weather service was accurate in their predictions of record high temperatures as it was already 91 and gusty when I pulled in to the compound.

When the last arriving hunter/mentor arrived, Dennis the land manager walked us through the logistics of blind locations, and then the hunters were randomly assigned both a mentor and a blind. Kaedyn is a 14 year old sporting braces, glasses and a winning smile. He and his parents had driven 3 hours to participate in his first ever deer hunt.

Loading up into Dennis's truck, we motored out to the drop off spot. Memories of a past hunt on this farm echoed in my brain.....


As Kaedyn and I were walking down the hill he shared with me that this was his first ever deer hunt, and he was really excited. I asked if he had done any hunting, and he shared that he had gone on several pheasant hunts, and had really enjoyed the experiences. I asked if he had ever shot a rifle, and he told me that he had done some shooting through a scope, and felt like he was a good shot.

Arriving at the blind, we squeezed inside and opened the blackout panels and went about getting Kaedyn familiarized with the Winchester 243. Kaedyn's eyes got really big when I told him that this gun was older than I am (1954 build). After learning about the 3 position safety, I got him on the shooting sticks and I had him pick out a specific spot on the far treeline and get used to the feel of the trigger.

IMG_3103.jpg

His first dry fire release surprised him and he flinched significantly. I encouraged him to slowly add pressure, coinciding with the feeling that the crosshairs were steady on the target. Using my rangefinder, I went over the shoot/no shoot distances, planning on keeping this rookie hunter to a relatively short shooting distance. We practiced what the bolt throw felt like, (he is a lefty, and the gun is right handed) and we talked about how important it would be for us to wait for the right deer and the right time to shoot. I told him that he wouldn't shoot until I gave him the green light as I wanted to be certain that we would have an antlerless qualifying deer in a good shooting position. We took out some photos of deer and reviewed where lethal zones were, as well as no-go zones.

Surprisingly we heard an early shot from the west at blind 1. It was Kansas windy and over 90 degrees, but the deer seemed to be stirring. Kaedyn kept an eagle eye out for movement on our field. This winter wheat was harvested in early June, and the tenant farmer had planted back soybeans immediately after. This 40+ acre field has been completely stymied by the deer hitting it and preventing any growth getting taller than 6 inches.

Around 4:20 Kaedyn suddenly said, "I see a deer!". He worked to get the scope on the deer, which was a fawn of the year which had popped onto the field across the way. This young deer left the cropfield as quickly as it had appeared, but we could sporadically see it moving and grazing along the shaded woodlands. I explained to him that this deer had been born this spring, and I'd wager that sometime soon we would see more deer.

Watching his excitement and congratulating him on his excellent eyesight, I told him that if we really wanted to be ready for a shot, we ought to put on our electronic hearing protection. I asked him to practice a cheek weld with the earmuffs on, and after he was satisfied, I told him that it was time to slip a cartridge into the chamber and once again wait for our deer to appear.

Kaedyn was watching out of the left window opening and nearly missed out on seeing the little fawn skipping across the field to our right. He was able to see the last few steps of this young deer, but it did solidify that we should be alert to deer coming from any direction.

Kaedyn was once again the first one to see the deer on the left leave the woods and come out onto the soybean field. Hugging the edge, she was headed closer with every step. I told Kaedyn that this was a young small deer, but if he wanted to shoot, I was certain that this deer was antlerless, and thus legal. As she continued to walk on an angle towards us, I heard Kaedyn say " I want to shoot this one".

Looking over his shooting shoulder out of the shooting hole in the blind, it seemed to me that the barrel of the gun was very steady, and Kaedyn said "here we go". I had the binoculars on the deer, and at the shot watched the deer immediately drop.

"Put another round in the chamber, and watch her like a hawk". Kaedyn kept the scope on the twitching doe. Spine shot, I thought, and at one moment the deer tried to raise its head, only to drop it down as if unconscious, and with two more leg kicks, was done moving. "Lets just make absolutely certain that she is done". And we waited with Kaedyn's fist deer 101 yards away from the blind, with not another twitch. I texted Dennis, 137.JPG "Kaedyn is a deer killer!", and he replied that they would soon be arriving to help with the retrieval of the deer back to HQ.

A couple of shoulder slaps, and a fist bump or two later, I said, "Please unload the rifle, and lets go look at your deer". Walking across the stunted soybeans, Kaedyn was very interested to learn where his shot had hit, and told me that he was glad that she didn't run and the end was swift.

Snapping a "as they lay" pic, we got out the carcass tag and signed the tag and strapped it onto the hind leg. Shortly afterwards Dennis arrived and helped take a few more photos.

140.JPG


A short ride back to the HQ, and it was time to walk Kaedyn through the process of field dressing and an anatomy lesson.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
5,225
Location
Wichita
Bumping along the two track back to the house, Dennis asked Kaedyn what he was going to do with his deer. Some folks would opt to take the deer home and break it down for the freezer there, or there was the local meat locker option as well. Kaedyn said he would talk with his parents, and it was decided that the deer would go to the processor.

Never having touched a deer before, doing the field dressing was going to be a brand new experience for the newly minted deer hunter. My last time at this farm we field dressed the deer under an old tree, but Dennis had built a new location for taking care of this precious gift of Kansas nature.

145.JPG


I had asked Kaedyn if he had ever watched any tutorials on field dressing, and he replied that he hadn't done that. We briefly discussed knife safety, and we talked our way through how this would take place. Donning gloves, I showed him how I like to run the knife just under the skin, I made about three inches of cut, and then handed him the knife. Eyes wide open, he grabbed the knife and started to insert the tip a bit too deep, and I cautioned him to be smooth and decisive with his hand movements, with safety in mind should he slip.

141.JPG

From the breast bone down to the pelvis, Kaedyn made quick work of the hide. Taking the knife back temporarily, I showed him how to open up into the abdominal cavity without perforating the intestinal tract, using my non-knife hand to push the guts away as the knife went back towards the breast bone. Looking at his face, I wondered if he was feeling queasy as he was wielding the knife.

"How are you doing?"

"I'm OK"

Deep breathe, and we continue.

We talked about deer internal anatomy, pointing out large and small intestine, liver, diaphragm, and eventually I guided Kaedyn into feeling for the heart, lungs and the pipes coming down from the neck. I showed him how I like to use zip-ties to tie off the upper and lower ends, and then we hoisted her up to allow the contents to fall into the container used to collect such "stuff", to be hauled off for the coyotes.

Showing Kaedyn where the tenderloins were located, I demonstrated how little knife work is required to free this brat sized morsel of goodness from the underside of the spine. Kaedyn showed himself a quick study and soon the cooler graciously given by Dennis had liver, heart and tenderloin on ice.

Well done Kaedyn, I am happy to have been with you when you got your first deer. Enjoy the bounty of your first harvest! I hope that you continue to seek adventures in the outdoors. .
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
5,225
Location
Wichita
I texted Kaedyn's mom a link to the story posted above. I thanked her for helping him find a way to have a mentored outdoor experience. She reports that "he had such a great time". I made some starting suggestions for her/Kaedyn to do some research on how to prepare wild game meals, for which she seemed appreciative.

Several random thoughts from yesterday......

Kaedyn is about as "concerned" about spiders as I am. He glanced down to see a BIG spider peek its head out of the main compartment of his pack. Suddenly we were not deer hunting, but were on a mission to take out this spider, and any other spider to be found in the blind. A swipe with the shooting sticks, and the spider disappeared. Perhaps into the side pocket of his backpack, perhaps into the leaves of the floor of the blind, or perhaps somewhere else.

I completely unzipped the side pocket of the pack, and carefully pulled out the objects found within, ready to jump if the spider was still moving. Looking around and moving the leaves underfoot, we saw all sorts of daddy longlegs, crickets and smaller spiders moving around. Some semi-frantic stomping may or may not have happened, and then we again returned our attention to deer hunting.

Kaedyn got his deer way before the "golden hour" commenced, and was such a good student during the field dressing phase, that I was able to wash up, load up and get home that I was already home when my phone alarm rang signalling the end of legal shooting time.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
5,225
Location
Wichita
Post hunt epilogue

001.JPG

This little $*^@*$ was burrowed into the backside of my knee, thankfully itchy enough that I knew to ask Mrs kansasdad to check it out. I hate ticks even more than spiders!

I should have worn my permethrin treated camo instead of my hot weather Costco specials that aren't (yet) permethrin treated.
 

okie archer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
323
Good job! I wish there was more of this and less video games.

Most youth today know more about the internet than a minnow net.
 

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
15,273
Location
Cedar, MI
This post is awarded the Machomandalorian badge of amazingness. Outstanding work on the mentorship, Mark!

nXnO6t0amK_4yThv0LYl8OkzRDDUKcnMVpslvxclYLZdhuGBxXAraI0-7lZv3oSGo-TbSDi4Z-omIgEgVfbO3pu7UMyyyI9RhzEoSGdHMCvCxC4Ao2Q6fcK2I3qEknjmfPZp0c0SaLb3WbmH5zQKOPi_oVHPDTLS0HM5q1Wz_M1wExLtrCP7jecuNxSRXb2er7ceMQKcEdBaVyle_AxCvVHkT81pitW4qIHvcgKijcsKb-GldFP8JFCWKdR_pWi48zHo3a75EJ21_jemZUDLEvVHQRf7gNaR2siwNYYRLOnw6nPbhLaDSsEKE2HU6Fo1FKLLR-9AgYje-yDy9dA9rvnorcgf7saCD6twQrRp3KZmrMd5kMl142pHlGPKn1q7AER6QSb3dW-63AvKqVWHefsLOnmntck2x5MoqRwphCJSGVCR3m8LL6uk2DHzn3c1bndj6VaQDZ_rZMJSv4mCNgPEQ7z4CnSd13EzX1atXoyWkuhLWc6KlOLT_PN7R7_d2b8DFcYQpW8BZi7aZv2dhyKztU43Z82tbscipvA0T_QOIoL9u85AhSPeEiinOQuMMv4T8e0kpVZNC5MWluWIrz5WPtDjBPfJCxsLhhWwXxWaVf-61un-o3KOu_mPqXu20tG1fv4nmz4ZlR1LqCcPYHq39JzfZq7tHrNz68xENFBOE-ioF6YtIWYx5ym_jF3nU73i-MLCuuuFQ-60cqT5Vnhk=w700-h912-no
 

Festus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
3,054
Location
Virginia
Very cool! Way to step up and mentor this young man.
No doubt advice and memories that will stick with him for a lifetime. Good on ya!
 
Yeti

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
97,441
Messages
1,484,726
Members
30,660
Latest member
CruiserBill
Top