Good luck to all the youth hunters and mentors heading out this weekend. Post your stories and/or pictures here if you have any.
Youth Hunt 2020
Awesome, Pimply Swede. Great outcome and a good story.
Awesome job and what a great lesson your son learned about not giving up
You gotta keep looking til you are sure. Otherwise it will gnaw at you. Well done to your son and good job on the follow up.
Nice job to your son! That's a good first buck.
Glad you kept looking, some guys just give up right away. I was even sure of my son's miss and still looked more the next day. Been surprised before and always learning. When you know they are down its one thing, but when you start questioning yourself and then find them, its quite the feeling I think.
My son learned a great lesson last weekend, and I reinforced the same one in myself.
This was his second year hunting - he shot a nice doe last year at 9 years old during the youth hunt, and we didn't see any horns during the gun hunt in November. This year he wanted a buck.
We got out on stand about 4:00, and 2 does came in an hour later. Funny how a deer in front of you changes your mind - I told him to line up on them for the practice of moving slowly and quietly. "Don't I get to shoot one?" I reminded him he said he wasn't going to shoot a doe "ever again" last year. He said "we want meat for the freezer, don't we?" So, I told him if you have a steady broadside shot, take it.....but we likely won't see any of the 3 bucks that have been on camera. He decided the doe in the shooting lane was better than the possible bucks in the bush, but neither doe gave him a good shot, eventually moving off.
A while later he nudged me - "Dad, here comes another one." I saw the dark body and horns moving through the brush, heading toward the clearing. Told him to get lined up and ready for when he comes out of the brush. I could see it was the bigger of the 2 8-points we had on camera, and the smaller 8 was behind it about 15 yards. He got the rifle up on the shooting rail, I looked to make sure his finger was on the guard and told him to take it off safety. Have to admit, he was maintaining composure better than I was - the buck was a blur in my binoculars from my shaking hands. "When can I shoot?" I told him the buck has to take 2 steps forward to make sure there was no brush in the way. He stepped and BOOM. I jumped, lost sight. I tried to listen for thudding hooves, but it was windy. The smaller buck looked around, then walked off.
I asked my son was it a good steady shot, he said yes. I asked him if he saw the buck run off, "nope. I must have vaporized him."
We sat for a while, then packed up our stuff and closed up the stand as it started getting dark. We headed over to the clearing, pulled out the flashlight. Dead batteries. Pulled out the cell phone and turned on the light. Nothing. No hair, no blood. Made a couple circles, still nothing. My son said he was "dead on" when he pulled the trigger. I told him "they don't all bleed right away." I have a spare flashlight in my hunting tote in the truck - we headed in to stash gear and get it.
Back to the clearing, now it was dark. Started making circles again, still nothing. I began to get that feeling in the pit of my stomach and started to come up with nice ways in my head to tell him he probably missed. This buck was about 80 yards, the doe last year was only 30. For a 10-year-old, that could create an easy miss.
Searched wider circles for another hour, then told him we're better off coming back in the morning with sunlight. Talked about it was a good thing we didn't find any blood or hair, as a clean miss was better than wounding one and not finding it.
Talk about a sad kid!
Next morning, he was still dejected. Didn't want to go with me to look, I fought in my head over making him come to demonstrate doing everything in your power to search for the deer, versus making a kid who wasn't 100% sold on hunting yet even more dejected by coming along and not finding it. I went alone.
Got to the clearing again and started thinking - one major trail running through here, and the deer was facing north when he shot. I started walking the trail in that direction, taking a few steps and stopping to check leaves, brush for blood, scanning to the sides to see if it was piled up. I found 2 spots that looked like dirt from a running deer, about 10 yards apart, so I figured I was going in the right direction. About 200 yards up I spotted a brown blob bedded down. I started making out features. No breathing. Came up behind it and verified it was dead. Took a picture of it, texted my wife and told her to ask my son if "this was the one, or should I keep looking?"
I started dressing it out. Shot was back, and the holes plugged. I backtracked, and could not find any blood on the trail. There was a scant amount in his death bed. Wife and kids arrived to carry my stuff as I dragged him in.
Don't give up until you are sure you missed, or are sure he kept going.
Im all in favor of youth hunts. Antlerless, not so much. Not against shooting does, just dont need a seperate season to do it!!
Sorry to report it was a good 15 minutes after closing time.
I actually blame myself, reason being is that it was really close and the gun rest was probably too high. Fine at 50+ yards but for him to shoot closer he had to get his body higher to point the gun down. He shot over it, pretty sure as he was pulling the trigger he let his body down in the excitement, bringing the barrel up. Treestand rests aren’t exactly designed for kids under 10. Should have probably used a ground blind like we did past seasons.
Sometimes it's good for a kid to miss one . Helps them to learn their limits , and be sure of the shot . I wounded one once on a snap shot my my first year (we did recover it ) . But now I've missed 2 in the last 40 years. Both times I had bumped the scope climbing up into a stand .
Nice job to the kids who got deer. My son shot small spikes the past 2 youth hunts and was telling me how he doesn't get overly excited, etc. This year that changed...
We hunted northern Price in the Chequamegon. Saturday afternoon we saw a doe. I told him we should wait but he was after me saying 'Can I shoot it, can I shoot it?'. I gave him the green light and it was a pretty gravy shot so I just assumed we had it. Well he shoots and the deer just freezes and looks at us haha. It then spooked when he worked the bolt. Mister 'I don't get excited' was shaking pretty good.
Even though he missed, I was glad to see the excitement. Good learning opportunity for him too. He still wants to try with a crossbow so we'll maybe do that a bit.