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Bitmap
January 21, 2008, 09:42 AM
Long post so if you don't care for the details then jump down to the pics.

I planned to take my 6 year old to let him get his first deer if possible during the youth post season. My 8 year old decided he would come along and maybe take another turkey or a pig and let his little brother take a deer. When we got to the farm the 6 year old decided he didn't want to go hunting and would rather watch a video with Grandpa so I took the older boy out.

When we pulled up to the gate there were at least 24 mule deer in the neighbors pasture. I drive over to the elevated blind we built and I got the ladder up and the chairs and our extra coats in the blind and was getting back in the truck to go park it away from the area when he says "I wanted to sit in the ground blind." The ground blind is a huge elm tree, maybe 80 feet tall and so big around that 4 adults might be able to reach all the way around it. At the base, from 3 to 5 feet out from the trunk are is a ring of little elm saplings. We cleaned out between them and the big tree and hung camo cloth around the inside. Put some chairs in there and it's a great ambush spot. The family has killed a lot of deer and turkeys from that spot over the years. When the kids got old enough to hunt we screwed pressure treate 2"x4"s between the saplings about 3 feet off the ground to make a shooting rest for them. This is where the big boy killed his first deer. At any rate, I bring the chairs and coats back down from the blind, put them in the truck and we drive over to the ground blind and unload there. Daylight is burning and all the time I'm thinking he has a better chance at the elevated blind but if he wants to be on the ground then we'll try it.

After we park he carried his rifle 200+ yards back to the blind and we settle in. It is deathly quiet. No turkeys, no squirrels, no birds, can't even hear any cattle or the neighbors donkey. Finally, we hear a couple of owls hooting.

We are both sitting on the east side of this giant tree and every once in a while I peek around the edge to see what is behind us. One of those times I see a handsome litte mule deer buck. Maybe a 2 1/2 year old. He was a 2x2 with mabye a 13" inside spread and at least 18" high above his head. he is standing in the open about 40 yards away looking at me. He is there for 20+ minutes just wandering around. Then I see some more mule deer about 60 yards behind him, mostly does with one buck about the same body size as our friend but with a little 2x2 rack, maybe 8" wide and 8" high.

Then I look a little while later and see a whitetail doe standing almost where the muley buck was, and the buck is nowhere to be seen. She is escorted by several gobblers. I whisper to the big boy to quietly move around. As he starts around the doe hears and looks at us, then walks into some trees. Looking her direction there is a 50 yard wide 125 yard long patch of CRP with trees on both sides. She went into the trees on the right. I can see her only because I watched her walk in and know where she is. The big boy can't see her but I get him to a spot where he can cover the open ground if she comes out again.

The turkeys have gone into a little low place and we can't see them. The mule deer are hanging out about 100 yards away. I don't think there is any chance that this doe will come out for a shot. I am shocked when she trots out across the open ground about 70 yards away going straight across and too fast for the big boy to shoot. She stopped right in the middle in the same low place where the turkeys are and stayed there for what seemed like hours but was probably 10 or 15 seconds.

The big boy is trying to figure out which deer she is and I'm telling him she is in the middle and don't shoot a mule deer. Then the muleys start walking away from us and go into the edge of the trees 120 yards or so away. Next, the doe continues across to the trees on the left. The ground rises there and she not only stops at the tree line she turns and starts walking towards us. I tell the big boy to shoot her when he can.

I'm watching and mentally biting my nails when BOOM!!! She flinches and hops into the trees. The big boy looked up and said "She ran away." I was pumping his hand and said "Don't worry, she didn't go far."

We wait a few minutes, then go to look for her. As we walk down there I see that the turkeys are still there and have to shoo them away. He could have shot one but I thought I'd have enough to clean on a freezing night so I didn't say anything. Then, that silly mule deer buck is there. He has come back out of the trees and is standing about 80 yards from the blind. When we got 20 yards from him he finally walked away.

I tell the big boy to stay in the road we use because there are a lot of grass burs in this area and I start looking. At this point I realize I've made a gross error. I didn't make a mental note of exactly where she was when she was shot and also didn't not exactly where she went into the trees. There are two big game trails about 25 yards apart and I start on one and look for hair and blood, then move to the tree line and look, both with and without binos. The only white I see is a fallen branch where the bark has come off. I explain what I did wrong and ask the big boy "Where was she when you shot her?" He thinks for a second and says "I think she was right over there" and points. OK, I walk that direction and see he is pointing to the other game trail. I walk up to where it goes into the trees and there is the doe, about 15 yards into the trees.

I drag her out and tag her and we go get the truck. The big boy helps me load her up and though he says "ouch" a couple of times when he gets a grass bur while we are putting her in the truck he doesn't let go of the deer or stop lifting. This kid is a great hunting buddy.

As we're pulling out of the gate onto the road that same mule deer with the rack that is wide and high for his age is standing in the road looking at us.

Maybe we'll meet him in a year or two.

Now for the pics.

Here he is with his rifle and the doe.
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q241/Bitmaps_photos/2007hunting/ConnorsDoeJan08030-1.jpg

Here he is with his little brother in the background.
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q241/Bitmaps_photos/2007hunting/ConnorsDoeJan08015.jpg

The big boy and his brother goofing off with the meat.
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q241/Bitmaps_photos/2007hunting/ConnorsDoeJan08016.jpg

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q241/Bitmaps_photos/2007hunting/ConnorsDoeJan08022.jpg

Here is the whole crew. The ugly guy in the middle is me.
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q241/Bitmaps_photos/2007hunting/ConnorsDoeJan08026-1.jpg

There is nothing like cleaning a deer when it is 25F with a 15mph wind.

The rifle is a Marlin 336 with an XS Scout mount. The scope is a Simmons ProHunter 2x pistol scope mounted in Warne quick release Weaver rings. The cheek rest is from Fulton Armory. He used Remington Managed Recoil factory ammo with a 125gr. Corelokt bullet at a nominal 2175fps at the muzzle. The doe was angled towards us with her left shoulder. The bullet entered just behind the left shoulder and exited from her right hip. While this load expands violently and destroys a lot of stuff on broadside ribcage shots, lack penetration is apparently not a problem.

Fremmer
January 21, 2008, 09:58 AM
Great story and pics!

You should be proud! :)

Scorch
January 21, 2008, 04:19 PM
Great post! Thanks for sharing your hunt!

hogan
January 21, 2008, 04:21 PM
Great pictures.
What state do you live that allows 8 year olds to hunt deer?
Here in Wisconsin the minimum age is 12.
They are trying to get it changed to 10 years and it is quite controversial.

Bitmap
January 21, 2008, 04:34 PM
What state do you live that allows 8 year olds to hunt deer?

Texas. In TX you can get a hunting license at birth, although the GW might not believe that a 1 month old pressed the trigger.

If a GW ever doesn't believe one of my little ones actually pressed the trigger on his deer or turkey, then we'll just put a target out at 100 yards and give him a demonstration.

ETA that he killed his first deer (whitetail spike) and two turkeys about a week before his 7th birthday.

Pahoo
January 21, 2008, 04:59 PM
The Bunny-Huggers will never understand that this is one of those special times you have shared with your kids. You and your sons will never forget this moment. My compliments on sharing with your kids. I have two grown daughters that still talk about the time we went target shooting when they were little girls. Be Safe !!

BIGR
January 21, 2008, 08:02 PM
Great going. Glad you've got them started at an early age. We need all the future hunters we can get. A fellow hunter that hunts on our deer lease has a 9 yr old boy that took about five deer this year. His 11 yr old sister has even killed a few deer. Atleast they are starting at an early age. I didn't ever start deer hunting til I was 21. Hunted everything else from age 10 on but no big game til later on. I wonder if it would have me a better deer hunter to have started earlier in life....maybe....maybe not.