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Old November 21, 2017, 01:16 PM   #1
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Daughter's first deer

A couple months ago, my 16 year old daughter expressed an interest to shoot her own deer this season. She's sat the stand with me as a spectator, but has only shot air rifle and .22lr. We got to the range and got her comfortable shooting her AR in 6.8 and she was holding about 3" groups at 100 yards... plenty good for deer at that range. Due to school/time constraints, she was unable to get hunter's safety done prior, so she got an apprentice license and tags for either sex and antlerless for MO.

We left Friday, after her schoolwork was done, for a friend's property we were invited to hunt on this year, with the intent of hunting through the weekend. After arriving, we quickly changed into our hunting gear and pressed out for a stand.

After only 30 mins, we had a small yearling doe show up. We spent the time on our scopes talking through shot angles and let it walk off, looking for a larger doe or legal buck.

About 20 mins later, a "larger doe" stepped out and grazed in front of us. We again spent time on our scopes talking through shot angles. Anxiously, she asked if she should shoot it. I explained that it appeared larger than the first, and would meet our intent of taking a larger doe, and the choice was hers. I asked about her comfort on her gun rest and how stable her crosshairs were. She replied that everything was solid on her end. I confirmed it was her choice and told her to go for it, if she wanted.

I'm glued to my scope next to her, in case I need to follow up. I hear her safety click off, telling me she's made up her mind. A breath in, a breath out, natural pause, then the area is disturbed by the 120 grain Hornady SST blasting out of the 16" barrel.

At the shot, the deer immediately goes to the ground! Laying on folded legs, its head was up slightly, with ears back. She asks if she should shoot it again. I reply no, give her a second, she's down. The head bobs once, twice, but this time comes up lower, then the third time it goes down for good. There's a slight kick from the rear legs and then nothing.

My daughter is in disbelief! The adrenaline is dumping and she's shaking and her voice is trembling. I give her the assurance of a proud dad that she's done wonderful! She got her first deer. Then the hard part... she wants to run up there and look at it. There is 90 minutes of shooting light left! I make her wait and sure enough, within 10 minutes, a small buck comes by, followed by another doe that busts me on my phone texting the success to mom, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and friends... Another 2 bucks come by with 5 minutes to the end of shooting light and I cannot ascertain their rack size (4 point on 1 side minimum size), so I let them walk.

Not a second after legal shooting light, my daughter is up and headed to her deer. She's elated, but a bit concerned. Dads, moms, take a note here...

In all my training with her, we covered accuracy, shot angles/aimpoints, moving quietly, slowly, blah blah blah... I did not show her video of what happens after the shot! I missed it! In my preparation, I did not set expectation management for after the trigger is pulled. She expected bang/flop. In reality, she got that! From the moment that deer was shot to motionless was no more than 3 seconds! In all of our books, that would be considered DRT.

So with her expectation not met, she thought the deer suffered unnecessarily. I explained that was not the case, and talked through multiple examples of perfectly shot deer needing to be tracked 20-30-50 yards... even longer. She gets over this point the next day, but I could have done better to prep her for that.

My friends come and pick us up and there are smiles, high fives, and backslaps galore celebrating her first deer. Gutting duties follow and she helps with skinning back at the house.

Post mortem shows a caliber sized entry wound low and to the back of the shoulder and a 1/2" exit wound through the hide. Internally, the entry through the ribcage is closer to 3/4" and exit is close to 1.5". The heart is in 2 pieces and the lungs on either side are damaged significantly. The lower portion of both shoulders are bloodshot and not worth saving.

Oh, and the "larger doe" highlight? I was off a little... It was a button buck. That explains the larger body size compared to the earlier doe. Huge thanks to my friends for letting me hunt their property and creating a memory of a lifetime!
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Old November 21, 2017, 06:03 PM   #2
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Good for her. Getting our youth involved in hunting is always a good thing.
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Old November 21, 2017, 06:29 PM   #3
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Well done, did she help gut it?
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Old November 21, 2017, 08:07 PM   #4
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I had a similar experience just about a month ago but the difference was it was with my 11 yr old grand daughter..I know exactly how proud you were and still are as I am also..Great job on both her and your parts.
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Old November 23, 2017, 08:18 AM   #5
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Excellent story. Hunting is something more people would enjoy if they did it once.
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
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Old November 23, 2017, 09:30 AM   #6
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That's the good stuff right there! Congrats to her and you.

I remember when my son got his first, it ruined me. I would much rather see him take one that for me to get one. I saw 52 of the first 53 of his deer killed. He was with my dad for the other.

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Old November 23, 2017, 09:41 AM   #7
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Good job to you and your daughter!
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Old November 23, 2017, 06:14 PM   #8
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Mr Hill, she helped gut other deer I've brought home, but she did not help gut her first. We had a "designated gutter" who could do it faster than any of us.

She did help skinning it, however.
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Old November 24, 2017, 01:10 AM   #9
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Good for her, and good shot.
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Old November 25, 2017, 08:35 AM   #10
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Congratulations! Good for her.

I wasn't there for my daughter's first deer, at least I was there for her first buck. Nothing better than sharing a great experience with your kids.
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Old November 28, 2017, 05:19 AM   #11
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Congratulations Globemaster.
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Old November 28, 2017, 11:19 AM   #12
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Great story!

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Old December 1, 2017, 07:49 PM   #13
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Great story. Congratulations!
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Old December 3, 2017, 10:37 PM   #14
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Thanks guys! I appreciate all the good words. I need to let her read this thread.

Looks like we might get another chance. They did not harvest enough does off the property, so he needs more taken. Rifle options are done, but crossbow is still a possibility and he's offered the 2 he has.
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Old December 4, 2017, 12:05 AM   #15
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Nice work, globemaster3, preparing her for success. Hope to experience this soon with my son.
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