Just have to brag a bit. Last weekend on her first day of deer hunting on her second season, my youngest daughter tagged her first deer!
Last year we spent 8 days trying to get her close enough to a deer standing just in the right position for her to take a shot. To her credit, she passed up a couple of shots at nice bucks that a more experienced hunter would not have hesitated on but they just weren't right for her. She grumbled about not shooting but I told her how proud of her I was for not taking a shot she wasn't sure of & that she would know when to time was right.
Just after dawn last Saturday we spotted a heavy antlered buck maybe a 2 miles off on a different ridge. Getting the atv to within a half mile of where we last saw the buck, we spent a good hour sneaking through the mixed sage / bitterbrush trying to relocate him but without luck. Travelling to a different side of the mountain, she passed up a 125 yard shot at a nice doe (her junior tag is good for either sex). A half hour later after thinking about the opportunity she had just passed up, she said she was going to shoot the next doe she saw - said she wanted meat in the freezer more than anlters on the wall.
A little before noon while headed for a certain quakie patch for lunch, we came across a fat forkie that stood still for only a few seconds before running out of sight around the hill we were on. Before I had a chance to ask what she wanted to do, she was off the bike, pulling her rifle out of the travel case & telling me to get my pack and get going! A half a mile later while walking slowly on the steep mixed low and big sage brush hill we were on and glassing the opposite hill side, I spotted the buck hiding in the shadows at the edge of a small aspen patch. The range was better than 200 yards with brush in the way and Shortstuff couldn't find the buck so we angled closer. At 145 yards, we had an unobstructed view of his shoulder and rib cage. His head was still partially hidden behind the sage brush in front of him - I'm guessing that the 2 yr old was thinking he was well hidden and couldn't be seen. He was wrong.
Getting her set up on the shooting sticks in a comfortable sitting position I told her to let me know if she was good with the shot & if she was going to take it. Several deep breaths and a couple of shifts in her setup later she said she was going to shoot. There was no reaction with the buck at her first shot (she later said she was shaking pretty bad). I could see a noticeable steadying as she settled down for a second shot. At the shot the buck jumped forward 30 or 40 feet and stopped next to the tree line. Through the binoculars I coud see frothy blood comming from the mouth and nose of the buck and new we would soon be punching her first big game tag. He staggered a few steps and fell over. Looking over at Shortstuff I saw that she was literally vibrating with excitement and adrenalin!
A few minutes later as I stood over her and her first deer, I was beyond proud of her when she smoothed down the hair on the bucks neck and sofly thanked the buck and the mountain for giving her this gift.