Well, my boy's first year in the field with a tag in his pocket didn't quite end up the way we had hoped.
We only made it out four or five times and every trip, sans one; we were greeted with strong winds! We went up this past Saturday morning with hopes of getting a few hours in before the predicted storm front hit. At 0430, I got out of the truck to water the bushes and as I was conducting my gardening, the wind blew my truck door closed. When I got back in the truck, Trevor said "I don't want to sit in this stuff Dad". I didn't either so we ended up driving around the backcountry with no deer seen. Between the 20-30 mph winds, the heavy fog, and the light rain, we didn't really stand a chance in the rifle areas.
We did end up tracking a deer though! Before we decided to go home, I talked Trevor into making a quick walk in the timber for a chance at a turkey. We went down in the archery-only area (a place that Ca_Vermonster knows pretty well) and were creeping along a trail. When we got to a spot on the trail where it splits, I noticed a fresh deer print in the mud and just as I was showing it to Trevor, I heard a noise and looked up. It was three hunters coming off of a hillside to our left. One of them asked if I saw any blood! Apparently, he had arrowed a nice buck but the arrow hit a branch and deflected it high between the top of the lungs and the spine. They weren't able to find any blood but though they were on its tracks.
I offered my help with the tracking and thought it would be good for Trevor to learn a thing or two. These guys seemed like pretty cool guys so off we went. The three of them went in two different directions and Trevor and I went in another. I ended up getting on the deer’s tracks and eventually found a couple drops of blood and then the arrow. After not being able to get the shooter's attention, I continued on the tracks and patterned the wounded deer. The other hunters finally came back towards me and were pretty excited that I had found blood and the blood-covered arrow and we all continued tracking the deer. After about 3-400 yards of a drop of blood here and there, we eventually lost all sign. I had to get going so I just gave a little advice on what I thought the deer would do and wished them luck. I received a PM on another site that they never found the buck but the shooter and his son were going back this week to look some more.
In summary, my son learned a lot this season.
He learned that hunting and killing are two completely different things, and he learned how to track a wounded deer.
Hopefully, I won't have to make another bowl of soup with my late season bow tag!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!