Recently, youth season opened up for deer. Even though my own son isn't old enough to take hunting, I still managed to get some time out and glass the bean fields for some whitetail. I found LOTS of bucks ranging from small to giant. So, there was a lot left to capitolize on for the opener. I made the goal of taking out every youth I could find.
Out of the two teenage neighbors I have, and my friend's son; my friend Rick son had yet to harvest a deer. Rick has been taking his son deer hunting for several years with no success. This year Rick's son, Jake, enjoyed his first turkey kill in the spring on my neighbor's CRP land and hoping to continue this pattern of confidence building we headed out to a bean field nearby.
I have been seeing a group of a half dozen bucks in this field for the past few weeks with some in the 150 inch range. The chances of getting Jake a really nice buck were very high.
Three hours before sunset we hiked out to the treeline at the back of the field and waited to see what came out. The wind and the weather were both perfect. Hopes were high that a respectable buck would soon follow.
Wouldn't you know it, the first deer to come out was a doe, followed by more does. After what seemed like years to young Jake, a small 3x2 walked out of the tree line. I told Jake that this deer was too small to shoot. We watched him feed for a half hour. The buck started at 400 yards distant and then fed to a mere 50 yards. Jake asked me if you could shoot the deer. I caved in.
The first shot from my Winchester .243 brought the buck to the ground. Jake was more than pleased, and so was his father!
I think we could have done better on the size of the buck, but they were pleased. And it helped to remind me that it's important to take kids hunting regardless of the success, regardless of the score of the deer. I guarantee that Jake will always look back at this experience and smile. As for me, I hope I harvest better bucks with the two neighbor boys.
It was a good start to a year though, I know that.
Image Courtesy kansasphoto  via Flickr