Emily's 1st Deer

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Opening day for rifle season was approaching and I had plans to take my 15 year old daughter Emily.  Last time she went hunting was on a very cold day in Northern Maine as a 10 year old for youth day.  Never did get anything that day so we shot at some cans.  After that she hasn’t had any interest in hunting but still enjoyed the outdoors.  So on my birthday instead of spending a day for myself I spent it with my wife Angela and went shopping for camo clothes for Emily.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh..... :)  I'm such a good father.  Nothing says I love U like spending about $180 in hunting clothing for a daughter.  Hahaha.  Of course she looks way cute in all of it.  I placed all the clothes on her bed so she would see them when she got home from school.  She tried them all on and posed for facebook profile picture updates.  BTW if BassPro Shops wants her to model give us a call.  Haha.  Seriously give us a call. :)  

Opening day was a cool morning temperature of about 38 degrees.  I made arrangements to hunt from a specific stand that hadn't been hunted yet and had great potential to be one of the best stands in the club.  Well when Emily and I got there one of the club members was signed into that particular stand.  So now Emily and I needed to come up with a different plan.  Now by that time the sun was up and we still were not set up yet.  On the way into the other area we were going hunt just as we stepped into the woods we jumped a deer.  Oh well it happens so we make are way along a dried up sandy creek bed just littered in acorns.  Then get into a two man stand.  We were there about 1hr and half when I spotted a deer moving.  I just saw the movement and then it was gone but moving on an angle toward us.  I told Emily to get her gun up and get ready.  MY HEART WAS POUNDING.  Then all of a sudden I saw antlers then disappeared as fast as I spotted them.  5 minutes go by and Emily says, She just spotted him.  Then gone again.  So we are waiting for this buck to feed up the creek where we walked in.  It was about 100 yards directly out in front.  But out in front are trees blocking our view of that bend in the creek and the game trail that follows along the creek into the area we were hunting.  Then I start to hear an approaching deer from behind my right shoulder.  I'm trying not to look and let it approach.  I shift my weight slightly so I can get my binoculars from my pack and see if I can spot that buck out front.  All of a sudden, "CLANG, CLICK BANG RATTLE RATTLE, CLANG, THUMP, ThuMP thump"  My stupid cell phone falls out of my pocket and hits the tree stand breaks apart into three pieces and hits the ladder rungs on the way down to the forest floor covered in dried up leaves and twigs.  UNBELIEVABLE!  I was so humiliated and angry at myself and felt sooo awful for Emily.  I couldn't even look her way.  She was giving her Daddy a well deserved stink eye for sure.

The woods exploded all around us with noise of ALERT ALERT ALERT.  I couldn't tell if that buck ran off or not.  Thought maybe he would just stand there wondering what that weird sound was before bolting away.  So we sat there another 40 minutes or so.  Nothing.  Then she needed to pee and was probably just using it as an excuse to get down because I just blew the chance for her to get a nice buck.  It was definitely going to be larger than Jonah’s 1st Buck her sibling.  I only had a glimpse but at that far away in thick cover for me to spot antlers was a good sign it was going to be a nice one.  On the way out we looked at the tracks, they were inside of our boot tracks.  That deer walked right in on the same trail we used. I'll be beating myself up on that hunting trip for a long time.  Well that is until 3 weeks later.

11, November 2011 Veterans day.  The 1st cold snap for middle Georgia is setting in and frost is in the forecast.  Emily says to me Thursday night Daddy we’re hunting tomorrow morning.  The 2person stand that I wanted to hunt opening day was our target area.  When we got there we were about 30 minutes later then I would have liked.  We enjoyed the short 20 minutes ride in listening to country music.  My daughter has embraced her inner country girl and knew more songs then I did.  You see spending time with a child hunting is not just about the hunt, it’s everything leading up to it and after.  Little moments that make it special like being silly and not caring if I look like an idiot trying to sing along to a song I don’t know the words too.  The new clothes that isn’t Dad’s old hand me downs.  The shared coffee from Dad’s steel thermos.  The fact that we left our cushions in the truck and had to sit on cold seats with frost on them until it melted and soaked our butts.  Take the good with the bad.  The little look I got when we settled in that spoke volumes without saying a word, “Yes honey my cell phone is in a deep pocket and zipped up.”  The little things.

So we are all settled in.  The sun was just peaking through the hardwood trees and hitting the planted pines to our right.  It’s time for these deer to get up and move regardless if the full moon has had them running the roads all night long.  It was cold and the sun was coming up.  So I used a short bleat call.  I muffled it so it was soft, the air was still and it was very quiet out.  I did the bleat again 15 minutes later then some short grunt calls.  Nothing to mature or aggressive.  We waiting another 30 minutes and I tried the bleat call again.  Emily says to me she thought she heard something moving in the pines.  I just nodded as if to say, “Hmmmmmm maybe but I didn’t hear anything.”  Not a minute later Emily was looking left and I spotted a buck walking out of the pines 50 yards in front of us moving right to left and headed to the hardwood bottom.  He came out in a hurry.  I whack Emily in the arm and say, “get ready it’s a buck.”  Ever do that to someone just whack em and say, “There it is” when it’s really not there.  Well that is exactly what she thought I had done and wasn’t too impressed but at that very moment she spotted him moving.  OH Yeah!  Adrenaline was pumping.  We looked like two steam engines in the stand with the cold air showing our heavy breathing.  I used the bleet call again and the buck stopped behind some small short pines in a gulley that I didn’t realize was there.  Deer always seem to do that.  While Emily was looking for him in the scope I tell her softly to look for him to pop out in front, on her side and to get ready.  I used my grunt call and just gave a little pop grunt.  (that’s what I call it anyway)  That buck came out of the pines and right into the open facing us.  As it was approaching I explained to Emily that she could take that head on shot and asked her where she would place it.  She was comfortable and ready to pull trigger once it stopped moving.  It was at that moment I thought oh no we are going to get busted.  Buck was looking in our general direction but not up yet and just about to stop when it turned broadside to walk away.  That’s when I just gave a vocal awkward grunt noise just to stop him.  As I was saying the words, “Ok Emily”  BLAM!  She fired away.  I blinked didn’t see the shot.  I know she blinked.  I ask did you get him?  She says, “Oh Yeah I had him perfect.”  That’s when Emily Shrieked with Joy.  I just laughed and motioned to cover her mouth and shushed to listen.  There we listened, the buck running and running, running, crashing up!  “That’s it Emily you did it he’s down.”  Tears start flowing.  I’m shaking, she’s shaking, she’s shaking even more and so joyful.  I ran a quick little video interview of what just happened with the camera and got some photos in stand and let the deer be for a minute or two.  We waited maybe 5 minutes and decided to get down and do a blood trail track.  She said to me later that she was shaking so bad she thought she was going to fall off the tree stand ladder.

With me on the little camera running a video, Emily set out on her 1st Blood trail.  Good blood and easy track.  She noticed along the way how the leaves were disturbed and where he jumped.  I have never shown her this part of hunting and she was a natural.  She would spot the trail and look ahead making mental notes and moving forward slowly and looking.  50 yards from the stand she spotted her 1st buck and Ran in.  I could barely keep up.  It was a beautiful moment for a beautiful young lady.  Her shot placement was perfect just like she said.  Just behind the shoulder and through the lungs.  As she posed with her 1st deer at one moment she just leaned over and hugged her trophy in respect and admiration.  I just kept snapping photos and captured the moment.  We held hands and said a prayer together.  I lost all control of my emotions barely getting the words of thanks out.  It was a special moment for us and a blessing for sure.  We dragged him out together and walked back to the truck just talking away.  I was on cloud nine and don’t remember the conversation I was so excited for her.  There were moments of high fives, boo yeahs,  waaawhoos and fist pumps.  I was half way home and just getting all excited all over again.  There was nothing but smiles from my daughter of approval.  A little token I will keep with me… Forever.


BikerRN's picture

Bass Pro

That's one of the best stories I have read here at BGH.

Emily did a great job and Bass Pro needs to hire her as a model. She should be proud of herself, I know I would be. Thank you for taking the time to share Emily's story with us. You made me feel as if I was in the stand with you two.


swisheroutdoors's picture


She's all fired up for turkey season in the spring now.  I may also book a family hog hunting trip this winter down in abbeyville georia.  More stories to come.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Great story and thanks for

Great story and thanks for sharing it with all of us.  I always like reading stories and see pictures of kids out hunting...whether it small game or big game.  I cannot wait til my six year old son is old enough to take his firts shots at some sort of game.

awesome story, makes me more

awesome story, makes me more anxious now than ever to see one of my children shoot their first deer

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Great story Jeremy!  I always

Great story Jeremy!  I always love hearing about a kid's first deer, no matter what age, where they are, etc.  We all have our unique things that happen.  Your broken cell phone during her opening day, me breaking my nose with the scope on my first deer, etc. All funny, and memories that will last.

That's a heck of a deer she shot.  I would take a nice forky like that at any time.  She looks plenty happy, and with the way you explained her during and after the shooting, you can tell she was excited.  Seems like you now have a hunting partner for life, or at least until some guys who owns 3,000 acres, practices QDM, and has 12 points around every corner, comes along and takes her away.... Wink

One srious note about your first paragraph.  You laugh at spending so much on clothing the first time, but that truly can make the difference in them sticking with it, or never going out again.  You must always make sure that a first timer is comfortable in the woods.  You don't want them getting cold and wanting to leave after 10 minutes.  After we get them hooked on hunting, then we can introduce them to the negative zero, 40 mile pr hour windy days in back up in Aroostook county, right???

Thanks for a great story, and congrats to her! Great buck!

swisheroutdoors's picture

Thank you

You are right about the clothing.  However, both the kids were exposed to those fridgid days hunting with dad when they were little.   I can still here the skuff skuff skuff of snow boots along the dirt logging roads becuase they can't pick up there feet.  LOL.  They were probably wearing same clothing they wore for down hill skiing with a orange vest on.  Seems I learned most lessons the hard way. 

hunter25's picture

thanks for sharing a great

thanks for sharing a great story with us. These are the ones I like the most, the ones about our kids becoming part of what we do and then having thier first success out there. I did the same thing with my phone in Texas this year but fortunately it was just after I got to the blind and didn't seem ty affect things much, plus I was alone with nobody to get upset with me other than myself.

Congratulations to your daughter and hopefully her success will have her looking forward to getting out there with you again with you year after year.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Useful tool

Cell phones are useful but I miss the camping, fishing and hunting off the grid.  There is a new commercial out there with a bunch of guys trying to find a spot to camp with no cell phone service.  That is getting harder and harder to do these days.  Even in Northern Maine's vast forest they are getting cell phone service to about 16 miles in from Ashland and Portage Lake regions.  I remember we gave one of the guys a hard time about driving out to a higher elevation so he could check in.  HAHAHA.  Now I'm sitting in a stand in Georgia ansering txt messages about what is going on in the stand.  "See anything?"  "The wind just shiffted." "Just saw a doe and spike." etc etc.  The guys in the club don't stop and when a shot goes off oh my just wait 15 minutes look at your phone and you have 9 messages.  My phone days are numbered.  Just going to keep a trac phone for emergencies and casual calls from now on.

Retired2hunt's picture

  That is an awesome story


That is an awesome story swisheroutdoors!  An amazing and emotional one that will surely last a lifetime.  It is great you were able to sit right next to your daughter and witness the whole hunt.  I enjoyed your story right from the start.  I read your story and type my resonse as I hold my 6 month old granddaughter in my hands.  It is my hope that I too can do the same with her and share that amazing story too.  The great thing here too is that you have a hunting partner for life now.  God Bless You!

swisheroutdoors's picture

Thank you

I'm blessed with many friends and family that all have this link in an email now as well.  Emily is getting floaded with praise.  I'm taking tomorrow and friday off to try for a P&Y.  Bucks are chasing.  Last weekend was just wonderful.

jaybe's picture

Congratulations, Emily!

Congratulations, Emily! That's a fine buck. It looks like a perfect shot, too.

I also have a daughter named Emily. She never wanted to go hunting with me, but I have taken her fishing. She caught a really nice King Salmon once in Lake Michigan, and I still have the picture to remind me of those good times when she was a teenager out with her dad.

Thanks for the great story, Jeremy. You and your wife did a good job picking out the clothes for Emily - they look great on her. So does the blood smear on her cheek!

Great pictures, too. Thanks again!


swisheroutdoors's picture

She says thanks

Pictures and memories of family enjoying time together in the outdoors.  So priceless.  I have another great story where Emily caught her 1st flounder with a drop line in the mouth of the Merrimack River.  All these stories and pictures I need to catalog into a big hard back binder.  Something to tape photos into and write down stories and entries.  Pass it down the generations.  I think I just came up with a project for the winter.  Thanks.