Hunter's First Archery Buck

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Well it always happens that way.   Get a plan together for the morning hunt with my 10 year old son.  Why do I always get up late and miss the darkness walking into the stand.

It was a cool, calm, crisp morning in eastern Iowa.  Second day of the Iowa youth deer season.  We were a little groggy from getting a late start, but excited to be sure.  I knew the wind was out of the northwest, so the 2 man ladder stand would be the perfect spot this morning.  The last couple of days in the stand were way to warm to be there, but we try not to miss an opportunity to chase whitetails.  The weather this morning was what i look for when my confidence level is getting up where it should be.

We pulled in the field at about 7:30, just as the sky was getting that special color when all the critters start getting restless.  I figured we were going to bump every deer in the woodlot on the way to the stand by the time we got our clothes on.  As luck would have it, all we managed to bump was an Iowa longbeard off his roost. 

I was a little concerned about the wind, or lack there of.  By now my son has been in a stand with me since he was 6 years old and has some sense of how to conduct himself.  As it always happens with him, he has to relieve himself.  I pull out the empty sunny-d bottle and solve that problem.  The sun is starting to make its presence known now.  A little northwest breeze beginds to develop as well.

About 8:00 now and nothing but squirrels and occasional pheasant cackle in the distance.  I look off in the draw to our right and spot some movement.  I watched for a minute or two figuring one of our friendly squirrels has made yet another appearance.  As i start to lose interest in that situation, my son says "there's a deer done there dad".  I asked him if he was sure.  "Yes I'm sure".   I told him to just relax and wait to see where it would go.  The next 15 minutes were the best 15 minutes I have ever had in the woods.

It's about 8:10 and another deer has joined the party in the draw.  To give some perspective, these deer are only about 18 to 20 yards away, but obscurred by tree limbs and underbrush.  My son says "when do i get my bow".  I said be real slow and get your bow in your hand and stand up real slow while the deer are in the brush and can't pick up your movement.  Mission accomplished.  The first deer we can see is a little spike buck that is feeding his way right into his shooting lane.  Then spike is about 10 yards from being in the "kill zone" now.  The second deer is small 6 point.  By this time my son is starting to get a little nervous about the situation.  I ask him if he wants the spike or the 6.  "I want the spike", he says.  About 2 weeks before season, i took him to the stand with a block target.  I told him to get in the stand and i placed the block target where i thought the deer would move across the ridge.  He put 3 arrows in a 2 inch group at 22 yards away.  I am confident he will make the shot after this practice and numerous 3d shoots we attended during the summer.

Its 8:30 and the spike has made the perfect moves so far.  I told my son, when he clears that deadfall tree, draw your bow, "Ok dad", he whispers.  The little buck finally clears the tree and he begins to draw.  The 6 point looks right up at us in the tree.  I see we are not going to have long to get this done.  I told him middle pin on the spot and shoot when your ready.  I can't believe how calm he got when it came time for the shot.  I know because i had my hand on his back the whole time.  The arrow was on its way and the 6 point just took a couple steps and stopped.  The spike is a good as dead,  a perfect heart shot at 22 yards.  He was in the exact spot where i placed the block target during practice.  The buck ran about 15 yards and stopped.  We waited to here the crash but didn't hear anything.  Finally my son says "I heard him crash dad".  I just smiled and told him that he couldn't have done it any better than that.

Let me tell ya folks when your pride and joy gets his first buck period and with a bow, there truly isn't anything better in the world.


Retired2hunt's picture

Awesome - it is a memory you will never forget!


Darrin - I remember both of my son's first deer - one was with a bow and the other with rifle.  They were 13 and 12 respectively.  There is definitely not another time in a hunting Dad's time more precious and memorable than his son's/daughter's first hunt or that first buck.  You have captured it well in your story.  Thanks for sharing and Congrats on the memory that will stay with you for a lifetime.  Someday your son will be doing the same with his son or daughter and will remember his first time with you.  I hope you are involved with that one as well - a grandchild only adds to the memory!!




hunter25's picture

These are the best stories of

These are the best stories of all and I could read them all day. Congratulations on his first buck and the excitement that comes with it. It's great he wa sso excited he didn't want to wait for the larger one and totally happy with the one he shot. I'm impressed he was able to hold it together so well as I know when I was that age I fell apart completely. I have enjoyed similar experiences with my son and my daughter for many years. Even though they are older now it's still great to be there with them they are successful. It will be a few more years still but I'm really looking forward to when my grandson who is only two years old at this time will be able to start his first hunt with me. His dad didn't stick around so I get the wonderful honor of being the one to take him.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Yes, this is truly a great

Yes, this is truly a great story!!!!! I love hearing these stories about kids shooting their first deer. I never had the chance to experience that with my father, but I did with my son. It is definitely one of the joyous moments of your life. I still have two other children whom are adults now that haven't harvested their first deer yet. They never really took to hunting and don't go out that much. I do have a grandson that is almost 5 years old and he wants to go out now and shoot one but I think he is still a couple years away. Great job to your son!!!!!

arrowflipper's picture


Thanks for a great story Darrin.  That's what hunting is all about.  I have harvested my fair share of animals over the years, but there aren't any that match the excitement of watching my son and daughter shoot their first animals.  And now my grandkids are doing the same.

You painted a vivid color picture of your hunt and it felt like I was there with you.  Please tell your son there a lot of us out here that are mighty proud of him and the way he conducted himself.  I'm sure your family will enjoy that venison as much as any you've ever had.

Congratulations to a fine young man.

WishIWasHunting's picture

Awesome story.  As others

Awesome story.  As others have commented, our first hunting stories stick with us for a long time and always have a special place.  It is great that you typed this story up to help you and your son remember all the little details years from now.  

Congratulations to your son and a great deer and a great hunt!  Thanks for sharing!

deerhunter30's picture

I to remeber my first deer

I to remeber my first deer like it was yesterday. I can remember every step it took into shooting range to every step it took till it dropped.

I have a nine year old son who likes to go hunting but as of right now he just wants to watch. He still is scared of the noise his gun puts out when fired. But the worst thing you can do is get mad that he wont shoot it. He then wont want to go hunting for fear  of dissapointment from me. The best thing I think is to just let him keep going and watching me and eventually he will come around and want to shoot one himself.

I always take him out in the off season every year waiting for that year he can pull the trigger comfortably on his own. He has shot his own gun before but just is not comfortable doing it. But I just can't wait for the day to come that he shoots a deer, I will be so proud.

Great story and good job on your first buck.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That's a great story, and a

That's a great story, and a heck of a deer!  A very nice accomplishment for the young Hunter!.

I love reading about the kids getting their first game animal, whether or not it's a simple dove, rabbit, or squirrel, or something larger like a deer or elk.  I still remember my first deer like it was yesterday.  I assume he had other stuff already under his belt, but the first buck, and with a bow, is a pleasure to read sbout.  Even if I have not shot a deer in 9 uears, or ever shot anything with a bow, I can still smile! (Sort of Wink )

Thanks for sharing.  It shows that you are a caring father.  Getting the kids out there to pass on our traditions is what matters. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Man that is a great story. 

Man that is a great story.  Gotta love when your little one are sucessfull.  Anymopre while out hunting I really get alot more excited to help people take their first animal or their first animal in a long time.  I was gitty with excitement when my wife shot her forst big game animal two years ago....who knows hopw I will act when my shoots his first.   I still ,ike to be the one pulling the trigger but there is a different kind of enjoyment watching people close to you do it.  I still remeber my dads face when I shot my first elk and I sure hope I look ike that when my son shoots his!  Thanks for sharing a great story!