Jonah's First Deer
Two very long days in stands. We moved three times the 1st day hunting as guests on a lease in Millividge GA. Always walking into the tree stands 1 hr prior to sunrise and walked out at dark. Let me just say for a father(Jeremy Swisher 39 yrs old) and son(Jonah Swisher 9 yrs old) (from Northern Maine used to tracking in snow and still hunting) in a two man tree stand sitting for 3 to 4 hours at a time being silent and watching will task your willpower.
The 1st morning we were in a stand for 20 minutes still very dark when we could hear deer moving in to feed. Well they busted us. I could just barely make out the white flags jumping around the field into the woods like ghosts they were gone. Later walking into a deer stand that mid afternoon I spotted a large doe feeding under a white oak tree. I positioned Jonah into a shot but she too busted us to quickly before we could get set up. Climbed up in the stand anyway sat for 3 hours then went back to camp. Decided to wait for late afternoon to hunt.
So we went fishing in a tippy canoe. I caught a 5 lb large mouth. That sucker pulled the canoe around at about 2 knots before I landed it. You know your catching good fish when your thumb is tore up and bleeding. Jonah landed two 1 lb bluegill. I never thought catching bluegill would be all that fun, but dang if those guys aren't aggressive fish. We had a blast. Fishing and hunting on the same day what could make this more exciting oh I don't know how about an alligator nudging the canoe HELLLOOOOOoooo! THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! (me using the Oar to scare it off) Go on git you little freshy tacka.
That night into the a stand on an area the previous year 10 deer were taken from. Nothing but a gun shot from someone in the stand we sat in that morning. Big 10 Point came out on the far end of the field and lived to run that rub line another night. Jonah at this point is pretty much frustrated that he hasn't fired his gun. I tell him have faith son it's going to happen because I have faith that it will. Next morning we try again on the big field trying not to move a stay perfectly still. Nothing shows up. Then on to another stand that looked real promising and still nothing. Then on to another stand in the hardwoods facing down in a small creek lots of sign but nothing. Getting real discouraged but still have faith. One last shot try this other stand that historically no deer have been taken from. A box blind no less that I would never thought I would get into ever. Yup just like them hunting shows. Small little plot with clover in it and beauty berry bushes growing all on the edges. The last 30 minutes of shooting time is upon us. Jonah says to me, "Dad I just wanna go home, I can't take it anymore." I say, "Son we have been through so much to quit now means we have only gone through 98% of our journey. We should see it through 100%. Have 30 more minutes of faith." He just hung his head down took a deep breath and says, "Fine."
Now the whole time we were discussing this with whispered voices, he had open view to the small field. Now I planned on filming this entire hunt and have pictures and video from the previous day. I now have big appreciation for how difficult it can be too film anything when hunting. I had an obstructed view in the corner and can only see what is straight out in front. Then there it was this huge doe standing broad side getting ready to move into the most thick brush I have ever walked into. "Jonah, there is your deer!" I grabbed the gun put it up on the rest and pulled the hammer back for him. (no time to waist, he was using a Rossi 243 youth model single shot break action with a 3x9 Simmons scope) "Jonah the rifle is hot and ready to fire move into position do not put your finger on the trigger." "When you're ready and have a good shot take her son." Jonah whispers, "Daddy I have it perfect right where we practiced." Jonah slides the safety off. "Take the shot son.... take it" Boom! Big mule kick with her hind legs. One jump an she goes straight into the worst environment. Briars, snakes scorpions dense cover ticks. You name it. All smiles totally excited yet humble and respectful of the entire situation at the same time. He and I go looking for his deer and can't find it. Jonah says, "Dad it's ok if we don't find my deer this was awesome anyway." I say "Oh we're finding it if it takes all night." Guess what. No blood trail at the impact point, Dad's now thinking maybe this will take all night. I ask where exactly did you aim. He explains behind the should and low. So I'm thinking maybe he missed, but that dear kicked up, had to have been a good hit. We go back and get a 4 wheeler and the other guys to help. I used a green tracking light. After about 20 minutes of looking and the others thinking maybe he missed I found some blood. The track was on with Jonah out in front looking for his 1st deer. "THERE IT IS!" The pictures say way more than I can put to words...