First Solo Hunt

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I remember the early mornings and late afternoons sitting in the stand with my dad. Watching and observing his every action and learning from the advice he had to give. Sitting side by side looking down lanes in attempt to spot the deer before him. I sat in the stand with my Remington 20 gauge youth shot gun and waited with anticipation for a deer to present a shot. At that time I had yet to harvest my first deer and was willing to take the first deer that came within range.

Just to give a little back ground information at the time I was nine years old and had yet to take a deer. It had been about a year since I had even attempted a shot at a deer, a small doe that I missed with my single shot 410.

Flash forward to the day I shot my first deer. That morning my dad and I got up well before the sun and he woke me with a cup of hot chocolate and asked if I wanted to go hunting. Now typical nine year old boys would moan and roll back over in bed but I jumped at the chance to spend the morning in the woods with my dad. I got right out of bed and was ready in what seemed to be seconds and I walked quickly into the living room zipping up my coveralls. My dad sat on the couch drinking his coffee as I joined drinking my hot chocolate. We finished up the morning beverages and he turned to me and asked if I was ready? “Yes Sir” as I stood and started to the door. He stopped me and asked “Where’s your gun?” I was so excited that I had almost left without it.

As we arrive to the farm I see a few small fields and a four to five year old cut over that backed up to a creek (at the time it was just woods to me). This was the farm that I had seen my dad and his friends take some nice deer from and I became instantly excited. We step out of the truck and place our marker on the stand we will be hunting that morning. We walked into the woods and took our stand. We sat there that morning and saw several doe but none close enough that I could attempt a shot. As it got later in the morning we began to gather our things and headed back to the truck. A little discouraged I climbed in and we headed home.

Later that afternoon I asked if we were going back to hunt that same farm. My dad replied “if you want to go we can.” I couldn’t believe he asked that, that’s like asking a kid if he wants candy, of course I wanted to go back. I asked if I could hunt a stand by myself and my dad said he wasn’t sure if he was ready to let me hunt alone just yet but he would think it over.

When the time came to get ready I noticed my dad had his Remington 700 , I remember thinking I could kill anything with that. He said he was going to let me have my first solo hunt and he had an idea of where to hunt. We went to the same farm but marked off two stands on a different part of the farm. I was so excited to be on my first solo hunt. I was taking stand number 2 ½ and my dad would be just up the path not even two hundred yards in stand number 2.

I climbed up the stand and got settled in a ladder stand that rested up against a tree on the edge of the path. Once I was seated I gave my dad the thumbs up and he returned the gesture. He then walked past the stand and it was official I was on my first solo hunt. I remember looking just to the left in a small grass field that was just off the path and to my right a wooded bottom that lead down the creek. I remember hearing so much activity in the woods and my heard would start to race and I would begin to breath heavy. I would peer into the woods and I would see a squirrel scavenging for acorns. I would wind down and continue to look around remembering everything my dad had taught me. I sat there for what seemed an eternity when all of a sudden I noticed moving through the grass a GIANT buck.

About forty yards away was an eight point buck walking across the grass field and my mind went blank. I instantly began breathing heavy and my heart was beating out of my chest. I was almost certain that the buck would hear it. I raised my Remington shot gun and pulled the trigger. BBBOOOOOMMMM…… the deer jumps and starts to run……Rachet……BBBBOOOOOMMM….. Still running…… Rachet……… BBBOOOOMMM….I had let off three shots a slug followed by two shots of buck shot before the deer disappeared into the woods. I sat in the stand shaking and trembling as I was filled with both excitement and doubt. Did I get him I asked myself? Why did he run I must have missed!!! I sat in the stand and waited for my dad to arrive as I was sure he had herd my shots and was on the way. I waited for what must have been days, but in actuality was only minutes for my dad to arrive. As he made his was to my stand he asked “what did you shoot?” “A BUCK” as I motioned with my hands to show the size of his antlers. I climbed down to show him where the deer was when I shot. Still uncertain if I had even hit the deer I walked him to where I remember seeing the deer. My dad looked for a second and pointed to the ground… there was blood! I had hit the deer, I was so excited as we tracked the deer. We walked ten yards and there was more blood this time much more. My dad looked into the edge of the woods and pointed as he saw the deer. I ran over with excitement and grabbed the horns and I pulled the head up to display the rack. I looked up at my dad and he was smiling as he gave me a high five. My first deer and it was a buck, a big buck. Now the deer scored out at 95 which by all means isn’t going to break any records, but for a nine year old on his first solo hunt he was the brute of the woods.

Looking back that was eighteen years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. My dad has since passed and I only have the memories of all the great hunts. To this day every time I sit in a stand I remember all the things that were passed on to me from my dad. Five months ago I became a father, my first child, my son. I now know some of the feelings my dad had to have felt. Now its my turn to pass along the information and wisdom to my son. I will tell him the stories of all the great hunts that his grandpa and dad had and how that everything I am teaching him was learned from my dad. The story of my first solo hunt is proof that the wisdom works and nothing is better than a father and son spending time together outdoors.




ManOfTheFall's picture

Great story, I really

Great story, I really appreciated it. My father was never around to teach me anything. I vowed when I had children of my own I would not be like him. I have all countless wonderful experiences with my children. My middle son is the big hunter of the three I have been there for every harvest of a deer he has ever had. Now he has a son who will be turning 5 in January and we already have him involved with as much outdoor activity as we possibly can. Hopefully he will be a third generation hunter and outdoorsman. My son is also looking forward to his next child in January as well. Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on that first buck. It sure was a nice one.

stillrollin300's picture

Thanks for the remarks guys

Thanks for the remarks guys it took me a bit to get the time to write the story.  But to answer your question we always had a board with nails in it with numbers for each nail.  They represented the stand numbers.  When you went in to hunt you put your washer on the stand you would be in so if anyone came in behind they knew where you were hunting.  Also used as an extra safety measure so if you saw a washer still on stand if no one had heard from you it would let them know where you were if you needed help.

jim boyd's picture

What a great, great story and

What a great, great story and one with a family theme - those are the best!

I can imagine your excitement as a child, on the very first solo hunt and taking a giant buck like that!!

I am not sure who was likely more proud that day - you or your dad... probably your dad!

Yes, the story was told with enthusiasm, which is super - and told with good detail - stand 2 1/2... that is a riot - it even sounds like a stand for a young hunter.

I can see your eye bugging out when you saw the deer, I can imagine your dismay and worry as he ran off and I can also see you - bent at the waist, looking for deer - and then your joy when you saw the buck!

God bless you on the harvest and God bless your father for taking you - particularly for going back that afternoon.

Super story - I  loved it and give it an A+!

Tndeerhunter's picture

Don't know which was better...

I don't know which was better, that nice 8 pnt shot as a first deer or that very detailed story of just how much that day meant and obviously continues to mean to you. I also have a very special spot in my heart for a Dad that took me hunting. I had to chuckle for a moment though as I read about your shots. You see, my first deer took a few shots as well. Only thing, my deer was on the ground and still bein' shot by me...LOL.

Thanks again for the great story!

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Great story.  Takes me back

Great story.  Takes me back to the first time I was sent out alone too.  Great memories. 

My first deer, I was actually totally alone in the woods.  My Dad was 10 miles away working at the house, since he'd already shot his deer. I shot it, gutted it, dragged it, and finally had someone drive by and give me a hand loading it on the car for the drive home. Of course, i was 20 year old, not 9, but still.... Wink

Thanks for the story!  Very nice buck for anyone, let alone your first!!!

jaybe's picture

What a Start!

That was a great start to a deer hunting career!

An 8-pointer with a shotgun at a pretty young age.

That was for sure a memory you will never forget.

It's amazing how these events are burned into our minds and we can relate every detail even many years later.

I was intrigued by the idea of "placing your marker" on the stand you would hunt.

Was there a board there with all the stands on it so whomever was hunting could let others know where they would be?

If so, I have never heard of that - but it sounds like a great idea.

Thanks for sharing your story and a nice picture.