A Daddy Daughter Date In The Deer Stand

Having spent most of my children's lives on the road as both a regional and over-the-road truck driver I haven't been able to spend nearly enough time with them in the outdoors.  Until the last couple of years circumstances have made it nearly impossible to get in much hunting and fishing at all.  As this situation started changing in my favor, I began to ease them into these activities.  I don't ever force them to go; I simply give them the option of joining me on each adventure.  

This year in Missouri the last of the youth rifle season landed on the weekend after Thanksgiving making things a little difficult.  However, where there's a will there's a way.  At least that is what I've always heard other people tell me when they couldn't figure out how to achieve something they wanted to accomplish.  

After finishing work for the day on Saturday the 26th I picked up the rifle my daughter wanted to use and took her out to get in a little practice.  She has been shooting guns since she was about six, but this was her first time shooting a larger sized rifle.  To my surprise, she handled the gun quite well and was able to hit the target without any issues.  She did tell me "this gun gets heavy after a while" to which I replied "tomorrow you will have something to rest it on while you are aiming."  We finished up our practice session (I wish I had taken pictures of the target after she was done shooting) and headed in for dinner and an early bed time.

At 3:00 AM on Sunday the 27th we crawled out of bed and prepared for the two-hour journey to our hunting spot.  Climbing into the stand just before daylight, we settled in for a daddy daughter date in the deer stand.
Weather, Weather Conditions
Weather Conditions Sunday November 27th
Hunting Blinds, Deer Stand, Hunting Stand
Our Little Hunting Blind

After a few hours of calling and spraying a cover scent, a year old doe finally wandered in.  I instructed my daughter to take her time as the deer seemed to be looking right at us on high alert.  I then heard a twig break behind us and turned around to notice that a much bigger doe was making her way through the woods towards our location.  As the bigger doe stopped, the little one blew and took off running out of sight, but returned shortly to the side of the bigger animal.  At this point they both began to move around to settle in front of us again.  Slowly my daughter attempted to get into position, but before she could manage to get a shot a third deer which neither of us had noticed busted us and ran off causing the other two to evacuate the area.

Yearling Doe, Little Deer, Young Doe
The Little Doe Headed For the Hills

I wish I could say my daughter was able to kill her first deer that day, but I can't.  We sat in the stand for a few more hours until it began to rain on us and decided to call it a day.  As we headed back home my daughter turned to me and said:  "It's ok that I didn't get a deer today.  At least I got to see some, and they were really close!  That's more than a lot of people can say about their first deer hunting trip.  A lot of people only dream of seeing even one deer the first time they go hunting."  I told her that I was really proud of her attitude towards the whole situation and that she was absolutely right about seeing deer on her first trip to the woods with a gun.

Whenever you are out hunting or fishing with your children remember that success isn't always about catching and killing; it's about teaching them to learn from and enjoy every moment they spend in the great outdoors.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Never Give Up

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October 29th, 2016

I'm sure most anyone who has been hunting very long has had the experience of sitting in the blind or stand and hearing that all too familiar sound of a deer "blowing" after sensing an intruder in their domain.  Most new hunters and some who have been hunting for quite some time will simply get up and walk away thinking their hunt is over once they experience this.  However, this is not always the case.  

Sometimes a deer will "blow" and run off never to be heard from again (or at least not again that same day), but often a deer will sound the alarm only to run off a short distance and take another   smell while trying to identify where the stranger is located.  

Today it was my turn to experience this.  While sitting in my blind which is made up of mostly natural materials I sat working the call and spraying an occasional mist of that days chosen deer attractant.  After repeating this routine every 15 to 20 minutes over the course of a couple of hours I heard the sound we all know and dread.  The wind was carrying a scent trail to the south as I sat on the northern side of a small spring fed pond.  With the thick cover of evergreens between myself and this pond, I was unable to get a good view of any nearby activity to the south;  however, after paying careful attention I noticed him running to the top of a nearby hill.  I texted my brother to tell him that I had just been discovered by a deer when an idea popped into my head.

By now I had lost sight of my prey and figured I had nothing to lose so I blew a few times on the deer call and sprayed another little mist of scent.  It didn't take long before I heard that buck off in the distance blowing once again.  With that I began repeating the process of calling and spraying each time I heard him.  After a while I regained sight of the buck and was able to watch his reaction to our conversation.  For half an hour we played our little game - he would blow and I would call and spray the scent again.  During this time he worked a full circle around my blind never quite able to spot that elusive doe.  I was unable to convince him to come in for a closer look that day, but I had a wonderful  experience learning to speak the language of a whitetail.

Next time you are hunting and you hear that sound, just remember it is not the end of the world.  Most of the time when a deer blows like that, they are actually clearing any remaining scent from their nostrils in order to get a better smell of what is around them.  Simply give a little shout out with your call and spray a little "deer pee" into the wind to make it more convincing that another deer is nearby.  Be careful not to spray too much urine at once as this can work against you by alarming the deer.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day