(I posted this on the deer hunting forum and thought since our daughter Grace wrote the story I would share it here, too.)
One year ago I logged on to the forum here and had a message from a fellow Kansas member introducing himself and asking how our deer season was going. From that initial introduction a special friendship based on family, shooting/hunting, and a love of the outdoors has developed that led to an invitation to bring my wife and daughter down to try for a nice buck on his ranch this season. What an incredible feeling it is today to look back at the experiences of a very special week as these plans and hopes and dreams became reality! I truly feel blessed to have this Campfire friend to share my enjoyment of shooting and hunting and to have been able to share that with my family this week. Below is the story of our season as written this morning by our nine year daughter, Grace:
Here’s the story… For 10 days from the end of November to about a week into December is deer season. Dad went out to one of our old favorite spots on the opening day (a Wednesday after school) and got a nice 9-point deer. He brought it home and we hung it in our backyard tree.
I know that sounds funny. But that is where we put the deer until we cut them up into meat. Then we hunted all weekend but none of us shot any deer until Sunday evening when Mom and Mr. Wiggle-Pants (my 6 year-old brother Layne) were sitting in a wheat field and they saw a HUGE deer. It was only a 9-point, but it had a wide heavy tall rack and he was a grizzly old scarred up-fellow. She shot him and he dropped right there. We took pictures and field-dressed him and brought him home.
Then on Friday December 7th Sarah (our friend/"adopted big sister") got a nice 9-point deer. She was very happy because it was her first buck.
(Sorry for the closed bolt in this picture. I had unloaded the gun to take pictures, but in the excitement forgot to leave the bolt open for the pictures. - Proud Dad)
Now I was the only one with an empty buck tag. On Thursday Dad & I had gone hunting together all day, and we saw lots of deer but none of them matched what I wanted to shoot. The nicest deer we saw was an 8-point buck that came up to about 30 yards from the blind. Dad had to wake me up for me to see it. He said it came to see who was snoring. I just thought he was being silly. Mom kept asking me if I was going to join the 9-point club. My reply was, “No. I am going to start my own club.” And that is exactly what I did.
On Saturday December 8th Dad hunted by himself at another one of our hunting spots and got a doe in the morning. At about 3 in the afternoon, Dad & I and Mom & Layne went hunting. When I was getting my long johns on to go hunting, I thought I am not going to get a deer because it is cold wet and drizzly. When we got to Max’s, Mom and Layne went down to set up in the wheat field waiting for a doe. Then mom realized she forgot her bullets in the truck and dad told me to wait there while he took bullets to Mom. Luckily, Max was there to meet Dad and get the bullets and take them to Mom, or else Dad would’ve had to drive down in to the wheat field and that would take a little while longer.
When Dad got back we got ready and we headed out to try to get a big deer. Dad and I were hunting down in an older cattle field (it did not have any cattle in it or else we would not have hunted there). We went to the top of a hill, but the only problem was that there were stickers everywhere (and we forgot the mats to sit on). So we moved downhill and on the way down a small buck was staring at me. I stopped but Dad kept going, so I followed him. Then there were deer going every which way because I moved and that spooked them. We got to a leafless tree and we put our backpack in the tree and we got settled. But that spot did not work either. I could not see through all of the brush and it was crowded. So we moved again. We walked and walked and finally Dad said “OK, This tree row and path looks like it could be lucky.” So we watched and waited. To pass time I played with seed-pods that had fallen from the tree. I’d open them up and pick out the seeds and drop them on the ground.
We hadn’t even been sitting thirty minutes and a deer stepped out and started walking towards us down the lane. Dad told me to look through the scope of the rifle and find the deer’s shoulder. (Later he said he was trying to keep me from looking at the antlers and getting too excited!) We did not have a blind, all we had was the natural resources to keep us hidden. I could shoot up to 100 yards. When the buck got to about 70 yards I still did not have a clear broadside view of his shoulder so I waited. He came up to about 65 yards and started to turn. Dad told me if you have a broadside shot, go ahead and shoot. He flipped off the safety to fire and a few seconds later I shot. At first I thought I missed because the deer did not drop, he just ran off. Dad kept an eye on him and started to follow him because he didn’t want us to lose him in all the brush and never find him. The buck went about 100 yards and dropped. Dad kept watching him and about 15 minutes later walked up to the buck and it was dead. Dad called me and I ran up to him and Dad held up the antlers and all I saw was a tall rack. Finally I got up to him and I almost cried I was so happy!
(Ditto on the closed bolt in this picture. I had unloaded the gun to take pictures, but in the excitement forgot to leave the bolt open for the pictures. I will remember this next time! - Proud Dad)
Dad went back to get my gun and the rest of our stuff. When he got back he called Mom and Max (the landowner). Dad went to get the truck and I stayed with my deer. When Dad came back and Max went to get Mom & Layne and brought them to where we were, Layne came running to it. Of course all Layne wanted to do was count the points. He counted 14 and then said 15 because of a small kicker on the front. We took a bunch of pictures and we carefully field-dressed him because Dad said he was going on the wall! Then Mom told Max “I guess I didn’t need my bullets after all!”
We went home and we ate a snack and then we headed to the taxidermist. He measured it and said it was a 17-point deer because it had double-brow tines, which made 14 points and there were actually 3 small kickers that were over an inch so they counted too. The antlers measured 163 6/8 inches of score for the rack. Oh My Goodness!
I would like to give an extra big thank you to Max for letting our family hunt on his land. Without you this would not have been possible.
THANK YOU SO MUCH MAX!
(For those of you who like details, we used the following rifles/loads this week:)
me - Ruger 77 in .280 with 139 gr. Hornady over H4831
Ruger #1V in .25-06 with 110 gr. Nosler Accubond over IMR4350
my wife - LH Ruger 77 Hawkeye in .25-06 with 110 gr. Nosler Accubond over IMR4350
(Thanks to forum member AZ Southpaw for the chance to get this rifle!)
Sarah - my Ruger 77V in 6mm Remington with 95 gr. Partition over IMR4350
Grace - Rem. Model 7 in 7mm-08 using 120 gr. Sierra Pro Hunter bullets and SR4759 powder (Thanks to forum member Seafire for the recommendations on this load!)