By AJ Hendershott
Deer hunting has produced many good memories for me. Most of those memories deal withthe circumstances of the hunt or things I was privileged to witness in nature. This year, however, I experienced the most memorable of any of my hunts and both of my children were involved.
The 2014 youth season opened up the morning of Nov. 1, and my children and I had plans in place the day before. Tags were in the back pack along with any necessary equipment. The gun was clean and ready for ammunition. Our clothing was laid out and we had a hunting schedule. My daughter likes to sleep in so she was glad to give her younger brother the morning shift with me. This meant she would hunt in the afternoon.
Saturday didn’t produce any harvest, but both children were able to see deer and get their first feel for the excitement. Sunday morning, Hunter and I got out bright and early, and took our seats in the brush blind. I was impressed with how still he was this year. He made few movements and he was pretty silent. An hour into the hunt I heard a deer behind us and to the left. If the deer followed its path, it would give my son a perfect quartering away shot at about 10 steps.
“Get your gun up son,” I whispered.
He obeyed not yet seeing what I did. The doe needed to walk ahead about 20 feet and it would be in sight with an easy shot. That deer walked about 18 feet further and stopped. She was oblivious to our presence even at the close range.
“Take the shot if you have it,” I instructed.
It seemed like an eternity passed before the doe twitched her tail and hurriedly scampered off.
“What happened?” I asked trying to mask my disappointment.
“There was brush in my way. It wasn’t a good shot,” he replied.
I was glad to hear his reasoning and rewarded his restraint with a heartfelt, “good call son.”
Another chance presented itself a few hours later. Three does came trotting down the ridge intent on making it to the bottom. They made it to an open area when I whistled. All three deer stopped and looked our direction. Again, I encouraged him to take the shot if he had it.
A thunderous “kaboom” erupted from the gun muzzle as the hind doe dropped. My son’s grin was so big his orthodontist could have done a full check of his braces. That grin stayed with him through the entire process of tagging, field dressing, dragging, checking, skinning and quartering. My son had harvested his first deer and I was there to see it happen.
Unbeknownst to me, there was more in store for me that day.