When a familiar voice informed me that there were depredation/management tags waiting for my boys, I was jacked. As a dad who enjoys taking his boys hunting every chance I can, this was great news to share with my kids. I doubt my boys have ever been more excited at Christmas then when I shared the news that we were packing up and heading on a hunting trip in the middle of August.
Although our permits were for does only, the anticipation of harvesting the first deer of the season spread rabidly through the house. Bouncing from room to room my kids had a pile of camo clothing packed and sitting by the door in a matter of minutes. If only they could get ready for school with this much enthusiasm.
The first night started off with deer in the field from the very beginning of the hunt. Sneaking along a grass-lined ditch bank we found a place to set up where we could be assured of a shot within 250 yards. For the next 4 ½ hours we watched numerous bucks, does and fawns feed on the field of black beans. Ripping them up by the roots, the large deer herd treated these cash crops like an all you can eat salad bar.
Glassing carefully so as to only harvest a dry doe, we had to pass on several shot opportunities. It was a real test of patience when my boys would hear me say, “no, I think she has fawns.” Finally after a few hours, the shot presented itself.
A mature doe stood alone and fed broadside at just over 200 yards. With one son running the camera and the other on the trigger, it was an amusing display of teenage testosterone as they worked together in an attempt to get it all on video. Finally they got settled in and the shot rang out. A perfectly placed shot was reflected by a mule kick from the doe. It was a moment filled with high fives and hugs. The youngest had just harvested his first deer.
Although he would rather shoot a recurve any day, he was happy to help manage the deer herd, save some crops and take part in the DNR’s study for Bovine Tuberculosis.
We headed home with two mature does in the cooler and two happy boys in the back seat. Although, what we really took home were the memories of another successful hunt and the quality time that we shared together. What a great way to start the 2013 hunting season.