On Thanksgiving, one week from today, my son Ryan turns 10 years old. It just so happens that the state of MN allows kids at that age to hunt deer with a licensed adult. Next Thursday Ryan and I will be heading to a treestand, like we have many times before. However, this time will be different- rather than being the observer or official squirrel dispatcher, Ryan will be hunting big game for the first time in his life. Below is a little photo essay that I'll use to kick off a semi-live hunt for Ryan's first deer. I'll try post at least a few pics a day between now and Thursday. As you'll see in the pictures below, Ryan is nuts about bowhunting, fishing, sports, and the outdoors.
Ryan would love to hear a few words or encouragement from you fellow bowsiters. He asked me "Do you think anyone will wish me good luck?" I assured him that there are a ton of great guys and gals on bowsite and I was confident that a bunch of those fine folks would not only wish him good luck, but would follow along on his hunt if we took the time to post some pictures and share his bowhunting story.
Ryan Roderick Engel was born on 11/27/04. He was our first born child and after a somewhat scary delivery, he entered the world safe and sound. Below is Ryan all buttoned up and ready for his trip home from the hospital.
From the beginning, Ryan was a lot like me. The pic below shows both Ryan and me- my baby pic is on the left, Ryan's on the right. We looked a whole lot alike from early on.
Ryan likes most of the standard things a little boy might like.
His first word was "ball" and consistent with that, Ryan is nuts about sports. He loves football above all else, but also really likes basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, and just about anything else that involves a sport of any kind.
Just like his dad, from early on Ryan has loved flinging arrows with a stick and string. Like my dad taught me, I also tried to teach Ryan about archery at a young age.
Have fun and enjoy the time in the tree with Dad.
I can't wait to take my boy in a few years
Ryan....learn to hunt hard.
Good luck Ryan and Scoot!
Looking forward to the updates to your hunt and hopefully a pic with you guys and your 1st deer in it.
Try to learn something every time you go hunting.
There is no such thing as an unsuccessful hunt.
I can't tell you how excited he is to get in a treestand and try shoot a deer. Every morning he wakes up he'll spout off the number of days to go- this morning the first thing he said was "six days, Dad". He started this countdown at 52 days! It should be fun!
SB, don't you worry about our kiesters! We're from Northern MN and our kiesters have a touch of perma-frost to begin with! The AM sits can be dang cold, particularly this time of year. I didn't want his first sit to be an AM hunt, but that's what the Thanksgiving schedule will allow for, so that's when we'll hunt. I'd guess we'll hunt the PM for Fri, Sat, and Sun to follow.
He also loves fishing!
It isn’t always fish that he catches on our fishing trips!
Sometimes it’s just too much fun.
"Looking at the gash on your forehead you must have been using a boomerang arrow."
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Grandpa Rod sighting! This is the guy who is hugely responsible for me loving bowhunting like I do today. My mom, too, deserves a ton of credit. Both my parents took me out and brought our whole family hunting when we were kids (and adults). Fishing and hunting as a family is what we did and still do and we love it.
My dad knows how Ryan got that gash on his forehead, but several others have asked about it too. Ryan fell while at the lake- he was walking down to the dock to try catch some sunfish and he tripped. Unfortunately, his forehead met the edge of a cement block as he hit the ground. He was less than ten feet from me when he tripped, but it happened way too fast for me to do anything to prevent the outcome. Seven stitches and a lot of tears later (as many from me as him), all was ok again. As you can see by the smile on his face in the last picture of him shooting the suction cup arrows, he bounced back just fine.
Sometimes we can even get Ryan’s sister, Morgan, to join us- those are my favorite hunting trips!
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! Gun picture to follow!!! LOL!
As much fun as Ryan always has hunting, it’s often too much for him to take. The excitement, fresh air, and hard work sometimes tucker him out.
It was much warmer when Ryan convinced me to shoot this small doe.
Halleywood, good thing the whoopin's you put on Ryan didn't leave a mark! Somehow, even after you made him cry prior before leaving for three hunting trips in a row, Ryan still likes you. Plus, you're a Bears fan! Something must be wrong with this kid!!! LOL
I remembered my work computer today (it's a good thing to have a work), so I can post a few pics.
Below is one of my favorite pictures- it’s from a once in a lifetime moose hunt in ND that I did a few years ago. Both kids came with this day and helped call and spot moose. I actually saw a moose this day (unlike most days), but neither kid could get locked onto the moose in time to see it. Still, a really fun day in the field with my kids.
One of our favorite things to do when we walk in front of one of our trailcams is to “act goofy”.
Ryan likes shooting his bow almost as much as he loves hunting. Is his drawlength a little too long in the pic below??? LOL
He even helped Morgan with her early efforts at shooting.
His first Robin Hood!
Ryan’s been carrying his bow in the stand with us this year and taking care of trouble making squirrels and birds.
Ryan taking a crack at a rabbit.
His arrow fell a little short, but it was another baby step in preparing him for Thursday.
Ryan rolled out of bed this morning, walked around the corner and into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth, and held up one finger (pointer, not middle!!!) and gave me a wry smile. "One day, Dad." We're both very excited about tomorrow! The low in the AM tomorrow is -5, so it will be, as my brother says, a "frost bobber" to kick things off for Ryan's deer hunting career.
That hunt really motivated him to practice and prepare to go on a turkey hunt of his own. He started this past Feb with seven yard groups nearly the size of a basketball.
He went from practicing twice per week to shooting about five times per week.
By the end of March, he was ready.
After a long and grueling season of getting up very early, particularly for a nine year old kid (ok, I admit it- it was particularly tough on this 42 year old dad), it finally came together for Ryan and he made a perfect Texas heart shot on this fine bird at seven yards.
Afterwards, Ryan told me he had three goals for the year: 1) he wanted to shoot a turkey (check), 2) he wanted to catch a muskie (he’d reeled in several I had hooked, but never caught one on his own), and 3) he wanted to shoot a deer with his bow.
Summer, and muskie season, came and Ryan went to work. He put in his time and on our “Father-Son Fishing Trip” to Lake of the Woods, he made good on the one bite he had and caught this fine 42” muskie.
He was two for three and we would have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to get to work on goal number three. Tomorrow he'll start his efforts to go three for three. I'll post an update after the morning hunt tomorrow. We'll also hunt most or all of the days over the four day weekend too. Hopefully we can get a deer to cooperate and give him a shot inside of 20 yards. If we can't, that's ok too. Ryan understands how tough it is to get inside of 20 yards from a deer and I promise we'll have fun trying, regardless of whether he punches his tag or not.
Also makes me look forward to the day when my girls are old enough to join me in the woods!
Best of luck tomorrow!!
Good luck to Ryan!
NoWiser is right- it was cold! We made it almost an hour, but then Ryan froze out. The wind was supposed to be NW, which was perfect for where I wanted to sit. However, it was SSW, which was dead wrong for that stand. We ended up going to the ground blind on our food plot, which isn't really a great morning spot. However, the wind was right for it. Also unfortunately, I shot a doe there last night and we had tromped around a bit getting her out of there. We got blanked. Still, it was fun and Ryan was glad we gave it a chance on the first day he could.
This is the view we had all morning.
You can see the blind I shot the doe from last night in the pic above.
We even got Uncle Brandon to come with this morning!
When we got home it was present time!
Off to two family Thanksgivings now. We'll be back at it, most likely every day for the next three days.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Scott, how did you attach your range finder to your bino harness? I have the same harness and really like the way that set-up looks! Thanks!
Brotsky, check out the link- that's the product I used with my binoc holder. I really like it! The only thing I don't love about it is that the rangefinder isn't covered and protected from rain and snow. Usually not a big deal, but it'd be nice once in a while. I could make a little cover for it pretty easily, but haven't bothered yet...
Supposed to be a great day tomorrow weather wise. I think it's going to be Ryan's day!
Good luck Ryan.
My best, Paul
Hopefully the deer will be moving and he'll get a crack at one!
My bro-in-law and I went to work on it and got it back together with two ratchet straps. I took a while, but we got there. Finally in the stand with a functional bow with almost two hours of light left.
We got to the stand a little late, but all was quiet for a while and this was our view once again.
With 20 minutes of the sit left a doe and two fawns came into view and were about 40 yards out. One fawn got to 25 yards and the doe was at 29 yards.
As the fawn made its way over to us I could see the broadhead on Ryan's arrow start to shake. It went from steady and unwavering to more shaky to outright bouncing all over the place when the deer got to 25 yards. He was getting excited and hoped he'd get a shot.
Ryan's limit is 20 yards and he never even considered taking a shot. I asked him if he'd shoot the fawn if it got in range and he replied, "If it gives me a 10 yard shot I have to shoot!" Unfortunately the wind was a little swirly and I think the deer caught a whiff of us. They got a little skittish and stayed out of Ryan's range. They eventually made their way out of the plot and off to the West. Dang, so close!
Hang in there Ryan!
We were treated to a beautiful sunset on this last day of November.
But, besides a few "tweety birds", as Ryan calls them, we didn't see a thing. Ryan was tired from staying up too late with relatives who were visiting for Thanksgiving. He eventually drifted off to sleep and I let him catch a cat nap while nothing was happening in the woods around us.
...and that's how our night ended. We packed up and headed home after getting skunked. Ryan was disappointed, but totally understood that is how hunting is sometimes.
I'm not sure when we'll hunt next. There's talk of a trip down to a Vikings game next weekend, so it may be a couple weeks before we sneak out next. Or... maybe I'll knock off work early one day this week or next when we get a good wind. Not sure, but I'm certain we'll be back at it as soon as we're able to. Thanks for following along and for the encouragement- Ryan and I appreciate it! I hope to get a little more action in the upcoming weeks. The end of Nov. and first part of Dec. are notoriously difficult times for us around here. Things usually get better once we get a little more snow. Hopefully that'll be the case and we can get Ryan in a good spot before long.
Also for Scoot I can now only begin to understand how great an experience this is for you.
Shoot straight my friend, but always remember it is the hunt that matters not the results!
Gunnar, I hope you've got yourself a tomboy and that she will come hunting and fishing with us in the future!
I found the wolf tracks the morning after they had been made in the fresh snow. Since that time, we went from having a dozen deer in the field outside of the woods they went by to having zero or one deer. It changed that much with the appearance of one wolf. I can't see or think of any other big change that would have made the deer act so differently, so I'm not sure what to attribute the disappearance of the deer to besides the wolf showing up. I know there is a pack of them that has been South and East of us, but maybe he/they are venturing further North and West. Dang!
We hunted on Fri afternoon. It was much warmer than it had been and it was a pretty pleasant night in the stand.
We had a pretty nice trail going past our double ladder stand.
We saw a doe slowly working through the woods about 120 yards North of us with an hour of light left. She never came close to us and we never had a chance. After that, we never saw a thing besides several mice, a couple squirrels, and yet another nice sunset.
We didn't hunt tonight. Instead, we headed to Fargo to watch the North Dakota State Bison football team win a squeeker of a playoff game against South Dakota State. They got lucky and won a game that they probably shouldn't have won (IMO). Tickets were very tough to come by so we ended up sitting 2 and 2, with Ryan and me sitting together and Janna and Morgan in another location. We had a great time and Ryan and I both have very hoarse voices after screaming our fool heads off for much of the game.
We'll be in a stand or blind tomorrow. I don't have a single deer patterned in any way and the deer seem to have quit using the food plot in any predictable way. We'll let the wind determine where we go and see what happens. Deer or no deer, we'll have fun.
We got to the blind at the plot and got situated at about 3:20 or so. Legal shooting time ended a little after 5:00, so we had almost two hours to sit. We had our usual view in the blind.
Ryan snacked on a granola bar and patiently waited.
At about 4:00 I looked over at Ryan and he had dropped his chin down to his chest, closed his eyes, and was on the verge of dozing off. I lifted my camera and was going to get a picture of him snoozing. Just as I was about to take the picture I glanced back to my right and immediately saw the moving legs of a deer behind the mesh covered window to my right. A deer was inside of 20 yards out and closing. I nudged Ryan and he lifted his head and his curious and surprised eyes told me he knew right away why I was bumping him.
A very small button buck had stopped in our blind spot and another fawn entered the plot behind him. Behind them was a mature doe.
The doe and smaller fawn headed into the plot and settled in about 30 or 40 yards away. The button buck, however, stayed on our side and made his way in to 15 yards from us and right in the middle of Ryan's shooting window. He was quartering to us and Ryan waited for his shot opportunity to unfold.
Several times Ryan asked if the deer was "broadside enough". I said "no" each time and encouraged him to wait for a broadside or quartering away shot. The little buck spun a 180 and faced straight away from us for a minute.
Ryan stared and impatiently waited for his chance. Finally the deer turned to his left and stood quartering away at 16 yards. This was Ryan's wheelhouse and I was confident he could put an arrow inside of a grapefruit sized target at this range. As Ryan came to full draw I could feel my heart pounding in my chest- I was definitely in the moment and as excited as if I had a big buck in front of my fully drawn bow.
Here's how the deer stood a fraction of a second before the shot...
...and here's how he looked a fraction of a second after Ryan's arrow sailed harmlessly over his back.
The deer ran to the far side of the plot and milled around for ten more minutes. They clearly weren't very spooked, but they also didn't seem interesting in coming back in our direction. Soon they wandered out of the plot and I looked back at Ryan to see tear filled eyes. He was upset. I gave him a hug and reminded how "everyone misses" and that "it's ok". He was trembling noticeably still, he clearly was shaken up by the whole thing.
We talked about it for a while and I told Ryan about the time I got two shots at the same deer in the same evening (I missed both). I also told him I had missed on my first shot and later in the same sit, shot another deer a number of times. He eventually settled down and quit beating himself up.
At about 4:30 I looked to my right and spotted a deer coming into the plot in the same spot the first three had come in. Much to my surprise, it turned out to be the same three deer! The two fawns came right in front of us and the button buck proceeded to repeat his behavior almost identically to the first visit: he stood at about 15 yards facing us, turned and faced away from us, then turned quartering away offering a shot (he turned right instead of left this time). Ryan drew, anchored, aimed carefully, and let his second arrow of the evening go. I couldn't see his arrow very well, but I'm pretty sure it missed just to the right (not sure though). Ryan was certain he hit the deer, but I was pretty sure he hadn't. The deer ran out to about 30 yards and stood there. Soon it started feeding again and I looked it over very carefully through my binocs- it looked perfectly unscathed. Ryan's arrow had missed a second time for the evening. Tears came even easier this time than after the last miss.
Again Ryan got upset and verbally beat himself up while we watched the deer stand safely out at 30 and 40 yards. We'll have to do some shooting this week and my hope is that we can build his confidence back up before we get in the stand again. I'm confident in his shooting! If I wasn't, I wouldn't have let him hunt this year. Ryan was also confident in his shooting before tonight. However, he's certainly had that confidence shaken. Hopefully we can get him back on track and feeling good before our next sit.
Heck, I see the "pros" miss in the hunting shows on tv.
Tell him he is in good company with his missed opportunities!!
My guess is he was "aiming" at the whole deer and not picking a spot like he knows how to!!
I would suggest having him practice from a seated position. You might find that he is anchoring differently or letting the cam rest on or against his thigh without realizing it.
I'm rooting for you, Ryan!!!! Pete
P.S. The Jacks should have won that game!!!! Grrr!
Brotsky, I totally agree- the Bison were dang lucky to win that game! The combo of sloppy play by NDSU, a number of pass interference calls on the Bison that were (at best) questionable, and the Jacks dominant running back/running game made for what should have been the end of an incredible run for the Bison. Instead, they'll play another week.
Good luck, Ryan!! I've got faith in you!
I am still struggling mentally with a shot I didn't make last Friday but I will be back out there.
My son also missed a shot last Friday but he turned around and shot a double on Saturday. Both of those shots were perfect.
Don't give up Ryan, it will happen for you sooner or later!
I was 12 when I shot at my first deer, a big ol' doe. Clipped her brisket. Bummer. The next year at 13 my dad went all out, as only he could do, built a huge wooden ground blind, painted black on the inside and insulated. We set it up in the middle of a big overgrown field and baited it. We spent the night in there and the next evening I took a 20 yd shot at a doe and just like Ryan went right over the top of her back! I didn't have tears, but I was plenty mad! Dad had to spend the next few mins calming me down, and telling me how that was a part of hunting. A short time later she came back again at 20, and that time I nailed her! Man that sure was cool having my dad there.
That was a long time ago, but no matter how many animals I kill I'll never forget that first with my dad. Great job Scoot on being a good dad and spending time with your son. Coming from someone who's dad did the same for him, I can tell you he'll always cherish the memories.
I called my wife and asked if she could get the kids home early from after school care. She has Mondays off work, but was busy as heck with Christmas-related prep work. She dropped her stuff to go get them and I scooted out of work early and flew home as fast as I could (I may have slightly exceeded the speed limit on the way). As I had asked him to, Ryan was shooting his bow when I pulled into our yard. I got dressed in record time and Ryan was dialed in and ready when we left for the blind. His last several shots were within an inch of the golf tee I had placed in the GlenDel buck and he felt good.
We got to the blind with 55 minutes of legal shooting light left- not a lot of time, but I figured it might be enough to get a crack at a deer. With about 15 minutes of legal light left the same two fawns we had seen the night before came into the plot. I imagine the doe wasn't far behind them, but we didn't see her. They nibbled on the clover at 40 and 30 yards, but before they could make their way over to us Ryan said "What's that?" I could hear it too and I wasn't sure what the noise was at first. The deer obviously heard it- they looked twitchy and ready to bolt. In a few seconds I was able to ID the sound- snowmobiles. The trail that goes by our house didn't have enough snow on it, so they must be running the river. Unfortunately, the river runs just 40 yards on the North side of the plot. As the whine of the sleds got louder the deer had enough and bolted out of there. Dang it! Once again we were close, but the last couple of sits have seemed to be snake bit!
Oh well... we're still seeing deer and Ryan got two chances. We certainly can't complain about that. Hopefully we'll get a little fresh snow and will be able to get on some fresh sign soon. I'm hoping I can take Fri afternoon off and hunt with Ryan, but I'm doubtful we'll be able to get out again until then.
Thanks very much for the encouragement and support for Ryan, fellas! He and I both appreciate it greatly! We're doing all we can to get him his first deer. We've got about three weeks left to try get it done. Ryan will have a couple weeks off from school for Christmas vacation and we should have a little time during that to try get him a crack at one too. Who knows, maybe we'll get another chance before then...
Ryan commented to me that he's shot at least 100 arrows in the past while at 15 yards and never once missed the whole target. He couldn't believe he missed the whole deer. However, given the way his body was shaking after the miss I'm not surprised at all. He told me he wasn't rattled when he took the shot, but he was like the proverbial "leaf on a tree" when I hugged him afterwards. My guess is that he was shaking just as much when he took the shots too.
Six arrows plus a couple more- I can't top that! I did empty a quiver with only two arrows once though. So Ryan tied me the other night!
We've all missed. It happens. I missed a pesky doe twice this year on shots that I would never miss. It happens. Nerves, jumpy deer, nerves, peep sight not straight, nerves... Can be anything.
Just take that nice breath out and let the arrow fly. He will hit home soon. I can feel it.
Again good luck, and I'm rooting for you Ryan.
I got a call yesterday from my dad. He knows just how driven Ryan is to shoot a deer. However, Ryan can only hunt on days when I'm at home, so it either has to be a weekend or a day when I knock off work early and get back in time to pick him up at school and fly out to a stand or blind. It doesn't work for me to do that very often at all, so Ryan gets frustrated waiting for his next chance to hunt.
Knowing all of this, my dad offered to come and pick Ryan up at school and get him out to a spot in the woods this afternoon. Ryan is excited to get out there and he's really happy to go with Grandpa. My dad was hesitant to make the offer because he wanted to be respectful of the father-son piece of this hunt. He didn't want to "infringe on my territory", but I was thrilled by the offer and I hope they can go out and get a crack at something! Having him shoot his first deer with Grandpa, the guy who got me my first bow and arrow and who taught me so incredibly much about the outdoors when I was a kid, would be very special indeed.
Ryan should be in the woods by 3:30 today. Last night I checked the trailcam for the spot he's headed to and there were several deer there yesterday during the last 45 minutes of legal shooting time. One was a forkhorn buck, which could just as well be a 180" buck to Ryan. Hopefully he'll get a crack at something!
Grandpa picked up Ryan at school, helped get all the gear together and, after a few practice arrows, headed for the ground blind with Ryan. Ryan and I are/were both super appreciative of my dad taking him out tonight- I wish I could have joined them.
Rhino must have been pretty tuckered out because soon after getting there he fell asleep. All was quiet for nearly the whole night. At 4:40 Ryan woke up. At 4:50 my dad spotted a deer that seemingly appeared on the edge of the plot near the far side. At the same time he also heard a stick snap right behind the blind they were in. He looked out the window just to his right and seconds later saw a small fork/spike buck standing four yards from he and Ryan. The buck came in from straight downwind and was very jumpy. The buck hesitantly proceeded into the plot and within seconds, he turned broadside at about ten yards. Ryan drew back his arrow, aimed, and let 'er rip! Unfortunately, at the time of the shot the buck was behind my dad's blind spot between two windows and he couldn't see it at all. Ryan said the shot felt good, but wasn't sure exactly where it went. My dad's only info was that although he heard the arrow hit, it didn't sound like it hit the deer- he figured it was the ground behind the deer and it was a clean miss.
They left the blind, looked for the arrow, and before long found the arrow. The arrow had absolutely nothing on it and it clearly had been a clean miss. They packed up and headed home.
Here's where it gets weird. My dad showed me the arrow and I immediately realized that the arrow he showed me was from the second miss this past Sunday. That arrow had a Magnus Buzzcut on it and the arrows Ryan had tonight all had Magnus Stingers on them (for those who don't know, they're essentially the identical broadheads except the Buzzcuts have small serrations on the blades). I was positive of this and I knew they had found the wrong arrow. Unfortunately, after another trip to the plot we discovered absolutely nothing. The deer's tracks clearly left on the trail in the middle of the plot on the West side and there was no blood anywhere. We also checked the other trails and there was definitely no blood to be seen. We couldn't find the arrow, but I'm sure it was there somewhere under the snow, leaves, clover, and weeds.
Ryan and I went out to the shop tonight and he shot a few dozen arrows. He was spot on with every shot minus one and I'm pretty sure his arrow wasn't in the rest all the way on that shot (I noticed something looked goofy just as he touched off the trigger). So, on one hand I'm pleased his shooting is fine, on the other hand I'm surprised that he hasn't made all three of the shots he's had.
Sadly, tonight he told me he's sure that he'll miss every time he takes a shot at a real deer. He went from being confident in his shooting to making comments like that. I feel badly for him. I've passed along your stories and comments encouraging him to keep his chin up. I've shared similar stories from my past hunting adventures too, but he's not too receptive too any of it right now.
Besides practice, encouragement, and keeping at it, any brilliant suggestions?
That's great that Grandpa is taking him, Scoot. Hopefully they can get out a few more times. My first year ever deer hunting I went with my grandpa. After a week of sitting every afternoon in the cold and snow I shot a nice buck. I can remember, like it was yesterday, how excited I was and the feeling of running up to him and jumping into his arms to give him a great big hug when we walked up to the deer!! I've since shot many deer hunting with my dad, but that memory of Grandpa and I is the best. He keeps the picture of the two of us and the deer on the table in his nursing home room where I see it every Thursday when I visit him to play cards. I would like nothing more than to see Ryan create the same memories!
You've still got time, good luck!!
I'm trying hard not to push him with any with all this. I asked last night if he wanted to take a break or quit hunting for the rest of the season. "No way!", was his answer. He next asked if we could hunt tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday nights. Tomorrow we are (finally) celebrating his birthday with some of his buddies. He asked if we could only invite two buddies over so that we could take them out in the ground blind with us so he could still hunt. LOL
Back at it tonight- I'm hoping he can relax and make the kind of shot I know he can.
Tell him to concentrate on just breathing out when he lets the arrow fly. Just relax and release the arrow with your breath.
Just like the old military acronym for shooting.
BRASS Breathe Relax Aim Squeeze Shoot... Granted that's for firearms, but same deal.
I've found its that breath out that makes all the difference in the world. Calms the nerves and the shakes.
NOW GO GET EM RYAN!
Tell Ryan to forget about the misses. The only shot that is important is the current shot he is about to make. Tell him to remember the progressions of his shots at home when he's practicing. If he repeats them he will hit his target. Also let him know that I hunted for 20 years before I had my first bow kill. Sometimes I would only get 1 or 2 opportunities at a decent shot per year. I have had way more misses than I can remember. I don't take shots that are iffy and I've beat myself up over many a shot that I felt I should have made. A short memory on missed shots is your best friend. Also as many have pointed out it's not about the kill, it's about the time spent creating memories of a lifetime.
Good Hunting Ryan and way to go Scoot.
Good luck, Buddy.... tonight's the night!!!
In the blind now with my favorite two hunting partners.
Morgan took on the role of photographer and even got a shot with my ugly mug in it.
Unfortunately, all was quiet in the plot. Morgan wasn't overly impressed and dozed off.
I kept thinking something would make an appearance in the last few minutes of shooting light. No such luck. I imagine all the tromping around looking for an arrow and blood the night before didn't help our cause. Regardless of why, we didn't see a thing.
We're heading back out tonight with a couple of Ryan's buddies. It may be an interesting trip today- I wonder if I can get these yahoos to keep their mouths shut for long enough to get a deer in front of us! It'll be interesting!
Im with the guys saying to make sure to pick a spot! After all my misses as a kid, my dad had me take the paper plate off the hay bales ( no 3D targets then ) and just shoot at the bale with no small target to aim for. He told me to just pick a spot on the bale and shoot for it. It must of worked because in my 3rd year, I killed the first deer I shot at! I even taped a little piece of paper to the inside of my bow limb and wrote " pick spot" on it so I would see it constantly to help me remember.
Good luck Ryan!! This is the one thread I make sure to check every day!
Unfortunately, all we were treated to was another nice sunset.
Today was a weird day around here- highs in the mid-40's and foggy all day long. It misted off and on for most of the day and it had the feel or a dreary Spring day. I asked Ryan if he wanted to skip the evening's sit and stay inside where it was dry. I figured maybe he'd like a day off and wanted to watch the Vikings game, which started at 3:00. "No chance", was Ryan's reply.
Because the food plot had left us skunked the last couple sits, we decided to try hunting in a different spot about 500 yards West of there. It's in the same piece of woods, but just on the West end of it, instead of the East end.
We left the pickup and headed down the field edge for 150 yards before we cut into the woods. Instead of going the full 150 yards I decided to cut into the woods about 30 yards earlier so I could show Ryan a scrape that I knew was just inside the field edge on a trail that parallels the field. Fifteen yards down the trail was the scrape- I pointed it out to Ryan. Five yards further down the trail we ran into what I initially figured just had to be a practical joke.
In the middle of the trail in front of us, completely due to blind luck, was the arrow Ryan had shot at the small buck on Thursday night with my dad. I knew right away what I was looking at, but I still couldn't get past a "you've got to be kidding me" reaction. There was blood on the first four inches of the arrow, but that was it. After raining off and on all day we didn't have a chance of finding blood on the trail. We tried anyway, but came up empty. We grid searched for half-an-hour in the direction we assumed the deer had been traveling, but found nothing. The deer had gone 500 yards with the arrow in it four days earlier, it initially ran at least 80 yards without losing any findable blood, and we had no way of tracking anything- we had no chance. Not knowing what else to do, we headed for the stand for 1.5 hours of sitting.
I got situated in a stand above and to the side of Ryan's stand.
After several sits in the ground blind it was very nice to be in a treestand. The blinds have a definite purpose, IMO, especially with kids, but they really limit how much you can see. For me they constrain the whole experience of being outside while deer hunting. I much prefer the 360 view of a treestand.
It was a beautiful evening in the woods. Besides some light drizzle, it was great. We had a steady breeze from the SSE and we could hear well. It got dark quickly on this eary and dreary, but really pleasant evening.
...and that was how a very strange four day run of bowhunting ended for Ryan.
I had a buddy suggest I send him out with him, my brother, or someone else because of the same idea you're suggesting. I sure am trying hard not to put any kind of pressure on Ryan with any of this, but I can appreciate that he may be putting pressure on himself somehow in a way that's related to me. If that's true, I feel badly about it. But, not much more I can do beyond staying positive, not pushing, and letting him go and not go when he wants to. Hopefully my dad can keep on taking him when it works too...
Snow coming tomorrow....Tuesday will be getting cold (and good)!
Ryan was once again excited to get another chance at a deer.
We squeezed together on a single ladder stand tonight. It wasn't ideal and I won't try that again! It was a cold, but beautiful night in the woods. Unfortunately, we didn't see a darn thing besides a woodpecker!
We have seen exactly zero deer in our last four sits! My dad is taking Ryan out again tomorrow and they'll be in the blind on the opposite side of the plot from where they sat last time. Hopefully they can get a deer in front of them again. The plot has been very quiet, but you certainly can't kill them from the couch! Go get 'em Grandpa and Ryan!
Oh and Scoot, my praise goes out to you for taking the time to teach your children how to hunt and about the outdoors. Well done Sir!
Unfortunately, last night made five sits in a row where Ryan was skunked. My dad was good enough to come up and take Ryan out again, but to no avail. They sat at the food plot and didn't see a thing.
I wouldn't say I'm confident at this point, but I certainly do have hope still. Since that wolf track showed up the number of deer sightings have dropped dramatically. I know there are a few still around those woods, but they do seem to be few in number. We just got the slightest little skiff of snow and I think it'll be just enough for me to sniff out the most recently used trails. That'll help a ton as it's been really tough to see where the deer have been moving. I'm going to put up a couple trailcams in the next few days to try help with finding more used trails too. I've got a couple up, but they're clearly not in spots where deer are frequenting at this point.
We have family coming for Christmas this weekend- should be fun! We'll go to the Bison game tomorrow, but then I'm not sure what the plan is after that. Odds are good we'll be able to sit one or two afternoons over the next four days.
Ryan remains laser focused! He's still optimistic and definitely still driven to fulfill his third goal. He says he'll be upset if he doesn't get a deer. That's ok, but I won't be upset one bit. We've had a blast hunting together and it's been fun to see him behind the bow. He's doing great. We just need him to get another chance and I feel good about him making good on his next opportunity. We'll see, but I have to get him in a spot where he's got a deer in front of him first!
A good chance of snow coming followed by a high of 4 degrees!!!! This will get them moving assuming they are still around after your wolf visited.
Keep us posted!
Outstanding work by both of you!
and Thanks for bringing us along
I've been bothered quite a bit about the deer Ryan hit. I know it's "part of the game" and "it happens", so no need to try convince me of that or make me feel better. But... in 31 years of bowhunting I've only hit two deer that I didn't recover- one almost certainly made it and one almost certainly didn't. I'm pretty selective with my shots and in all honestly, I've been pretty lucky to "clean miss" a number of deer instead of injuring them.
Ryan hit the little buck, however, and that has bothered me. We talked about it and it also bothered Ryan. On one hand I didn't want him to beat himself up too badly about it. But on the other hand, I wanted him to understand that it's not a trivial thing to kill an animal, and it's a particularly non-trivial thing to not recover it.
I'm happy to report we have a "Sporky" sighting! This morning at about 6:00 AM the buck that Ryan hit was back in the food plot.
As you can see, he's a monster! Anyone have a guess on score? I wonder if he'll make P&Y??? LOL
He's little, but he's alive and well and I'm glad about that. Who knows, maybe Ryan will get a 2nd crack at him. We'll sure give it the ol' college try over the last couple weeks of the season.
Ryan, we're pulling for you!!
Good luck Ryan! Christmas break is coming up and I don't think rudolph is going ot make the trip back north with Santa this year!
Ryan and I went out last night and it was a good news/bad news story. The good news- we finally got off the skunk wagon! The bad news, I screwed things up for my son so he didn't end up getting a shot.
Ryan, his cousin Jacob, and I went out.
We went to the blind on the North end of the foodplot, due to the South wind. We settled in at 3:30 for a little over an hour-and-a-half sit. Much to my surprise at 4:00 Ryan turned to me and whispered "There's a deer coming." I looked up to see this doe coming into the plot.
Soon another doe and two fawns followed. The deer came out on the West side and made their way to the far side of the plot. They mingled around at 35 yards, partially out of sight from us. After about ten minutes they started to roam around a little bit and one of the does started to work her way in our general direction. I leaned forward and tried to get a picture of her. When I pushed the button half way down to focus the camera the doe came unglued! She bolted out of the plot and the others followed.
I started taking pictures while hunting after first reading BBs San Juan elk hunt many years ago. Since then I've taken pictures of hundreds of deer. Never once have I had a deer react like this doe did. Once it starts getting a little dark out I've noticed the deer jump a little from the small red focus assist light on the camera. After I see that, I quit taking pictures for the evening. I've never had a deer run away from the camera. These deer were jumpy from the get-go though and she wasn't tolerant of any little light at all.
Dang! I sure did feel badly being the cause of the deer running away and Ryan not getting a chance. There's little doubt he would have gotten a crack at one of the deer in the next few minutes if I hadn't scared them away.
Back at it in a little bit. Watching the end of the Vikings game now, then headed to the woods with Uncle Brandon in an hour or so. I hope the evening in the woods goes better than the Vikings are currently playing...
Probably better that they lose anyways since they're out of the playoffs, better draft pick next year and they need to build a team around their new QB.
The Vike's and Ryan's prospects are looking up! GL!
Interesting night in the blind, but no deer were seen. Uncle Brandon, Ryan, and I went out and we saw some birds, an ermine (at about four feet), and a few squirrels. No deer showed up, however. Hopefully back at it tomorrow.
Keep at it!!
Your persistence will be the key!!
Uncle Brandon came with us to the food plot again last night.
Unfortunately, we got blanked there once again.
Tonight we had an ESE wind and I struggled with where to go sit. We ended up back in the same stands where we had recovered Ryan's arrow, about 400-500 yards West of the food plot. I hung a stand for Uncle Black Cloud (LOL) and the three of us settled in for the evening. It rained all night and morning and we knew we'd have to see a deer, because hearing one would be tough. Brandon was in a tree about ten feet away from us.
Ryan was seated right below me in a separate hang on stand.
We locked our eyes on the woods to the West of us and waited. This was part of our view.
However, we didn't see a thing all night. It was a beautiful evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but no deer showed themselves to us.
We're getting down to the wire! I may be able to get Ryan out tomorrow again, but then we'll be off for a couple days for Christmas at my parents' place. After that, I hope to get out over the coming weekend a couple times. Both my dad and brother have offered to take Ryan out next week when I can't too, which may give Ryan a couple extra chances to get another crack at one.
Early on we saw this guy.
Ryan really wanted to shoot the squirrel, stating "I haven't shot my bow at anything besides a target in a long time and I just want to shoot something!" LOL- he's just like his father!
We got blanked once again. On the walk out to the pickup Ryan spotted three deer in the field outside of the woods. Apparently there still are a few deer around, but we're just not seeing them in the plot.
We're off for a couple days- Christmas at my parents' place tonight and time with family tomorrow. We'll likely be back in a stand or blind on Friday.
Have a Merry Christmas! Ryan
Stick with it!! You'll probably get another chance....just be ready for it!!
We showed up on the evening of the 27th (two nights ago). In an effort to defy the skunk streak we were on, Ryan tried out his favorite Christmas present on this hunt.
Ryan trapped this skunk last Feb. and we had it made into a hat for him. Besides a crow and a small bird, it was the only thing we managed to trap last Winter. In spite of the hat, we got skunked for the seventh of our last eight sits (I think). That's tough sleddin'!!!
It was really cold here and there were windchill advisories out for the area. Windchills were in the -20 range and maybe even colder, I'm not sure. All was quiet for the evening as we once again felt like we were sitting at the dead sea. Although we didn't see any deer early on, we did watch an ermine chase a mouse around for a little bit. It was fun to see him chase his supper. It was hard to tell, but we think he caught the mouse and disappeared to eat for the evening.
Ryan started getting cold around 4:30. In particular, his toes were really getting cold. We took off his boots and got them close to the Little Buddy heater. Before long they were starting to warm up. At 4:50 or so I looked up, and saw movement to the SE of us. I spotted two deer moving into the plot. I immediately told Ryan to get his boots on. After about two seconds of watching, I told him to skip the boots because the deer were coming at us pretty fast. In his haste Ryan forgot to slip his gloves back on too (he was warming his fingers by the heater too).
Ryan stood up on the frozen ground in just his socks. He grabbed his bow with no gloves. I wondered which would give out on him first, his feet or his hands.
Before long the deer made their way in front of us- it was the same pair Ryan got his first shots at. A small doe-fawn and a small button buck. Just as they were coming into Ryan's view, I heard a loud "scratchy, crinkley" noise. It was Peter, our local ground blind mouse. He was scratching at the bag of trailmix I had on the floor of the ground blind. Ryan whispered "scare him away". I reached my hand down near the mouse and he scurried away. The deer watched the mouse as he scooted out of the blind.
Just as the deer moved the last few steps into Ryan's shooting lane, Peter was back scratching at the bag again. Again Ryan whispered for me to scare the mouse. I did and he again ran out in front of the blind towards the plot. Both deer locked on the mouse and watched him hop around outside the blind.
As they watched the mouse, Ryan came to full draw. I saw the deer on the right, Ryan's target, startle and twitch sharply- he heard something, but couldn't identify it and didn't run. Ryan took careful aim and let his arrow go. He hit the deer and I saw the shot perfectly, largely due to several bowsiter's suggestion to use a lighted knock. The deer took off to the West and I stuck my head out of the blind and could clearly see the Nocturnal knock bouncing through the woods.
The shot was perfect from left to right, but it hit high. I'm certain the deer jumped the string. When the arrow hit the deer I could see it dropping the second it made contact- the lighted knock dropped instantly as it contacted the dropping deer. I'm 95% sure Ryan made an accurate shot, but that his target wasn't where it was when he let the arrow go. For reasons I don't understand, he only appeared to get about four inches of penetration.
I decided I wasn't going to try take any pictures this time- I didn't want to cost Ryan a chance at a deer again. So sorry, but no pictures of the deer, the shot, or any of these happenings.
I immediately sent out a text message to my brother and a couple buddies to ask for help. They'd have to drive an hour from Fargo to come and help me, but I knew any of them who could would happily do so. Given that I'm colorblind, getting help with tracking is important.
To make a long story short, I'm afraid I don't have a happy ending. My brother, his son Austin, Ryan, Morgan, and I scoured the woods to no avail. We tracked the deer for several hundred yards through tough tracking conditions and only found a teeny tiny bit of blood. After that we grid searched all of the woods and found nothing. I sent Rod and Austin home after a couple hours of grid searching. I got Ryan home so he could get to bed- we talked about what happened and he broke down. He was really upset about it and I felt really bad for him. After I settled him down a bit I went back out and searched until very late last night. The lighted knock should have been glowing like a beacon, but I couldn't find it in spite of my best efforts.
Ryan was still awake when I got back. I laid down with him to help him get to sleep and he cried some more. I felt bad for losing a deer, I felt bad for Ryan, I just generally felt miserable. I thought losing a deer I hit a couple years ago was tough on me, but this was much, much worse.
I started this thread thinking it would be a fun, feel-good kinda story. I really has been fun, right up until tonight. Tonight it has the feel of a Greek tragedy! Ryan is heart-broken about the whole thing and I'm upset about the way it all played out- I feel terrible.
The thought crossed my mind to not post the happenings of this evening here. I feel badly about what happened. I was totally confident in Ryan's shooting if we could get a deer inside of 20 yards. We've done that four times now, and we've got two clean misses and two "not clean" shots too. Especially after seeing what I did tonight, I'm convinced he's made good shots, but the deer have ducked the string on him. Regardless of why, the outcome is the same.
I've been up all night- not sure if I'm actually sick or just sick over the evening's events. I'll go back out and see if I can see anything in the field outside of the woods we hunted. Then Ryan and I will do another grid search of the woods in the daylight.
I'm not sure if last night was the end of our season or not. Ryan was dead set on hunting every single night until the season ended. However, after the very sour note last evening, I don't know if we'll go back out or not. I absolutely hate to end things with last night being the final memory of a wonderful time with my son, but I'm not sure if we'll go back or not.
On a positive note, Most high hit deer survive a bow hit! Probably around 90%. Especially low poundage bow.
The deer Frank got last week dropped too and he barely hit top of lungs. He was aiming high heart. I had a huge buck drop to my shot this year and hit him high. He lived at least 2 weeks into gun season.
Especially this time of year sound echos bad and deer are jumpy. Gotta shoot for heart, they drop.
Never Ever Give Up!!!!!
Good luck guys.
Even if this season comes to an end without a deer, try to focus on all the fun times you've shared and keep shooting. Next season will be a fresh start and a time for more terrific memories.
Scoot, we've never met, but I I know you are a GREAT dad!
Keep it positive and good will happen!
You and Ryan make an All Star Team!
The update on yesterday can be summarized as follows: good news, better news, bad news, worse. I'll explain...
After my last post I felt sick. I laid down to try (finally) get some sleep and just couldn't fall asleep. My guts were turning and my head hurt. I roamed around the house for a few more hours and finally headed out to look for the deer some more a little after sun up. Just as one would expect, I didn't find squat.
I decided to look for greener pastures, in case we did try to hunt in the afternoon. I ended up putting on about 70 miles looking for fresh deer sign. In total, I cut four sets of deer tracks in those 70 miles! It was amazing!! I'm not sure where all the deer went, but they don't seem to be leaving the woods with any regularity. The very sparse snow makes it tough to see tracks around here right now too, so I'm sure that was part of it.
On the way to get a double ladder stand to move it to a new location for the afternoon sit Ryan spotted three deer on the West end of the West-most woods of my MIL's. We bumped those deer back into the woods, then put the double ladder stand on the trail they had come out of the woods on. Actually seeing deer and finding a freshly used trail is the good news I mentioned.
When I got back to my truck I noticed my wife had called me three times in the 20 minutes I put the stand up. That's not typical and I knew something must be up. I called her back and got the news that my MIL's aunt had died. She had been very sick for some time, but died suddenly on the way back from a doctor's appointment. Her name was Evie and she was a peach of a gal! Evie was like my MIL's adopted mother of sorts, due to my MIL's mom dying when she was very young. She was a sweet, kind person who had an unique, infectious laugh. Our family liked her a lot. This was the "worse news" that I mentioned above.
I went back to the house and gave my wife a hug. We talked to the kids about what happened and both were upset. My MIL left work and she and my wife headed to town to see what they could do to be helpful with planning and arrangements.
The temps never got above zero yesterday and the wind was blowing out of the NNW. I knew there was no way Ryan, Morgan, and I could sit in the treestand we had just hung- Morgan would never last out there. Ryan eventually talked Morgan into coming to the food plot for a sit in the blind. She was very reluctant, but finally agreed.
On the drive down there we spooked two deer out of the grove of trees that surrounds our house. I'm very happy to report that those two deer were almost certainly the two deer that showed up last night. They were two fawns, with the button buck noticeably larger than the doe-fawn. The larger one was darker than the smaller one. With the lack of deer around here I'm sure that was them and the little button buck looked no worse for the wear. I was relieved to see this. This was the "better than good news".
The bad news is, we got skunked at the plot last night. Who cares!?! It was colder than -20 windchill and I was lucky enough to get to spend time with my kids in the outdoors. Not a great picture, but it does show my favorite two hunting partners in the blind with me.
We pulled the pin a few minutes early and got Morgan inside so she could warm up her hands and feet. Once I got her situated I went and ditched my camo in the garage, where Ryan was doing the same. He finished and headed in the house before I did, but just before he went in the house he stopped, looked back at me, and said, "Thanks dad, for taking the time and going out hunting with me all these times. ...and thanks for helping me... um... grow up and stuff too. I love you, Dad."
We tried to dress Ryan in more clothes than he had been wearing because we knew it would be a very cold sit. However, we quickly discovered he couldn't shoot with the additional jacket on- he string hit both his arm and the side of the jacket when he shot. I decided to put him inside of a sleeping bag with all of his other gear on too (minus the heavy jacket that caused problems).
When we got out there Ryan didn't want to bring the sleeping bag. He was sure that it would be too loud and would scare away deer. I didn't agree and knew he wouldn't make it too long without more clothing. We finally decided that I'd set my warm jacket (Cabela's Wooltimate with windsheer) over him to keep him warm and I'd remove it immediately if we saw a deer coming. This ended up working pretty well for him, but wasn't the greatest solution for me! LOL We made it work the best we could and it was a reasonable solution for the night.
Here's the view we had for the night...
...and here's my little skunk ninja!
At about 4:15 we saw two deer trotting through the woods about 80-100 yards North of us. They were moving pretty quickly and seemed spooked. Ryan guessed that they had been scared by our truck, which was probably a good guess.
Beyond that the only two things of note that we saw were a beautiful sunset and a "mystery arrow" in a tree about 10 yards from us. Right at the end of the night Ryan and I were making our final scan of the surrounds before heading to the truck. Suddenly Ryan said "Dad, there's an arrow." He pointed out an arrow stuck in a tree about 12 feet off the ground just 10 yards away. Someone else had hunted there and also not had the outcome he was hoping for!
Well... we're down to one final afternoon in the woods. We don't have daycare today, so I'll be home with the kids for the day. I'll go down to the food plot and see if there's any activity there. I'll think about the spot we sat last night. I may even consider a different spot where we've never sat before too- we found a decent trail that we could hang a stand on. I'll do some snooping and in the end, I'll let Ryan decide where he'd like to go.
Ryan , When i was a young man like you i missed alot and now at 35 i still miss. Hang in there buddy Aim small miss small. HUNT
"Ya gotta dance with the girl you brought to the ball." That's a favorite expression of my buddy Ross, and we decided to employ it for our last night of hunting in 2014. I checked the food plot and there was a little bit of fresh sign down there. With no fresh snow, it was our best chance to hunt a spot where deer had recently been at.
Skunk boy and I headed back to the ground blind.
Ryan was hopeful and optimistic.
Early on we saw this guy again.
Towards the end of the afternoon we had our nightly appearance from Peter the mouse. He climbed into my pack and ran up my pants leg at one point. Ryan tried to catch him in his hands by trying to lure him in with some trailmix. He came to within six inches of Ryan's hands, but wouldn't come any closer.
After playing with Peter, we looked up and realized it had gotten dark out. I looked at my phone and saw that it was time to pull the pin. Our abbreviated season had come to an end and we had once again been skunked.
Ryan got choked up and headed for the truck ahead of me. He got to the edge of the woods and waited for me. I caught up and gave him a hug; he had tears in his eyes. Ryan told me he was upset because he really wanted to finish his third goal. I told him I was proud of his effort and reminded him that if we work as hard as we can at something, there's nothing left to do. Success will come most of the time from that kind of effort. He heard me, but at least at that moment I think it largely fell on deaf ears. Given the circumstances, I guess that was just fine.
I looked behind him and realized the sunset was beautiful. I asked him for a couple final photos before we headed home.
...and with that, the sun set on the 2014 archery season in MN and Ryan's final day of his "first deer hunt". We didn't punch a tag, but we spent invaluable time together, worked hard towards a goal, and had a lot of fun in the effort. Thanks to all for the encouragement, helpful suggestions, and kind words.
Ryan, the great thing about hunting is there is always next year, and you got a whole life of "next years" ahead of you. Can't wait to see you get it done! Way to tough it out and stick with it, I have a feeling you'll be very successful in the years to come.
Then again, I unted for at least ten years with a bow before I ever brought any meat home. I had no mentor, just a few magazines and a lot of bad advice from the few locals that sold arrows.
Our kids are lucky hey have dads that will teach them how to hunt, and cut down that learning curve... but even more so, we ourselves are lucky to have kids that will hunt with us.
Don't feel bad about how your season went. You had a great season out there with your dad, sister, uncle, and grandpa. My grandpa's ashes rest in Lake of the Woods, not too far from you. I'd give every antler hanging in my house to sit in a blind with my grandpa, even if we never saw a deer.
It's all about the chase son. Taking a deer home is just the icing on the cake.
I would say that he'll be better off for persevering and not achieving all his goals. Sounds like his goals were perfectly balanced between difficult and attainable.
And one day it'll happen so easily it will be confounding how easy and how difficult the same thing can be....
This is inspiration to my 12 year old as well to get practicing for next fall. Nine months will go fast.
We went out with a couple buddies in ND this past weekend. They both drew tags and given that Ryan and I aren't ND residents anymore, we can't draw tags in ND (so sad!!!) We were callers and spotters for my buddy and his son on opening morning.
What a morning it as! We had 100 or so birds roosting within 100 yards of our blind. The audio in the 1/2 hour before legal shooting time was amazing! Birds were gobbling their fool heads off in the trees and they were making a ton of noise on the ground for at least an hour after that too. What fun! We had two toms about 50 or 60 yards in front of us for at least an hour pretty early on, but they had several gals with them and we couldn't get them to leave their lovelies. At 10:00 AM we called in the bird below- he came in on a string looking to put a whoopin' on our Avian X jake decoy. My buddy, Jake, put a good shot on him and that was that!
Ryan starts his own "deer hunting practice" on Saturday morning. We'll have a short hunt on Sat, and maybe another one next week sometime. We don't have a ton of birds around this area, but just enough to hunt. We'll head down to Southern MN to hunt with a friend over the first week of May- that should be fun!
This Spring, Ryan and I had a wonderful time turkey hunting. We put in a ton of hours and struggled our way through the season. After several close calls Ryan finally sealed the deal on a really nice tom, three days after we went our for our last hunt (he begged and pleaded to go one more time and I fortunately caved).
Ryan has been shooting a lot and he has bumped his poundage up a little on his bow (I think he's at about 43 lbs now) and his effective range is now out to 25 yards. His groups look very good out that far and I feel comfortable with him shooting out to there.
We hit planned to hunt in a stand on Sat, the archery opener, but the skeeters were too bad. We headed to the new ground blind we built this past off season, which is located directly across the foodplot from our old blind. This stand works great for South winds, which is what we had on the opener.
We settled in and got comfortable. We had a familiar view, looking out of the new blind.
Ryan had already had a busy day. He is in his first year of contact football and I'm lucky enough to be able to coach his team. His team won both games that morning and Ryan scored two touchdowns in each game (he's #12 below, the kid who is constantly hiking up his pants!)
He was pumped, but as the day wore on, he was tired and run down. He struggled to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in, but finally settled on this goofy option. Doesn't look comfortable to me, but he slept hard!
We got blanked that night, but it was good to get out.
We hunted Sun too, but the wind switched on us and we didn't see a thing close to us. A doe cut our wind 100 yards out and ran away. We also saw some deer in the field, but they were 200 yards away. A quiet night, but Ryan had fun.
We may get out one evening this week, then I hope to hunt this weekend a time or two. Ryan has football on Saturday, but hopefully we can hit the stand that evening, maybe in ND this time. There are LOTS of deer around where we hunt in ND, so if we can sneak over there I think we've got a really good chance at one.
After our weekly Saturday football (two more wins and our teams best performance of the year by far!) we left for ND.
Ryan, his buddy Gannon, and I arrived at about 4:30. We got their early hoping the deer would be moving early, as Gabe had said they were.
We settled into the blind and had our usual view.
A little before 6:00 11 hen turkeys made their way in front of us and entertained us for a while.
After that, all was quiet until we had about 25 minutes of light left in the evening. I spotted a doe in front of the blind, on the far side of the barbed wire fence. I would have taken pictures, but the light was already getting too low to bother. She looked very wary and was reluctant to come in. Given the direction she came in from I suspect she caught a whiff of us on her approach. Eventually two yearling does marched right across the little opening and went right in front of the blind at about 25 yards. The mature doe followed.
I had urged Ryan to wait for a buck while we hunted in ND. There were a ton of bucks here and for $250 (non-resident cost) I sure wanted him to be a little patient! I'm very confident he'll get a crack at a doe at home eventually. I could see him fighting the urge to be patient. The little deer wandered back and forth and provided many great shot opportunities. Soon it was getting darker and Ryan whispered "What time is is?" I let him know there were exactly five minutes of legal shooting light left and he said "I'm going to take a shot if I get a good chance." I smiled and conceded that he had been about as patient as a 10 year old boy who had never shot a deer could be over the past 20 minutes.
The closer doe walked directly towards us and faced us at 15 yards. Ryan gripped his bow tightly and waited. ...and waited. I looked at my watch and there were exactly two minutes to go. The silence was broken by a "clank, clank, clankity-clank". I looked to our left and two bucks were lightly sparring. Ryan nearly came unglued! He really wanted to see bucks fighting and was thrilled to see this, even if it was just a little gentle pushing and playing. Behind those two bucks were two more- the far ones were a little 5 point buck and I couldn't see the other. The sparring bucks were comprised of a little wider than ear wide 10 pointer and a little narrower than ear wide (but reasonably tall) eight pointer. Ryan told me afterwards they were the two biggest bucks he'd ever seen anywhere close to him.
After pushing each other for 20 seconds, both bucks ducked under the fence and came right in front of the blind. Ryan literally had about one minute to get a legal shot off by my estimation, but he was still on the right side of the clock. The eight pointer marched right in front of us, stopped broadside and slightly quartering away at 20 yards, and placed his onside leg well forward. It couldn't have been a more picture perfect for a bowhunter!
Ryan drew his bow. As he settled in on his anchor point, I could hear his breathing- I wouldn't say he was hyperventilating, but it wasn't far from it! I stared at the deer to try see where the arrow hit. I heard him take a breath, then hold. I watched his arrow zip over the back of the deer, then all the deer bolted. He had clean missed the buck, just over his back. Dang!
Afterwards Ryan told me he could see his pin well, but struggled to see the deer. He had leaned out to look outside of his peepsight two times to find the buck, but I didn't notice this since I was staring so intensely on the deer in hopes of seeing the hit. In hindsight, even though he was still in legal shooting light, he should have held off from shooting. It was definitely a judgement call and not having the experience to know better, he figured he was ok for the shot. With me not knowing he was struggling to see the deer though his peep, I didn't try to hold him off. One more great experience under his belt! Fortunately, he didn't wound the deer and it was a clean miss.
Here's a picture of what I'm pretty sure is the buck that Ryan missed. Gabe took this picture while he was hunting with the handicapped hunter during the Twist of Fate Hunt.
Ryan wants to go back to ND immediately! Unfortunately, I can't make it back there for a while. I would love to get back there right away, but the next two weekends are filled up plans already. I'm sure we'll hunt at home some and we'll likely get to ND in three weeks. Hopefully that trip will be for multiple days. We'll see...
Both of my teenagers bowhunt, so I know how hard it is to decide when they are ready, because you want them to experience all the things you have already experienced in the woods.
Good luck this season! I hope it works out well.
I waited a while to reply to your comments so I wouldn't reply and sound defensive or crabby. After re-reading your comments several times I've decided you aren't trying to be rude, overly negative, or a jerk. That being said, I do think your comments may have been better placed in a PM rather than dumping negativity in what I consider a "feel good thread". You obviously can agree or disagree.
I considered your the main idea of your comments well before Ryan began carrying a bow last year. I feared I was being overly zealous with him and I consulted my father, my brother, and a couple buddies. All agreed that Ryan was ready and didn't feel like I was pushing him into something he wasn't ready for. They also agreed that even if I wasn't "pushing" (which was clear that I wasn't), he was ready and didn't need the reigns held back on him, because he was mature enough to handle it. I agree that 10 is young, but we all felt he was ready.
Ryan can shoot. Inside of 25 yards, which is the max distance I'll let him shoot, I'd pit him against most people and expect him to do quite well. I could show you lots of pictures of his baseball to softball sized groups at 25 yards, but there's no need. Also, the great states of MN and ND allow him to legally hunt at age 10. Both of those criteria are necessary, but not sufficient for me to allow him to hunt. I had to decide if he was emotionally and developmentally ready to hunt. That's obviously the toughest one. In the end, with input from people whose opinions I value greatly, I decided he was ready. Most importantly, the decision was made by me and I didn't make it willy nilly or on a whim, I thought it through a great deal. So, you can conclude that "It is obvious he was not ready..." However, given that you don't know my son and you've never met me, it's difficult for me to imagine how you could have an informed opinion on the matter. As you pointed out, things haven't gone as I hoped they would and it's been a bit of an uphill start for us. That does not mean he's not ready, regardless of whether you make that conclusion or not. So... I don't mean to sound defensive or rude, but frankly you don't get a vote in this matter.
If you have additional comment, I'd request you please PM me. I'd appreciate you helping me avoid having this thread spiral downhill into a yucky and worthless thread that involves a bunch of arguing, disagreement, and negativity.
Sitting a dual purpose spot tonight that covers both a trail leaving the woods and the field edge. There's a dike on the edge of the field and the deer have been walking that quite a bit. Perfect wind direction so hopefully one will stroll by.
I knocked Ryan's bow off the hanger getting into my stand. Seems fine- I hope so! Dang I hate it when I do dumb stuff!!!
Thirty minutes after getting settled two yearling does and a mature doe rounded a corner of the woods about 200-300 yards away out in the field. They meandered around for a while, but showed no real interest in heading our way. They were picking away at the leftover sugarbeets that had been missed from the pre-pile harvest that was done last week. We had a disked wheat field to our right and they had been feeding in there too. I hoped they'd want some variety at some point and come past us.
While I was visually picking the woods apart to the North of us hoping to catch movement I heard Ryan whisper something- it was tough to hear him as he was a few feet below me and the wind was blowing at 20+ mph. I turned my head just in time to see a very large bodied deer exit the field out by the does. He was moving fast and I thought I saw a rack. Ryan looked at me with wide eyes and said "Monster buck! I could see his rack the second I spotted him." Now, a "monster buck" to Ryan might not be the same as what a lot of bowsiters would call one, but the deer was over 300 yards away when he first saw him, so I'm sure he was at least a decent buck.
Unfortunately, that was the last we saw of the "monster buck". After a while one of the does headed our way. She had decided she wanted to check out the volunteer grain shoots coming up to our right. She walked right through Ryan's shooting window, but she passed at 40 yards and that's 15 yards farther than Ryan will shoot. She rounded the corner and I mentioned to Ryan, "Be ready, she may see the pickup and come back our direction." A minute later we watched her lock up and start bobbing her head. She was staring at my vehicle, which was parked over 200 yards away. She snorted, then bolted straight into the woods and headed our direction. She ripped through the underbrush at break-neck speeds and when she reached the base of the tree we were in, she shot to our left. I bleated and was amazed to see her come to a screeching halt. There she stood, broadside at 15 yards, with no clue we were there. Ryan was pointed directly at her, but didn't draw his bow. She had stopped behind the leafy branch of a tree and offered no good shot. I stared at him as he stared intensely at the deer. I could see his excitement and anticipation of what would happen next. He was laser focused on the deer and it was fun to see him so locked into the situation. His breathing was heavy, driven by his adrenaline. The standoff was quickly ended when she half-snorted and shot out of there just as fast as she had come in.
Dang! So close!!! We had five minutes of legal shooting light left, so Ryan suggested we pack up and call it a night. I agreed.
It's going to happen soon, I can feel it! I sure hope so...
Sun evening we hunted in ND. All was quiet for quite a while. We only had squirrels and birds to keep us company.
Ryan was shot from a long weekend, which started with a short-on-sleep sleepover at a friend's house Fri, football Sat morning, and hunting Sat and Sun afternoons.
With 20 minutes of legal light left I spotted a buck coming through the opening to the east. It was 40 yards away and closing. As it reached the fence I realized it was the buck Ryan missed last weekend. Rather than coming across the fence where he did last time, he hung a hard right at the fence and went to our north about 50 yards. He hopped the fence there and headed west. Soon he caught our scent trail and promptly boogied outta there. We had obviously done some educating last weekend.
I coached Ryan's football Sat morning, but we planned to join Jim as soon as we got back from our games. That didn't happen, however, because during our first game of the morning Jim sent me this pic via text message.
He had shot his two birds in a couple hours. Great!
We got back and made a plan for the evening. We had seen several deer the night before near a stand that I figured Jim could sit that evening. Ryan and I were headed back to the same spot we had sat the last time we were in the area. We had cut this shooting lane to the edge of the field.
Deer often walked the edge of the dike, which was only 10 yards away. They also walked the field edge at 15 yards (and farther).
Not too long after getting settled in this small 8 point buck popped out into the field about 80 yards to our east.
He fed and meandered around a bit, but slowly seemed to be working our way.
Soon he looked to our west and seemed to make the decision to head that way. He was on a path to go right through Ryan's shooting lane, but he was out towards the end of Ryan's max distance (25 yards).
Just as he reached the left side of the lane I hit the range finder. I zapped it three times, but I kept hitting a branch. Finally I got a reading- "25". I whispered the number to Ryan and immediately tried to grunt the deer to a stop. He was in the middle-right of the opening when I said "Eeeeeeerrrrrt!" The deer turned his head in our direction, but rather than stopping, he took about three more steps before he came to a halt. There was the buck at 25 yards with Ryan locked on him and at full draw. Unfortunately, the deer was directly behind the arm thick tree that bookended his shooting lane. Ryan held at full draw for a while, but it was clear he currently had no shot. He decided to let his draw down. He tried to let the string down as slowly and carefully as possible in hopes of not spooking the buck. In doing this he accidentally bumped the trigger on is release. "Thwack!!!" His arrow smoked the tree in front of us! In the pic below (and in the first pic I showed with the deer trotting away) you can see both the deer and the arrow planted firmly in the tree.
The deer stared without a clue in the world what had just happened. We stood there for 15 seconds like this and finally the deer trotted off.
Ryan was crushed that he had "missed". I explained that what had happened was unfortunate, but not a real miss in that he never intended to shoot in the first place. I also told him about the number of times I had shot a tree and that fact that I had also accidentally released an arrow while trying to let my draw down. He was still bummed... That was the only deer we saw that evening.
So close again! If that deer would have stopped a second earlier I have no doubt Ryan would have made a great shot on him. But, it was not meant to be this weekend. I'm headed back for a quick 2 1/2 day trip to MT to try get redemption on my busted elk hunt. I hope to get out with Ryan sometime this week before I leave, but not sure I'll make it out. So, it may be a while before the next chapter to this story gets written.
Scott, thanks for sharing. My dughter Kia and I are following along closely. Unfortunately half pint can't get into the stand until October 24. We'll have that weekend and then one other weekend before gun season to try to get her on a deer. She's shooting great as well and ready to try! Good luck to you guys!
October 17th Ryan is going to kill a buck. That is my prediction.
We've got a four day weekend coming up for MEA (school is out Thurs and Fri). I have to work Thurs and part of Fri, but Ryan and I are headed to ND to hunt Fri afternoon through Sun morning. I'm hopeful we can get something in range then. We'll see...
Here's how it shook out...
Thurs night had me flying home at a million miles per hour (maybe a slight exaggeration) to get back in time to sit with Ryan. We got settled into a spot where the deer had been going, just 40 yards from a double ladder stand we'd been in several times already. I took a bunch of pics from this trip, but somehow have managed to misplace the SD card with them on it. I imagine I managed to put it in a trailcam at some point over the weekend by accident.
Deer started coming early on this night and Ryan ended up actually seated for less than five minutes for the whole two hour sit, because there were deer around the whole dang time! Once we're all buckled in I always have him start the night with a practice draw to make sure everything looks/works well- no sticks in the way, safety strap is out of the way, no squeak in the stand or bow, etc. Just as Ryan was about the take his practice draw I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and said "Ryan, there's a deer over there." A doe was 80 yards out and closing. She eventually went by at 30 yards and almost offered a shot.
Several other deer filtered by and skirted the edge of Ryan's effective 25 yard range. One doe was headed right for us. She stopped at 25 yards facing right at us. I got a nice pic of her, but that's unfortunately on the AWOL SD card. She stood facing us and surveyed the situation. She was on a trail that would take her past us broadside at 10 yards. Suddenly a pair of squirrels scuttled up our tree wildly playing tag with each other. They were chirping, chattering, and chasing each other at break-neck speeds! At one point they circled the tree we were in about five times, all the while running right between Ryan and me. They passed behind us, just inches from the backs of our heads. The continued up the tree and while they zipped around the tree bark and small twigs fell upon us. Ryan got the giggles, and as a result, so did I! The doe stood and stared at the squirrels and subsequently us too. Eventually the squirrels chased each other off into another tree, Ryan and I composed ourselves, and the doe started walking right down the trail. Suddenly a little buck came up behind her, nosed her tail, and she jumped off 90 degrees and made a quick exit behind some brush. The small buck followed her and both disappeared from view pretty quickly. Dang! So close!!! In total we saw 15 deer this evening and had a blast!
Sat morning we headed for ND. We stayed at our friend Jake's place and left at 5:30 AM. When we got there Ryan discovered he was missing his release. It was a bad 15 minutes for both of us at that point! We tore the truck apart looking for it, but I was certain he had forgotten it at Jake's place. I barked and snapped and honestly, I was really mad. Ryan teared up and apologized for the mistake. We were pretty much dead in the water. I walked down the road about 100 yards to get away from him and cool off a bit. Did I mention I was mad? I finally came back and dug out my spare release. It's a thumb style release and totally different than Ryan's. He shot in the headlights for 10 minutes and I was shocked to see that the POI was the exact same. He was hitting the bullseye at 20 yards, so we headed in to the stand.
We got there 20 or 30 minutes late and spooked deer on the way in. We settled in for the morning. While we sat there he apologized for forgetting his release and I said I was sorry for getting so angry with him. He knew he screwed up and felt terrible about it. I shouldn't have been so tough on him- he's a 10 year old boy. Regardless, all was over and done with and we had a temporary solution.
We settled in for the morning sit.
This little gal came by and visited for a while.
She eventually got spooked by the squirrel in the background of this pic.
This guy was a lot tougher than that little fawn!
We also saw some does.
We ended up sitting that morning and evening and Sun morning too, but had to get back home that afternoon. A final shot of Ryan just before we left ND. You see all kinds of funny things while bowhunting with a 10 year old boy!
Around 6:00 Ryan spotted a doe and a fawn coming into the food plot.
We also saw two small bucks. However, all the deer stayed just at the edge of or just past Ryan's range. I ranged a small fork horn at 24 yards at one point, but he quickly slid out of range. Morgan said she saw a bigger buck to the East of us our of a little peeky hole on the East side of the blind. No idea what it was, but she said it was "huge" (probably a little 6 or 8 as we've got nothing "huge" on camera).
Once again, no shooting, but man did we have fun! Morgan said she had a great time too, which was wonderful to hear. Not sure when we'll hunt next, but hopefully we'll get out again this week sometime.
Now my son is 21 and I consider him a hunting partner. The time and training you are putting in now is worth every second spent....frustrated or otherwise! Keep it up! Jeff
He brought it this time!
Ryan shot a lot before the season began, but we've been sure to keep up his shooting since it started too. He's dialed in and ready for an opportunity!
We didn't hunt on Fri evening- we went out as a family and had a meal at a small town restaurant that a friend runs. It was a great meal and we had fun!
Saturday we tried to figure out where to hunt. Ryan decided on the ground blind using the following rationale-- "I'm really yawning a lot and I'm tired. Maybe I could take a small nap while we hunted today." I laughed. He was tired and had been running from thing to thing all week and it seemed like maybe it was a good idea. I'd let him catch a cat nap while I kept my eyes open for him. I'd wake him up after things settled down and we were approaching prime time.
My brother, his son Austin, and my sister's son Cody came out to hunt on Saturday. Rod and Austin went to the East-most piece of woods. I dropped Cody off at the West-most piece of woods my mother-in-law owns.
I grabbed the SD cards from the plot before Ryan and I settled into the blind. I chuckled when I looked at the pictures from the North camera. When both kids came with along last week I had to run back to the truck because I forgot something and I sent them ahead. I discovered that they decided it would be fun to show off for the camera a bit and pose for some goofy pictures. There was one of Morgan kissing her "guns" (flexed arm), a couple more of them doing crazy poses, but my favorite was this one- some kind of ghost, gangster look as far as I can tell. LOL
After about ten minutes Ryan looked like this.
However, he wasn't comfortable and decided he just wanted to stay alert and look for deer.
After about only ten more minutes he whispered "There's a deer." I looked and looked, but couldn't see a thing. He described where it was and I couldn't locate it. Finally I caught movement.
Soon this spike buck came into the plot. While just a small spike to most of you, it was a true trophy to my son. Ryan had his bow ready and hoped the buck would move from the 45 yards he was currently at to inside of his effective range of 25 yards.
It was nearly dead calm and as the buck came closer, I didn't dare take any more pictures. He turned broadside and I zapped him with my rangefinder: "20". I whispered this number to Ryan as quietly as possible. He didn't flinch at all. I was surprised he wasn't drawing, but I didn't dare say a word for fear of screwing things up for him. Soon the buck walked towards us, but from left to right. This took him out of the view of the shooting window pretty quickly. He was at 14 yards, but Ryan had no shot as he was off to our right. After a few minutes I saw his tail pop up, he caught a whiff of us, and off he went to the East.
I asked Ryan why he didn't shoot. He felt like the deer was broadside, but just slightly quartering to us. He was right, but the angling to us piece was so slight that I would have definitely shot. He told me he didn't want to shoot if it was quartering to us at all. He was bummed he didn't take a shot if I thought he should have shot. I was proud he didn't shoot if he had any question about the shot. It was kind of interesting that he could be so upset about not shooting while I was so proud he didn't take a shot he had any question about.
While we discussed the possible shot he didn't take he suddenly whispered "There's a deer." I thought he was joking, but he quickly reached for his bow and looked back to his left. I looked through the "peeky hole" and spotted a doe coming into the plot. Behind her was another deer- either a yearling doe or a fawn.
It all happened very quickly and I didn't dare try grab my camera. With the wind being so calm and conditions being so quiet, I couldn't move to take any pictures and I likely wouldn't be able to take pictures if I had ahold of the camera anyway. I sat back and watched it play out. The doe walked broadside across the middle area of the plot. She was 27 yards away- just two yards past the distance we decided Ryan could shoot. The smaller deer followed directly behind her. When the second deer caught up to her it fed for a while, but then took a hard right and walked calmly towards us. Ryan positioned to see it perfectly and waited. It walked and it walked, right at us! Finally when it reached a distance where my rangefinder would no longer register (it was just inside of 10 yards) it stopped. As were sat there I could feel my heart pumping- I was as excited for this chance as Ryan. I could see Ryan breathing heavy too. Adrenaline was pumping through his body and he was obviously hoping this wasn't going to be yet another close call that didn't work out. Suddenly the deer turned to his right. He was standing broadside at 9 yards. Ryan came to full draw, steadied, and locked on. He released the arrow and I watched it zip to and through the deer! The deer spun and I could see the arrow had passed fully through him, but the fletchings were hung up on the inside of the exit hole. The deer's onside leg was back a bit and Ryan said he wanted to stay clear of that. As a result his shot was a few inches back from being perfect, but it was still clearly going to be a lethal hit.
Both deer ran to the far corner of the plot and stood there. I could see the deer well and I snapped this pictured quickly before I figured it would disappear into the woods.
If you look closely you can see the entrance hole and the arrow on the far side of the deer.
The doe began to walk away and the deer Ryan shot began to follow. After just a few steps though, it dropped. Ryan couldn't see it from his angle, so I gave him the "play by play". Ryan literally jumped with joy when I told him the deer was down. He and I were both so, so excited! Hugs, handshakes, and high fives were definitely in order! Soon after we walked up on Ryan's first deer and discovered it was a button buck. Ryan was even more excited to have taken a buck as his first deer.
I was disappointed that the camera battery went dead right as I was about to get some pictures of the two of us. We ended up with only cell phone pictures of the two of us with his first deer.
Just as my dad taught me, Ryan and I put a hand on the animal and said a prayer before we took it back to our home to provide food for our family. I had thought of several things I wanted to include in this prayer before hand and I was able to say them in the way I had hoped to. Afterwards, Ryan looked up at me, with a tear in his eye, and said with a choked up voice, "That was a good prayer, Dad." With a tear in my eye, I smiled back at him.
...and with that, my ten year old boy took one very large step in becoming a young man. He was as patient and persistent as a ten year old can be and he learned many valuable lessons along the way. I was and am extremely proud and excited of and for him. Thanks so much to all of you bowsiters who have followed along and provided enormous support and encouragement for Ryan (and for me!) This was easily the most enjoyable story I've ever written up. I had no idea it would take this long to write the final chapter, but I sure loved every minute of the hunt and the story. Thanks again!
Scott, thanks for taking us along on Ryan's journey! It was a pleasure to follow his progress and to enjoy the hunt with you guys. Ryan's lucky to have you!
Great story telling as well. I've truly enjoyed this thread over the past year or so. Lots of learning along the way for everyone involved. I'm anxious for when my boy is old enough to get in the woods as well.
A great "final chapter" if you say so Scott, but I think this may just be the "first chapter" in a long book to come.
Thanks again for taking us along.
Congratulations Ryan!!!! Well done.
Dad, keep up the good work. You're doing it right for sure.
Congrats to you and Ryan!!! Jeff
Congratulations on a hard earned, long awaited trophy! Archery hunting is never easy, but the rewards are well worth the efforts. I look forward to reading about your exploits in North Dakota. Best of luck this season and in the future!
Not sure how I have missed this thread for the last year, but it's definitely one of the best I've ever read. Something about being there watching a kid progress! Really a great read. Hunter, my son, is 12. He's shot a number of deer and a bear with rifle. I just took him this past week-end for his first archery hunts. He seen 3 bucks and 5 does in 3 sits. He has the same enthusiasm as Ryan. We'll see what happens!
I've been waiting to read this since last year. It's been a joy to follow along.
Great job fellas.
Scoot, you are the man, looking forward to more of Ryan's hunts!
Congratulations to you both, and thanks for sharing
Congrats to you both!
No Wiser predicted the 17th....what day did Ryan actually tag out?
Jim missed it by a week. Ryan punched his tag at 5:50 on Oct. 24th.
Ryan shot this doe last night a little before 5:00. His shot was high and he hit it in the spine. It dropped instantly and I immediately put an arrow through both lungs- over in seconds. Ryan said his pin was over the heart and "just perfect", but just as he squeezed off he felt/saw his pin float up, and off the arrow went. The good news is it worked out and I'm glad I was there to put a follow up shot in right away. This was pretty cool- tag teaming with Ryan on his 2nd deer!
FYI- this was opening weekend of the gun season, so we were decked out in orange. Ryan isn't very interested in gun hunting at this point (apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), so he and I were flinging arrows, not lead!
Good job man! I have only recently stumbled across this thread and being able to watch your training, trials, tribulations and missed shots that lead up to your first and second deer kill was awesome.
Congrats on your first and second bow kill!
Good job man! I have only recently stumbled across this thread and being able to watch your training, trials, tribulations and missed shots that lead up to your first and second deer kill was awesome.
Congrats on your first and second bow kill!
When we packed all our gear back to the truck Ryan shook my hand and said "It was an honor to hunt with you all year dad." He also said "Dad, I know how much effort you put into helping me hunt this year and I really appreciate it." Pretty mature words from an 11 year old boy IMO. I'm also really pleased about how persistent he was all year. He's bull-headed and stubborn and that will benefit him in life greatly (except at the times when it works against him-- I definitely know about this first-hand!)
Thanks for following along and for all of the encouragement and kind words. Ryan truly loved the compliments and encouragement and I genuinely appreciate them too. Happy New Year to everyone and I hope 2016 treats you great!
Great job with the thread and mentoring. Ryan will remember these hunts for the rest of his life.
Looking forward to next year's story!