My 14 year old said he wanted to hunt with me later though, so, we were planning a trip to the hills for Labor Day weekend to a place that would be pretty easy to hunt, but when Friday after school came and I was still pretty leery about my back, we decided to hunt the river bottoms nearby for Friday evening, then head out for the hills 0-dark:30 Saturday if my parts were working ok.
Rather than head to the sporting goods store where we always got our licences in the past, we decided it would save time to stop by the Mega-Low-Mart on the way out of town to get my son's licence and tag. Darla was on shift at the customer service desk, and had no idea what we we talking about. She called her manager. After receiving an explanation, she got the Fish and Game computer fired up and stumbled through the system. I tried to explain that my son needed a deer tag, not a fishing licence. That took a while. Also, the part where a deer tag and a hunting licence are not the same thing took a while... and the part where he would need an archery validation took a while. Darla called her manager again because she didn't believe such a thing existed. After 3 more calls to the manager, the manager came in person and got us our tags... but by this point Darla had somehow lost my driver's licence in the process though she swore she had given it back to me. Meanwhile, time was ticking, the sun was dropping, and we still had an hour's drive to get to where we were going. Though I'm generally a very calm man, I was worried my son was going to witness something very ugly. At this point, one of the numerous people in the now VERY long customer service line behind us spotted my driver's licence on the floor under the console where Darla had dropped it. She giggled and gave it to me and I took my tags and left. I heard Darla apologizing to her manager (not me), and I saw a lot of sympathetic eyes from the people in line.
We drove across the parking lot to Mickey-D's to grab something so we wouldn't starve during our hunt, and when I handed the card to the cashier, she dropped it into the bushes under the drive-through window. I calmly dragged my hurting back out of the jeep and fished the card out. To Mickey-D's credit, their cashier was incredibly sorry and tried to make it up to us with free stuff, but we were good. I turned to my son at this point and told him that since we'd now gotten all the bad luck out of the way, nothing else but good stuff was going to happen to us the rest of the night. Sometimes you get the dad mojo right, I guess, because it turned out I was actually correct.
We got out in the sticks in into our hunting area and changed into our camo clothes. It wasn't long until my son spotted a 3-point. We went after him and blew the stalk, but it was really fun and we were both laughing afterwards about how great it was. My son spotted a couple does and got really excited, but the does were sketchy and bailed into a small thicket. We were making plans to try and get on either side of the thicket in order to try a squeeze play, when out of nowhere two spikes trotted nonchalantly in front of us. One paused at 20 yards and stared at my son while he was pulling back his string. He let fly and spined the deer and it crashed right there. I had set my stuff down and was jogging over to help him place a follow up shot- but my son somehow managed to whisper/yell at me to go get my bow because the other spike was still there. I did, but of course I forgot my range finder... when I saw the deer, he was kinda out there and I couldn't range him by instinct, so I jogged back to my stuff, grabbed my rangefinder, and jogged back, and darned if the deer wasn't still there. I ranged him at 49 yards, and calmly settled my 50 yard pin on his heart. The sun was setting behind me and illuminated my sights perfectly as I squeezed the release- funny how you remember stuff like that.
The arrow made that satisfying 'WHACK!!!" we all love, and I knew it was over. the deer took about three bounds, then slowed to a walk, then stopped and twitched his tail a couple times... and went four-hooves up. Meanwhile my son and I were standing there with our mouths open wondering what just happened.
Luckily the boy is pretty stout and was able to get the deer back to the jeep for me with little help after we gutted them.
Some of you may remember his fork and spoon photos over a piece of elk steak I posted here 10 or so years ago. I'll post it here with the new pics.
I don't know what I've ever done to make God or the Fates or Karma or whatever smile on me, I just know that right now, I couldn't be happier. I don't deserve it so good.
Congrats on the hunt!
Hope the back gets better.
Hope your back gets better!