The 3rd weekend of October is MEA weekend, where kids get out of school on Thursday and Friday and get a little break. Morgan, Ryan, and I went up to my dad's cabin at Lake of the Woods to help button up the place for the year and hang out with Grandpa, my bro, and his boys. The plan was to hunt grouse on the way up and back, then do work at the cabin. Well... the work got done in short order, so we ended up fishing off the dock for walleyes in the morning and evening (didn't bother to bring a boat since we thought we'd have too much work to do to goof off much). Below are a few pics and a video from the weekend. What a great time with family!
We had to hustle home on Saturday night because Ryan had to read his faith statement in church on Sunday (part of his confirmation requirements). He was nervous as heck, but did a nice job and he was happy to be done with that part of the process. That afternoon we hunted about 3/4 mile from our house. Ryan walked the 75 yards from his stand to mine with an hour to go- he was wet from the rain that had fallen over the past half-hour and was getting a little cold. I, of course, didn't want to quit. He immediately picked up on that and felt bad he would make me leave. While we discussed, the rain ended and the radar looked like it wouldn't rain anymore during the end of our sit. Ryan headed back to his stand for the final hour of the evening.
Half-an-hour later I was straining my eyes, looking for my first deer of the evening. With no warning, all hell broke loose! I heard sticks breaking and loud crashing from the direction of Ryan's stand. I text him asking if he was ok or if I should come over there. No response. "Did he fall out of his stand somehow?" was the thought I couldn't get out of my head. No reply by text. "Dang it kid, answer me!" Suddenly I heard a light whistle coming from his direction. I then saw Ryan walking my direction. I started getting my stuff ready to go and when I looked down at him from my stand he had a huge smile on his face and did a couple of fist pumps. Oh yeah!
Ryan had watched a small spork (spike on one side, fork on the other) come in and he wasn't going to shoot him. Soon he caught movement behind the spork and he saw what he immediately knew was a buck he'd love to try get a crack at. The buck meandered over in Ryan's direction, casually following the spork, which was inside of 30 yards from Ryan. The nicer buck eventually made it to the edge of the shooting lane I had cleared that morning. He stood on the edge of that opening for over two minutes. Finally, he took a couple steps into the lane and put his head down to browse on some leaves. Ryan drew and took aim, with neither buck having a clue he was there still. He said his pin was in a perfect spot when the arrow left the bow and the shot felt great. However, he couldn't see the arrow (30 minutes of legal shooting left) and he says he doesn't really understand what it sounds like when you hit, or don't hit, a deer with a shot. So, although it felt great, he had no idea if he really hit the deer or not.
I called my brother and a family friend, Kaden, and they grabbed Morgan, and we all went looking for the deer. With it raining for a while prior to the shot, and searching by headlight in the dark, tracking was tough. In short, we didn't find a drop of blood, or the arrow that night. We left that night and the plan was for Ryan and me to come back in the morning to look. As luck would have it, it rained all night.
As we got ready to head out into the sloppy of field and woods in the morning, I got a text from my brother saying he was going to be at my place soon (from over an hour away) to help look. Not only was he coming to help, it was on his birthday no less!
The three of us got there right around when we would have enough light to see well enough to track. Ryan directed us to the last place he saw the deer, which was about 80-100 yards from his stand. Rod and I started searching from there. I started grid searching the last known area and Rod headed down the path the deer had been on. Before Ryan could even get down and over to us Rod called my name and asked me to come over to him. Soon he showed me the buck in its final resting place, not more than 80 yards further down the trail.
Thanks guys! Yes, no doubt I was as excited as him, and definitely a proud dad too!
BTW- his shot was about 3-4" high and perfect from left to right. The exit was surprisingly higher than the entry, in spite of the downward shot. It definitely got both lungs though. But, no blood for a while, which made the tracking tough initially and impossible after the rain in the morning. We were definitely lucky to find him!
Congrats to Ryan and you Scott. Before you posted yesterday I thought of you guys reflecting on your journeys and wondering if Ryan had been hunting. I thought of you and Ryan last Friday when my oldest daughter shot her first deer, a spike, at 10 years old.
Thanks again everyone! Daydreamer- that is outstanding! Many congrats to you and to your daughter! Feel free to post up a pic of her in here or in a different thread. If it was a gun killed deer shot in the MN youth season, I couldn't possibly care less- still outstanding and good for you for getting her out! I bet you are a proud papa and she's happy too.
Thanks for the story Scoot. Sure has been fun watching him grow up on BS. I remember the year he tried like crazy to get a deer and had a few misses. I'd say he sure has progressed! That is a heck of a whitetail. Wow..... Good on you both!