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Big Sky Munchkin adventure-semi live
My oldest child, Justice, turned 10 this year which qualified her for the youth apprentice program here in Montana. She wouldn’t be able to bow hunt, but can do firearms or crossbow during the youth and general season. Where I live is great rifle country, but the more I thought about it the more I decided that taking her hunting with a crossbow would be a lot more fun and enjoyable due to the fact that rifles are loud, long range weapons and not nearly as intimate as a crossbow where the distance still needs to be close, and you can see and hear the arrow hit.
I have never owned a crossbow, and know very little about them. I am generally opposed to their use by able bodied adults in the archery season, but for kids, elderly, and the disabled I think they’re great. I knew it would be a challenge using one during the general (gun) season, but really wanted her to go this route. I wasn’t able to take her out for our 2 day youth season, but had a feeling we could still make something happen during the general season.
I did a little research, found a crossbow that seemed to fit the bill, and ordered it. After a little trial and error I figured out how to get it sighted in and spent some time with Justice getting her proficient with it. She was drilling bull’s-eyes in no time, and I felt confident she would be able to make a good shot.
I had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off. Sunday morning is reserved for church, but after that it was going to be a daughter and daddy couple of days.
A couple days away from school to go hunting and spend time with your dad is just what a kid needs sometimes, and we were off. Mom still made sure homework was brought along and on the way over I made it clear to her that if she could get it done we would have the whole trip to goof off. Through the mountains we went with her doing her homework.
ds, your doing it right. She will be bow hunting very soon.
I’m a huge believer that hunting needs to be fun for kids, so I was determined to make this trip about a lot more than filling a tag. I tend to be very results oriented when it comes to my hunting, but I also knew I would have to temper that, and make things as fun as possible. I’m not sure if she was more excited about going hunting or going to the hotel to swim, but either way I didn’t mind!
I am fortunate to have access to some decent private land where deer sightings should be pretty regular. It was super cold when we got in, but I had invested in some good quality gear for her, and lots of handwarmers!
I had set up a couple tree stands during September, but with the cold temps, and wind decided it would be best to sit in a ground blind.
The evening was pretty uneventful. There were some tracks in the snow when we came in, but not a quantity that had me super excited.
I kept her occupied by telling her a few stories from when I was close to her age and my dad first took me hunting for the first time I ever actually had a tag. It was with my bow in December, and, very similar to our trip, there was snow and very cold temperatures. I can still remember it all these years later. Hopefully this trip is burned into her memory bank as well.
About 45 minutes before dark, we watched a couple of deer run across the road and hang out near the barnyard. I didn’t say anything to her, but I decided that if we hadn’t seen anything close to us by the time it was 20 minutes until dark we were going to pull a little last minute spot and stalk action.
Sure enough, we hit that 20 minute mark, and hadn’t seen anything close, so I told her to grab her stuff and we were going to go check some things out. We quickly made it up to the barnyard, and I could see one of the deer about 60 yards out milling around. Thankfully there was some debris and old outbuildings that we could use to cover our movement.
As we came around the side of a little shed, I could see one of the deer was within range. It was a little spike, the perfect buck for a 10 year old on her first hunt. (I’m not generally a big fan of young kids shooting giant bucks. I feel it spoils them, and gives them an unrealistic view of what hunting is and what to expect.) The buck had locked onto our movement, but I went ahead and got her tripod set up and got her into position. I figured if he busted and ran that was fine, but we were going to at least make an attempt to get set up. If he stayed put long enough then that was his mistake.
This is great, Justin. Keep it coming! Good luck!
She got into position and had a rock solid rest on her tripod. I ranged him at 42 yards and gave her the holdover line. I had spent a lot of time going over deer anatomy, shot angles, and even showed her on our horses, and dog where to aim, not to mention the amount of deer she’s seen me gut and butcher. This buck was standing broadside so I had no hesitation with giving her the green light. I repeated the hold over line and told her to make sure she was right behind the shoulder, squeeze slow.......
Great post Justin, pump up the volume.
Love this little adventure.
In retrospect, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess maybe I wasn’t really expecting anything, all I know is I watched as the red lighted nock disappeared into the deer and heard that sweet sound of broad head hitting body cavity. We both jumped up to watch as he ran off. Around 60 yds out he stopped, then started that stagger, which we all know the meaning of.
I watched him go down, and was really glad when she told me she saw it too! I was absolutely ecstatic. I was actually a little bit in disbelief as well. We high-fived which then turned into a humongous bear hug! I told her we were going to go look for the bolt before we went over to him, and I knew she was excited when she went running ahead of me through the snow to go pick up her arrow. That scene definitely brought a smile to my face. We followed what little blood trail there was, and went over to her very first deer. What an absolute blast, and hopefully a memory she will never forget.
She had made a perfect double lung shot! I told her over and over again how proud I was of her, and how great a shot she had made. She was beaming!
She helped me dress him out, then we hung him in the landowner’s shed.
Back to the hotel for some celebrating!
I ordered a huge cheese pizza and we ate like kings!
We sent texts to friends and family and had a grand old time.
The next morning we overslept a little and got out late. She sat in the tree stand for an hour and a half in the freezing temps with little to no complaints. After no deer sightings we got down and went to lunch. I surprised her by taking her to a candy shop/soda fountain and we ate way more junk than we should have!
How cool is that.... Congratulations to you both.
Trip she'll never forget. Can't help but smile reading it! Congrats Justin and Justice!
I had a bunch of errands to run which caused us to get out later than I would have liked that evening and wouldn’t you know it the does were already out in the field in force. We bumped them and settled into the blind. Some of them came back, with one in particular that seemed to have a death wish, but no shot ever materialized. Before long I could hear heavy breathing and Justice was sacked out with her hat covering her eyes! Lol..... oh well, killing deer is tiring work! I got out of the blind a little early and drove the truck back in to pick up my munchkin and gear. We stopped and talked a bit with the land owner and really thanked him for his hospitality, then off to home we went.
But not before a stop at Burger King for more treats!
Looks great Justin, congrats to her big time! The seed has been planted!
As we finished our food, she was looking longingly at the play area and the little kids running around. She asked me if she could go, and I finally relented. I realized that while she may be old enough to have a tag and take a life she's also only 10 and in that transition between a little girl and becoming a young woman. She has the rest of her life to be an adult, so it's my job to let her be a kid for as long as she can.
It's a privilege to be a dad, and so neat to be able to spend quality time with her. It was like a little flower soaking up the sun and water. Whether she hunts long term or not, at least I will have had the opportunity to spend time with my daughter, loving on her, and growing a relationship, that I hope more than anything, will be long term.
A very wise man once said to me: "How do kids spell Love?"
His answer: "T-I-M-E".....
Thanks for following along!
That was an outstanding bunch of posts! Many congrats to both of you. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Congrats to her and you as well! Great memories for the both of you.
Thank you for sharing, and a big congratulations to Justice!!!
That was really great. Nice job, Dad!
Love every second of this. Sounds similar to my story from 10 days ago with my 10 year old daughter. Glad it worked out! Great job!
You’re a good dad deerslayer. She likely will be telling her kids in a cold deer blind someday about the first deer she got with her dad. And look at that...a crossbow thread without the insults. Good stuff.
Congrats! So cool to see your kids make a great shot! Way to go Dad! You did good making it a fun hunt catered to her. You gave her responsibility and trust of an adult and also let her be 10. Awesome stuff brother. Neither of you will forget this one.
Great story and it's awesome are you are spending time out in the woods with her!
Congratulation to her on a job very well done, and to you for being a great role model and dad!!
Awesome story, thanks for sharing and congrats to you both!!
Congrats on the first of many
Good job to both of you!!!
How cool is this!? Lifetime memories for you both. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing and bringing many smiles!
Now that’s hunting. Way to go you two!! Brings big smile to my face. Congrats . Hunt
that is the way it should be done!
That's a great moment between father and daughter! Congrats!
Really great man! Tell her congrats from this hillbilly.
Awesome! Brings back good memories with my kids too! Tell her great job!
Great job Justice! And thanks for bring us along Justin!
I love it. What a great story. And what a great shot! Justice, you made a great shot! Grats to you both!
Thanks for sharing. Great story and congratulations to your daughter's.
Great work...on the hunting but also on being a fantastic dad!!
Good as it gets right there!
Congrats to you both! Cool read, I always enjoy following along to stories like these. It makes me look forward to taking my kids out in the field when they get a little older.
That smile says it all! Welcome to the club Justice
Great post Justin. I had a smile on my face as I read through it. A big congratulations to your daughter.
P.S. You will fondly remember this hunt just as much as she well.
WOW, talk about making memories and opening a can of whoop azz on that buck! Two thumbs up on that one!
Love this thread. There are dads and then there are DADS. Way to go DAD!
Amen! Can't believe I didn't see this earlier! Way to go Justice and dad! Believe me when I say I know EXACTLY what trips like this feel like. Especially that bloated feeling after we eat too much ice cream! Congratulations, been a heckuva year for you guys. Love it!
Wow, nice shot and a big congrats to both of you.
Deerslayer, you went about this with the right intentions and had the best possible outcomes! Congrats to you too. Kids can do genuine happy like most adults have forgotten how to. Just so cute and refreshing!
So is her new title Deerslayeress?
LOL...... She has a ways to go before she achieves that title, but she's got a great start!!!! She's a deerslayeress-in-training!
It doesn't get any better than that.
Congratulations to the huntress and good on you Dad!
Great times thanks for sharing. Congrats to everyone......
Awesome, just awesome. Congrats!
Congrats, one of the best threads that I have read on bowsite here in quite a while. This is what hunting is all about, quality time in the outdoors with family and friends. Amazing!!!
Congrats Justice and dad. Really well done and memories etched for a lifetime!