It was November 13th and the first snow fall of the year was on its way. Thursday nights I have the privilege of having my son all to myself. Usually we play hockey, trains, football, shoot our bows, or we go hunting. It was in the 30’s and snowing – a little too cold for my little man. Fortunately, I have good friends with warm huts over food plots. Although this is not ideally my style of hunting, it is great to be able to enjoy the outdoors with my 2 year old in prime hunting conditions.
To get Finn and myself to the shanty was not an easy task. I loaded him up into an external frame and hiked approximately 400 ft of gain in less than 1/4 mile to get to our stand. I packed snacks, toys, camera gear, and extra clothes to be sure to keep little man happy. I do not own a side by side or four wheeler. I get to my hunting locations on foot, and usually I’m packing at least 40-50 pounds because I primarily hunt mobile. It was a physical challenge for me, but I will do anything for my son, and passing on my passion for the outdoors to him means the world to me.
We had just gotten settled in the shanty. We were enjoying our snacks and playing games. The deer movement was slow, however we did bump one deer off the food plot on the way to the shanty. My phone rang – it was my dad. I was busy with Finn, so I let the call go to voicemail. My dad never leaves a voicemail unless its important. I check it quickly – “Hey Kev, give me a call when you can… I just had a pass through on that nice 8 point.” I thought, “WHAT!!!” It was 4 o’clock and my dad was just headed into his stand. I told Finn, “Papa, got a buck!!” His response was as expected…”wanna go see, wanna go see.”
I was so excited for my dad. I began texting all my buddies just like I would do if I had shot the buck. Once I got over the excitement myself, we quickly gathered the clothes, toys, games, snacks, and camera equipment and hiked back to the truck.
After the conversation with my Dad, I realized a few things. He had to have shot this buck off the ground, and he must have hit it pretty darn good because he had really good blood. For my dad to say he had good blood, he must have really good blood. My dad is color blind. He couldn’t find a red apple in snow 🙂
When Finn and I made it to the house, we formed a game plan. My dad has only been hunting archery for two years now, but he has been along for the ride for my entire archery career of 15 years. He knows the drill. He wasn’t sure where he hit the buck. Regardless of the good blood, he knew to back out when in doubt.
Snow was starting to cover the ground, and we were beginning to worry that it was covering up the blood. I left the decision up to my dad because it was his deer. His decision – we needed to get on that buck. At this time is was roughly 40 min post shot, and I was confident that if he made a good shot the buck wouldn’t be far and we would find it regardless of blood. However, we packed up and headed out to locate Dad’s best buck to date.
With my son on my back once again, three generations headed down over a steep bank in search of a buck that would turn both of our seasons into a successful one. We immediately found good blood under the snow. It was bleeding through the snow ever so slightly, but it was pouring out. We traveled about 20 yards in less than 5 minutes, and I knew he had to be close. The blood was just too good for him not to be piled up within 80 yards of the shot. Every step of the track, my sons chin bounced off of my shoulder pointing out the trail with me………… There he was piled up 15 yards from us with snow beginning to lay nicely on him. His left side was sticking up and immediately I knew he was a good public land deer for PA.
We celebrated the entire night taking our time field dressing and taking pictures of this fine deer. We even took him to the local taxidermy shop and enjoyed the process of him being caped out. I truly think there is nothing finer in life than an animal that you worked so hard for being caped out in front of you. No, I did not shoot that buck, but my fathers’ deer are my deer. My deer are my fathers’ deer. And all of our deer are my sons’ and his sons’ deer. You get it right??? I know you do.
“work hard, play harder, and enjoy the memories and successes”