I will try to make a long story short...
I have been taking my niece hunting with me for as long as I can remember. She is the little blond girl in the signature picture with the wide buck. I have had the pleasure of watching her grow and spending alot of time in the woods with her. One of the best natured kids I know, listens well and learns fast. She was always tender hearted and didn't want to take a deer, was iffy about being with someone when an animal was taken, but absolutely loved going to the lease and sitting in the stands.
Last year, she informed her mom that she wanted to shoot a deer. She was ready...So, we spent alot of time in the gravel pits learning all about guns, shooting techniques, etc. Two forum members helped me out tremendously with her. Ramsey gave me a single shot .243, that was one of the kindest offers I have had and SniperRab provided a free box of ammo, which we burned through on the second weekend. I started her off with a .22, worked up to a .22mag, etc until we got to the .243 and she was comfortable. When she would get distracted or bored, we would put everything up and go back to playing. Next time out, same game.
Last year, I did not get the opportunity to sit with her in the stand. Her stepfather took her and sometimes my sister would go with them, but they never got a chance for her to get a good shot. I told them to limit the shots to 80 yards or less to ensure a clean kill on her first one, she was on target out to 125 with no issues but I didn't want to turn her off by wounding and losing a deer. Many good hunts, but the stars didn't align for her.
Fast forward to this year. Her father had planned a December hunt and asked that we help get her ready. Not a problem. Time, schedule, etc didn't allow us as much time as I would have liked, but figured she would be at the lease and we could get her on a deer before his paid hunt. As it turned out, he lined up a lease down near Ft. Stockton and he was taken her this weekend. I told my sister to explain to the father the limitations, but past experience made me pretty sure my advice would not be heeded. (Thankfully, it wasn't needed).
We got a text on Friday morning that she had shot a deer. No picture, no details, just a few simple words. Excitement set in, but after about 5 hours of waiting for details or a picture, it turned to irritation. After 9 years of taking this kid hunting, just ticked me off that they would leave me with that and provide no updates. Finally, we got a picture of her and the doe. Simply outstanding!!!
That evening, another text came through and it said she got a buck and they were going to track it down...again, no updates and no pics. We never did get a picture of it, but we finally got a little more information about the size and they had found it. Outstanding again!!!
Their cell service was limited at best, but she had tried to call all of us and couldn't get through. Kind of made me sad that she wasn't able to share her experience and tell her mama all about it until she got home, but she was still stoked when she got home.
They were heading home and texted that they were driving straight to the processor. I went and picked up my dad and my sister met us there until they showed up. It was all high fives and congrats again. She was on cloud 9 all over again, posing for pictures and telling the story.
Now for a short version of the bitter part...the father and my sister have been divorced for about 8 years I believe. I have not spoken to the father since the divorce, and it was an ugly one. I won't bore you with the details, but there is a damn good reason I don't talk to him and it isn't because of the divorce, lawsuits, and other crap him and his family pulled, it was because of the way he treated my niece. Granted, I was dang excited for her and the memory she will have of her first deer with her father, but I just don't feel like he deserved it. Basically, all the reward and none of the work. But for her to be able to have a great memory like that with a man that hasn't given her very many, that almost makes it worth it and I would never take that away from her. I just would have loved to share in the moment and been a little happier if it had been with my sister and the stepfather...
Anyway, enough of that crap...the story from her
She missed her first shot ever at a deer. A doe walked out at a little over 100 yards and she shot just under it. She was pretty bummed about it, but 5 minutes later another doe walked out in almost the same spot. She put the gun back out the window, squeezed off the trigger and the deer dropped in it's tracks!!! 110 yards and her first deer ever on the ground.
That evening, they went to another stand and as it got a little later, a buck came out. That is when the shaking started...she tried to aim, but had to take second and finally let one fly. She handed the gun to her father so he could rack another shell and she let another fly....four shots later, the buck was still on its feet and she was shaking worse than ever. One bullet left and she put it on its chest and dropped him at 150 yards!!!
It was a pleasure to hear the story and I can't wait to get in the stand with her so that I can hear it again. Here are some pictures of her trophies and yes, the buck is going on the wall.
As a side note, the gun has some art work. It was not done by my niece, but by her soon to be stepmom. And the smudged area has her name on it, it isn't painted like that