My sister has grown up in a family of hunters but for over 30 years, she had no desire to join in. She would go to the ranch with us, sometimes sit in a stand, but never had a desire to shoot any of the animals. About 5 or 6 years ago, we finally convinced her to start dove hunting. From there, her mindset began to change.
4 years ago, I was lucky enough to have the oppurtunity to take her out and be with her when she killed her first deer. On a place that typically has plenty of doe to take, it took us 3 full days of hunting to connect. Since then, she has taken plenty of doe and she has dropped them out to 150 yards with no problem.
Some of you may remember her first attempt last year at a buck...she shot 2 times at a nice 10 pointer at 50 yards. Clean misses and she was devastated. Her husband ended up taking a buck so she never got another chance.
This year, she was letting her husband shoot their buck, so she was going to be limited to doe and culls. She hasn't gone up as much this year due to her schedule, but as a family tradition, we all went up for Thanksgiving.
I told her that I would take her out, but if a good buck came out, she would have to shoot it. Her husband agreed, as long as it was a good one. I spent the first couple of hunts in the bow blind and she went shopping and watched the kids. Saturday night, she was finally ready to go. I hadn't had much luck at my stand, so I decided to take her to a stand over the ridge from where I had been seeing a really nice 8 pointer. I had never hunted the stand and really had no idea where the deer would come from.
We got to the stand and all set up. This stand location over looks a flat and is at the base of a ridge that creates a very large bowl area with a pond in the middle of it. It has light cover and low brush, but overall, fairly open. From 4:00-5:00, we picked out some deer at long ranges, saw a coyote, watched a buck chase some doe at 900 yards and talked...alot. Nothing came into the feeder.
It started getting late and I began to worry the hunt was going to be a bust. The deer in the bowl area had pretty much all fed out of sight and we couldn't find much movement. The sun was just starting to drop behind the far ridge.
I just happened to look at the ridge behind us and saw the buck first. Instantly, I knew which buck it was and told her to get the gun, she was shooting. I picked up the two doe he was following and they were heading our way, so I knew they would work their way down to the chum pile we had out.
She still hadn't seen the deer, so I marked a tree for her that he was going to cross by and gave her the bino's. When she saw him, her first words were "Oh $---, I am going to shoot that???"
The three deer finally worked their way down the ridge and were going to pass about 60 yards from the stand. She had the gun out the window and kept telling me she had him in the crosshairs, but I kept telling her to wait. Too much brush and he was still moving. I finally convinced her to wait for him to get to the chum pile and she kept telling me he was going to leave...I was a little worried he would cut the doe out and leave because I would never hear the end of it.
The two doe made it down and started feeding. There was one bush in the middle of the chum pile and sure enough, he walked straight out and stood behind it...so we waited. Cows were moving through and had him a little nervous. He turned and walked back in the trees and then dropped off the little ridge behind the chum pile, which leads to a wash that we couldn't see in. She started yelling at me that he was leaving and she wasn't going to get a shot lol. I explained he wasn't going to leave his doe, but when he walked back up, she was going to need to shoot pretty fast.
I kept telling her to breath, I could hear her holding her breath and the shakes had started a little. I reiterated the shot location and told her to hold the cross hair high on his shoulder and squeeze the trigger, don't jerk it. Take your time on the shot, etc.
He worked his way back up and went right behind the brush pile again. When he stepped half way out, the cows started moving their way again and the buck started to get nervous. I asked if she was on him and she said yes...the conversation went like this:
"yes, he is going to leave...shoot!"
"$---, I missed!!!"
"Are you sure?"
"I don't know, that is just what always happens when I shoot a buck"
I was watching the two doe because they split and I couldn't find the buck anywhere. I watched for about 3 minutes and never saw him circle back to the doe. I assumed he had dropped off the back side into the wash. I told her lets wait about 20 minutes and we will go look for blood...I had my doubts.
I had videoed the hunt, so we reviewed it while we were waiting. From the video, looked like she had pulled the shot and the you could see the bullet hit the dirt about 2' to the right of the buck. She was sick and I felt horrible. Kept running through my head about whether I walked her through the steps enough and controlled her breathing, etc.
I kept watching for the two doe and saw another doe and yearling coming in. They walked by and headed to the chum, but I didn't pay them much attention. My sister said that the doe was sure acting funny...I turned and started watching her. She would stomp-step toward the bush, back up and peek around the other side. Half trot away and then trot back...I grabbed the binoculars and looked through the bush as best I could in the low light. I finally caught what I thought was his main beam sticking off the ground and could make out the white of his belly!!!
I told her that I was 99% sure that the deer was down...she started freaking out and dancing all over the stand. I tried to calm her down, but after 20 minutes of thinking she had missed a buck again, it was hopeless. She started shaking all over again and it was all high fives and good times. I made her wait until she calmed a little before climbing down the ladder.
I went ahead of her to make sure the deer was down (she doesn't do well with seeing any animal suffer) and so I could video her reaction. He was dead and man, it was all excitement and dancing all over again. She had hit it right where I told her too and the 300UM did its job. Not sure what we could see on the video, but it went in the shoulder and came out behind the opposite shoulder
I can't describe the feeling, but that is one of my favorite hunts to date. I can't wait to take my kids for their first deer, but I would imagine it would be like that and then some!!! So blessed to have a great sister that has always been there for me. She is my best friend and it was awesome to share that moment with her.
As a side note...it turned out that the buck she shot was not the one I was hunting. Just his twin brother with shorter brows
Here are the pics!!!