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Heartbreak in the deer woods…

December 15, 2010 by  
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We all know deer hunting is a game of ups and downs. I freely admit that I sometimes hate hunting whitetails. After days or weeks of hard hunting with no success, I feel like I hate going out there, but if you give me 1-2 days off (or a week), I’m ready to go again with renewed passion.

We have had unseasonably cold temps and snow here in KY over the past 2 weeks. When I returned form KS, a friend told me he had a nice 10 point coming in regularly to one of our blind locations, and I should take my son Will out and try for him. We started out with a  crossbow for a couple cold sits, and we saw small bucks and does. We sat a couple nights in a row, and then we took an evening off. Someone else sat the blind that night (but was only interested in shooting a monster) and the 10 pt showed up and came in to 15 yards.

This past weekend the KY muzzleloader season opened up, and Will and I were in the blind on Sunday afternoon as temps plummeted and snow fell. We had 6 bucks and 5 does inside of 35 yards, but Will chose to pass waiting on the 10 point. Yesterday had temps here at 3 degrees in morning and about 15 in the afternoon. Will and I went back, and we didn’t see anything until late. Six does came out, and then the 10 point showed up about 150 yards out. We were losing light, and he was limping badly. It looked as he had been shot in the front end or had a broken leg. It took him forever to walk in as he would take 3-4 steps and then pause a while before he came on.

He was facing us the entire time, so there wasn’t a big target. Finally he got to what I thought was easy range, turned slightly quartering to, and I told Will to get on him and shoot. He did, and the deer ran about 40 yards and stopped. I expected him to tip over, but eventually, he left the field, and when we checked the snow for blood, we learned it was a clean miss.

Will told me he was having trouble seeing the crosshairs on the buck, and I think he didn’t really know where he was shooting. At age 10, I guess you do things like that. I tried to explain to him that if you are not sure of a shot, you never take it, and I would always support that decision from him. I know he was super disappointed as he had put in 5 very cold nights, passed many smaller bucks that most little boys would have killed, not to mention a few sits back in October waiting on a good deer.

He was disappointed, but I was almost physically sick. I wanted him to get that deer so bad. He showed such patience and determination passing those smaller deer and toughing out the cold. I wanted him to have success and learn that his hard work and patience really would pay off. I am trying to spin things into a positive learning experience for Will, but I am still heartbroken for him.

I am ready for a break from deer hunting, but I’m sure that need won’t last long…Hunt Hard…Tim H.

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