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Mary breaks the ice in 2011 by John Hoffman

March 16, 2012 by  
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My daughter Mary, who is 13 has been hunting for five years now.  Some years Mary spends a fair amount of time deer hunting and others, not so much.  No matter the amount of time spent in the field we always seem to struggle seeing deer when Mary and I hunt. We would always go to my best stands where I had been seeing deer but without fail we would not see any most times when Mary came along and when we did they were never in range.

Saturday morning of the 2011 Ohio Youth Gun Season was not different. This stand was smoking hot.  I had seen deer every time I sat it and I just couldn’t wait to get Mary out there.  Well, we saw one deer cross the field right at first light and nothing else.  I felt bad for Mary and was again questioning my guiding skills.  I could really see the disappointment in Mary’s body language as we walked out that morning and I showed her a picture on my cell phone of a friends niece who harvested a buck that morning.

“Saturday afternoon would be different”, I told Mary.  We would abandon the stand, sit on the ground and do some rattling near a thicket that was a good bedding area.  We bumped a deer on the way to our afternoon seat and again Mary’s body language said it all.  I told her this was not the only deer here and we would stick with our plan.  We were all settled in around 2:30 PM.  At 3:30 PM I decided to do some rattling.  I made a big ruckus since we were on the ground, breaking limbs, raking leaves and cranking on the rattling antlers.  Once I stopped we sat back down and watched the thicket.  After about 5 minutes I looked left, which was the way we walked in, and where we did not expect to see any deer come from. I saw a deer walking out in the field.  Buck! Nice buck!! I was tapping Mary in the ribs and whispering, “look!, look!” Mary was looking all along the edge of the thicket so I started whispering,”left!, left!” She locked on the deer, swung her Mossberg 20 ga which was resting on her bog pod.  Once I saw  she was on him I bleated and he stopped. Mary wasted no time letting one fly and I saw that it was a good hit.  The deer ran off and Mary turned to me with major excitement saying, “I got him Dad!  It was a good shot!  I know I got him!”  That memory will forever be burnt into my grey matter.  Just like it is with my other daughter, Michelle’s two deer and most of mine as well.

Mary was right, it was a good shot.  The deer ran about 80 yards and left a good blood trail.

Still flying high from Mary’s kill, I harvested a 350# black bear in New York just 4 days after Mary’s deer.  This was the first time I had ever seen a bear while hunting in 34 years.  To top off the season I followed that up with a 120″ non typical buck on the Friday of gun week.  What a great season!

Thanks Mary for breaking the ice on what will be one, if not the most memorable hunting years of my life!



One Response to “Mary breaks the ice in 2011 by John Hoffman”

  1. Dang that is a monster.

    Down here in Fl they don’t get that big too often, but I do some hunting in GA.

    Turkeys are my specialty since I make custom calls for a living!

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