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JD's First Deer
JD's First Deer - 4pt. 120lbs.  

"We're going to get one tonight" JD whispered as we settled in for the evening hunt.  I was a little more skeptical because as I cut a thread on the burlap surrounding the stand with my CRKT "Brow Tine" knife a bead of sweat dripped from my forehead.  It was a very warm October 15th.  The double stand that we have set up faces west and with little shade the bright sun had JD and I squirming for any available shade. 

The deer seemed to have similar thoughts as well.  Just as the shooting lane filled with shade the deer started to ease in for an evening snack.  With a little less than an hour of shooting light and deer already starting to move into the food plot I started to believe in what JD told me earlier.

The first two deer that entered the food plot were a doe and her fawn.  We watched these two for a few minutes when the doe shook her head and then darted through the food plot as if to signal that something had her on edge.  As the fawn followed the doe out of the food plot I whispered to JD, "There might be a buck behind them."  Before I could barely finish that statement a buck entered the food plot.  "There's a buck!"   

JD and I had hunted several times during the week and had seen a good number of deer on those hunts.  On those hunts we really put our Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle bag and Atsko scent products to the test as a front moving in off the coast had the wind blowing at our backs.  On each hunt we had deer in close and not one time did a deer wind us.  On this hunt though we had the wind in our favor and with plenty of daylight left I thought to myself, "We are going to get one tonight".

For this to be true though I knew that we were going to need the buck to close the distance before I would give JD the green light.  The buck entered the food plot a good two hundred yards out and would need to get within a hundred yards for a comfortable shot.  The buck seemed to be torn between the doe and the oats and turnips we had planted.  He would drop his head and chase the doe but soon lose focus and start to eat again.  With this patterning continuing it seemed likely that he would soon be within range.  As the buck made his way closer JD filled my ear with questions.  "How much do you think he weighs?"  "How far away is he?"  "What do you think?" 

As I watched the deer move down the food plot, my words to JD were, "I think he would be a great first deer."  JD took a deep breath and I could tell he was starting to get really excited.  The buck finally had made his way to the bottom of the hill and now he stood at one hundred yards.  I whispered to JD to get ready and ease the safety off.  I told him when the deer took a step forward to put the cross hairs right behind the front shoulder and squeeze the trigger.  As the buck took that step forward my heart was pounding because I knew this was the moment we had been waiting for.  Without hesitation JD squeezed the trigger and the buck dropped.  As I watched through my camera's viewfinder I could tell that the buck was down but I quickly told JD to load another cartridge.  To my surprise the buck jumped up.  JD fired another shot just over the bucks back.  The buck turned and sat on the right edge of the food plot.  "Load another round!", I exclaimed.  It was at that point I thought the first shot might have hit him high.  The buck staggered up again and headed for the cutover.  JD fired another shot and the buck disappeared. 

Every deer hunter knows that feeling that overwhelms you after you shoot a deer.  I think JD and I both were shaking like a leaf as we tried to plan our next move.  I replayed the video and JD's first shot looked like it hit high and back some.  We waited about thirty minutes and then walked through the food plot to mark the spot of where the deer entered the cutover.  We found a little bit of blood where the buck had sat down but as we searched the edge of the cutover there were no signs of blood.  If any of you have ever searched for a deer in a cutover you know how hard it is to navigate the briars and thick brush.  With the darkness set in and no sign of a blood trail, I thought it would be good to go to plan B.  We went back to my house and reviewed the footage over and over again.  With the shot being high I thought it would be better to give the deer time instead of pushing him out and eliminating our chance of recovery.  We decided to wait until daylight and get some help from my neighbor. 

My neighbor had always told me that if we couldn't find a deer to call him and he would get his Labrador Retriever to help.  So I called him the next day, and in a moments notice he had Haley ready to "Hunt Dead".  I picked JD up and we headed over to the food plot.  Haley got on the trail quick but we couldn't keep up so we decided to start over.  This time my neighbor stayed right on Haley's tail and within a few minutes we recovered the deer.  A sigh of relief from me and big  "Woooo!" from JD echoed through the thicket.

JD with his first deer and Haley! "Hunt Dead" Haley.  

JD had just harvested his first deer.  A four point, 120 pound buck!  The buck had three points on his left side and a cowhorn on its right side.  Definitely a great first deer!  I couldn't have been happier and I think JD feels the same. 

Words can't really describe the feelings of sharing this experience with my cousin JD.  I think this will be something that he will always cherish and I know I will.  I was really impressed with his patience during our hunts and I think he is officially a deer hunter.  He has learned so much not only through the things I've tried to teach him but also from all of the others who have helped us along the way.   And I can't thank everyone enough. 

JD, you did a great job and I can't be more proud!  I think you got a pretty cool birthday present this year buddy!  Check out the video below of the hunt.


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