Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That's a small buck... ya but it tastes great!!!

 Today was the end of rifle season for deer here in Idaho.  On my last post, I wrote about how my wife and I were able to share the experience of both of us filling our tags on the same day.  I love the memory and am glad that my wife and I could put some meat in the freezer. 

Archery bow kill -husband and wife
My wife and I with our small bucks
 After filling my buck tag with the small two point I shot, I was left to fill by doe tag.  As I mentioned today was the last day of rifle season and I hadn't even gone out once to look for deer.  I figured I would just go later in the season to look for a doe so that I could watch for any bucks during the rut during late archery season.  My dad called me yesterday and said that he wanted to go out on a drive to see if the recent snow storm had gotten the deer moving.  Of course with all my work piling up from my job and masters program, it was a no brainer... I had to go hunting!  So my dad picked me up in his truck and we took off toward the mountains.  We sought out with the thoughts that if we even got a pine grouse we would be happy and the trip would be worth it... Before we even hit the tree line we saw a grouse on the road so we pulled out the shot gun and provided ourselves with a snack.  We proceeded to drive around and hunt in a few areas, mostly glassing mountain sides and frequently used areas hoping to see some animals moving around in the bad weather.  With the snow and the temperature down to 30 degrees we couldn't help but talk about winter coming.  We talked about everything we had to do before the holidays and we also talked about how excited we were for ice fishing.  During this conversation, my dad said something along the lines of how he hates the dilemma of choosing between hunting and fishing late in the season because he enjoys them both quite a bit.  I made the joke and said that is why I shot the first buck I saw because I just wanted meat in the freezer and more time for ice fishing... Give it, I love to chase deer late in the season, and my statement wasn't 100% truthful, but at the same time it wasn't a false statement either.  My dad talked about how he had eaten tag soup the last few years because he was "holding out" for a bigger buck.  This is a man who has shot more big bucks than anyone I know... We talked about how with everything we had going on that he might shoot his white tail doe if he saw one, or maybe even a smaller buck if he got the opportunity. We decided at this point that we would drive out on a different road and try to get near some fields to see if we could catch some deer coming out right when the sun was going down.  We didn't even drive 100 feet before we saw a small two point cross the road in-front of us!  My dad and I both jumped out of the vehicle with our guns and looked around to see if there were any more deer in the area.  The only deer we saw was the two point who had gone about 40 yards and stopped broadside staring at us.  My dad looked at me and asked what I thought and I told him it was up to him.  Next thing I knew my dad had pulled the trigger and this buck was down. 
My dad and his deer after we got back to the truck
My dad was super excited that he shot a deer and that it was so close to the road.  We each grabbed a horn and drug it back to the truck.  After taking care of the deer my dad and I talked about how we had talked about filling out tag so that we could fill our freezers.  We talked about how long it had been since he and I had drove around as father and son and shared the experience of taking an animal together.  We talked about our families and our lives and how blessed we are to be doing what we are doing. 

I was taught that the reason we hunt is to help provide for our families.  We enjoy the sport and enjoy the comradery, and we don't feel guilty hunting or shooting any animal because we know it does not go to waste.  I often hear people express feelings about deer management and what a "shooter" buck is or is not... I share the story of my wife, my dad, and myself not to rub it in anyone's face that I disagree, but more as a conversation starter wondering what peoples thoughts are about these three experiences and our decision to take the deer we did.  I am not mad when people do not agree with me, but I am interested in their thoughts.  These deer have all been cut up and packaged personally by my family and we enjoy eating the venison as often as we can.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Day To Remember

As I have mentioned, the only thing I enjoy more than spending time outdoors is spending time with my family.  I absolutely love my wife and three month old daughter.  As passionate as I am about the outdoors, my wife knows my whole heart is with her and my daughter.  So this last Thursday, my goal was to take my wife hunting while she was on a two week break from work.  My wife has turned out to be quite the outdoors woman, she has out done me every hunting season we have been together. 

My one goal with this hunt was to get our baby dropped off with the baby sitter and get my wife and I in our stands by first light... (Anyone who has had a three month old may have just laughed when you read that...) Needless to say, we were cutting it pretty close due to dirty diapers and loading up all the baby and hunting gear.  Just for good luck, we dressed my daughter in her favorite Button Buck outfit.

 My wife and I both knew that we had to hurry to our stands once we arrived to our hunting area.  My wife, being a school teacher and new mom, was determined that today was the day she was going to get a deer because she really didn't have time to come out much more if she didn't get one... We talked on the hike into our stands about whether or not she would shoot a doe or wait to see if a buck came under her stand.  We determined that she had never shot a buck with her bow so she would love to shoot a buck, but if a good healthy doe was standing under her stand then she would get it.  I, being the gentleman that I am, walked my wife to her stand and waited until she was up in the tree and all set before I walked to mine.  It took me about 20 minutes for me to get into my stand because I was going super slow and trying to be as quiet as possible because it was slowly becoming light enough to see.  As soon as I got into my stand and all set up I checked my phone and I had a text message from my wife which said that there was a small buck in the clearing by her stand but that it had gone back into the trees.  I told her to stay still and that if she was lucky he would come back out... Sure enough, my wife has all the luck because shortly after I sent this text I got a phone call from my wife telling me that she shot a little two point white tail! She was super excited and I could hear in her voice how happy she was that she had taken her first buck with her bow.  My wife told me that she wasn't super sure about the shot placement, but knew that she hit him pretty good.  She told me, if for some reason he comes toward you, get another arrow in him to slow him down.

I can't tell you how proud I am/was of my wife.  I was sitting in my stand all smiles about how my wife had just got a small two point buck when I looked up and saw a little two point walking through the trees.  It stopped in a little opening just wide enough that I could see it had exactly the same size/description of horns my wife was talking about.  I thought to myself, "man if that buck gets away injured my wife is going to feel horrible".  I decided that I would try to squeeze an arrow through the trees and at least slow it down so that my wife could finish it off.  I pulled back and waited for a decent shot.  The deer took one step forward and gave me a chance to let my arrow fly.  Sure enough the arrow hit the deer behind the shoulder but a little higher than I had wanted.  I watched it run off about 15 yards and fall over kicking! My shot had gotten it right in the lungs and done its job.

The little two point under my stand

 I called my wife to tell her how her deer had made it over to my stand and that I had "slowed it down" for her.  By this point I had gotten out of my tree and wandered over to the deer I had seen drop, but noticed that it had only had one arrow wound.  I called my wife and asked her if she was sure that she had hit her deer... This is the reply that I got...
Yup, my arrow is covered with blood!
I kinda chuckled and told her that we may have shot two different deer.  I went over to her stand and helped her track her deer.  My wife took the lead and followed the blood trail until we got near a slough the deer often cross.  I told her that we would have to walk around to a fallen tree in order to cross and pick up the blood trail on the other side.  She sat there for a while and pointed out that her deer didn't make it across the slough, but had died right in the middle of it! My wife was super excited to see that she had made a good shot on her deer and that she had taken her first buck with her bow!
In the slough
Sarah's little buck

So we both ended up filling out buck tags for the year in one day.  I had a few mixed feelings about taking a small two point buck, but even though this may be one of smallest bucks I've ever taken it was by far one of the best!  It reiterated the point to me that a trophy does not have to be a wall hanger or some majestic animal, but more of the story behind the picture and who you share it with.  This was one of my proudest days as a hunter knowing that my wife and I had put in the time and effort through the off season to get our stands and ourselves ready for this hunt and both tag out on the same day!  It wouldn't have mattered if it was a little two point, a doe, or some great big monster buck, I enjoyed every second of this hunt because I was with my wife every step of the way! Great day, and great memories!

My wife and I with our two deer! Great day