Hunting season in Michigan was finally here and it was going to be the first time I could hunt alone. I was beyond excited and the anxiety of the hunt had my mind racing. After all the years sitting with my dad in the middle of the national forest, waiting for the big one – I was now going to be alone. I was determined to make my dad proud and excited to prove that I could do it on my own.
The night before season opened, I sat with my dad contemplating where we were going to sit the next morning, deciding between a few different spots we had on state land. We chose to go to a spot in the middle of a jack pine stand. So that morning we woke up early and headed to it. If you have ever hunted in jack pine territory, you know the visibility is pretty poor. All we had was one shooting lane, so a deer would literally have to step right out into it. We didn’t see a thing, so we went back for lunch and thought about maybe sitting in a different spot for the afternoon hunt. My dad insisted on going out to the national forest where he had hunted every year, and where I have always went with him. I wasn’t very excited about this idea, since we have never seen a deer out there. However, since we didn’t have much to lose and time was running down, we headed out anyway.
My dad went down the trail to where he normally sits during regular season, and I stayed at a spot we used to hunt a while back. I knew there wasn’t a very good chance of seeing anything, especially with no feed out. The only hope I had was some doe urine I had bought at the local hunting store. When I walked up to the blind, I put my stuff down and walked to a tree about 40 yards out. I got out the doe scent and sprayed it all over the tree and ran back to the blind. I sat down and patiently waited. I had this feeling in me that the doe scent was going to work like some “magic potion”.
After sitting for about an hour and getting butterflies every time I heard a bird or squirrel, some movement caught my eye to the left. This spot is right on the edge of a clear cut with pine trees about five feet high. I saw some legs moving through the trees. At that point I got my gun up and ready, knowing that whatever it was I was going to take aim and shoot, as long as it was a full size deer.
When it finally came into sight, the only thing I saw was a rack! At that time, my heart started beating like nothing I had ever felt before. I sat and watched the deer making a beeline for the doe urine doused tree. Sure enough, it stopped right at the tree and was sniffing it up and down.
While it was standing there, I looked through the scope of my 30-30 and I had a clear shot at the front shoulder. I took aim, and a deep breath, then pulled the trigger. BANG! The deer bolted away and I watched it run off into the woods.
I had no idea whether I hit it or not. My dad was just a ways down the trail and I knew he had heard the shot, so I waited very impatiently outside my blind for him to meet me. I wanted to take off after the deer as soon as I shot, but I knew my dad wouldn’t want me to do that.
Finally, he arrived and asked what happened. I told him I had shot at a deer with some pretty nice size antlers. He just started laughing, and so did I because I was so excited and didn’t know what to do! We went to the site where the deer was standing when I shot. My dad, being the older and wiser one, wanted to start looking for the blood trail. All I wanted to do was run off in the direction the deer ran.
We began looking for blood, but didn’t find very much. My dad was circling one area, as I was moseying off in the direction the deer ran. Next thing I knew, about 30 yards away, I saw a brown spot on the ground. I just yelled, “Found it!” and took off towards the deer. Sure enough, there laid an 8-pointer! My dad and I both started laughing in excitement. I don’t think he really believed me at first, but now he knew!
Having been hunting in a place where we never saw any deer, I would have never guessed this would have happened. To be honest, I didn’t even plan on shooting anything. I was just happy to be out hunting in the woods with my dad. The wise ol’ man taught me a valuable lesson again. This time it was reminder to be patient. I cherish these times with my dad and this memory of my first buck will always stay with me, and bring a smile to my face.