Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Daddy Daughter hunt

This weekend was completely dedicated to getting the kids outdoors. It was my daughter's turn first, and we crafted bowhunting plans throughout the week for a Friday afternoon adventure. I had the truck loaded up with the few necessities required so when she hopped off of the school bus all that was left to do was change clothes and hit the road.

A short drive later we arrived at the farm where three weeks earlier a ground blind, some corn, a trail camera and a little wishful thinking were all set up. A quick conversation with the landowner raised hopes as he had been seeing deer in the field somewhat regularly. The wind was favorable and the light drizzle couldn't dampen the excitement as we came around the barn to see a deer feeding a few hundred yards away.

We eased along the fence row with the wind in our face and the deer oblivious. It stood between us and the ground blind so we decided to try to make a stalk. There was a one in a million chance that this deer was blind and wouldn't pick us off, so after a quick conference we dropped our gear and began the stalk. Ainsley was tight to my side checking the rangefinder to let me know the distance. At 120 yards, she wondered if we were in range.

"Not quite yet. We need to get closer." We conferred again, then slowly pressed forward, low to the ground and moving only when the deer would face away from us. 80 yards was the next distance check and I could see the excitement in her eyes. For a moment, I thought this might actually happen! Those thoughts quickly faded as the deer looked our direction, wondering where the two camouflage blobs in the field came from. It raised it's tail, flagged it back and forth a few times, then calmly trotted off into the woods. We sat in the open field, smiled and fist-bumped from the fun we just experienced and headed to the blind where snacks became the priority.

A short time later we spotted our deer again as he returned to the field to feed some more. Ainsley's attention was as sharp as ever. She quickly resumed her job as the rangefinder consultant marking him at close to 100 yards. 

Both of our hopes were high as the deer was now grazing his way closer to the blind. Maybe this is going to work after all.

However as things often do, the script that was written wasn't matching up with what we were wanting. The button buck never came closer that 79 yards before he casually worked back into the woods with a belly full of alfalfa.

A mole that entered and exited the blind all afternoon kept us entertained while the deer were feeding elsewhere. We hunted until dark without spotting another deer, but the time spent together was perfect. We talked about whatever it was we decided to talk about. Some silly stuff, some serious stuff, it didn't really matter. We just got to spend some time together and that was really the important accomplishment that day. These simple times won't last so I will strive to make the most of the opportunities as often as I can.

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