A Son's First Bow Deer

There's no rut activity or big-deer info reported in this blog post, but for me, it's as if I'm telling you the story about a Pope and Young Club buck I just called in and tagged.

There are so many things about deer hunting that I enjoy. Nothing compares to a crisp November morning from my tree stand watching the sunrise, or the crunching of footsteps of a deer approaching. But as the years in my rearview mirror increase, another task that I enjoy is introducing people to the sport that I love, particularly my children.

Many years ago my now 24-year-old son got his first with a bow on the same morning that I also scored. Last autumn my 21-year-old daughter got her first ever deer, a button buck with a crossbow. Now I am training my 14-year-old son on the fine points of chasing whitetails. He has already taken six deer with a .243 rifle and seems to be catching on that nicely. Last year I wanted to introduce him to bowhunting. Since I primarily bowhunt and most of my hunting properties are archery-only, it was a natural progression and a way we could hunt together more.

I outfitted him with a bow that fit him and he began practicing. He's not an expert shot, but good enough to make a killing shot. His first season with a bow, he misfired six times, including three times on the same deer. On one morning hunt, we got out of the truck to learn that his bow had fallen out during the drive. His frustration was high and self-confidence was quite low. I had other experienced archers encourage him and tell him how long it took them to get their first bowkill.

This season I upgraded him to one of my older Mathews bows and he practiced diligently. On the third Saturday of the new season, he was posted 150 yards from me. I saw a pair of does head his way. Shortly thereafter, I heard deer blowing and figured that he had spooked them or missed again.

Then he texted me: "I missed one, it ducked my arrow." And then, "Yeah, another doe just walked by and I missed her twice. Dad I'm so frustrated with this. I'm just so sick of missing this much."

Then he called me. "Dad, there's blood on one of my arrows!"

"Well, you had to have hit it," I told him. "Let's give it a little time and then I'll come over and we'll look for it.". That was later followed by another text: "I was so mad earlier, now I can't stop shaking."

I met up with him and we examined the arrow as he excitedly told me what happened. I told him to start blood trailing and after he took a few steps, I looked over him and saw the deer lying dead only 30 yards away. He turned to look at me and he asked what I grinning about. I just looked forward. He looked too, spotted his prize, and we both bear-hugged.

My youngest son had finally killed a deer with his bow. All the frustration was now gone and he couldn't stop talking about the morning. Turns out the made a perfect pass-through shot right to the shoulder and the doe just trotted off, making him think that he had missed.

That will be one of the most memorable mornings we've ever experienced. It doesn't get any better than that.