Whitetail Hunting photo

With so many things vying for a kid’s attention these days, some young people would rather play video games or hang at the mall rather than learn to hunt. But not Kali Barbour.

Kali, 8, shot her first-ever deer last season. Using a single shot rifle in .223, she took a mature doe. She was hooked. Since then she’s hunted spring turkeys with her dad, Kyle, and sat in the shade and watched the big folks shoot doves. But what she really wanted, she told her dad, was a buck.

Archery season in Texas opened September 29. Kali shoots a compound bow–her dad owns an archery shop–but she does not pull enough draw weight yet for deer. So Daddy Kyle rigged up a brand new crossbow for his little girl. (Crossbows are legal in Texas during archery season.)

Saturday afternoon, September 29, Kyle and Kali stealthily approached their ground blind. The ground was damp from the rain that morning.

Kyle had done his homework. He leased the small acreage property in the Texas Panhandle about one month before opening day. Next, he setup a corn feeder, trail camera and then based on what he found, he set the ground blind 26 yards from the most sign. Half a dozen racked bucks were on the camera every day.

They’d only been in the blind ten minutes when Kali whispered, “Dad, I see a deer!” Back in the thick trees beyond the feeder, a buck was moving. Then another, and another. Kyle got Kali ready on the shooting sticks. His eye was trained on a handsome 9-point he’d only seen on the trail camera up until that moment.

When the buck was broadside, Kali squeezed the trigger and the short carbon bolt blasted through the buck’s chest–a perfect hit. She looked at her dad and said, “This deer hunting is easy!” The two waited quietly for 30 minutes, then took up the trail.

The Texas whitetail only made it 60 yards, hit through both lungs with a wide-cutting mechanical broadhead. Kali knelt beside her first-ever buck, a grin as wide as she’s ever had on Christmas morning. What a moment for daughter and dad.

With a 4-year-old daughter of my own who seems just as interested as her dad in deer and all things wild, I can only imagine the sense of pride at that moment. I’m sure I’d be crying like a baby!

Down the road, Kali will learn that for such a hunt to appear “easy” takes lots of pre-hunt preparation. But for now that does not matter. She’s a deer hunter and her mom and dad are oh so proud.