Spending time with dad is great, but shooting a giant buck makes it even better.
During the 2011 Ohio youth hunt, my daughter Chelsey told me the same thing she had the two previous years: “Dad, I don’t care if we even see anything. I just love spending this time with you.”
The previous year, we had been sitting in the blind drinking hot chocolate when she said, “Dad, there is a cow in the field.”
I knew there were no cattle for miles, but I understood why she had mistaken the giant non-typical with double drop tines for a cow. It was huge!
Chelsey was using my wife’s Remington 870 smoothbore 20-gauge. When the buck got in front of us, I guessed the range to be 80 yards. The gun was sighted in for 50.
I told her to hold the bead just above his back in the area of the front quarter. She touched the round off and shot over him. Of course, he took off like a rocket.
About 2 minutes later, an 11-pointer walked out right where the other buck had been. By then we both had a pretty good case of buck fever, and Chelsey was shaking like a leaf.
I repeated my instructions about where to aim, and I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when she got the same result as before. I later used my rangefinder and learned the deer had been only 50 yards away.
Chelsey wasn’t quite as happy with me as she had been. I thought, What happened to all that “just spending time with you” stuff? But, I have to admit, those misses were my fault.
Chelsey got a new gun for her 12th birthday, a Rossi 20-gauge with a slug barrel. I mounted a 4x32 scope on it and bought some Hornady SST sabot slugs in 240 grains.
We zeroed it at 100 yards, and it was shooting clover leaf three-shot groups. I was very pleased with the whole setup.
The first morning of the 2011 season, we got up and got dressed. I soaked a drag in doe-in-heat urine and let it trail behind us as we made our way to the blind.
As the sun came up, we each savored our drinks — her cup was filled with hot chocolate, mine with coffee. That’s when she uttered her annual line about spending time together. I had to agree. Dads, if you’re not taking your daughters hunting, you’re really missing out.
Around 9 a.m., we are talking about heading to the house for breakfast when Chelsey said, “Oh my god!” I looked, and there stood the biggest 8-pointer I’ve ever seen. It also had the biggest body I’ve ever seen.
I started to get buck fever, and I’m sure her adrenalin was off the chart. Before Chelsey could reach for her gun, the buck walked back into the woods.
We sat there not moving or talking, just hoping it would step back out, all the while knowing the chances were slim.
About 5 minutes went by and we had pretty much given up hope when she exclaimed, “There he is, and there’s another one with him!”
I looked up and was shocked to see two bucks staring at us just 10 yards from the blind.
At that distance, it’s no wonder they heard Chelsey as she got her shotgun into position. The big 8-pointer and his young friend spooked and ran out to about 50 yards before they stopped to look back.
The next thing I heard was BOOM, and the big buck collapsed.
I looked at Chelsey, and she was shaking uncontrollably and crying. I asked her if she was okay, and all she could say was, “I got him. I’m so happy I got him!”
I told her to reload while I kept an eye on the buck. We gave him about 20 minutes. He had gone only a few yards.
That was the first time a buck’s rack looked bigger after I walked up to him.
To leave out the graphic details, Chelsey shot a monster buck in the butt at 50 yards and killed him dead. I would have had to chase that deer through five counties with that shot, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did.
Her buck scored 155 3/8 inches, and I couldn’t be happier if I’d shot it myself.
You never know what might happen when you take a kid hunting, but you will, for sure, make memories that last forever.
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This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.