By Collin Reid
I'd been anxiously waiting for opening day since my 9 year old daughter told me she wanted to go deer hunting earlier this summer. I had taken her out scouting and to set up stands, but she never expressed an interest in joining me in the woods.
After a brief struggle to get her out of bed at 4am, we drove the 45 minutes to where we hunt in Varysburg, N.Y. with her sleeping the entire way.
As I got dressed and gathered up my gun and shells, I noticed my grunt call in the bottom of my backpack that I use primarily during bow season. I decided to bring it along.
I put her in one of my old blaze orange hunting jackets, and we headed out to the new double stand I had purchased just for this occasion. She did her best to walk quietly in the darkened woods, and we quickly found my stand. She scurried up the ladder and found her place in the stand. I placed some scent canisters and followed her up.
The wind was perfect. It was blowing just enough that I could whisper to her without fear of being busted by any whitetails in the area. I explained that we needed to be very quiet, and I handed her my grunt call. I told her not to blow into it until we saw a deer, at which time I would tap her on the shoulder.
We sat for about 35 minutes when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Coming out of a marsh 50 yards to our right was a nice 8-pointer that was oblivious to our location.
I looked at my daughter and she was drifting off to sleep. I nudged her and pointed at this big boy walking our way. She sat up straight, put the grunt call to her lips, and waited for my signal.
The buck was behind too much brush for me to get a clear shot and appeared to be heading for the open field 65 yards directly in front of us. I knew that if he made it to the field, we would be out of luck. Fortunately, he turned left and continued to walk along the edge of the field just inside the woods. As he passed 55 yards in front of the stand, I tapped her on the shoulder and she gave one good grunt that froze him in his tracks.
I lifted my Remington 870 Express and was able to make a nice lung and heart shot. He jumped and ran 20 yards straight into the field. We both watched him go down. Not being able to contain herself, my daughter yelled, "We did it Daddy!!"
When I picked up my radio to notify the others in my party, they laughed, acknowledging that everyone with a 5 mile radius had probably heard my excited little hunter. The look of pride and joy on her face when we went and retrieved our trophy was priceless, and something I will never forget.
While this was not the biggest or best buck of my hunting career, it is far and away the one that I will remember the most. We finished the day filling all my tags with two nice sized does.
My only regret is that my regular season hunting is over, and that I will have to wait until next year to try and repeat this experience.