Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Last Friday, Julie and I had a daddy/daughter date night. Before we left, I made sure to pack my backpack with the essentials: ear protection, snacks, and more snacks.
Julie has hunted with me before. Since the age of three, she has sat next to me, or on me, as we waited for deer. On this hunt, we didn’t have to wait for deer. When we were in sight of the stand, I looked in the field, and a group of does were already feeding. They were taking advantage of the early bird special.
I whispered to Julie that I was going to set her down and take a shot. To my surprise, she said no. I was bewildered. My son wants me to take any deer I see. When he sees a deer, he is already salivating at the jerky and snack sticks it will become.
Julie was thinking about food also: candy. In her mind, if we took a deer before we were in the stand, she wouldn’t get her gummy bears. It took a while for me to process her rationale, but by the time I convinced her that she would still get gummy bears the deer winded us and left the field.
So into the stand we climbed. Julie ate gummy bears followed with some peanut butter crackers. The snacks lasted about 5 minutes, then a lesson on patience took place. Thankfully, animals quickly returned to watch.
Despite the wiggling and whispering, the group of deer that winded us earlier came back and fed 100 yards away.
I took a shot and the group ran away. In South Carolina, we can take two deer a day. So I told Julie we would wait to see if anymore came to the field as there were only 45 minutes left until dark.
Content with this decision, Julie took pictures with my phone. As she filled my phone memory with selfies, a yearling buck walked within twenty yards of the stand. He was in no danger of my rifle as we were hunting does. I tapped Julie on the leg and pointed out the deer.
Julie set the phone down and watched for a few minutes. I asked if she wanted to mess with him. She smiled and sat on my lap with the grunt call. A grunt call mimics the sound of an older buck. It is usually used to bring in an older buck who thinks a challenger is in his territory.
I blew lightly on the call and the yearling’s head popped up and scanned the area.
“What’s he doing daddy”
“He’s looking for a big deer”
“Maybe. That may be the noise his dad makes when he’s in trouble”
The next few minute we grunted at the yearling and giggled at what each noise could mean. Maybe a grunt meant, “Go to Bed!” or “Clean your room!” Julie laughed while sitting on my lap as the sun set.
Looking through the eyes of my daughter, this hunt was much more than shooting a deer. It was a chance to eat candy, play with daddy, and watch wild animals.
Paul and Corey soon arrived to help recover the deer. Julie told them all about the hunt. The key to the hunt in her mind was gummies and grunts.
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