One day last October I took a picture of a small 8-point through my scope and sent it to my nephew, Colby, teasing him because he’d decided to skip out on the last day of our early muzzleloader season. Later that evening I ended up missing a bigger buck, to which he teased me back, “Uncle Danny, I wouldn’t have missed.”
Well, funny how things come full circle.
Maryland’s youth hunt days were November 15 and 16last year. I would sit with Colby, and my brother would hunt with his daughter, Abby. (They are brother and sister.) Colby is 13 and has been hunting since he was 8. I sat with him on his first youth day and he killed a spike 15 minutes into the hunt. He has been hooked ever since, and we spend quite a few days in the stand together every year. Abby is 16 and has only been hunting a couple years. She shot her first deer, a spike, in 2013.
On the first morning Colby and I sat in a box stand in the middle of open field. We set up a doe decoy to our right. It was November 15, and I figured any buck cruising around would see the decoy and maybe come in and give us a shot. My brother and Abby set up about 400 yards away. They were watching a different field, but they could see our field if anything came out.
After a few hours, we had only seen a few does and fawns and decided to head home for breakfast. We could see that our hunting partners were already halfway to the house so we decided to join them. When we were down and 10 yards away from the stand, I saw a deer jump the fence and head straight across the field. I told Colby to climb back into the stand and reload the gun. The young buck was coming fast to the decoy, grunting the whole time.
Colby got one shell in the gun and looked for the charging deer in the scope. When he told me he was ready I bleated at the buck. He kept coming. Eventually I ended up yelling at the deer to get him to stop. When he did Colby squeezed the trigger, but the deer just looked at us. The young buck quickly figured out what had just happened, and turned tail for the woods.
We did our duty to search for blood, but I knew he had missed. I remembered what a certain young man had told me just the month prior, but I decided that he was upset enough, so I didn’t give him any ribbing (yet).
For the evening hunt, we decided to switch stands. There weren’t any deer in the field we were watching, but we could see a handful of does out in front of Abby’s stand. I looked through the binos and couldn’t believe what I saw. I laughed and told Colby, “That same buck you missed just came out of the same spot and is heading toward your sister.” He didn’t believe me, so I let him look for himself.
For the next 5 minutes we watched the buck run the does around in circles. Colby kept saying, “I’m never going to hear the end of this if she kills that deer.” Eventually the buck moved closer to Abby and got to a spot that we couldn’t see. I focused the binos on the box stand and could see her sighting down the rifle. I saw the recoil and then we heard the boom. We watched as all the does exited the field, but never saw the buck.
Then I got a text from my brother that said, “Dropped him.”
As Colby and I started the long walk across the field he stared at the ground, shaking his head. I kept quiet, except for a little laugh every once in a while. He knew what I was thinking. When we reached the downed deer I gave Abby a high five and told her congratulations.
She looked at her little brother with a sly grin and said, “Hey Colby, I didn’t miss.”