Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nico is very thankful and so am I



Nine years ago yesterday (December 9), I shot my first good buck with my father by my side. It's one of my most cherished memories.

I have taken my oldest son, A.J., deer hunting a couple times, both times he shot deer. It came pretty easy for him, as "luck" would have it.

My middle son, Nico, has shown the most interest in hunting as he really enjoys shooting a rifle (natural maturity will eventually take him to bow hunting). When he turned 9 last year, he was primed to go on his first deer hunt, but I wrecked my knee and couldn't walk without crutches during rifle season. We tried to hunt a few times by having friends drive us to spots and me crutching my way to a place I thought Nico could shoot a deer. Nothing worked out, we saw nothing the three times we went out in frigid temps. He was bummed and so was I.

This year has been so busy for both of us, I couldn't figure a good time to take him hunting during the 10 day Kansas rifle season. I negotiated with my helpmate to take him out of school the second day of the season so we could hunt all day. Well, we didn't see any deer within range. He was really deflated and so was I.

With the end of the season tomorrow, a day we don't hunt, it had to be today.

A good friend was taking his son hunting this morning and asked me a while back if I wanted to take Nico to the same place. He has a great hunting spot he works very hard to manage. It was a big privilege for him to ask us. Nico was stoked and so was I. We gathered our gear and headed to our spots so Nico could take a crack at shooting his first deer. From the picture above, you know Nico was successful. Now for the crazy story:

We were sitting in a blind waiting for a deer to pass through an opening, which happened about 8:15 am. Nico calmly shouldered his gun and listened to my instructions to stay calm and breathe carefully. It was a very good 3.5 year old ten-point buck. Talk about a first deer to shoot! Crazy. Anyways, the deer got closer and closer to our set up. At 90 yards I told Nico to be ready to shoot. The deer stopped broadside, and I gave Nico the go ahead to squeeze the trigger having just taken it off safety. Nico takes his time like an old pro, controls his breathing, and centers the cross hairs just behind the deer's shoulder. He pulls the trigger...and....CLICK!. The gun misfired!!! More accurately, the round in the chamber must have had a faulty primer as the hammer hit the primer, left an indentation, but didn't discharge!! I was TICKED. Poor Nico! We quick reloaded another round (it's a single-shot .243) but it was too late...the buck moved away quickly when he could tell something wasn't right in our direction. Man was I mad at the gun and the ammo!! Well, I just so happened to have brought my rifle with me. If Nico was able to harvest a deer early, our plan was to stay in the blind for me to try and take a deer. My gun is a .308 and pretty heavy. Nico is 10 and about 80 pounds. It's a bit too much gun for him, but I was not going to let him shoot his gun again should another deer present a shot. So I gave him my .308 and convinced him it wasn't much different than his .243. I could tell he was skeptical, but he, like me, was very leery of his gun. Nico was ticked and so was I!

The clock struck 9:30 AM and our friends came down the road, not far from our set up, to pick us up. We were bummed by what had transpired and my friend sympathized with us both. Still, Nico's spirits remained high having seen lots of deer that morning, especially the very respectable ten point. We needed to head back home, the 2011 gun season was effectively over for Nico...

Just then, our friend decided to drive us around his land to show how it was laid out and what he was doing to manage it for wildlife. At one point, from a distance, we could see does at the corner of an open field that tucked in to very thick, nasty, woodlot. My friend suggested we try and stalk down there and wait for a doe to step in to Nico's comfortable range. We did what he said, as he drove off leaving us there. Low and behold, eventually a good mature, fat doe stepped in to the little dirt road in front of us and Nico laid the smack down on her with my .308. It was 130 yard shot with a gun he had never held before that day. Nico thought it was cool and so did I!

So, almost to the day of the 9 year anniversary of a great hunt with my Dad, I was able to have an incredibly memorable hunt with one of my sons. Nico was very thankful for the morning and so was I.

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

Congrats Nico! Very proud of that first one. And as your dad shared with me, "kind a glad the big one got away, for if you would have got that big one, your first time out, kind of anticlimactic your next hunt would be.