By Harley P., age 12, Titusville, FL
October 11th: 840 miles and 36 hours before the start of the 2012 Kentucky Youth season and with my license and two youth deer tags in hand my dad and I are finally on the road. The butterflies in my stomach feel like a swarm. Dad said if I passed the Hunter Safety Course we would go to Kentucky and could hunt on a couple of farms owned by family and friends.
We arrived at my uncle’s house Friday morning and after a quick breakfast I got to practice shooting an inline 50 caliber, a percussion cap 50 cal black powder, a lever action .22, and a scoped single shot .243. My uncle said that I had great shooting skills and that made me very happy to hear that because I have not gotten to shoot a lot. The first time I shot the inline, I shot 100 grains instead of 80 because my dad tricked me. But 100 grains was still very fun to shoot. The Rossi .243 single shot had no kick but it was loud and we decided that was the gun I would use since we were going to be hunting open fields and shots over 100 yards were possible. After shooting, my uncle gave me some hunting clothes that my cousins had outgrown. I packed the inline 50 caliber, the .243, the hunting clothes my uncle let me borrow, and my dad’s first bb gun into the car and then we had to leave and go to my dad’s friend, Mr. Frank’s house.
When we got to Mr. Frank’s, we took a ride down to his hunting stand and saw several deer out feeding. After a dinner of pork roast and baked beans cooked by Mr. Frank, I finally went to sleep thinking about tomorrow and my first deer hunt.
I woke up early the next morning and immediately got my hunting clothes on and got all the things I needed for the hunt. When dad and I were ready, we headed to the deer stand at about 6:00 A.M. The trail getting there was very steep and it was really dark at the time so we had to watch our step. It was still dark when we got to the deer stand and we had to wait for legal shooting hours to start hunting but we still had to be very quiet. At about 7:00 I saw two deer, a doe and a little button buck. I waited a while thinking if I wanted to shoot the doe because I wanted my first deer to be a buck. While I was trying to decide, she walked 50 yards from us and stood broadside, offering a perfect shot. After watching her for several minutes I said “Dad I’m going to shoot this one.” When I was about to shoot she started to get nervous, blew, and ran. I got really frustrated because my finger was on the trigger before she started to run. I never had butterflies in my stomach like that before.
About twenty minutes later, a small eight pointer showed up but I had to pass on him. Mr. Frank’s rule was “the antlers had to wider than the ears”. We watched him feed for awhile and I wanted to shoot it so badly but I couldn’t. After the 8 pointer left, a small spike came into the field that I could not shoot.
After the morning hunt I went to my cousin Levi’s house because he wanted us to hunt with him and his dad at his dad’s friend, Mr. John’s farm. It was early afternoon when we got to the farm and we headed straight to the stand. It was very hard to stay quiet because my dad and I both had a very bad cough. But I waited and waited, watching the soybean field, trying to be quiet. Finally we saw a deer and it was a big doe. I was ready to shoot that deer even though it was not a buck. I got my gun up, focused my cross hairs on the spot where I wanted to hit the deer, put my finger on the trigger and “CLICK!”- I forgot to take the safety off! She left the field very fast. About 20 or 30 minutes later we see a really good sized doe so I picked up the .243, cocked it, took the safety off, aimed, and pulled the trigger. The deer fell right in her tracks and that made me the happiest person ever. I went to get my cousin so he could help me load her up but we couldn’t put it on the 4-wheeler by ourselves so I got my uncle to help and we still couldn’t pick her up so we ended up pulling her with the ATV.
We put her on the trailer and took it to my cousin’s house to skin and butcher her. We put her on the scales and she weighed 170 pounds live weight and after taking pictures and I had to eat part of its heart raw and I did because of tradition. After we cut the deer up and packaged her, I had to go to bed because the next day I was going to try to get another deer.
Deer hunting in Kentucky was amazing and I want to thank God for the 2 deer that I got during that weekend. Deer hunting in Kentucky made me so happy I will never forget everything I did there. Deer hunting in Kentucky was really fun and I hope to hunt there again someday.
End Note by Mr. Gus...
I'm really proud of Harley, not only for this story he submitted and his successful deer harvest, but also for his completion of his Hunter Safety course where we met. He and his Dad are also strong supporters in our 4-H club, the Mosquito Lagoon Muzzleloaders. Stories submitted by guest writers are not edited for content, punctuation or length, because it is their story! If you have a story you would like to have us share with the world, please let us know.