Well the date is December 3rd 2011 and it will be a day to remember for my grandson Christian Quinn and myself to boot. Hmmm you may ask, what monumental occasion happened to celebrate this date for an eleven-year-old boy? Well to answer this, it will just take four words….. Christian shot his first Buck.
You see on this roller coaster we call life; there are many, many FIRSTS in a young boys life. Naturally there is his first words, probably mama, dada, or monnnney. Or his very first steps as a biped tumbling across the floor. Then….even before his first kiss and first girlfriend comes his first homerun or touchdown or goal. Our life seems to be made up of FIRST times of events that mark some very special days. But you know there is one FIRST that is not decided by age, attempted tries, or any amount of hard work. It is a young or even an old persons FIRST DEER. This is NEVER a gimmie or a given that will happen like a baby’s first tooth. Some people have hunted for twenty years and NEVER even shot a deer, but still keep on trying. It may take some luck, but you still have to be trained to pull the trigger and shoot accurately to succeed, oh and of course the deer Gods have to be smiling on you to boot.
You see you can be 10 years of age or 99 years young it really doesn’t matter, when that special day comes you will remember it always and forever and ever. That bond between two hunters on that first deer taken weather it be a doe or a buck is a very special moment. For the young man or women who just achieved the feat it is an accomplishment usually that was long sought after. For the partner, if you are lucky enough to be with him, you all ready know what it means to you, especially if you are a dad, grandfather, uncle, or special friend who helped accomplish the feat for the young person or individuals quest of the Wily Whitetail.
Now on with Christian’s hunt and the story of a young boy’s first beautiful Eight Point Buck. It started the week before the opener of the PA 2011 Rifle Season. I had been hunting hard for a total of five days on and off so far in the Archery season. I hunted in some beautiful weather and even in a freak late October snowstorm that dumped over 13 inches of snow in the Pocono Mountains. Well in the over 60 hrs I all ready spent in the wood lot behind our Lake house, and seeing a lot of the bucks running around in my back yard, I had a pretty good idea of what was available. I knew there were at least two beautiful eight pointers, and real nice seven point. There also were about eight other little bucks running around mixed in with the does and yearlings. I almost had a high white eight point on two different occasions from my tree stand, but I could not close the deal. Either he was behind trees, or to far, or just to darn sneaky, I could never get a clean shot at him with the Cross Bow.
Well as luck would have it, I could not take the first two days of rifle season off from work because of prior commitments. But I did promise Christian we would definitely hunt the first Saturday of the deer season and be in the woods before sunlight.
Well Saturday dawned clear and COLD and the temperature dipped to a brisk 19 degrees on the old thermometer out on the back porch. I was a bit concerned because at only eleven years of age, Christian didn’t have the heavy hunting gear to keep him warm for hours on end in a tree stand yet. I had him bundled up with multiple layers of pants and jackets and a heavy orange hood and hat to keep him warm. The previous week I had him sight in the Remington .243 I got for a gift from my cousin Frankie for my grandkids. He did outstanding at the range and shot a multiple shot group in ½ inch at 100 yards. Christian has all ready proved to be a dead shot with his BB gun, .22, .20 gauge shotgun and now he added the .243 Remington to his list. My youngest grandson Brandon who is only nine has also proven to be a great shot following in his big brother’s footsteps. With all the guns I have bought them so far, I am trying to make sure I have hunting partners in the years to come…LOL
I didn’t know how the first week of hunting season went up here, but as a rule the area isn’t hunted hard at all anymore. Well we were in my double man ladder stand by 6:15 AM before the sun came up. We did see one loan deer making a hasty retreat at about 9:30 AM heading the other way but couldn’t even tell if it was a Buck or a Doe. We stuck it out for hours but the rest of the time all we seen were squirrels and a few woodpeckers. To top it off it was stone cold as a witch’s heart. So after almost four hours I decided it was time to do some mooching, hunter talk for (moving slowly through the woods looking for deer) and see what was down near the swamp. Nothing doing not even a tail popped up, so we decided to head back to the Lake House to warm up and have some lunch. We knew Nonna was there waiting to fill us up with hot grill cheese sandwiches and some soup.
After lunch we decided to give the tree stand another try. Christian was wound up and wanted to start shooting squirrels, but I reigned him in and told him squirrel season was over for the time being. Besides you don’t shoot squirrels with a .243…. you know these young hunters tend to get a little nuts in hunting season. Well were just leaving the house heading back to the main path when CJ says “Look Pop Pop , there’s a deer coming in”. As I looked straight ahead I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the wily white eight point I have been chasing the past few weeks. Now this is 2:00 PM in the afternoon and I hardly expected to run smack dab into him at this time of day, at least by this old hunter anyways.
I instructed Christian not to move, the buck suddenly spotted us and stopped dead in his tracks, ears back, ready to bolt, about 60 yards away.. He was facing us so I whispered to Christian not too shoot until he turns broadside. After a few seconds the deer bolted to the left and I thought that was it, he’s gone. But to my amazement after only jumping about 15 yards he stops broadside and looks back. I said to Christian you got him in your scope, and his response was BANG….. I guess he did! At the shot the nice eight pointed jumped straight up in the air, curled up a little and hit the ground running. After shooting many bucks in my life time I could tell he was hit hard and Christian made a GOOD shot. As I watched the deer run off about 50 more yards I saw the white tail flip out and up. The meaning was clear, and I knew the big eight was down. We tracked him to the spot of the shot but there was no blood. We moved slowly back to where I saw the deer flip, when I kneeled down and took a look, I could see the beautiful eights white underbelly laying on the ground about 30 yards away.
This is the MOMENT I have waited for a very long time. When Christian walked up to that downed buck, he would forever be immortalized as a deer hunter. His eyes were wide with pride and his smile was a mile long. And believe me, how ever good it was for CJ, it was just as rewarding for me. I was so thank full to GOD that I could be a part of his first hunting big game success. And GOD willing, I plan on doing the same thing for my youngest grandson, Brandon.
There are things in life that happen and stay with us for all our life. Maybe it’s just me, but a boy’s first buck is something very special. I plan on remembering this special day for Christian by writing this story and getting his eight pointer mounted to remember the occasion.
SOOoooooo get ready Brandon, because your are slated to be THE NEXT DEER HUNTER in OL POP POP’s life.
GOD BLESS my Grandsons…… Love always POP POP…