Heritage of Hunting II

A friend of mine–one of our hunting party–went hunting with his 14-year-old son. This father is technically a 1st-year hunter, too, like his son, though he was “trained in” a few weeks back in his first elk hunt. Phill wrote a particularly exciting reflection on how his son shot a doe on their first day hunting. Phill’s recollection shows the importance of building a heritage with your kids, and hunting is a great way to do it.

Matthew and I went on our 1st deer hunt this weekend. The Lord blessed us with a wonderful time together and Matt bagged his 1st doe on Sunday morning. Attached is a picture of him with his doe after we returned home (we accidentally left the camera in the truck, so we didn’t get a picture in the field).

Here’s the story of the hunt, if you’re interested in hearing the details:

Sunday morning we staked out an area near Willow Creek and sat for a couple of hours. We then pursued a herd of a dozen or so deer for nearly an hour, carefully working into position to make a shot. I had a pretty good shot at a doe from 150 yds. but backed off, wanting a surer shot. We didn’t realize that there was another hunter nearby and he shot the head buck (4 pointer) and scattered our herd. Good for him but it ended our pursuit.

Then we hiked all the way around the mountain we were hunting, to the top of a ridge. This took more than an hour and we saw only one deer in the woods. At the top of the ridge we ate “lunch” (it was only 10:30 but we had been up since 4:30) and we ran into another hunter, a guy named Chuck who was visiting from Iowa. He was hunting for a cow elk or a buck. Matt and I had doe tags. Chuck told us that he saw about 10 does halfway down the draw that we were about to enter. He said two ran up the north side of the draw and the remainder ran down the south side. He said they were “spooked” so that we should be careful.

I told Matt that this may be our last good chance, since we needed to leave for home that afternoon. It was about 10:45 when we started down the draw.

We walked down into the bottom of a gulley and then up a very steep (about 45 degrees), muddy slope. There was still a ½ inch of snow and we slipped a few times. We finally reached the top and were rather clunky in getting up to our feet again. We started walking again and as we passed a juniper tree I saw 4 mule deer within 100 yds. of us. Before we could do anything they took off and ran about 200 yds further down the draw. We pursued them carefully but they watched every move we made. When we got about 100 yds from them (seeing only their ears and head above the sage) they ran again, another 200 yds or so before stopping and continuing to graze. The lead doe, however, continued to watch us.

We hid behind another group of junipers and I told Matt to hold his ground and get ready to pursue them from the north. I got down on my fours and crawled and scooted straight up the slope to the south. I had to crawl because the only cover I had was knee-to-waist-high sage brush. It took me about 15 minutes to carefully make my way to another group of junipers about 100 yds south of the four muleys. When I stood up behind a juniper I couldn’t see the deer and I thought “Rats, they’ve run down toward the creek.” But as I scanned north of my location I saw a couple of deer “bottoms” walking away from me and straight toward Matt’s position. Apparently they had seen me coming toward them and turned back the way they came.

Meanwhile Matt had come out from his cover and was standing in the open with some sage brush around him. He was beginning to walk down the slope in hopes that he and I could close in on the deer as we planned. He saw the heads and ears of a couple of muleys “trotting” (not running) in his direction. He froze and set up his monopod and rifle and was ready to shoot. He eyed a clearing ahead of the deer and set up to shoot there if they came out from their cover. I looked over at Matt from my location (100+ yds to the south) and I saw him standing in the open with his rifle drawn and set up on the monopod. He was peering through the scope and I realized that he may have a shot.

Sure enough, after a few seconds two of the deer emerged into the clearing, less than 50 yds away from Matt. He had a clear, nearly broadside shot (slightly quartering away) straight down a very steep slope (again, about 45 degrees). He eyed the biggest doe and as she crossed into the clearing, still trotting away from me, he whistled at her, a soft bird-like whistle. She stopped and looked in his direction and he pulled the trigger of our Savage .243 (100-grain round). The doe turned, took 3-4 steps and tumbled, then got up and slowly ran off. I saw none of this as I was on the other side of the rise. I heard the shot and looked over at Matt. He turned to me and gave a little fist pump over his head. I realized he hit one and I ran to meet him.

Matt was having quite an adrenaline rush. He knew he hit the deer but wasn’t sure where it went. We walked down and tried to find a blood trail: nothing. We tried to find tracks: there were tracks everywhere, going every direction. We returned to the spot where Matt fired the shot and “recreated” the scene. He showed me where the deer went down and then remembered the direction she headed after getting up. We walked down the draw a little further and about 30 yds away from where she was hit we found the doe under some junipers. She was shot right through the neck. She was completely still – apparently the bullet cut through an artery. There wasn’t even a drop of blood on the ground.

Next I got to have my first deer gutting experience. Quite a thrill. Also a great lesson in deer anatomy. I retrieved a fence post from a broken down fence down the hill and we tied the front and hind legs to the post and began the long trip back to the truck. It took us nearly 4 hrs. to carry the beast through the rough terrain. I say rough but I guess it was no worse that what we encountered elk hunting. We had some excitement crossing a creek where I slipped and dropped the front end of the deer into the creek. I scrambled up the bank and pulled it out of the water, joking with Matt that we just “drowned” our deer.

It was a relief to get back to camp and have a good dinner. A wonderful day – something I’m sure we’ll both remember the rest of our lives.

Matt's First Hunt
About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.