If you read our previous blog post, you would have known that this past weekend was spent with my son on his first ever deer hunts as the youth season is open here in Iowa. Start to finish, it was absolutely perfect minus not killing the buck we were after. Growing up without my dad in the picture, except for every some odd weeks or months when I'd spend a weekend with him, I always dreamed of being a father that would be able to take his son out hunting. I only have one son, so it's kind of make-it-or-break-it scenario. Well, Brantley, who turns 8 here in mid October, went out with his old man for a chance at shooting a "good buck" with his first real gun (amongst 20-30 toy and nerf guns). I knew the potential ahead as I picked him up from school on Friday afternoon, but he did not. After all, he's just a kid doing kid things thinking about what kids think about.
Friday evening was spent loading the truck up, relaxing, and having a hopeful custom/ritual in a bonfire at home talking about the hunt ahead. He hit the sack early, and my wife and I stayed up at the fire. After a while, I became lost in thought about how special this weekend was to me, how special it could eventually be for my boy decades later, and how I wish I could share this memory with my grandfather who taught me to hunt and fish. I have to admit the emotions were strong at this point. The thoughts were all very sentimental. I was more anxious for our weekend than he was, but that's okay. That is expected. This is his first rodeo.
We got up Saturday morning to hit the road and get to the farms early enough to try and put a Radix Monarch tower blind on one of my Zone 6 farms, where I have a wonderful gentleman hunting in November. There's no stand trees to consider, and a ground blind is not sufficient. As we got about 30 minutes from the house in-route, my truck's oil pressure gauge went to 0. I panicked and pulled over at a gas station just ahead. Thinking I lost all of my oil, and knowing I had probably burned some oil at a minimum, I didn't check the dipstick. I added a few quarts of oil, and finally started back on the road. The gauge didn't reset and the check engine light came on. "Maybe the gauge is broken," I thought. I was 25 minutes from an AutoZone on our route, so I set course for there to get the code reader for the check engine sign. Bad switch. Uh-oh. I added too much oil. This could do damage to the truck, so I got a drain pan, and I started draining oil. Mind you, I have never changed my own oil. Thankfully, YouTube showed me what to do. I dropped 3 quarts of oil in the pan, made a lovely mess, and eventually got back on the road, just expecting something to blow. Luckily, nothing bad happened and we arrived down at the farms.
We went and picked up our blind and chairs, headed to this other farm where we were going to put it up, and we started to get to work. Brantley was an absolute trooper helping me with nuts and bolts, instructions, and trash duty. Due to the vehicle hiccup, we were behind schedule. We ended up getting the tower completely done before we had to either stay and hunt, or go hunt elsewhere. Thinking all of our ruckus was enough reason to get out of there, we went to another farm. Brantley was still undecided if he wanted to try for a buck or a doe, and after a quick conversation, he decided he wanted a buck.
We set out down the hill from where we park where we could shoot across a creek in standing beans next to a big bedding area. We almost always have deer in this vicinity. This farm was special for Brantley and I because it is where he accompanied me turkey hunting this past spring. He immediately was excited once that clicked in his head. We eventually got into our spot, got setup, and started the wait. This was when I thought it was a good time to document the memories a bit with my phone.
After being setup for a while, my Spartan GoCam sent me this below photo from the farm where we were just at building the tower blind overlooking a food plot...
In the photo, you can see the boxes from the blind right where our tower is. The buck is covering the blind tower in the photo. He's at 40-50yds there, and I bet Brantley would have shot this buck no questions asked. If that isn't deer hunting, I don't know what is. Brantley was not as disappointed as I was, but nonetheless, we kept hunting on the other farm.