YOUTH SEASON 2020: A Wild Conclusion & Tons of Memories

As I sit here at my desk on this beautiful Monday morning in October, my eyes are a bit heavy from a long weekend of both hunting and working with my little boy, Brantley. We left home around 3:00am on Saturday morning heading to go for a morning sit in the deer woods on a brassica plot after a buck I named, "Boss." He was there the evening before (picture below), but we got skunked Saturday morning. Brantley and I were both pretty tired, but we had work to do. One of my Zone 5 bowhunters made a trip up to help us out during the day and also scout the farm he's hunting in some odd weeks. He's a father and grandfather, and he fit right in with us. Brantley loved him! We went to go check cards on two farms before heading to his farm. We spent about about five hours going around these three farms, so it was time for me to get Brantley back out after "Boss."

Honestly, this late in the youth season, I'd be challenged to force a pass on any decent buck that we could turn into a mount, but with management in mind, spikes, forkies, and yearlings are all off limits. We saw a spike on the end of the plot, and then another followed behind. The following one gave us easy shots in the plot, but we passed. Afterwards, I saw it in his eyes that he wanted to shoot him, and I felt sick. I should have let him shoot. I just couldn't give him the green light. That hunt ended without any does being seen or any good buck. We packed it up, headed to our hotel room, changed, and went out to dinner with my hunter. Brantley passed out on my shoulder in the booth at the restaurant. I was beat too. Once we got out to the truck, I said, "are we going to go kill something in the morning or sleep in." He chose to more comfortable option. We got up around 7:30, and I finally got him out the door and loaded the truck with our things by 8:45.

We immediately went to other farms, pulled cards, checked stands, and then turned around for the evening sit. We had an absolute blast yesterday just running around on the Polaris Ranger, playing outside, and just doing dad & son things. Yet, in my mind, I was anxious that we had to make it happen this evening sit (Sunday 10/4) as the Youth Season technically closes after legal light expires. I tried not to let him see my anxiousness towards the last sit. He was oblivious to it. He's just being a kid, enjoying the time with his old man, and hopefully, making memories that'll last forever. Heck, I even had him laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. I've never heard him laugh so hard when I said I had to use the #2 restroom on one of the farms. Obviously, boys can make jokes about some stupid and gross things, and that we did.

Mind you, thus far in the youth season, Brantley has passed two chip shots, one marginal shot, and had multiple deer encounters. It was kind of odd to think we didn't shoot one yet.

As we decided to head out to the evening setup, I checked the wind again, made sure we had all of our gear, and we headed out. There was a different feeling about that hunt. I was feeling "deer-y"... Brantley and I were just happy, simply happy. So, we got packed up at the truck, and headed across this huge bean field to the same spot we turkey hunted this spring. This is where the irony started building up in my head.

We had about a 600yd walk through the dry soybeans to a little knoll in the field that gave us a good approach to our food plot.

As we got to our spot and just put the BOG tripod down and still standing there slightly exposed, I catch a glimpse of a deer out of the corner of my eye. Brantley was looking down at the ground trying not to make noise by stepping on crunchy bean stalks. I got him to freeze. This yearling doe was at 50yards and looking right at us. I ask Brantley, "do you want to shoot her?" He goes, "yeah!" As he stood up to shoulder the gun in the tripod, she kind of bounded back into the woods. I got him set just in case she came back out in the plot, and she did. Yet, she wouldn't sit still enough for a shot. It would have been a very rushed shot, which he isn't prepared for yet at his age, so I didn't try to stop her with a bleat or a grunt. She waddled over the hill down toward our creek out of sight.