Family Makes the Outdoors Even More Fun
My dad always goes to check out one of the special draw deer hunts near my home. I've always heard him brag about the huge bucks he sees and how cool it is to go to the camp and talk to the hunters, hear their stories, and see the bucks hanging. We both always put in for that hunt, but neither of us have been drawn. (Darn preference points.) This past year, I went with him to see what the place was all about.
That morning I picked my dad up from his house and we started off. We checked out a river and lake on the way. Both hunting spots were filled with ducks.
We continued up the mountain. About five minutes later, we noticed a 4x5 right beside the road. It bounced through the brush and stopped about 100 yards away. I freaked out. It was the biggest deer I'd ever even seen locally.
We drooled over it for a few minutes and handed the binoculars back and forth to each other so we could both see. Huge smiles and big laughs followed after discussing the size of that buck.
About 15 minutes later, we decided to pull over and glass a mountain from the road. There were three bucks and five does on the hillside. Two bucks were higher on the hill than the rest. They kept looking at each other and getting closer to one another. Before we knew it, their racks were linked and they fought for the next five minutes.
We continued on once the action subsided. We followed the river through the mountains, and as we drove through the turns, we watched a bald eagle flying over the river alongside us.
We finally got to the spot where most hunters camped. Both of us immediately noticed a deer hanging. We talked with the guy at that camp who shot the deer the day before. He said it'd been a tough hunt. We spoke with a guy at another camp and he said the hunting had been hard, too. We drove on up the mountain to do more glassing.
It wasn't long before I spotted the biggest buck we saw all day, and one that I would have shot no questions asked if I'd drawn that tag. It was a 4x5 that carried heavy mass all the way through. It was wide and tall for this area, too. Once again, my dad and I began handing the binoculars back and forth so we could both get good looks at the impressive buck. It chased a doe, and a few minutes later, we glassed another buck about 100 yards up the hill.
We wondered how on earth the people with tags weren't seeing any of the big bucks we were. The smallest deer we'd seen all day was the dead forkie at camp. Eventually, we lost the bucks as they went up a gully. We went back and forth about what we would each do if one of us had a tag.
We went a little further and saw yet another nice buck chasing a doe. This one was a really nice 4x4 and it was only about 60 yards away. We eased out of the truck, crept within 40 yards of the deer, and snapped a photo before the doe stood up and trotted off.
The rest of the day was filled with hunt-strategy talk. We couldn't hunt. But we could learn. It's so fun talking to my dad about fishing and hunting strategies and techniques. He is the one who raised me hunting. He taught me everything I learned until I started venturing off on my own. Today, we do a lot of things very different from one another. Regardless, we're both successful hunters. I think our differences help each other learn more and think about things in ways we've never thought. And that makes us better hunters, too.
There's nothing better than a day in the outdoors with dad.
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