This Is What It's All About
|Rack Report Details
|Time of Year:
|September 24, 2016
|CVA Single Shot .44 Magnum
The Oettels are an outdoor family. They spend time together hunting, target shooting, working on food plots, building shooting houses, and just enjoying the great outdoors. Last season, both Ezra — 6 years old at the time — and his big sister Ella shot bucks. In fact, Ella killed both a nice 10-pointer and a doe. Trail camera checks leading up to the 2016 youth season added even more excitement. The Oettels were getting photos of a monster buck.
We see bucks here—nice 130-140-inch bucks — but never anything like this, said Dave Oettel, Ezra's dad. We first saw [this] buck late last year. A neighbor had been bowhunting the deer and had gotten a shot at him. He hit the deer high, and the buck recovered. That is when we started getting photos of him on our place.
Earlier this year, the Oettels placed trail cameras on food plots in hopes of seeing the big buck again. Their efforts seemed in vain. The buck never showed. Then, in mid-September, there he was.
I moved a camera one day to a different section of the food plot, Dave said. When I got home and checked the card, the buck had passed in front of the camera a few days earlier.
The first day of the hunt arrived and both kids saw deer, but held off on taking a shot. The evening hunt found Ezra and Dave back in the blind together. The afternoon started out slow, but the deer started moving about an hour before dark.
The first deer to enter the food plot was a small 6-point buck. Ezra decided to pass on the deer in hopes of seeing a larger buck or a doe. About a half hour before shooting light was over, a nice 8-point buck entered the plot. Dave asked Ezra if he wanted to shoot the buck. Ezra said yes.
They moved slowly to get in position for a shot. The young hunter found the buck in his scope, bared down and squeezed the trigger.
He shot a good two feet over the deer, Dave said. I guess he was so excited that he missed.
The big buck was alarmed, but not overly so. It ran closer to the smaller 6-pointer that remained in the food plot.
Ezra was shooting a single shot, Dave said. We tried to get reloaded and get back on the deer, but it moved out of the plot before Ezra could get another shot.
Fearing the evening hunt was over, but not wanting to disappoint his young son, Dave whispered that they should sit tight because another buck might come out. He didn't know how right he was. Just 15 minutes after Ezra missed the deer, the giant they had seen on trail camera entered the plot a mere 50 yards from their shooting house.
It was one of those nights, Dave said. Ezra stepped on every stick between the truck and the blind, we made noise in the blind. We had shot at and missed a buck, there was no way this deer should ever have come out into the food plot.
But there it was, broadside and alert. The buck was looking directly at the shooting house where the excited hunters were doing their best to remain still and silent. After what seemed like an eternity, the big buck put its head down and began to graze. Dave slowly began to spin Ezra in the blind so that he could get into position for a shot.
How do you convey to a 7-year-old that he needs to kill this deer without seeming overly excited and making him nervous? Dave asked.
After what seemed like an eternity, the young hunter was in position for a shot and searching for the buck in his scope. Dave was excited and worried at the same time. He realized the caliber of the deer that stood before them, and the miss from a few minutes earlier was still fresh on his mind.
As all these thoughts raced through Dave's mind, young Ezra pulled the trigger. At the shot, the giant buck reared up on his hind legs, then bolted from the food plot. Soon, everything was silent. Father and son sat in the blind and soaked in everything that just happened.
Ezra's mom (Brittany) and his sister (Ella) had been hunting nearby. They heard both shots and had wondered what the boys had been up to. A text message from Dave to meet them at the truck offered no clue as to the outcome of the hunt.
As the family reunited at the truck, Ezra and Dave relayed the tale of their hunt. Brittany couldn't believe it.
You better not be messing with me, she scolded.
The Oettels went back to the food plot and walked over to where they had last seen the buck as it exited the field. They walked up on the massive deer 30 yards from the treeline. The shot was perfect. The deer only went 50 yards.
I don't think Ezra really knows what he has done, Dave said. He just knows he has a good time hunting and that everyone is excited over his deer.
In today's world, the Oettels remind us all of what hunting is about. It's a way to enjoy time with family and friends.
As Dave said about his and Ella's hunt the following evening, We were sitting in the blind when a big doe came out. I asked Ella if she wanted to shoot it and she said she wanted to wait. I told her it was okay. As it got dark and no other deer came out, I asked Ella if she had had a good time.
Yes I have, Ella answered. When that doe was out there, Dad, I could feel my heartbeat in my fingertips.
When it comes down to it, that feeling is why we are all out there.
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