Bradley’s Deer, 2004

Bradley is another successful youth, Deer hunter!

On Sunday afternoon Bradley decided we would hunt in our “Guest Blind” on the eastern part of my ranch. This was a new, spacious, elevated blind with a feeder 100 yards to its north. We climbed in and got ready, opening the windows and loading his gun. An adult must accompany the youth on the hunt, but the adult can’t do any of the shooting and can’t carry a rifle.

Does and yearlings came to the feeder and did not display the jitters we were used to seeing later in the season and finally out came a spike and a four pointer, neither of them being a “shooter”. More does and yearlings, but nothing “big”.

After about an hour, a glance to the left and I saw a nice, big buck in the brush by the edge of a trail. Leaning over and pointing to the left I said to Bradley, “There’s a shooter by the edge of the trail.” I leaned back in my chair as Bradley tried to get his .270 out of the window and line up the Deer. No luck. The buck didn’t tarry long and moved back into the thick stuff. A missed opportunity! “Maybe later,” I murmured under my breath.

With 30 minutes to go before the end of shooting time, I was apprehensive that we wouldn’t get Bradley a Deer. Then, right up to the feeder comes a 6 pointer but not big enough and behind him a nice 8. We both have our binocs on him and see his horns are outside of his ears and have good height, but not much mass.

Bradley whispers, “Poppy, should I shoot?” And I reply, “No, let’s wait a minute.” The Deer feeds leisurely on the corn with us watching him intently through our binocs and, as the Deer walks off, I think to myself that this is a marginal shooter but it will really be a good one next year, but that is a long way off. Finally the Grandfather in me takes over and I whisper to Bradley, “Go ahead and take him!”

Sliding his .270 out of the window, Bam, the buck hops, takes 2 steps and down he goes! A good shot! We wait for 10, or so, minutes with no movement from the Deer, unload his rifle, climb down out of the blind and go and inspect his prize.

It could have been a bigger spread, but, once again, the objectives of our states youth hunt program have been met, with success!