Being able to hunt and fish for a living has a tendency to get you a little jaded as the years go by. There is nothing like the excitement of a young kid to bring you back to reality and get a guy grounded again.
My eight year old daughter Taylor Deming loves the outdoors and taking her hunting with me is something I need to do more of based on her performance last week.
I only had a few days to hunt during the muzzleloader season in Utah and I had already found two really big bucks during the archery season that I wanted to chase. With Taylor wanting to go along, I just knew that I would not be able to go after those bucks. I had some access to a small private piece of property close to home. However small, it is still an excellent piece of property with apple orchards, water, and great bedding areas. Taylor and I would set up a double bull blind between the feed and the bedding area for our hunt. The first morning was very busy. A lot of deer were moving and seven different bucks were around and presented several shots. All were very young and small two points and spikes. They didn’t even get Taylor amped up to shoot. Midway through the morning, Taylor tapped my arm and said “There is a monster right there”, as she pointed her finger around the right side of the blind. Roger (the landowner) had told me about a 190 class buck in the area and I was expecting to see this giant outside the blind. It was a 20-inch wide four point that scored in the mid 140s. I asked Taylor if that was him and she commented “Oh yeh!” I hadn’t sensed this kind of excitement in myself or anyone esle in years. It was the feeling that got me into this business in the first place and I enjoyed the moment with my daughter. Unfortunately, the buck sensed the excitement and moved back into the bushes with no chance of a shot.
Taylor and I continued to hunt for the next three days without seeing the “Orchard Monster” again. On the last day of the hunt, she asked if we could shoot the big two point that had been coming in daily. I told her that if the big boy didn’t come in, we would fill the freezer with that young tasty two point. The morning hunt was coming to a close with almost no deer activity at all. Finally at 7:30, the two point showed up. Taylor wanted me to shoot him and although this wasn’t a deer I would normally shoot by myself, there was no question that I wouldn’t be able to live with Taylor till the next hunting season if I didn’t whack this guy today. As I set up the camera for the shot and got ready to pull the trigger, I saw movement deep in the trees behind the two point. Taylor had her ears plugged and was wondering why I wasn’t shooting. I pointed at the other bucks back in the trees. Eighty yards back in the woods was the “Orchard Monster” surveying the current situation. It took him about five minutes to make it out into the open and I found myself beginning to shake as my excitement began to build. I have harvested muleys that make the record book without the adrenaline flowing through my blood like it was then. This 140-inch buck with my daughter by my side brought me back to my youth and love of deer hunting. When the buck finally presented a shot, I hit him solid although I’m not sure I aimed the gun because it is all a blur to me. Taylor and I high fived and climbed out of the smoking blind. The CVA Accura muzzleloader had turned our blind into a cloud of smoke, which made for some great laughs. Taylor took on the job of tracking the buck and she did a great job of picking blood spots off the branches and dry dirt. Thirty yards of tracking and the buck was piled up. “Dad, he is huge” was her comment. I agreed and we shared the moment together as we snapped some great pictures. It truly was the best hunt of my life and it feels great to be grounded once again. Who would have thought that you could be grounded by your kid?