By Ray Rummell
Christopher, my grandson, had taken a wild hog a few days after his thirteenth birthday and now had his heart set on taking a buck. My wife no longer hunts and she gave Christopher her Remington 600 .243 Winchester, scope-sighted rifle for his thirteenth birthday. I coached Christopher in the four shooting positions of prone, kneeling, sitting, and off-hand. Christopher is a good student and he progressed quickly.
A friend had a piece of property in a canyon not that far from home, and he gave us permission to hunt on his property. A week before deer season, we scouted the property and found a downed tree at the top of a small canyon that would serve as both a blind and a shooting rest. We had a good view for 150 yards to the southeast, with two deer trails crossing the opening. We noted that this position would have a problem during early morning sunrise. Our view behind us was light cover for less than 100 yards.
Our first hunt on the property was in the late afternoon on opening day of deer season. We enjoyed the mild weather, but saw no deer. The sun had set and we were getting ready to leave when Christopher noticed movement behind us. We both thought it was a legal buck, but in the fading light we couldn’t be sure. I was proud of Christopher’s decision to pass on the buck rather than risk shooting an illegal animal. I have tried to teach my grandsons not to risk a shot unless they are sure of their target.
We were back well before shooting light the next morning to give it another try. At sunup we had a coyote stop and look us over. Christopher could have taken him, but he decided to pass and stay on track for a buck. Coyotes could come later in his hunting adventures.
We planned to hunt for only two hours because we had decided that with the mild weather the deer probably would not be moving very much after good light. Shortly after Christopher passed on the coyote, two does crossed the clearing in front of us. We watched hoping a buck would be following the does, but it didn’t happen. As we were getting ready to leave, Christopher noticed movement. Only this time it was in front of us and at the far end of our field of view. Much to our surprise, we now had not one, but two bucks coming toward us. A nice three by three was leading a four by four. Christopher slowly moved his rifle into position so that he could use the log in front of us for a rest. This couldn’t get much better. I whispered to Christopher to wait until the bucks stopped walking and then take the four by four. Well, they never stopped walking and would have soon been going into cover, so I whispered to Christopher to go for it. At the shot the four by four went down. Christopher had practiced field dressing his wild hog, so dressing his buck went a little faster for him. We were both so excited that we don’t even remember the excursion of dragging the buck back to the truck.
This is one of those memories that will stay with both of us for the rest of our lives.