As an outdoor adventures columnist the time of the year to write about deer hunting has about passed, and the following column almost was not written. Several people close to me told me that I should tell my readers about my daughter Selina’s success.
The dark cloud started back in September of 2011 when Selina, at the ripe age of ten, hunted black bear for the first time.
Looking back, I should have had Selina harvest a 220-pounder that provided an easy shot on the 3rd night of the season. We had so many bear in the 325 to 450 pound range coming into the bait before the season started, that I let Selina make the decision to pass what was an easy shot.
Selina spent seventeen nights on the bear stand, missed the youth deer hunt, and let what may have been a state record sow, go on two different occasions as it had two bears with it. Between the first and second experience, I spoke with three biologists and all three told me that they thought it was sow that had not gone into heat that summer and she was with 1.5 year old cubs which made her legal game. Selina still chose to pass her up on another extremely easy shot.
When Wisconsin’s deer gun season came around back in November of 2011, Selina was really excited to make some venison. Of all the foods including desserts that she knows of, venison is Selina’s favorite.
I sat with Selina for three days watching the marshes and forests, of The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and we did not see a deer. Like with the bear experiences, she never complained and always had a positive attitude.
When we are hunting, Selina reads, watches for game after each paragraph and I always bring excellent snacks. Another factor that I believe is important on keeping a kid in the game is I joke around with her a lot and when we do not harvest our quarry I always remind her that, though it might be a bummer for us, it is the deer or duck’s lucky day.
Selina hunted six out of the nine days during her first deer gun season and on the last drive of the last day, The Red Brush Gang kicked up a doe that was running as fast a deer can run directly at us. The large doe could not be seen until she was 40-yards away because she was in dense, red brush.
When we saw her, Selina knew she could not take the shot, said “no dad” and handed the rifle to me. I literally shot the deer in mid-air as she was jumping a dike and thus a decision was made by a young hunter and in the end venison was made.
For both Selina and myself, the doe seemed like it was flying and the impact of the bullet was incredible as well as the splash our trophy made in the water.
This past October, I hunted during The Youth Deer Hunt with Selina, a KAMO mentor, and a KAMO kid. We camped in Sauk County and hunted in some really excellent deer country. Once again, no shot opportunities for my little girl. Once again an excellent attitude abounded.
Selina’s second gun deer season was naturally with The Red Brush Gang and the first couple of days Selina kind of had the “we are not seeing any deer syndrome”. Next we saw deer on drives and Selina was with me as a stander, but she could not shoot because there was blaze orange in the background.
On the last drive of the year a big buck was pushed to her and the shell in her rifle did not fire. Of all the experiences I witnessed with my daughter, the constant was an excellent attitude no matter how cold, or eventless the adventure was.
Thank God for friends! This time it was Jeff and Michelle Neitzel of Camp Douglas.
The Neitzels were aware that I hunt in conditions that can be difficult to harvest a deer for a young hunter and offered to let Selina hunt with a muzzleloader on their property.
A dense fog greeted Selina and I as we began our hunt, as usual Selina was reading.
Leading up to this hunt I had Selina practice with a 50 caliber “Traditions Pursuit” until she was an excellent shot
The herd of deer actually came running up a ridge and into the food plot that we were watching.
It was an incredible thrill to steady the gun and watch my young huntress as she calmly put the open sites on her target and made a 65-yard shot cleanly, killing a large adult doe.
There will be a many more, thanks Jeff and Michelle!
THIS WEEK’S OUTDOOR COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative.