So this year my daughter really wanted to archery hunt, she decided this late in the game but I said why not, After purchasing a bow and finding out she could only pull 15lbs (40 min for hunting) I told her the bad news with just two months till hunting season... she didn't waiver and got to work. With 2weeks to hunting season she got herself to 40lbs and could shoot well.
On to hunting, This season she has proved to me beyond a doubt her dedication to hunting by how much time and energy she has putting in to this sport. She has twisted thigh bones that causes problems with her knees and thighs yet even after a visit to the Dr. during the week from pain and swelling in her knees telling her not to use stairs, run, jump she headed up to the woods last weekend, and went on 3 elk stalks in canyons from hell, twice in one day. The final stalk was frustrating as we followed the elk for just over a mile through clear cut and timber before getting within 50yds of the elk. As we were making the final push to get a shot a truck pulled in and spoiled the hunt chasing off the elk and her chance at elk as we were too tired with a long wet walk back to the truck. Both of us were devastated an tired and thankful that a random stranger gave us a ride back to the vehicle. Unfortunately that was the last time we got to see elk.
Now the part that hurts me the most and also my favorite. She has had many blown opportunities on deer for one reason or another they were all failed attempts. She enjoys both stalking and driving hoping for a stupid deer as she calls them, and I keep telling her the most satisfying will be making a stalk and getting the satisfaction of besting an animal who lives in the woods every day.
So yesterday after hitting our "honey hole" starting to head out we spot that a deer had came out of the timber and was making it's way to the clear cut. We hop out and start making our stalk, sneaking in undetected till 28yds. The deer vitals are mostly hidden by ferns between us, asking her if she feels confident she can blindly find vitals she says yes and lets one fly. Sure enough whack the deer bolts with an arrow embedded in the front vitals area, we high five and I tell her to wait. I go retrieve the truck and on my way down I see her collapse from excitement such a great feeling. We wait it out at the truck with hot coco talking after an hour wait we start the trailing, and trailing was tough and we lost the trail several times wasting too much time when we should have been skipping finding blood and just headed straight for where we knew she was headed. I wasted too much time in the clear cut and darkness came too fast. My daughter now wet and shivering I told her to wait in the truck and get warm, I made a stupid mistake of leaving my backpack with pistol in the truck with her. As I enter the woods in the dark I find a couple spots of blood and my hopes start coming up as I follow the light blood trail. Suddenly off in the distance to my left I see a lighted knock glowing my excitement gets the best of me and I sprint for it as I come upon arriving it's just the broken arrow laying on the ground and my heart sinks a little. I start shining my light looking for blood as I wing the light around and spot eyes and for a second excitement as I instantly think deer and then my heart stops when I realize nope big cat and me no gun, after a stare off and the cat taking a couple steps in my direction fear took over and I spun 180 and blindly running and yelling I make it back to the truck to calm down and retrieve my pistol. After calming down I made my way back to the area (making a bunch of noise) and continue to try to find the blood trail. After almost 2 more hours of looking I couldn't find another drop or trace of the deer, when I returned to the truck holding her arrow in hand I return to see her balling her eyes out. Just knowing she is upset over not being able to find her deer. I give her a hug and tell her I just need a couple minutes break and will go back in... she says no dad I'm worried about you, lets go home I don't want to lose you over a "dumb" deer.
She has poured her heart and soul into achieving this and it absolutely devastated me not being able to find the deer.Sorry for such a long rant/story but I just had to help alleviate the pain.