I’ve been deer hunting for 37 years and this year, 2023, I have had the best opening day ever! My daughter, Jayden, had the day off work and had some free time from school and we planned to do something together. She had opening day off and we planned a one day hunt, it was going to be cool in the morning and sunny all day, at least according to the weather app. We have some great friends who own some land in Blue Ridge, Georgia and earlier in the year asked me if I wanted to hunt bear on their property, of course I said yes! Blue Ridge is situated halfway between my house and Jayden’s. Prior to season I went and checked out the property, became familiar with the layout of their land and surrounding area. I had asked if Jayden could hunt deer with me while I hunted for bear, and of course the answer was yes.……
Opening morning, October 21, came and Jayden and I met for breakfast and to talk about the day. After breakfast we loaded her gear into The Jeep and leaving her truck at the restaurant we headed for the woods. It was a brisk morning in The Blue Ridge Mountains as the leaves were already quite colorful and there was frost on the grass as we walked out to the blind (sitting on the southern edge of Hayfield #1) I could feel the cool breeze going down the back of my orange flannel but, according to the weather app it was going to be sunny and warm later in the day. We got to the blind, later than most people think they should be in the blind, but that was ok, because neither of us were worried about the time and it was more about spending time together than anything else. We opened the blind, got our chairs situated with our rifles, I had brought my Henry Long Ranger in .308 lever action and Jayden had her Stevens .243 I had given her when she was 12, we were ready for the day. The blind was one of those portable blinds and it fit us both pretty good even in chairs. After a while sitting in the blind I realized I had left my bi-pod in The Jeep, we sat for a while before I decided to go back to The Jeep and get it. This forgetfulness turned out to be the key to the success of the day.
The sun was just beginning to peak over the mountain to our east (even though it had been light enough to shoot for quite some time) melting the frost on the ground in the hay field I was trekking across on my way back to the blind. I was being cautious, as I like to imagine myself as some great hunter, I noticed some movement in the hayfield behind the blind (Hayfield #2). I dropped quickly to the ground and brought my Henry Rifle to position and looked into the field. There were 3 does crossing the hay field behind our blind moving east into the woods behind the blind, which all was out of sight from where Jayden was sitting. After they passed out of sight I resumed my journey across the hayfield ever so cautiously. Again I saw movement and again I dropped to the ground so I wouldn’t be seen. As I lay on the ground in the middle of the hayfield I could feel the moisture from the frost melt on my legs but I never paid this no mind, there were deer a movin’! I looked carefully through the Vortex scope to get a look, more does crossing the hayfield behind Jayden. After moving through the hayfield in stealth mode I finally made it to the blind and handed Jayden the stuff and moved along the wood line, moving west to look into the hayfield behind us, BUSTED, 3 deer standing there saw me and I dropped down onto the ground, laying there and playing dead like opossum as motionless as possible. They were watching me, interested but not too nervous, just curious. They starting moving toward me and the blind was behind me and Jayden was in the blind. I started talking to Jayden trying to let her know, I started softly, “Jayden!” A little louder, “Jayden!” Even louder, “Jayden!” “What?” “I think one of them is a spike!” The deer only spent a little more time wondering what in the world was laying in the grass shouting and they slowly moved east into the woods behind the blind.
I could see no more deer in hayfield #2 so I worked back to the blind. “I’m going to head up the hill behind us into these woods (woods #2) ,” I told Jayden, “to see if I can chase them back around in front of you.” So, I headed into the woods moving south up the hill behind the blind hoping to get the deer to move back in front of Jayden to give her a shot. I was moving around not making too much noise but enough to be heard. I never saw any deer so I started moving back to the blind when my ever so keen eye caught a glaring, very bright object, I had to look close but it was Jayden! She had moved out of the blind and was sitting on the edge of the woods west of the blind overlooking the Hayfield #1. Still in the woods about 20 feet from the edge of the woods looking into the Hayfield #2 which was to the southwest of the blind I saw a deer walking down the hill right toward me! I raised my Henry Rifle and put the Vortex Scope on him, a buck! So I started moving around a little bit, he stopped and looked around he went on high alert. He looked around cautiously and was not prepared to keep moving east. He decided to turn around (Hairpin Turn #1 on 4 Pointer Trail) and moved back up the hill and entered the woods where he had entered Hayfield #2. I followed his trail up the hill moving West and sat at the edge of field to enjoy the incredible view of field, woods and sunshine. Then as if the wind was silently speaking to me letting me know to enter the woods and follow 4 Pointer Trail I got up and listening to that primeval call I entered the woods and tried to follow 4 Pointer Trail. I found a really nice place to sit and take in the wonder of the woods as I was feeling really fulfilled, it had already been a great day - cool morning, blue sky, colorful woods and the deer were moving. I began to text my brothers who were probably hunting in Michigan at the same time, as we always do. I was explaining to them what was going on and what I was hoping to accomplish and I ended the text with, I haven’t heard a boom yet.
Ten minutes later, the boom came ( Hairpin Turn #2)! It was close enough it had to be Jayden. Text my brothers that I heard a boom and waited. “Dad!” “Yeah!” “I got one!” I started to move east toward Hayfield #1, I hit the edge of the field to meet Jayden with a big ole’ grin on her face! I was looking around for the buck, “he’s right there” laying in Hayfield #1 about ten feet from the woods was the finest buck I did see! Jayden’s first deer! Was I ever so happy, proud and thankful that I was with her when she got her first deer. Together we got that buck and together we were ever so thankful to our friends who let us hunt on their property for us to share this wonderful day!
I'm a cofounder of BearTraxLLC and I'm very passionate about everything we're going to accomplish.