Family and hunting 'are life' for proud father
By Josh Abel (Josslyn's Dad)
I'm an avid bow hunter and shot my first deer with a rifle at age four, so it's important to me to bring my family into the sport at an early age.
My oldest daughter Josslyn is 6-years-old, and had been shooting a .22 rifle for about a year. She'd even taken a raccoon as her first animal at age five, so I figured she was ready to try deer hunting this season.
We started practicing with a crossbow before bow season started here in the Texas Hill Country near New Braunfels. She did great with the target, so I decided to take her hunting the second weekend of bow season.
On the afternoon of Oct. 7, 2012, we headed to our small farm and climbed into an elevated tower blind overlooking an oat field.
As kids tend to be, Josslyn was very worried she wouldn't see anything, but luckily the deer moved early that evening, and a few does and fawns were soon in the field.
Some smaller bucks and spikes arrived next and were chasing the does and fawns around, but after a while they all settled down.
One of the bigger spikes was in a good position to shoot, so we got the crossbow up and ready for Josslyn to take a shot. That's when she began to feel her nerves take over. She got excited the moment I said she could shoot the spike.
The deer began to act nervous, too, and were looking back across some railroad tracks where most of the deer had come from. I knew something was coming, hopefully a larger buck.
Sure enough, I caught movement through the brush and spotted a nice 8-pointer about to jump the fence.
Josslyn's nerves were already worked up from the spike, so when she laid eyes on that 8-pointer, she went into a full body shake! When I saw that, I knew it would be tough for her to make a shot on this buck.
It jumped the fence and acted like it owned the field, then grazed to a broadside position about 25 yards from us.
Again, we got the crossbow into position and Josslyn's nerves really kicked in.
Experienced hunters know what that feeling is all about, but as a beginner, Josslyn had no idea. For her, it was excitement and fear all rolled into one.
I opened the blind window and she lined up her shot perfectly. All she needed to do was steady the crosshairs behind the buck's shoulder, but she was so anxious she couldn't pull the trigger!
After what seemed like 20 minutes of coaching and convincing her to pull the trigger, Josslyn finally put the bolt directly behind the front shoulder.
The 8-pointer jumped high into the air and kicked its hind legs. I'd watched the Lumenok hit exactly where it was supposed to, so I knew it was a good shot. We waited 20 minutes and climbed down to check the bolt, which was stuck in the mud. The Lumenok was still illuminated, making it easy to find.
As we approached the bolt, I looked across the oat field and saw Josslyn's buck lying there. It didn't even travel 50 yards.
Josslyn was so excited, she wanted to run up and grab it antlers, but she knows from hunting with me that we always have to approach downed deer very cautiously.
After checking the buck, it was all smiles and tears from me. The picture taking and phone calls began, and Josslyn wanted to call everyone she could think of. It was the most exciting hunt I have ever been on.
Besides my family, hunting is life for me. And for my oldest daughter to want to spend time hunting with me, I couldn't ask for more. I'm so proud to share the story of Josslyn's first deer with you all!
Editor's Note: Since this hunt, Josslyn took another buck with a crossbow, which was videotaped by her father. Here's a link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcbcjP8zRM0