By Joe Svetina
-- Deer season was upon us again, and my son, Dustin, was excited with the thoughts of this being the year he gets his big buck. I was nervous because this season would be the second year he would go hunting, and I vividly remembered Dustin's first one. That season was full of blunders and mishaps that were caused, not by Dustin, but by me.
This year was going to be different. I was prepared. I made sure we were both properly outfitted for the hunt. I had done much more scouting and found the perfect tree in the woods, which is situated on top of a hill between two ravines. Also I picked a spot way in the back of our property to be sure no other hunters would wander into our zone.
Dustin and I set off before light to get into our stand early on opening morning of our state's 2006 youth hunt. As the sun came up and the temperature dropped a few degrees, I wondered what would this day bring. The year before during opening day we saw nothing more than an army of gray squirrels trouncing around. Again, as luck would have it, the morning crawled by, and we were entertained by nothing more than squirrels.
About 10 a.m., I was starting to get frustrated. However, as I looked at Dustin I could see he was really into it. My boy was patiently scanning the woods for any sign of movement. I leaned back in our stand to rest my eyes, but as I leaned past Dustin's head there stood a very nice 6-point buck 25 yards away in a shooting lane to the right.
The buck had tall tines, but no brow tines. I though this would be a great first buck. I nudged Dustin and nodded toward the deer. Dustin's eyes lit up as he tried to turn on the deer. But the buck wandered off toward the ravine, and I thought we had missed our chance.
I reached for my grunt tube and tried to make a soft grunt but no sound came out. The tube was frozen. My mind raced! What could turn this buck around? I grabbed my can call and put it into action as we watched the buck's antlers slowly disappear into the trees. The buck stopped in its tracks. I called again. The buck turned its head toward us. I called a third time and the buck headed directly to us.
"Get ready!" I told Dustin. Dustin fired as the buck entered an opening. The buck jumped back, and started to run to our left. He couldn't have missed I thought. Dustin adjusted to get on the deer. I used the can call again. The buck came to a stop behind a tree, took one step out and Dustin fired again. This time Dustin's bullet found its mark. The buck ran about 20 yards down into the ravine and crashed into a tree.
As a dad there are many times we are proud of our kids. It may be good grades in school, or a fantastic play in sports, which make us proud. To me, as an avid hunter, his first deer really hit home!
Joe and Dustin Svetina
St. Charles, Missouri
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