As told to J.D. Strain (Grandpa)
by Levi and Hunter Schmidt
Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Levi and Hunter, the Schmidt brothers. At age 10 and 9, we took two bucks, both deer of a lifetime, during the 2007 firearms season in Missouri. At the time, neither of us was old enough to take the hunter safety course, so we could hunt only on Grandpa’s farm using farm tags.
When the firearms season opened on Saturday, Grandpa took our older brother with him. We didn’t hunt the next day. Grandpa is a preacher and we go to church with him. I don’t think I remember much of his sermon because I was thinking that Monday morning was sure slow coming around.
Monday finally arrived and we all got up real early. Grandma, we call her Nana, had made us cookies and even fixed hot chocolate and put it in a Thermos bottle.
Hunter and I agreed that I would get the first shot, and he would take the second deer. We practiced with our .223-caliber rifles prior to the deer season.
We walked to the stand early Monday morning with just a flashlight, and climbed up the stand’s wooden ladder. Grandpa had built the stand out of a single sheet of plywood. He even put in guard rails and built a wooden bench for us to sit on. Grandpa sat on a 5-gallon bucket with a soft cushion on top. It was still dark when we settled into the stand.
Daylight finally came, and we expected to see a deer right away. We waited for what seemed like hours and finally asked Grandpa, “What time is it?” He said it was 6:15 and that a few cookies and some hot chocolate would make time pass quicker.
You can only eat so many cookies and drink only so much hot chocolate. Hunter and I became bored and cold. Grandpa is an optimistic kind of fellow and said a deer could show up at any time. He encouraged us to keep looking and listening.
We were both about to fall asleep when Grandpa said, “Levi, there’s a deer coming from the south, and I can’t tell if it’s a buck or a doe, but get ready.”
When I looked, I could tell it was a buck. I did not know how big he was, but I was excited. Grandpa said when I had a good shot to take it.
The deer walked up to the fence and jumped over it. “Shoot!” Grandpa said. I told him I was waiting for the deer to stop. Grandpa made a “mieeke” noise just like the
TV hunters do on The Outdoor Channel. It worked. The buck stopped and threw up his head.
I put the crosshairs on his shoulder but had to pull my cap off because it was in the way of my scope. Grandpa told me to hurry up and shoot because the deer wasn’t going to stand there long. I pulled the trigger.
I was not nervous until the rifle fired. Then my heart began pounding hard in my chest.
The deer ran downhill along a fence line and out of sight. Grandpa said we’d wait about 15 minutes before going after it, but it seemed like hours.
We unloaded our guns and climbed down from the stand to look for the buck. We walked down the hill and crossed a dry creek bed. No deer could be seen, so we returned to the starting point, about 50 yards from the stand.
We took off downhill again. This time, Hunter began following the deer tracks in the road. Grandpa and I walked ahead, hoping to find the deer prone at the edge of the woods.
Hunter yelled that the tracks led into the woods where he was standing. Grandpa and I turned around and started walking toward him. Up ahead along the creek bed was the white belly of my deer.
I was excited when I saw the size of his antlers. Grandpa said I was blessed to take such a nice buck at a young age. He said in his 40 years of hunting, he’d never killed a buck as nice as mine. The buttons were about to pop off my jacket.
The deer had 16 points and a drop tine. I could hardly believe it, but there lay the proof on the ground. I just couldn’t help it. I had to straddle the buck and hold up his head just like they do on television.
Hunter was glad I had tagged a big buck, but was kind of sad he’d not seen one. Grandpa said he’d take him back to the deer stand about 3 p.m.
Hunter thought 3 o’clock would never come. He woke Grandpa up a couple of times asking if it was time to go hunting. Finally he told Hunter to get ready. They got into the old farm truck and drove part way to the deer stand. Now it is Hunter’s time to tell the rest of the story.
Grandpa and I watched a lot of squirrels, chipmunks, woodpeckers and even a few black ants, but no deer were stirring. We sat for what seemed like hours, and I asked Grandpa how long we’d been in the stand. He said it was only 4 o’clock. I was really looking hard for a deer. About 100 yards from the stand is 10-acre field of winter wheat with a pond at the end. I thought I saw a deer behind the pond bank.
Grandpa had let me borrow his binoculars. I looked and decided what I saw was only a bush. All this excitement really woke me up, and I looked and listened even harder.
I asked Grandpa if I could blow his deer grunt call, and Grandpa said he would do it. He gave the call a few grunts and put it back in his duffel bag.
We waited, but saw no deer. I asked Grandpa what time is was, and he said 10 minutes before 5 p.m. I looked to the east toward the wheat field and saw a deer about 75 yards away.
I told Grandpa. “Where?” he asked. I pointed and rested my gun on the guard rail. Grandpa said the deer was a nice buck, and if I would wait a minute or two, the deer would turn sideways for a better shot. I had the crosshairs on the deer’s chest and knew I could hit where I aimed, so I pulled the trigger.
The deer jumped and ran up an old logging road. Grandpa said, “Hunter, I think you missed it.” I told him I had not missed and the deer would be dead just up in the woods, just like my brother’s buck.
Grandpa said, “Okay, let’s get down and go find your deer.” I unloaded my gun, and we climbed down the ladder. We walked up the logging road, and sure enough about 30 yards from the spot I’d shot the buck, there he was.
I was really excited when I walked up to the deer. Grandpa said I was really blessed.
I counted nine points with long tines. The deer measured 17 1/2 inches inside the beams. Grandpa field-dressed the deer while I used his cell phone to call my brothers and my Nana. Everyone was so excited for me that that they all wanted to get in the picture when Grandpa got out the camera.
That’s the story of the Schmidt brothers whitetail deer hunt of 2007. Our thanks to Grandpa for his guide service, field dressing, processing and bunches of good deer jerky.