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Thread: My daughters first deer

  1. #1
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    My daughters first deer

    Some of you may recall my story back in late April when I took my daughter Mikayla (14) into Fiordland in the hope of putting her in front of a roaring stag. On that trip she passed up an opportunity to shoot one of the resident hinds, preferring instead to concentrate on getting the local stag, but despite locating him on the last night it wasn't to be. This time around the sole purpose of the trip was going to be to get herself her first deer. All gloves were off.

    We were fortunate enough to get permission to hunt some private land but as I reminded Mikayla prior to departure, just because we are hunting private land doesn't necessarily make the job any easier as the deer are still wild, still very alert, and still very much a challenge to hunt. Thankfully we had a break in the weather and on the Saturday morning we headed off for an overnighter in the hills. Arriving on our block around 2 pm we felt we'd timed it perfectly. The wind was nothing more than a general drift uphill and there wasn't a heap of sun around so the day was perfect for walking. We loaded up our day packs, grabbed the rifle, then started an easy meander up towards a leading ridge where we felt we would probably be able to sit and scope out the local talent. I felt confident in both my ability to put her in front of a deer and in her ability to cleanly put one down. We've regularly discussed shot placement, basic ballistics and hunting ethics and I've found it handy to pause hunting programs on TV and ask - "If this was your opportunity to shoot, where would you aim?" - testing her knowledge of quick decision making in order to get a good clean kill.

    About 30 minutes into the walk two young Fallow popped out of a clump of Matagouri less than 100m away and took off over a hump in the landscape. I looked at Mikayla to find she had her binos up to her face and was concentrating on something in exactly the opposite direction. I had to grin. Ha! Nevermind... Strike One... keep walking. A short while later, still with that drifting wind on our backs we spooked another couple of Fallow, this time only about 50m away but this time they were in no hurry to depart. Mikki pulled the rifle up to her shoulder but took a little too long to get comfortable. The deer decided they'd given her enough time to make up her mind, so they too disappeared over a bank and into thick cover. Strike Two.

    An hour or so later we made it to our ridgeline and worked our way into a more favourable position so the wind was on our face. It was getting on towards 4 pm and we were about to hit the prime time. The binoculars were put to good use and it wasn't long before we spotted a couple of Fallow in the distance. It was nice to sit and watch them grazing and discuss tactics for getting closer without the pressure of being seen or heard. Around 4:30 we located a couple of deer a little closer so we decided to have a go. Everything was in our favour and we would only have another hour or so of daylight so it was a good time to make a move. The general landscape was a beautiful combination of manuka stands, clumps of matagouri, small guts of crown fern with interspersed areas of grass. Perfect Fallow country.

    We were probably less than 100 metres away from our starting point when suddenly a doe jumped up in front of me no more than 5 or 6 metres away. She'd been lying down in a patch of manuka and was perfectly disguised until she moved. She ran about 50 metres from us and stopped to look back. This time Mikayla was on the ball. She'd dropped into a seated position, lined up the 7mm08 and was ready to go. I gave her the nod and the shot hit home, low, perfectly placed for heart and lungs. The doe dropped to her knees but my attention was caught by her girlfriends who had suddenly decided to vacate the area, stage right. Mikayla reloaded and followed 3 other does who ran but stopped to look back, half-hidden by some bracken and stumpy matagouri about 100m away. We watched them for at least 30 or 40 seconds before they ambled off. We could have taken another shot but the deal was - one deer - and I'd rather honour that and be invited back than get carried away and be in the banned forever. We made our way to where the deer had been shot to find… nothing. Bugger. Mikki started second guessing herself but I knew the shot had been good so it was time to start looking further afield. A short tracking job and 30 metres later we located the deer down an embankment covered in crown fern. Photos were taken and then just as we had practiced on goats, Mikayla started the process of preparing the carcass for the carry out. She was doing an excellent job of it and was on the very last cut – between the bone and tendon on the rear legs so she could poke the front hock through – when she slipped with the knife and collected her left arm. Crap! I checked the cut… yep – that wasn’t good. We sprinted back up to where our packs had been dropped and I dived into the first aid kit. The cut was surgically clean so it was easy to manage but Mikki went a lighter shade of white as the realisation of the problem set in. I reassured her she was going to live and settled her down to recover for a bit then went back and collected the deer. Together we got everything back to the car and instead of parking up for a relaxed night under the stars we headed out, making Queenstown Hospital just after 8pm. Hospitals are dreaded places and our experience here was as predictable. It was 1am before we made it home – with a combination of stiches and steri-strips.


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    Mikayla with her first deer while I have a "proud Dad" moment.


    During the drive back to civilisation I tried to keep Mikayla’s mind off her arm by conjuring up a good story to tell friends and family. Together we explored many options but finally settled on the following description of how things unfolded - and so was the story we told her mother:
    "I was stalking through the scrub and suddenly this deer stands up just 10 feet in front of me. It was kinda cornered and the only way out was past me. The deer dropped its head and charged at me and I only had a split second to make a decision on what to do..."
    "Really.... wow... so did you dive out of the way?"
    "No, I grabbed its ears as it sped past and swung myself up onto the deer's back. The deer took off down the hill with me using its ears to steer it around the big clumps of manuka. It jumped a stock fence and as I floated over the top I noticed that I should have shaved my legs before I left home this morning…"
    "Really???"
    Mikayla continued "I saw we were getting close to the car so I reached down and slit the deers neck and we came to a tumbling mess just 3 metres from the car."
    "Oh, is that how you cut your arm then?"
    "Oh... that. Yeah, nah. I cut myself when I was shaving my legs between the fence and the car."
    So there you go. The moral of the story is you should never, EVER, go deer hunting until after you have shaved your legs.



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    A lesson learnt - I'm betting she doesn't do that again anytime soon!

  2. #2
    Member craigc's Avatar
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    That’s a decent first cut... we’ve all done it!
    Well done on the deer too. 👍
    planenutz and Cordite like this.

  3. #3
    Sending it Gibo's Avatar
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    That was a bloody good read, thanks for sharing! Cracked me up, well done Mikayla
    planenutz and Cordite like this.

  4. #4
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    Awesome read bro! Tough as nails to handle the cut and keep going, Ive seen grown men in the meat works completely pass out from smaller cuts. Well done guys

  5. #5
    Member Lucky's Avatar
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    Great story , she will never forget where she got that scar from .
    Rusky, planenutz and Cordite like this.

  6. #6
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    well done !

  7. #7
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    Excellent result. Tell her that guys dig scars...........and she will have a great story to tell her grandchildren when they ask "How did you get that scar Grandma"
    planenutz likes this.

  8. #8
    Member Joe_90's Avatar
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    Good on you both! The memories will last a lifetime.
    Without good mates the Great Outdoors is simply the Big Outside

  9. #9
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    nice one and a scar so it will always be a reminder of that first deer with dad. maybe you should have bought Mikayla down to shoot those sheep

  10. #10
    Bus driver
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    Enjoyable read mate.....good skills..
    It's not the mountain we conquer,but ourselves.....Sir Edmund Hillary

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by berg243 View Post
    nice one and a scar so it will always be a reminder of that first deer with dad. maybe you should have bought Mikayla down to shoot those sheep
    She couldn't have done any worse than I did that day... I still can't believe it. Still, they were super-tasty sheep!

    Micky Duck and berg243 like this.

  12. #12
    Member Mathias's Avatar
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    Great story cheers...

  13. #13
    Member Mr Browning's Avatar
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    Take your top back to where you bought it from, Stoney Creek put their logo on backwards

    A good read, good luck on the recovery.
    The importance of a first aid kit while hunting should be drummed into to everyone. You never know when you need it.
    Thanks for sharing.
    GUN CONTROL IS A TIGHT 5-SHOT GROUP.

  14. #14
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    Great result! I remember the story earlier in the year. It's great to see the care and judgement shown to only take a shot when everything was absolutely right.

    You earned that proud Dad moment by being a great role model!
    planenutz likes this.

  15. #15
    Large Member mimms's Avatar
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    Good yarn man, cheers for sharing.
    That's a wound alright, bit more than butterfly stitches. Guess you left the stapler at home
    planenutz likes this.

 

 

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