By Max Trachsel, Dunkirk, Ohio
I quickly glanced to my right at my wife who was walking in a zigzag fashion in a southern direction across the west half of one of our farm’s 20-acre CRP fields. I was doing the same thing in the east half of the field, knowing that at any moment one or more deer could erupt practically under our feet. This was the Saturday of deer gun season in Ohio, and the deer would either be really spooky or would sit tight in hopes we would walk by without seeing them.
On the south edge of this CRP field was a small woods, on the other side of which was another 20-acre CRP field where our 10-year-old granddaughter, Heidi, stood in readiness beside her mother, hoping that we would push a deer to them. To the west of the woods stood our 12-year-old grandson, Leif, accompanied by his dad, both of whom hoped that any wise buck would move out sideways of the direction of the drive we were making across the field and into the woods.
Neither my wife nor I carried a gun, relying on the grandkids to harvest any deer that may run towards them. In fact, with both of us being in our mid-60s, we were definitely not setting any speed records in trying to cover as much of the thick CRP grass as we could. It must have seemed an eternity to the grandkids who tried to patiently wait for any sight of a deer that might burst forth from the woods in its escape from our stumbling. We almost made it to the woods when shots rang out from the south side.
I yelled to my wife, “Something must have run out! Did you see anything?”
Before she could answer, another shot came from the west side. Of course, where we were standing on the north side of the woods, we couldn’t see anything that was going on. A few seconds later, another shot came from the west side of the woods. Either someone was doing a lot of missing or there were several deer running around. That’s when the hollering and screaming began.
Someone shouted, “Over here! We got one!”
Another voice replied, “We did too! Check this out!”
My wife and I were so far away we could barely hear them, but we could tell by the excited voices that at least one of the kids must have scored. Finally, we made it through the woods and across the next field where we could see a family gathering was beginning to take place. Heidi had harvested her first deer, a nice, fat, 5-point buck. Her other grandfather, who had been stationed a couple of hundred yards to the side of them, was there along with her mother. Both were congratulating Heidi on her well-placed shot that had dropped the young buck in its tracks.
In a matter of minutes we could hear a pickup truck approaching and were surprised to find two deer, a buck and a doe, in the bed. Leif’s father, Eric, is my oldest son, and we all gathered ’round to hear how the events of the drive unfolded.
Apparently there had been two bucks and two does in the woods that had decided to get away long before my wife and I had the chance to enter the woods. One of the bucks and the does had run more towards the other side of the field from where Heidi and her mom were standing, so her other grandfather attempted to spook them to turn them. His tactic worked. The deer ran directly in front of Heidi and her mom, and Heidi calmly took her accurate shot.
The second bigger buck, maybe a year older and wiser, had decided to move in a sideways direction to our drive and ran smack into Leif standing at the edge of a small field a couple of hundred yards from the side of the woods. With one shot Leif harvested his first deer, a nice 8-point buck with a broken brow tine.
At the same time this was happening, a herd of several does was headed toward where Leif and his dad were standing. The deer were coming across some open fields from the south, where they must have been spooked by some other hunters. According to Eric, the herd trotted along, taking their time to get to the CRP fields. When the does heard Heidi and Leif’s shooting, they hurried in their attempt to get past Eric and Leif, whereupon Eric picked out one of the bigger does and dropped it. In a matter of three minutes, three deer had been harvested.
It didn’t surprise me that each grandkid had dropped a deer with one shot. After all, I knew that their dad, Eric—an Iraq War veteran and member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division—had taught his kids how to shoot safely and accurately. It was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for three generations of our family to work together to harvest three deer in three minutes!
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