Just a few years ago, I met a beautiful woman that I just had to have. Since I did not want to let her go, I married her. Not only did I fall in love with her, but also with her sweet daughter, Bekah Dawn. I could go on forever about my loving wife, but his is not about her. This is about a once in a lifetime experience that two people will never forget.
Until she met me, Bekah had not been accustomed to the life of an avid hunter. I have not pressured her into hunting at all. One night early last summer, the three of us were enjoying the Disney Channel. During a commercial, much to the bewilderment of her mother and me, she said, “I want to hunt this year.” She was serious! It was a proud moment in this man’s life. We immediately began discussing what she needed , where “her” spot would be, and the work that needed to be done before hand. She had never fired a firearm up to this point. WE practiced with a scoped .22 caliber rifle for a couple of weeks. Her mother and I decided to bump her up to a .223 caliber. She was a natural!
Bekah had already been involved in my multitudinous outdoor chores. Heck, she even made the final pass on planting a great food plot. After practicing with the “big” gun for awhile, our anxious twelve year old was ready. She even had a buck picked out who she named “Weirdo.” We tracked his movements by trail camera and watched his crazy rack bloom in velvet that summer. As we waited for the opening of the Oklahoma youth rifle weekend in mid-October, his pattern changed. Weirdo started spending the night right in front of the new blind I had built for her. So that made the morning hunt out of the question. I had another spot on another farm where I intended to take her on the morning hunt, hoping that at least a fat doe would make her way to the feeder that morning in search of a meal.
A half hour before shooting light, we caught movement. It was a very clear and starry night, so we could see them surprisingly well that far from legal light. We enjoyed watching the two does eating under the feeder before it even came on. As the black light turned to gray, the deer were joined by several more antlerless back strap transporters. Much to our disappointment, they had crossed the fence and appeared to be leaving the scene. They fed their way across an old pasture behind us. WE had only one small shooting lane cut behind us. The feeder caught us by surprise when it went off. But it seemed a couple of the deer were making their way back towards the feeder. The only problem was, Bekah was on the wrong side of the stand. The deer didn’t come back to the feeder, but they weren’t leaving either. She would have to shoot through the tiny lane I had cut behind us.
I had to switch places with her on the seat of the buddy stand we were in. How we managed to not alert even one of the several mature does grazing, no one will ever know. But we did. We had our eyes on one beautiful doe especially. Bekah steadied the old H & R rifle on the shooting rail of the stand. As she followed the grazing creature in her crosshairs, I could feel my heart pounding. I think I was more nervous than she was! She finally got her chance. The deer turned broadside at eighty yards. “You know what to do. Squeeze when you’re ready.”
With a resounding boom, the herd scattered. “I think I missed!” she whispered. “I don’t think so. Just wait.” A few seconds later, I heard what sounded like a cough. “You killed her!!” I said. Knowing that what I just heard was proof of a well placed lung shot, we quietly celebrated. The deer stumbled right in front of the stand and collapsed. We celebrated a little louder then. I was speechless. I am so proud. She trained for this very moment. I dreamt of this same moment. She set out to do something and she did it. She is now another contributor to the Family Freezer.
As the main rifle season comes to a close, I had to educate her about tag soup. Her opportunities to take Weirdo or any other buck are gone. It was disappointing information for her. Then she asked me “We do have some extra days for a doe don’t we?” “Yes, we do, Bek,” I said proudly. Two things are certain – she is hooked, and I am one proud papa.