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(Publisher’s note: A warning to readers, there is some information in this story and a photo at the bottom, which some of you might find graphic in detail. Hunting is a very popular activity in this area and it is Chelsea Update’s mission to cover all aspects of the community. Chelsea Update would like to thank Rick Taylor for the information and photo in this story. )

The Youth Deer Hunt has been going on for years in Michigan.  It’s an annual event that typically occurs during the third weekend in September.

This event allows youths aged 16 and under the opportunity to use a firearm, bow or crossbow in the hopes of bagging a deer whether it’s a buck or doe. These young adults must be accompanied by an adult such as a parent or guardian.

I’ve never paid much attention to the Youth Hunt because the deer hunting season lasts for 3 months from Oct. 1 thru Jan. 1.  I always thought there would be plenty of time for Ricky to shoot a deer during that time.

But, I recently realized that kids like my 12-year-old Ricky might have an opportunity to bag a big buck since they’re the first hunters out there this fall.

My trail cameras had picked up a lot of small and medium-sized bucks and a ton of does.

We took our video camera, go pro camera and crossbow and headed to a nice property in Chelsea that holds a lot of deer.  We made it to our tree stand at 4 p.m. and the winds were quickly changing for the worse.  At 5:10 p.m., I knew we were wasting our time and told Ricky we either need to switch locations or just go home.

So, I went to a place that I’ve written about many times called “The Dexter Honey Hole.”

I drove at a speed that may have been frowned upon by some, but we were in the tree stand by 5:35 p.m.  The location proved its namesake as four does walked into the field just 20 minutes after our arrival.  We watched them for half an hour before they left the way they had come in. Two different flocks of turkeys made their way past our stand with some impressive gobblers; I had a tag that could have easily been filed but this afternoon was about Ricky, so I let them go.

Three more whitetail deer walked into the field and we continued to watch them intently as they slowly closed the distance.  They were about 50 yards away and Ricky reminded me how much he likes venison jerky.  He asked if he could shoot a doe if one came in close enough and I asked him to hold off in case a nice buck came by.

He disagreed with me telling me that “we probably won’t see any bucks anyway”.  Thankfully, the doe’s got spooked by something and Ricky saw the smile on my face.  I was fairly certain a buck was in the area and the does didn’t want any part of the dating scene.

It only took about 3 minutes before Ricky whispered “Buck” which was more of a yell than a whisper.

This buck was big, real big and the antlers were as thick as my wrists.  I recorded this buck for about 15 minutes and used the grunt call. The buck would look in our direction, but it was feeding on clover and didn’t want to leave the lush vegetation.  Perhaps I need to work on my grunt calling?

The buck was 56 yards away and slowly closing the distance completely unaware of our presence.  Well, until two doe’s starting snorting just 10 yards behind Ricky and I.

“Oh no”, I thought.  These does are going to ruin any chances of Ricky harvesting this gorgeous buck.

The does wouldn’t stop snorting and stomping their feet and the buck began to leave the field.  I asked Ricky if he could see the buck through the scope and he said yes.

I knew it was now or never and I also knew Ricky was a “crack shot” with the crossbow.

I asked Ricky if he was on the buck, tight behind the shoulder and he said “yes”.   I then asked if he was rock solid on the buck and he said “yes” again. For some reason, I had every bit of faith that Ricky would make the shot and I told him to take the shot.

It took about 3 seconds before I heard the bolt leave the crossbow.  The luminok (small red light on the rear end of the arrow) lit up the sky like a roman candle spanning 61 yards before hitting its mark.  All bow hunters know the sound of the unmistakable and thunderous “whack” of the arrow hitting the deer.

We both knew Ricky had hit this deer but the luminok arrow turned off upon impact.

I had Ricky unbuckle his safety harness, get down from the ladder stand while I directed him to where I thought the deer was standing.  I came down soon after and it didn’t take long before we found the blood trail. It didn’t take us long and we found this “booner” of a buck.

Ricky took out the top of the heart and literally made a perfect shot.

This buck weighed over 200 pounds and I was barely able to load it.  What impressed me the most about this hunt wasn’t the fact that Ricky shot the second largest deer in our house.  It was the fact that he didn’t choke under pressure.  He was focused and really took his time to make his shot count.  Way to go Ricky, the jerky will be done in a week!

I’ve had the opportunity to hunt this property for eight years, and I just want the property owner how much I appreciate the privilege to hunt your land.

Oh yeah, I told Ricky you like peppered jerky.

Way to go Ricky, most experienced hunters would be very happy with a buck of this caliber.

Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo.

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