I can remember the anticipation as a young boy waiting for the day I could go hunting for my fist buck, it's something I will never forget and still carry with me to this day. Fast forward 20 years... My nephew Ryan Rantapaa is a carbon copy of how excited I used to be as a young man, very excitable and very passionate about hunting. This hunt started months ago when we had made plans that he was going to try to harvest his first buck with a bow and arrow, his Dad Justin bought him a very nice Bowtech bow from a local sporting goods store and the practice sessions began. We shot all summer long and found out his effective shooting range to be about 25 yards.
As the season began we found some very nice bucks that we would like to harvest, we went out several times with no luck, but had the bucks patterned to a certain canyon. Columbus Day 2016 Ryan had the day off school, it was a hot 75 degree day, not expecting much we headed out. As fate would have it we found our bucks in the same area bedded on the backside of a cliff In a great spot for a stalk, we picked out one giant pine tree as a guideline for our stalk. As we hiked up the back side of the mountain we were both very out of breath as the terrain was very steep, as we got to the top we decided that it would be best for him to draw his bow as we peaked over the top and I would range. I could sense his nervousness/excitement, we both knew they were still there and the wind was blowing in a perfect direction. As we peak over the edge all the practice sessions and hard work go racing through both of our minds, "there he is Ryan 22 yards, remember pick a spot" " words my archery hunting mentor Forrest Cain told me as I was a young man, the number 1 rule in archery". The buck was quartering away slightly, as he released his arrow, I immediately blurted out " you smoked him, perfect shot" the deer took off down the hill into a canyon as we watched him come up the other side of the hill the buck slowed, " he's going down uncle mike" Ryan said as the buck laid down and expired, we were both in complete shock that we had actually pulled this off. "I cant believe it, I can't believe it we did it" he says.
For an 11 year old boy to hike up a mountain and put a perfect shot on his first buck is pretty incredible. I've been on some very successful and exciting hunts before, but this one reigns supreme out of all of them, I will remember the look on his face until the day I leave his earth, CONGRATULATIONS Buddy you earned that one!