They say you always remember the first one. No matter what you are doing, that first one sticks in your memory as you go through life.
That’s one reason the Ohio Division of Wildlife puts on youth deer hunts each year. These hunts allow youths 17 and younger the opportunity to hunt with a supervising adult on a November weekend when adults are not allowed to hunt. That means there are no adult hunters in the woods, competing for the same deer.
Young hunters from the Miami Valley have been very active in the youth hunts and regular hunts this each year. Here are three of their stories:
As a 14-year-old Beavercreek High School freshman, Eric went hunting for the first time during this year’s youth weekend. Taking his first deer after only 90 minutes in their treestand, has his dad, Mike, wondering if his son thinks deer hunting is pretty easy stuff.
“We heard a deer approaching from our left, so Dad and I switched spots,” Eric said. “It was a buck and it kept coming toward us. When it was 20 to 30 yards away, I took my shot.”
The buck turned out to be an 11-pointer, taken with a 12-gauge on family property in Vinton County.
“Wow, where does he go from here,” dad Mike said “I have been a hunter over 30 years and never killed a buck that size.”
Eric said he understands deer hunting isn’t always that easy. He then pointed out his dad missed an archery shot at the same buck a couple of weeks before.
Centerville resident Kloe, 13, participated in the youth gun hunt for the third straight year, but until this year she had not seen a deer close enough to get off a good shot. That all changed just 15 minutes into the season when she was hunting with a .410 shotgun on private property in Scioto County this year.
“Right after the hunt started, we saw a buck. As it came in close, I was freaking out,” she recalled. “I kept asking my dad, ‘Should I shoot? Should I shoot?’”
And when he said “shoot,” she did, taking down an 8-pointer.
Her father, Kevin Kistler, killed a 10-point buck this year, but his biggest thrill was not getting his own deer. It was seeing his daughter get one.
“There’s no comparison,” he said. “Seeing her get her buck was really great. But I did tell her not to expect to see deer as early as we saw the buck this year. I told her she may never see that happen again.”
Her first hunting trip was a memorable one. Right after the archery season started, Emma was hunting with her father and brother on a friend’s land in Greene County near John Bryan State Park. The New Carlisle residents were going after whitetails with crossbows.
“Dad (Jerry Ford) and Collin (her brother) had hunted together before,” she said. “I knew Collin really liked it, so this year I thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be a sport I really like.”
Getting a five-point buck on Oct. 1 certainly made it interesting.
“I saw a buck about 60 yards out and said, ‘Hey Dad, look a buck’s coming in.’ He said, ‘Get ready now.’
“The buck walked right under our stand, then right back out of range. So we called him back with a doe call. When it got back into our shooting lane, about 33 yards out, I took my shot. ”
Having her dad in the treestand helped her in more ways than one.
“I actually had to get up into his lap, so I could get a shot over the railing at the buck down below,” she said.
“I was really nervous. But I kept telling myself to ‘chill out, I’m going to do fine,’ and I knew I had practiced a bunch so I just had to make sure I had a good shot,” Emma, 13, said.
“Dad and I were both shaking and afterward my legs were still like Jello,” she added.
For more information on Ohio hunting, visit wildohio.com.