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WOODS: My youngest daughter, Rae, is really a hunter. Last year when she was six years old, we went out during the gun season and had a great hunt. She harvested a female fawn that weighed 72 pounds. Huge for this part of Missouri at that age and just a successful hunt.
So starting about September this year, she’s like, “Daddy, when can we go hunting? Daddy, when can we go hunting?” She shoots a little bow and we practice. Obviously not strong enough yet to shoot a bow adequate weight for deer hunting. She’s all about BB guns and bows and dolls and Barbies; a well rounded child. Regular gun season in Missouri, sure enough the older sister, Raleigh gets a deer. That fires Rae even more. “When can we go hunting? When can we hunting?” Saturday rolls around. We’re going hunting that afternoon. So, Rae and I go in 30 minutes early. Take a five gallon bucket and make a ground blind. I love five gallon buckets for kids because when you set a small kid down, put your coat or blanket or whatever on top of the bucket, it’s just the right height for them to use as a bench. They're really stable. Rae shoots a youth model gun. Fairly short, so it’s easy for her to get a real solid rest. But the other purpose of a five-gallon bucket, is to carry stuff. Books, candy bars, water, extra set of gloves. Whatever it takes to make sure that hunt is fun and exciting for three or four hours. Hey, we don’t even send our kids to church and tell them, “Sit down and shut up and don’t move,” for three hours at a time. Why would you want to take them deer hunting and tell them, “Sit down, shut up and don’t move.” That’s not fun.
RAE: (Whispering) I’m trying to see.
WOODS: I squirrel hunt with my kids. We do those other things, but I want them to enjoy deer hunting, too. But I realize they're gonna need a book to fill some of that time in when nothing’s happening. And a book is a great way to keep me or a child sitting still. They're sitting there. They're not moving. The heads not bopping around all the time and they're entertained. Gosh, reading behind a five gallon bucket is a great way to take your kid hunting.
RAE: (Whispering) Daddy, do you want me to say it again?
WOODS: (Whispering) Whatever you want to say.
RAE: (Whispering) Okay. My name is Rae and I’m from Branson, Missouri. And I’m going deer hunting with my dad.
What? Yes, I’m very excited. I got my Snickers bars and my book is “39 Clues: One False Note.”
WOODS: As we’re setting there, her foot goes to sleep, we take her shoe off, she’s reading a book; two or three things aren’t just working right, but I know we’re getting closer to the time when deer are gonna move. Sure enough, I look up: a big doe and a fawn come out down behind the pond, headed towards the food plot.
WOODS: (Whispering) There’s a deer down there.
WOODS: You notice when this doe walks by to pond, there’s a camera on the big oak tree to the right. The doe never has any response to the pictures taken as she’s moving by. Zero. None. That’s exactly what you want out of a trail camera. To be the perfect silent scout. No smell, no noise; gives you time and date when the deer at present. And the Reconyx cameras do that. There’s no noise, they're all digital. No filters flashing, no moving. It’s got the covert light at night. I have been thrilled with the Reconyx cameras to use in my scientific research and scouting to take my children and myself hunting. They are a great tool to use in the forest.
RAE: (Whispering) My scope working is working really good.
WOODS: (Whispering) Are you on it?
WOODS: The deer is at about 100 yards and strongly quartering away from us and started to flare the deer’s tale a little bit. And I know…
RAE: (Whispering) Yes, I see it.
WOODS: …that the doe knows something’s up. “Rae, are you on the deer?” “I’m right on it, daddy.” “Well, you're right behind that front shoulder like we talked about.” “I’m right on it, daddy.” “Rae, go ahead and take the sh – “ Boom. As soon as I say the word “shot” or get the “s” out, it’s off.
WOODS: (Whispering) ….and put it right behind that front shoulder, not too far back. And then halfway top and bottom, but when you're ready….
RAE: I got her.
WOODS: You got her.
RAE: Yah. Yeah!.
WOODS: You got her. Give me five, girl.
RAE: I got her.
WOODS: Rae goes before the deer even gets out of field, which is three steps away. “Daddy, I got it. I got it.” And I trust her young eyes. I’ve learned to trust Rae. She sees it very clearly. She saw the deer. She saw the deer stumble. She knew exactly where it went in.
RAE: I just shot my second deer.
WOODS: And it was a long ways off, wasn’t it?
RAE: Hmm. Hmm.
WOODS: We were setting here, eating Snickers bars. Tell me all about it. Tell me all about it.
RAE: Well, first we got here and then we waited a little while. I ate a Snickers bar. Then I ate another Snickers bar, then I played on daddy’s phone. And then we saw some deer come out and then, I got one.
WOODS: All right. It’s an easy trail job. What a great time to share with my daughter. Her second harvest. Two for two. We shoot a little .223. No recoil. Loaded with the proper bullets so we get enough expansion to be damaging, but not so much that we don’t get a good blow through blood trail.
RAE: Shot one. And it went kaboom!
WOODS: You made a great shot, didn’t you?
RAE: Uh huh.
WOODS: Point to where you hit it. Where’d you hit it?
RAE: Right here.
WOODS: Right behind the front leg?
RAE: Uh huh.
WOODS: One, two, lift up, go! All right, Randall. Thank you so much.
Rae did a great job. I’m proud of her as a human; proud of her as a citizen; proud of her as my hunting partner. Let’s load up and go home.